In the college football playoff race, Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, LSU and Oklahoma appear to be the clear consensus top five teams in the country right now. All of them are undefeated but only four of those teams can qualify for the College Football Playoff.
The Georgia Bulldogs’ stunning loss to South Carolina on Saturday as more than three-TD favorites provided the largest amount of chaos to the current playoff landscape. That leaves Georgia with no margin for error the rest of the way after suffering its first loss of the season.
Penn State’s road win at Iowa was a solid victory but the Nittany Lions have all their toughest Big Ten games still ahead of them starting this Saturday as they host the Michigan Wolverines at home in a game where Penn State is currently an 8.5-point home favorite.
Wisconsin is also among the group of undefeated power five teams but will need to beat Ohio State on the road and Iowa at home if they hope to have any sort of realistic chance to slip into the playoff mix.
Notre Dame is still alive if they can win out and there are some upsets along the way and there are other teams still that haven’t lost complete hope for the postseason.
There is a case for at least 10 teams still having a shot to be in the playoff which means there is still plenty of games ahead that will directly impact the playoff chase.
Here are my picks for this week:
Duke +3 at Virginia: Count me interested anytime Duke is an underdog. David Cutcliffe’s squad is a fantastic 7-1 ATS in their last eight games in that role entering this ACC clash against Virginia.
The Cavaliers have dropped two straight games to Notre Dame and Miami. Their offense has struggled with QB Bryce Perkins having a tough time with ball security in recent games and finishing drives in the red zone has been a consistent problem the last couple weeks.
Other than a game plagued by turnovers against Pitt, Duke’s offense with QB Quentin Harris has been solid and the defense has what it takes to keep a very pedestrian Virginia offense under wraps. I think Duke can win outright but I’ll gladly take the three-point cushion. DUKE
Nevada +21 at Utah State, Total 62.5: The Wolf Pack offense got a legitimate spark following their bye week on Saturday as the talented Malik Henry made his first start at QB after transferring from Florida State while also being part of the “Last Chance U” show on Netflix.
Nevada put up 41 points and 541 total yards in a thrilling win against San Jose State. Nevada averaged 9.5 yards per pass attempt in this game showing more explosiveness in the vertical passing game.
Utah State’s fast-paced, uptempo offense led by QB Jordan Love is likely to cause a lot of problems for a very weak Nevada defense is allowing 39 points per game. I expect a lot of points but I also think Nevada hangs inside this big number as Utah State’s last attempt as a home favorite in this price range against a weak Colorado State team came up short as they only won 34-24 as 24-point home favorites. NEVADA & OVER
Tulane +5 at Memphis: Memphis suffered its first loss of the season on the road, 30-28, at Temple last week in a physical and emotional game. Memphis offense got going in the second half last week to make things interesting but it’s concerning they allowed 456 yards to what had been a very mediocre Temple offense.
Tulane is rolling at 5-1 SU and ATS this season with the only loss coming on the road at Auburn. The offense is a lot more explosive and balanced between the run and pass and that could be trouble for a suspect Memphis defense. Tulane dominated Memphis 40-24 last season and held a 496-277 total yardage edge in the victory. Live ‘dog here. TULANE
Last week: 3-0