Saturday College Football Previews
The Cleveland Browns were the "bad boys" of this here-and-now NFL season even before it ever got started but now you can toss some other descriptions into the mix when talking about Browns' DE Myles Garrett ... how does dirtbag sound for starters? Garrett's now seen-'round-the-world helmet-bashing hit to the head of Steelers' QB Mason Rudolph had jaws dropping across the country at the end of Thursday night's 21-7 win /cover against offensively-challenged Pittsburgh and to think the dude didn't even apologize ... whatta jerk! Our verdict: Suspend 'em for a full calendar year. We'll see 'ya next November 14, 2020. No pay, no medical coverage, no time towards his pension. 'Nuff said.
Maybe you caught it: The second installment of this year's College Football Playoffs (CFP) didn't have a single team in the top 25 that stayed in the same exact spot as the week before. Hmmm. Naturally, there was a shakeup right at the top following LSU's 46-41 win at Alabama as the Bayou Bengals jumped a spot to #1 while 'Bama dropped from #3 to #5 and -for now - out of the playoff picture.
Tell you what: We'll give you a month's worth of steaks if the #1-thru-#6 teams stay exactly the same by month's end!
On Saturday, it's ...
#1 LSU (9-0, 5-0) at OLE MISS (4-6, 2-4) - 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
Everyone 'round Tiger Nation is wondering if Ed Orgeron's club is gonna suffer a "letdown" here on the heels of that aforementioned upset win in Tuscaloosa ... shhh, the burly boss-man is telling anyone who will listen to forget about it! The new numero uno team in the land will send Heisman Trophy frontrunner QB Joe Burrow (3,198 yards passing with 33 TDs and 4 INTs) out there against an Ole Miss defense that a lowly 117th nationally in pass defense (274.2 ypg) and then let the chips fall where they may.
Spread Note - LSU is 8-2-1 spreadwise in its last 11 overall games and the Tigers also have covered four of their last five head-to-head matchups against the Ole Miss Rebels.
#2 OHIO STATE (9-0, 6-0) at RUTGERS (2-7, 0-6) - 3:30 p.m. ET, Big 10 Network
Note the visiting O-State Buckeyes are a bloated 53-point betting favorite here (laughingly, the totals price is 61.5 points) and we'll say QB Justin Fields (27 TD passes, 1 INT) is done with his day by halftime ... maybe a tad earlier!
Spread Note - Ohio State roars into this clash on an eight-game ATS winning streak and overall the Buckeyes have covered 12 of their last 14 games since late '18.
WAKE FOREST (7-2, 3-2) at #3 CLEMSON (10-0, 7-0) - 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
Now that we all know the defending national champion Clemson Tigers took last week's #5 CFP ranking "personally" you wonder if Dabo Swinney's squad will take its foot off the accelerator any time soon. One thing to watch here as near five-TD betting favorites is whether Clemson really puts the squeeze on a WF offense without stud WR Sage Surratt (1,001 yards receiving and 11 scores) and WR sidekick Scotty Washington (607 yards receiving with 7 TDs).
Spread Note - Clemson is a collective 15-4-1 against the odds overall since early last season.
#4 GEORGIA (8-1, 5-1) at #12 AUBURN (7-2, 4-2) - 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
These are the glory years - 21st century style - for these Georgia Bulldogs who'll wrap up a third consecutive SEC East crown with a win here and the $64,000 question is what defense will be stingier here: Georgia ranks second in the nation in scoring "D" while yielding a mere 10.1 points per game while Auburn's third in the conference while surrendering at 17.4 ppg allowed. If Georgia's pass rush hounds mistake-prone War Eagle slinger Bo Nix, then we'll know who wins the South's oldest rivalry.
Spread Note - Georgia is 8-2 ATS in its last 10 head-to-head showdowns versus Auburn and that includes the 2017 SEC Championship Game result (see Georgia 28, 1.5-point dog Auburn 7).
#5 ALABAMA (8-1, 5-1) at MISS STATE (4-5, 2-4) -- 12 p.m. ET, ESPN
The "experts" say that 'Bama is still alive-and-kickin' when it comes to a potential playoff berth even if Nick Saban's squad doesn't make it into the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 7th. But odds are the Crimson Tide's gonna go here without QB Tua Tagovailoa (ankle) - did you notice the line move from -20.5 points to - 17 in one fell swoop on Thursday? - and the one thing Alabama can't do is win this SEC road game by a slim margin.
Spread Note - The home teams have gone 7-3 ATS in the last 10 Alabama vs. Miss State games.
ARIZONA (4-5, 2-4) at #6 OREGON (8-1, 6-0) -- 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Not bad: The Oregon Ducks drew a bye last week and still managed to move up into the top six of these CFP rankings and now the green gang is a four-TD betting favorite here with QB Justin Herbert (2,329 yards passing with 24 TDs and 2 INTs) leading this club on a eight-game SU (straight-up) winning streak since that season-opening 27-21 loss to Auburn.
Spread Note - Oregon's just 14-19 ATS in Pac-12 games since the start of the 2016 season.