By Matthew Marshall
Florida Atlantic at #16 UCF – Friday, 6:00 p.m. – ESPN
I swore off watching Lane Kiffin for two weeks after picking his Owls to knock off Oklahoma in Norman in Kyler Murray’s debut. Needless to say, I was way off on that one. I came into this season thinking FAU could challenge for a New Year’s 6 bowl. This could still come true, but only if the Owls win in Orlando. UCF boasts the nation’s longest winning streak, 15, and haven’t skipped a beat since Scott Frost took off to Nebraska. UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton has played lights out to open the season. While they have yet to play any one of significance, the Knights are still a very solid football team who can compete with a lot of major programs. I expect a lot of offense in this game, but the Knights win at home.
Line: UCF -13.5
Prediction: UCF 44, FAU 28
#2 Georgia at Missouri – Saturday, 11:00 a.m. – ESPN
Georgia has been magnificent to start the season. Coming off the most heartbreaking loss in recent college football history (sorry, USC), the Dawgs have shredded opponents with a balanced attack and a stingy defence. Missouri, led by Senior QB Drew Lock, pose a decent threat. Lock has thrown for 1,000+ yards in three games and is a mid-round pick in next year’s NFL Draft. You can smell upset anytime there is an early kickoff in a conference road game, but Georgia will sniff out any of those worries by running away with this one in the second half. Look for Lock to throw a couple of costly interceptions and for Jake Fromm to win yet again.
Line: UGA -14
Prediction: Georgia 38, Mizzouri 17
#12 Wisconsin at Iowa – Saturday, 7:30 p.m. – FOX
Kirk Ferentz doesn’t get any respect for what he has accomplished at Iowa. His record may not be Saban-esque, but Iowa is a respectable program that no one wants to play on the road. Wisconsin is coming off a loss to BYU at home and are in desperate need of a quality win. This is an old-fashioned Big 10 ground and pound football game. Neither team is going to be able to get anything going through the air, as both teams have above average pass defenses. Iowa only gives up 42 yards a game on the ground but haven’t played anyone like Jonathan Taylor. Look for defense to be the story in this one. I expect Wisconsin to win this game, but barely. Taylor will rattle off 150+ yards and score late to put this one away.
Line: Wisconsin -3
Prediction: Wisconsin 20 Iowa 10
#22 Texas A&M at #1 Alabama – Saturday, 2:30 p.m. – CBS
Can the Tide be stopped? That’s become the question after seeing what the Alabama offense, led by Tua Tagovailoa, is capable of the past three weeks. Tagovailoa has completed 72 percent of his passes while throwing eight touchdowns and zero interceptions. The Aggies showed two weeks ago that they can play with the big boys when they came so close to knocking off then #2 Clemson at home. Aggie QB Kellen Mond has proven that he’s a different player than last year and looks like a bigger, stronger, faster Johnny Manziel. A&M has a history of playing Alabama tough, but I just cannot see it happening in this game. The Tide will roll again on Saturday, led by Tagovailoa, but look for A&M to cover the spread thanks to Mond.
Line: Alabama -26
Prediction: Alabama 42 Texas A&M 21
#7 Stanford at #20 Oregon – Saturday, 7:00 p.m. – ESPN
This week’s marquee matchup comes to us courtesy of the Pac-10 North. It’s well established that Oregon has been under-the-radar since Chip Kelly left, but this team feels like the Oregon of old. Led by darkhorse Heisman hopeful Justin Herbert, the Ducks have been playing with their old tempo and scoring a lot of points. Stanford, on the other hand, loves to control the game and has the running back to do it. Bryce Love, another Heisman hopeful, is back from injury and is looking to impress voters. This is the type of game I love to watch, two teams with contrasting styles needing wins to make a statement. Stanford has a huge game next week at Notre Dame to solidify their CFB Playoff resume, and Oregon needs this win to say that they have turned the corner. I think Stanford overlooks the Ducks, and I expect Oregon to win this game with a huge day from Hebert.
Line: Stanford -1.5
Prediction: Oregon 31 Stanford 21