Something is bothering me about the college football rankings.
I understand Georgia slipping from third to fourth after losing to Alabama. But, how in the world can Notre Dame actually go up in the rankings?
Mind you, I am not looking to take any respect away from the Fighting Irish. They are certainly a very good team. However, they have played four contests against four “less than stellar” opponents (Duke, USF, FSU, Louisville). O.K., their opening-season 27-13 win over the Blue Devils as a 21.5-point favorite can be chalked up to rust. And, their 52-0 demolishing of the Bulls was expected following their previous performance. But South Florida is horrible, with their only win coming against The Citadel.
Here’s where it gets sketchy to me. The last two weeks, Notre Dame had problems, big problems with the doormat which is Florida State and a Louisville squad riding a four-game slide. How can this team move up in the rankings this week?
With a schedule coming up against Pitt, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Boston College, North Carolina, and Syracuse, unless Notre Dame shows us they can compete against decent squads, let alone cover (1-3 ATS), they don’t deserve their ranking. One thing for sure, if the oddsmakers keep overvaluing them, they are a go-against, especially in the Nov. 7 matchup with Clemson.
Alabama -21 at Tennessee: Even a COVID-19 scare couldn’t stop Nick Saban from beating and beating up a former assistant last week. As Alabama put up 41 points on the highly-touted Georgia defense, Saban took his record against former assistants to 22-0, taking down Kirby Smart. An ex-defensive coordinator, Jeremy Pruitt is in the crosshairs this week as the Crimson Tide face the Volunteers.
Mac Jones and Najee Harris lead the nation’s second-ranked scoring offense (48.5 PPG). Very few units in college football can match this team score-for-score. Tennessee is not one of those units. They stepped up in class the last two weeks and the Vols could only muster a combined 28 points in two losses and two no covers vs. Georgia and Kentucky. UT quarterback Jarrett Guarantano (four TD’s/three INT’s) just won’t be able to move the ball in the air. Especially without the luxury of a true ground game (57th, 134.8 YPG) to keep the ‘Bama “D” honest.
Saban has owned any Tennessee head coach he’s faced since taking the reins at Alabama, winning 13 consecutive meetings SU and going 9-4 ATS. The Crimson Tide is 8-1 ATS the last nine at the Vols and 6-2 ATS the last eight in October. The Volunteers are 8-18 ARS the last 26 at home and 1-4-1 ATS the last six overall. ALABAMA
Penn State -6.5 at Indiana: The Nittany Lions begin their campaign ranked eighth in the nation. They have lost a few defenders from last season’s 11-2 squad that beat Memphis in the Cotton Bowl. But, I wouldn’t be too concerned as reports are that the team replenished their stop-unit.
The offensive talent is off the charts. The “O” has a great quarterback, a deep running back group, fantastic hands in the receivers role and all four big, strong, experienced offensive linemen back.
Indiana does have quite a few weapons returning as well, including quarterback Michael Penix, who suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in 2019 after five games. The Nittany Lions’ offense will dominate the clock and control the tempo here, not allowing the Hoosiers’ offense to spend too much time on the field.
PSU is 4-1 ATS the last five on the road. Indiana is 1-9-1 ATS the last 11 as a home ‘dog. Penn State has dominated this series, taking 22 of the last 23 meetings. Under a touchdown is a gift. PENN STATE
— Penn State Football (@PennStateFball) October 19, 2020
Iowa -3.5 at Purdue: As of penning this, I do see some 3’s around. I prefer the -3. No doubt, Purdue possesses one of the best receiving corps in the nation. They also have to deal with a quarterback battle. But, some off-the-field distractions and head coach Jeff Brohm missing this game due to the coronavirus will be issues.
Iowa has had some distractions as well. And head coach, Kirk Ferentz had to replace three-year starting quarterback Nate Stanley. These items all factor into the line.
However, word is that sophomore Spencer Petras will fill in for Stanley at the helm without missing a beat. The offense also returns their two top-rushers in Goodson and Sargent (1,201 yards rushing, nine TD’s in 2019). This is a very well-balanced and well-coached team that will counter the Boilermakers’ offense with one of the stingiest stop-units in the country (fifth in points allowed, 13.2 PPG and 11th vs. the pass last season).
The Hawkeyes are 4-1 ATS the last five at the Boilermakers and 17-5 ATS the last 22 as a road favorite. IOWA
Kansas at Kansas State -20: Wanna’ make money? Just keep riding the train against KU until college hoops starts. The only sunlight that shined upon Kansas just got darkened by a cloud.
Running back Pooka Williams has opted out for the season. This doesn’t bode well for a Jayhawks team that just can’t seem to stay within 21 points of any Big 12 opponent.
After a surprising opening-season loss to the feisty Arkansas State teams, Kansas State has now rattled off three consecutive wins and covers against teams that appear to be better on paper (Oklahoma, Texas Tech, TCU). Quarterback Will Howard will continue to fill in nicely for the injured Skylar Thompson. The backfield is solid. The receivers are outstanding. And FYI, the Wildcats have not turned the ball over this season. Look for Les Miles’ team to sink deeper into the abyss. On both sides of the ball, Kansas is once again in trouble. KANSAS STATE
Last week: 2-1