Saturday College Previews
The fact of the matter is that when both the Seattle Seahawks and the Los Angeles Rams awoke here on this first Friday in October, they in fact were both staring up at the San Francisco 49ers (3-0) in the current NFC West standings.
Forgot about them, didn't you?
Problem is for the defending NFC champion Rams - now 3-2 SU (straight-up) - is they are a little further away from the top spot than they were to start off their Thursday in the great northwest.
A 44-yard barely-missed-it field goal try by Rams' veteran PK Greg Zuerlein with just 11 seconds left in last night's game cost LA a critical game in the standings as the Seahawks (4-1) hung on for dear life in that thrill-a-minute 30-29 home win.
No need to delve into that bogus "roughing" penalty on Rams' LB Clay Matthews that played such a huge role in Seattle's go-ahead touchdown drive engineered by smooth operator QB Russell Wilson (268 yards passing with 4 TDs plus 32 key rushing yards) - everyone saw the refs blew that one - but the Rams have nobody else to blame but themselves for allowing the Seahawks to crank out touchdown drives that covered 75, 73, 47 and 75 yards. Now we'll soon see whether the Rams ever get to see the top of the NFC West again this year.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEWS
Tonight, it's ... #18 UCF (4-1) at CINCINNATI (3-1) - 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
Say this for the UCF Knights ... they sure are consistent! In each / every game since the start of the 2017 season (that's 31 games in all) the kids from Orlando have scored bare minimum 30 points and so there's some reason for the host Cincinnati Bearcats to be quaking in their high tops. Throw in the fact that last year - when UCF clubbed then 7-point underdog Cincy 38-13 - the oft-overlooked Knights' defense held 'Cat QB Desmond Ridder to just 11-of-26 passing for 127 yards.
Spread Note - UCF is 21-8 ATS (against the spread) overall since the start of the 2017 season and that snazzy pointspread mark includes a pair of wins / coves versus Cincy.
On Saturday, it's ...
#25 MICHIGAN STATE (4-1) at #4 OHIO STATE (5-0) - 7:30 p.m., ABC
Don't look now but this Ohio State offensive juggernaut - that's 45, 42, 51, 76 and 48 points scored in its first five games this season - may just be hitting its stride as the Buckeyes head into this prime-time Big 10 clash in Columbus: We won't bore you with a bunch of stats but we will point out that Heisman Trophy candidate QB Justin Fields has thrown for 1,092 yards with 16 TDs and 0 INTs ... and note O-State's won the last two games in this series by a grand total of 65 points.
Spread Note - Ohio State has notched pointspread wins in its last four in a row but the 'Eyes are a collective 3-8 ATS in home games against Big 10 foes.
#7 AUBURN (5-0) at #10 FLORIDA (5-0) - 3:30 p.m., CBS
Hey, good to see 'ya again ... the Auburn Tigers and Florida Gators have not matched up against one another since 2011 (really!) and you might recall that the Gators were 3-point road favorites in that clash and lost 17-6. Now, the shoe's on the other foot as Auburn is the 2.5-point road fav here and the visitors sport one hellacious defense starring DT Derrick Brown - the dude's everywhere! - while frosh QB Bo Nix has been spectacular with 980 passing yards and 7 TDs. If the Gators - playing with a ground game that ranks a lowly 88th in the land - can't move the chains with their running backs then backup-turned-starting QB Kyle Trask (51-of-66 passing) will have to win this one with some late-game magic.
Spread Note - Auburn's a perfect 5-0 ATS to start off this '19 campaign and War Eagle has covered 10 of its last 14 games when placed in the chalk role
#14 IOWA (4-0) at #19 MICHIGAN (3-1) - 12 p.m. ET, Fox
Let's face it: Some of the numbers attached to this here-and-now Michigan team are tough to take such as the Wolverines currently ranking 94th nationally in rushing offense (130.5 yards per game) and ranking 89th nationally in rushing defense (yielding 168 yards a game). If Jim Harbaugh's underachieving bunch - Michigan's now 25-30-1 against the odds in his four-plus years at this gig - can't rein in Iowa's three-headed running back corps of Mekhi Sargent, Toren Young and Tyler Goodson (a combined 752 rushing yards with a 6.2 yards-per-pop average) then the 3.5-point pup Hawkeyes will be "live" ... don't 'ya think?
Spread Note - Believe it or not, Michigan's failed to cover seven of its last eight games since last year and Big Blue's an ugly 16-21-1 spreadwise as betting favorites the past three-plus seasons.