Saturday College Previews
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEKEND MENU
#4 OHIO STATE (2-0) vs. #15 TCU (2-0) - (at Arlington) 8 p.m. ET, ABC
Rest assured that the Ohio State Buckeyes know what's straight ahead of 'em: Following this game deep in the heart o'Texas, head coach Urban Meyer will return to "full-time" status (meaning practices and games) after a three-game suspension plus the 'Eyes realize a challenging Big 10 sked awaits 'em. Still, this is a major obstacle for the conference's highest-ranked team as interim boss-man Ryan Day is counting on another stat-sheet stuffing game from QB Dwayne Haskins, Jr. (see 9 touchdown passes through two games) and the defense is bracing for a hot Horned Frog slinger named Shawn Robinson (4 TDs / 1 INT this year with 346 yards passing). Is the nearly two-TD price that O-State is laying too "tall"?
Spread Notes - Ohio State is 18-9 ATS (against the spread) away since the start of the 2014 season and note the Buckeyes have covered seven of their last 10 games overall when placed in the double-digit favorite's role; TCU is a rock-solid 8-4 against the odds in its last dozen games when grabbing points.
#5 OKLAHOMA (2-0) at IOWA STATE (0-1) - 12 p.m. ET, ABC
Talk about a real revenge spot! The Oklahoma Sooners were a 31-point betting favorite last year and fell flat on their facemasks with a 38-31 loss to the ISU Cyclones and now the Las Vegas folks have Boomer Sooner a 17.5-point fav here even though OU will be without star RB Rodney Anderson - do you believe in lightning striking twice? New star QB Kyler Murray so far has thrown for 515 yards with 5 TDs as he steps into the role that last year starred Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield.
Spread Notes - Oklahoma is 18-10 versus the vig in all Big 12 games since the start of the 2015 season; On the flip side, I-State is 13-5 vig-wise in conference games since the start of 2016.
#12 LSU (2-0) at #7 AUBURN (2-0) - 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
Count us among the folks a tad surprised that the Las Vegas price tag for this game has gone up to 10.5 points at last check - doesn't anyone out there like this newfangled Bayou Bengals' ground game (see RB Nick Brosette with back-to-back 100-plus yard rushing games) but note that War Eagle believes three-head RB monster Jatarvious Whitlow, Shaun Shivers and Kam Martin (394 combined rushing yards) figure to get plenty of action even if QB Jarrette Stidham shows an early-game hot hand.
Spread Notes - Auburn's 10-5-2 spreadwise in SEC action since the start of the '16 season; LSU has covered its last four in a row when placed in the underdog role.
VANDERBILT (2-0) at #8 NOTRE DAME (2-0) - 2:30 p.m. ET, NBC
Memo to Notre Dame opponents: So far, this underrated defense has allowed a grand total of 33 points and registered eight different three-and-outs in back-to-back home wins against Michigan / Ball State ... should we expect more of the same here against Vandy? One thing about Notre Dame QB Brandon Wimbush is he's been shaky so far (see three INTs last weekend against the B-State Cardinals).
Spread Notes - Notre Dame is now 50-51-4 ATS in the Brian Kelly Era but that does include a tasty 7-3 spread mark in ND's last 10 games played against Power 5 teams; Vanderbilt is fresh off season-opening back-to-back wins/covers against Middle Tennessee State and Nevada but did you know the Commodores now have covered their last five consecutive non-conference affairs?
#17 BOISE STATE (2-0) at #24 OKLAHOMA STATE (2-0) - 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
The scene is set: Visiting Boise State knows a "W" here could well propel 'em into a New Year's Day bowl game but senior QB Brett Rypien (7 TDs / 0 INTs so far) knows lopsided wins against Troy and UConn were hardly the way to prep for this encounter. If Rypien doesn't get some help from a rather lackluster ground game, then Okie State will be the ones moving up the polls but senior slinger Taylor Cornelius is an unknown at this stage ... agree?
Spread Notes - Boise State is 10-5-1 ATS overall since the start of last year and that includes away covers in seven-of-eight games; Oklahoma State's covered seven of its last nine non-league games the past two-plus seasons.
#22 USC (1-1) at TEXAS (1-1) - 8 p.m. ET, Fox
Geez, enough with the ABC / ESPN commercials regaling us with the Texas vs. USC matchups way back in 2005-06 ... it's time to move to the here-and-now! And Texas better get its act together after losing to Maryland (as twin-figure favs) and barely holding off 22.5-point dog Tulsa. If Longhorns' QB Sam Ehlinger (237 yards passing with two TDs last weekend) can be a serious run / pass threat, then SC's in a heap of trouble.
Spread Notes - Texas enters this high-profile, prime-time tilt off back-to-back season-starting spread losses against Maryland and Tulsa as the 'Horns are now 9-6 ATS in the Tom Herman Era; USC is also 0-2 against the number so far this season and overall the Troy Boys are an ugly 7-15 ATS away the past two-plus seasons.