NCAA College Football Weekend Preview: Q&A

Ricky Rothstein | Updated Oct 04, 2017

With only two games involving two Top-25 BCS-ranked schools this weekend (No. 3 Texas at No. 13 Oklahoma State; No. 4 USC at No. 10 Oregon), we’ll be looking at some of the big storylines and players to watch – from a sports betting perspective, of course – what questions arise and, most importantly, what the answers are. All college football betting lines are courtesy Sports Interaction.

Is Colt McCoy being overshadowed? Well yes…sorta. It’s not like anybody in the country forgets that the 2008 Heisman runner-up is behind center for the Longhorns, but his play this year has been of secondary concern for Texas’ opponents. The big problem is dealing with the Longhorn D.

Here’s a remarkable stat – Texas has turned the ball over 15 times this season, and the defense has come to the rescue nearly every time.  Opponents have scored just one touchdown and a field goal in those 15 opportunities…four of the drives ended on the very next possession when the Longhorns forced a fumble or interception themselves.

This weekend, Texas is a 9.5-point favourite at Okie State, a team they’ve dominated in recent years. Longhorns coach Mack Brown is a perfect 11-0 against the Cowboys and another win on Saturday will make Texas the only undefeated team left in the Big 12. Okie State’s a quality team, but an upset over the red-hot ‘Horns might be too much to ask.

What’s the deal with Oregon’s defense? It wasn’t supposed to be very good given the mass exodus of starters to the NFL – Patrick Chung, Nick Reed and Jairus Byrd are all suiting up in the pros – but the Ducks have come to play this year regardless. They sit 19th in the country in total defense (297.1 yards allowed per game) and lead the Pac-10 in pass defense (124 yards a game).  The inspiration for this defense? A preseason goal set by coach Chip Kelly, who wanted the team to score 10 non-offensive touchdowns this season. Shockingly, the Ducks might get it done – they recorded their sixth last week in Washington (blocked punt returned for a TD) and get to face Trojans QB Matt Barkley this weekend, who has thrown five interceptions in six games.

Oregon is a three-point underdog at home this weekend, and they’re a great call for an upset win.

Can Georgia beat Florida? Not to be a pessimist but no, probably not. Florida has won 16 of the last 19 matchups and we all remember last year’s 49-10 pasting of the Bulldogs – yeah, the one where Urban Meyer called two timeouts with 44 seconds left to rub a little salt in the wounds. The big reason why Georgia won’t win is its anemic running game – the Bulldogs are last in the SEC is rushing yards per game at 108.0; lead back Richard Samuel has just 335 yards on 77 carries this year (and 80 of those game on a 80-yard TD run vs. Arkansas).

The Gators are 14.5-point favourites in this “neutral” site game – it’ll be played at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium – and that’s an interesting number to be sure. While we don’t like Georgia straight-up, the Gators have only beaten their last three opponents by 10 (LSU), three (Arkansas) and 10 (Mississippi State) points, respectively.