The weekend's schedule was already light on matchups between heavy hitters, and it's gotten even thinner with as many cancelations or postponements that there've been in college football this week. With Ohio State's game against Maryland, as well as Georgia's game against Missouri both being nixed on Wednesday, that means we're now up to five games featuring a ranked team being off the board this week. That makes it a bit more difficult to find our "Games of the Week," but thankfully there were two games remaining that I'd already been planning on including in the column.
Now they'll just be found higher up the page than previously planned.
As for everything else, there's still a lot of value left to be found out there, but we better hurry up and get to it before they're canceled as well.
Odds below provided via William Hill Sportsbook
Games of the Week
No. 2 Notre Dame at Boston College
This is just a classic letdown spot. Notre Dame knocked off No. 1 Clemson in South Bend last week, marking the first time the Irish had toppled a No. 1 team since the 1993 season. It was then that the Irish beat No. 1 Florida State 31-24. The following week the Irish lost at home to Boston College 41-39. Now, here we are, 27 years later and there's a sense of deja vu.
Of course, there's more to this than the classic letdown. Not only is this one of the biggest games on Boston College's schedule this season, but it's The Red Bandanna Game, honoring the memory of former Boston College lacrosse player Welles Crowther who perished in the 9/11 attacks after helping lead as many as 18 people to safety. The Eagles are always fired up for this game, and we're going to see the same kind of effort that helped them play so well against Clemson a few weeks ago. I don't know that I'm ready to say Boston College pulls off the upset this time, but I think it'll keep this game much closer than the spread suggests. Notre Dame 27, Boston College 21 | Pick: Boston College +13.5
Who knows what to expect from either of these teams right now? Michigan finds itself on a two-game losing streak backed up against the wall. A win against Wisconsin could help salvage the season, while a loss will only send things spiraling even further. On the other side, what do we know about how Wisconsin will look after having to cancel its last two games due to a COVID outbreak on the roster? Paul Chryst has said Graham Mertz is back and eligible, but isn't a guarantee to start the game. Plus, Mertz is far from the only Badger who has had to miss time the last few weeks.
I'm betting that Mertz will play, and he'll have a field day against a Michigan defense that's been torn to shreds the last two weeks. The Wolverines have little to no pass rush to speak of, and it's caused their secondary to be picked apart. Mertz might feast on the Wolverines defense the same way he did Illinois in Wisconsin's lone game. Still, I'm a lot more comfortable going with the over than the spread because there's no telling how sharp Wisconsin will be defensively after so much time off, and with Michigan in desperation mode. Wisconsin 31, Michigan 24 | Pick: Over 54
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Lock of the Week
I do not want to be Tulane this weekend. The only thing I want do do less than play an angry Army team is play an angry Army team that's been sitting at home stewing in its anger for the last three weeks. Coach Jeff Monken is still mad and vocal about his displeasure over last week's game against Air Force being canceled, and it looks like Tulane will be the team that is forced to deal with it. Now, I have to mention that Tulane did play Navy earlier this season, and did a good job of limiting Navy's option attack. That will work to its benefit. Still, Navy isn't this Army team. The Knights offense ranks 34th nationally in rushing success rate. Navy ranks 84th. Tulane's defense has been good enough against the run to slow Army down a bit, but I don't think it's successful enough to stop it altogether. Tulane 24, Army 21 | Pick: Army +4
Trap of the Week
No. 9 Miami at Virginia Tech
You probably saw this line and were confused how Miami, a top-10 team, could be an underdog to an unranked Virginia Tech team that just lost to Liberty last week. Well, that's what they want you to think. They're begging you to take Miami with this line. Don't fall into the trap. Yes, Virginia Tech lost last week, but it was due more to stupidity than performance. According to Bill Connelly's SP+ metric, the Hokies had a win expectancy of 68%. Earlier this season they lost to Wake Forest despite a win expectancy of 78%. Miami, meanwhile, has won three straight but just allowed an NC State offense led by Bailey Hockman to put up 41 points against it last week. Miami's a top-10 team in name only. Lay it with the Hokies. Virginia Tech 45, Miami 38 | Pick: Virginia Tech -2
Under of the Week
Baylor at Texas Tech
Upon seeing the total for this game, my immediate reaction was that it seemed optimistic. Neither one of these offenses has been very prolific. Texas Tech ranks 73rd nationally in points per drive and has gone three-and-out on 38.3% of its possessions, ranking 100th nationally. Baylor's offense is a bit jealous, as it ranks 98th nationally in points per drive (1.77) and 108th in three-and-out rate (41.5%). Defensively, Baylor is the superior option. The Bears rank 46th in points allowed per drive and have forced opponents to go three-and-out on 36.2% of their possessions, ranking 28th nationally. Texas Tech's defense hasn't been nearly as good, but I don't trust Baylor's offense enough to take advantage of it. Plus, current forecasts call for 20 mph winds in Lubbock, Texas, at kickoff, which won't help either offense much, either. Baylor 24, Texas Tech 23 | The Pick: Under 57.5
Road Favorite of the Week
No. 23 Northwestern at Purdue
In times of uncertainty, turn to something familiar you can trust. I trust Pat Fitzgerald teams on the road. A couple of weeks ago I told you to take the Wildcats to cover against Iowa on the road and they did just that. Now I'm telling you to do it again against this Purdue team. Purdue is 2-0 on the season but it's wins have come against the same Iowa team that Northwestern beat, and Illinois. In that Illinois game, the Illini were down numerous starters, and had to rely on their fourth-string QB. Illinois turned the ball over four times, and still managed to outgain the Boilermakers on offense. The Illini even had a chance to tie the game in the final minute before coming up short, and Purdue held on to win by a touchdown. It wasn't the kind of performance that gave me much confidence in Purdue's 2-0 start. And, again, under Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern is 51-33-1 ATS. Northwestern 24, Purdue 21 | Pick: Northwestern -2.5
SportsLine Pick of the Week
Games of the Week
Lock of the Week
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