NCAA Football Weekend Preview

Ricky Rothstein | Updated Oct 04, 2017

A look, now, at the three big NCAA college football games for this coming weekend with all relevant betting info. All college football betting lines are courtesy Sports Interaction.

No. 8 Oklahoma (-7.5) at No. 17 Miami Moneyline: Sooners (1.32), Hurricanes (3.55)

Miami’s remarkably difficult start to the season doesn’t get any easier this Saturday with a huge matchup (albeit at the friendly confines of Dolphin Stadium) against the Sam Bradford-less Oklahoma Sooners.  While Bradford will miss the contest with his injured shoulder, the Sooners will still be dangerous under centre as freshman Landry Jones has looked impressive in relief. He’s completed 43 of 69 passes for 622 yards and nine touchdowns to just three interceptions. Jones’ favourite target is clearly sophomore WR Ryan Broyles – he leads the Sooners with 22 receptions, 309 yards and seven receiving scores in just three games thus far.

The big question here will be how Hurricanes QB Jacory Harris deals with the stout Sooners defense. Oklahoma has flat-out dominated its last two contests, knocking off Idaho State 64-0 and Tulsa 45-0 – the program’s first back-to-back shutouts since the 1987 season. Once again, all eyes will be on Oklahoma’s pass-rushing dynamo Jeremy Beal, who plays with a tremendous motor and can get after quarterbacks with ease. If he’s in Harris’ face all night, it greatly diminishes Miami’s chances of winning.

No. 7 USC (-4.5) at No. 24 California Moneyline: Trojans (1.45), Golden Bears (2.80)

Last week, it was USC that had to bounce back from a tough loss – after losing to Washington two weeks ago, the Trojans came up big with a 27-6 win over Washington State. This week, it’s Cal that needs to rebound after being slaughtered by unranked Oregon 42-3.

If the Bears want to get things on track, it starts with RB Jahvid Best. He was shut down against the Ducks last weekend, carrying 16 times for a mere 55 yards – not good enough for a Cal offense that doesn’t wow anybody with its passing game. Look for the Trojans do execute a similar gameplan to what Oregon did last weekend – stack the box against Best and force QB Kevin Riley to beat them through the air.

When USC has the ball, all eyes will be on QB Matt Barkley. Against Wazzu, Barkley turned in the best passing day of his career, throwing for 247 yards and two TDs, but come Saturday he’ll be facing a tough, embarassed Cal defense that was gouged for more than 500 yards in Eugene. Look for Bears DE Tyson Alualu to use his strength and speed to get after Barkley all night – he’ll bring the bull rush almost every time Barkley drops back to pass.

Washington at Notre Dame (-12.5) Moneyline: Huskies (5.00), Fighting Irish (1.19)

Two previously-ranked teams looking to get back into the Top-25 lock horns in South Bend.  Two of the more intriguing quarterbacks in America will go head-to-head in this one: Washington’s Jake Locker and Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen, two guys who can make plays both with their arms and feet.

For Locker, the key will be rolling out the pocket and occasionally running the option with RB Chris Polk. Notre Dame defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta loves his exotic blitz packages, so it’ll be key for the Huskies to keep Locker from being assaulted in the backfield.

For Clausen, they key will be developing chemistry with his receivers. Clausen missed most of last week’s game with turf toe and is now without Michael Floyd (broken collarbone) – he’ll need to find stud WR Golden Tate early and often against a Washington secondary that’s mediocre at best.