Six games are scheduled this week in the PAC-12, and we have predictions for all of them and others from across the nation. Sixty-seven games involving FBS teams are scheduled this week, and we have predictions for all of them, which you can see here.
PAC-12 leader #7 Oregon (3-0) dropped in our (savvygameline.com) rankings this week primarily because of the ascension of #4 Penn State (3-0) after its impressive win over Auburn. Don’t expect the Ducks to regain a higher ranking this week against an Arizona (0-3) team ranked 123rd. Oregon is projected to win 49-10.
Speaking of 123rd, that is Oregon’s current total-defense ranking at 500 yards per game. The PAC-12 is weak enough for the Ducks to expect an undefeated regular season. Still, until the defense tightens, UO will not be projected higher than a spot in a national quarterfinal.
This week, UCLA (2-1) dropped from the rankings and now faces giant-killing quarterback Tanner McKee of Stanford (2-1). The sophomore is hitting 71% of his passes for nearly 200 yards per game, and he has yet to throw an interception in 70 passing attempts. UCLA is a narrow 31-30 favorite.
The Trojans of #25 USC (2-1) host Oregon State (2-1) as a 38-21 favorite, but there are a couple of cautions here.
First, as of late Monday, we don’t know the status of Trojan quarterback Kedon Slovis. We have confirmed that he did not break his collarbone as some outlets suggested. His status might not matter much because his replacement Jaxson Dart is an outstanding passer and adds a running threat to the USC offense. Second, USC has only an average rush defense, while Oregon State has one of the best rushing attacks in America. And finally, USC has lost control of the ball eight times in three games through fumbles and interceptions.
Washington State (1-2) and Utah (1-2) were embarrassed last week. Although WSU is still looking for answers to its porous offensive line, Utah found its answer at quarterback in Texas transfer Cameron Rising. It was Rising’s heroics that brought Utah back from a two touchdown deficit last week to tie San Diego State. The issue with Rising is injuries, but if he can stay healthy, Utah should finish the season strong. Utah is a 36-21 favorite over the Cougars this week.
California (1-2) and Washington (1-2) have been acclaimed for years for their stalwart defenses, but that has changed in 2021 as California is giving up more points than at any time in the Justin Wilcox era, and Washington continues to atrophy against the rush. The Huskies also have a myriad of problems on offense. Nonetheless, the Huskies get this one at home, 32-14.
Last week, our Index went against the betting lines six times and won four of those.
Overall, the Index was 57-15 (79%) compared to oddsmakers, who were 38-14 (73%). For the season, we’re 202-43 (82%) compared to betting lines that are 115-39 (75%). The Index was nine games better than betting lines in predicting over/unders.
Savvy’s best predictions last week were:
BYU upset over Arizona State, 28-20. Final was 27-17.
Utah State’s upset of Air Force by two. Final was by four.
Appalachian State over Elon 40-10. Final was 44-10.
Memphis upset of Mississippi State 33-30. Final was 31-29.
Ohio State over Tulsa 39-21. Final was 41-20.
The worst prediction was Ball State over Wyoming by six. Wyoming won by 33.
Around the nation . . .
Sixth-ranked Notre Dame (3-0) tangles with #18 Wisconsin (1-1) for the first time in a decade and a half and are favored 27-24 by our Index despite Wisconsin being favored by oddsmakers.
We said last week that #1 Alabama (3-0) would struggle with Florida and the Crimson Tide did just that as they escaped with a 31-29 win. This week, it will be all Tide as Southern Mississippi (1-1) brings its top-ranked rush defense to Tuscaloosa but will still lose by 39.
Second-ranked Georgia (3-0) has the stiffest overall defense in America, and the Bulldogs will prove it again this week in a 38-7 projected win over anemic Vanderbilt.
Colorado State (1-2) takes its passless offense to #3 Iowa (3-0) to face a Hawkeyes defense that has yet to give up more than one touchdown to any unranked opponent. Iowa is a six-touchdown favorite despite gamblers saying it will be less than four.
This week, our system is going against the betting lines eight times in naming Notre Dame, Florida Atlantic, Ball State, Middle Tennessee State, UAB, New Mexico, Western Michigan, and Wake Forest as favorites.