You are going to have plenty of good college football games to choose from this weekend. The SEC and Pac-12 have the best games on the board, and the Big 12 offers an important matchup as well.
Georgia Bulldogs @ Auburn Tigers
Odds: Auburn -3.5
The presence of Aaron Murray as the team’s quarterback gives Georgia the kind of passer that Auburn simply lacks. Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall is nowhere near Murray’s class as a downfield thrower, and that’s something which is probably going to matter in a game that figures to be close throughout. Georgia can pass and run the ball, while Auburn’s effectiveness on offense is more closely and fully connected to the ground game. Georgia’s offensive balance is likely to make a real difference here, as long as the Bulldogs’ returning players can gain effectiveness midway through the second quarter and can display at least some stamina in the fourth quarter as well. Take Georgia to cover the spread.
Pick: Georgia +3.5
Stanford Cardinal @ USC Trojans
Odds: Stanford -3.5
USC has to show that it can somehow resist and overcome Stanford’s power, especially when the Trojans have the ball and the Cardinal are playing defense. USC signal caller Cody Kessler is an interception-prone quarterback, and Stanford will feast on him if the Trojans are placed in predictable passing situations. USC will obviously try to impose its will on Stanford by running the ball on first and second downs. Yet, this is where the Cardinal can outflank the Trojans. Stanford’s whole approach to each game is built on winning the line of scrimmage, and as long as the Cardinal’s defensive line can win first down against USC’s offensive line, the Trojans will indeed have to throw the ball without the element of surprise. Stanford’s pass rushers can then close in for the kill and create the kind of game they want. If you do regard the Stanford defensive line versus the USC offensive line as the single most important positional matchup in this game, you should definitely feel that Stanford is the team that will win the matchup and, accordingly, the game itself. After playing Oregon’s elite offense nine days earlier, Stanford will feel that it is playing an offense that plays a completely different sport. USC has to do something to change this game early on in order to have a real chance.
Pick: Stanford -3.5
Oklahoma State Cowboys @ Texas Longhorns
Odds: Oklahoma State -3
This is a game in which the Cowboys should benefit from Texas’ recent spate of injuries. Texas has lost running back Johnathan Gray and defensive lineman Chris Whaley were knocked out for the season in the Longhorns’ win over West Virginia this past Saturday. Texas is already operating with a second-string quarterback, Case McCoy, so it needed the running ability of Gray and the defensive muscle of Whaley to have a realistic shot at stopping Oklahoma State. Bet the Cowboys as they should be able to outlast Texas over the course of 60 minutes this weekend, keeping alive their hopes of winning the Big 12 this year.
Pick: Oklahoma State -3