Why Oklahoma needs a resounding victory vs. Texas
Going into this NCAA college football season, I would not have believed that a Week 6 game between Penn State and Iowa would feature two of the top five teams in the country, but here we are.
The No. 4 Nittany Lions and the No. 3 Hawkeyes have surprised early this season, and this will be, by far, the biggest game in the Big 10 to date in 2021.
Both teams have been tested so far this season and that will continue on Saturday afternoon at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City in this surprising heavyweight battle.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma and Texas are set to meet Saturday at noon ET at the Cotton Bowl in the famous Red River Showdown, which has been played in Dallas since 1912. This is a massive game for both teams as the No. 6 Sooners aim to stay undefeated and in the playoff race, while the No. 21 Longhorns need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive.
If you are looking to bet on college football on Saturday, here’s what I like on the board.
No. 6 Oklahoma Sooners at No. 21 Texas Longhorns
Spread: Oklahoma -3.5
Texas made the surprising decision to start Hudson Card over Casey Thompson at quarterback this season after Thompson put on a show in the Alamo Bowl last season. After their 40-21 blowout loss to the No. 13 Arkansas Razorbacks on Sept. 11, the Longhorns made the switch back to Thompson and the move has paid off as their offence has averaged 53.3 points per game since that defeat. Meanwhile, Oklahoma is undefeated (5-0) but has not looked great in any game. Despite being a double-digit favourite in every game, they have zero double-digit wins over FBS opponents. While Sooners QB Spencer Rattler got all of the Heisman Trophy hype entering the season, Texas running back Bijan Robinson might be the best player on the field in this game. Historically, these head-to-head meetings have been close for the most part. With the Sooners looking somewhat vulnerable recently, I will take Texas with the points here. Hook em!
The Pick: Texas +3.5
No. 4 Penn State Nittany Lions at No. 3 Iowa Hawkeyes
Spread: Iowa -1.5
I cannot imagine what the atmosphere in Iowa City will be like on Saturday afternoon at Kinnick Stadium. This is a massive game for both teams, especially in a year that is lacking a dominant team outside of the SEC. Penn State is led by star wide receiver Jahan Dotson, who has scored in seven straight games dating back to last season. He will be the biggest playmaker on the field in this game. Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford has been better with the football this season, as in the past he had a tendency to get reckless at times. If he does revert back to his old habits at all, that will play right into the Hawkeyes’ hands. Iowa leads the FBS with 16 forced turnovers and they have been really good at converting those takeaways into points. I will take my chances with the home team in this one.
The Pick: Iowa -1.5
East Carolina Pirates at UCF Knights
Spread: UCF -10
When UCF quarterback Dillon Gabriel broke his clavicle on a last-play pick-six against the Louisville Cardinals on Sept. 17 in a 42-35 defeat, it was just a massive loss for this Knights offence. They were averaging 301 yards passing per game with Gabriel and managed just 168 last week in a 34-30 loss to Navy as a 16.5-point favourite with true freshman Mikey Keene at quarterback. On the other hand, East Carolina has been a pesky team all season led by four-year starter Holton Ahlers at quarterback and Keaton Mitchell at running back, with the latter leading the NCAA with 9.6 yards per carry. The defence is not great, but they can score at will and the Pirates played tough in their two losses to decent teams in Appalachian State and South Carolina. This just seems like too many points with the quarterback position being such a question mark for UCF.
The Pick: East Carolina + 10
South Alabama Jaguars at Texas State Bobcats
Spread: South Alabama -3.5
Texas State played Baylor tight in a Week 1 29-20 loss and then the next week won 23-17 in overtime at Florida International. Since then, their season has been ugly to say the least. After a 42-34 home defeat to FCS team Incarnate Word on Sept. 18, they were destroyed 59-21 by Eastern Michigan last week. On the other hand, South Alabama played Sun Belt favourites Louisiana Lafayette really tough last week, but did suffer this first loss in a 20-18 game. Jaguars QB Jake Bentley started games at South Carolina and Utah in the past and gives them that experience advantage at the quarterback position. This line opened at -1 and quickly moved to 3.5. Even with the move, I still like South Alabama here as the Bobcats are on a downward spiral.
The Pick: South Alabama -3.5
Utah Utes at USC Trojans
Spread: USC -3
Utah has been a perennial contender in the PAC 12 over the last five-to-10 years, but this has been a strange start to the season for the Utes. QB Charlie Brewer came over as a grad transfer from Baylor with high hopes, but ended up quitting the team in late September after losing his job. Utah is winless on the road this season and both losses came to non-Power 5 schools. Meanwhile, the Trojans have been a Jekyll and Hyde team this season. They either win in a blowout or lose by double digits as a double-digit favourite with no in between. Their three wins this season have come by at least 23 points, while their two losses have been by 14 points or more. I’m banking on the good version of the Trojans showing up here and they more importantly COVER!
The Pick: USC -3