College football stretches into Week 3 with some cream puff games and some must win matchups. Here are five facts you have to know about the big games this weekend.
Oklahoma – Iowa State (-17): Matt Campbell is one of the rising stars in college coaching. Since he took over three years ago, the Cyclones are 10-2 when winning the turnover battle. Iowa State upset OU last season, so don’t expect them to be afraid of the Sooners, even if they are a big underdog at home. No surprise here if the Cyclones win again.
LSU – Auburn (-9.5): There is nobody in college football who bleeds their colors more than Ed Orgeron at LSU. Coach O grew up a Tiger fan, and he has made no secret of the fact that his dream job was to
be the head coach in Baton Rouge. They love him there, as was evident last season when he got a standing ovation leaving the field after a 10-0 loss to Alabama. But if he loses to Auburn and Alabama again, expect his job to be immediately back on the hot seat. It starts this weekend at Auburn, where the Tigers are big underdogs. I expect LSU to cover and, with a little luck, win the game outright.
Boise State – Oklahoma State (-3.5): Boise State travels to Stillwater for their annual matchup against a top Power 5 opponent. If you haven’t noticed, Boise State isn’t afraid of anyone. In recent years, they have gone on the road and beat Virginia Tech, Georgia, Oregon, and beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. They are deep and talented with an experienced quarterback. Like Gonzaga has built a basketball power, the Broncos have built a culture that has lasted through several head coaches. Expect some of the same on Saturday as the Cowboys get tested for the first time this season.
Ohio State – TCU (+12.5): In the past few years, Ohio State has not been afraid to play top early season opponents, splitting games with Virginia Tech and Oklahoma. Interestingly enough, each of those teams won on the road. The Buckeyes go into Fort Worth having played TCU six times ever, the last time being in 1973, where Ohio State won. This is the last game of Urban Meyer’s suspension, but don’t expect Ohio State to miss a beat. They look like title contenders while TCU is still trying to find an identity. However, don’t count out the best defense in the Big 12. If TCU can find somehow to stop the vaunted OSU offense, the game will be close.
USC – Texas (-3.5): This game, to me, is the most interesting matchup of the entire weekend. It pits two marquee programs that have underachieved even when it looked like they would turn the corner. Last week, both teams struggled, Texas as a 24 point favorite against Tulsa, and USC as a road underdog to Stanford. While a loss in this game isn’t a season killer, it will really bring the heat on the coach who is on the losing end of things. USC has a freshman quarterback who, quite frankly, looked last week like he was still in high school. On the other side, Texas has had trouble finding a consistent QB to lead their program. So, in a game where the offense should struggle mightily, I expect the best defense to win, and this year that is Texas.