Are you all revved up and ready to go for the 2013 college football season? Week 7 is here, and that means it’s time to break down all of the NCAA football odds that you have in front of you to sink your teeth into!
We are essentially at the halfway point of the season, and the time is coming for some of the biggest games on the docket. It almost seems like every single season, the game that signals the start of the nitty-gritty is the Red River Rivalry between the Texas Longhorns and the Oklahoma Sooners, and this year is really no exception. The Big XII remains to be a wide open conference this year, and even a Texas team that has bombed twice this season still has every chance to get into the BCS. Head Coach Mack Brown knows that his next loss very well could be his last, and if that turns out to be the case, this weekend could be his last game against the Sooners. QB David Ash isn’t going to be in the lineup, and that is going to hurt his team, and that’s why the oddsmakers are giving the men in burnt orange a 14-point head start. Texas has gotten crushed in this series in each of the last two seasons, and Brown has to hope that this is the day that his team can pull off the upset of a club that he has had very little luck against for the better part of the last decade and a half.
But that’s not nearly all that highlights the Week 7 slate. There are three games that are pitting Top 25 teams against each other, and those games are very appropriate at 12:00, 3:30, and 4:00 to spread it out just a bit.
The least heralded of the games is expected to be the biggest blowout. The best trivia question of the weekend is clearly coming from Athens, where the Georgia Bulldogs and the Missouri Tigers are going to go to war. The Tigers are the answer to the question, and the question is, “What is the only team in the SEC outside of Alabama to still be undefeated?” It’s crazy to think that the Tigers are 5-0, but they really haven’t been tested all that much. They’re oodles and oodles better than they were last season, and they just snuck into the bottom of the AP Top 25 this week. That said, they’re huge nine-point underdogs “Between the Hedges” on Saturday, and they are expected to go down without much of a fight to QB Aaron Murray and company.
The 3:30 ET game that we are referring to is the clash between the Florida Gators and the LSU Tigers. The Bayou Bengals really have only played one bad game this year, and there really is no shame in losing to the Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium by a field goal. QB Zach Mettenberger and his offense are the real deal, and this is going to be a rare case where the Tigers might be carried by their offense. The issue on Saturday, though? The Gators have one of the best defenses in the nation, and they haven’t conceded all that much this year. LSU is giving 7.5 in Baton Rouge, but most recognize that this is a very dangerous game for the hosts. The loser is going to be completely out of the National Championship picture, and odds have it, if the Tigers lose, they’ll stand no chance of winning the SEC West, as this would be their second conference loss without playing any of the big boys yet in the West Division.
Just a half hour later is the best game of the day in the Pac-12. The Washington Huskies hit the backdoor for a cover last week against Stanford, but they are on the verge of their second straight defeat. Win this one against the Oregon Ducks, and the Rose Bowl will clearly still be up in the air. Lose it though, and the best that this team can reasonably hope for, even with a 10-win season, is a trip to the Holiday Bowl. The Ducks are favored by two touchdowns, but they are going to be very aware of just how dangerous this game is. Remember that last year, the Cardinal came on the road to Seattle and were handed their only loss of the season. There’s a darn good chance that a loss in this game would be an eliminator in the National Championship picture for the Ducks, as they might have to run to 13-0 to get into the title game, so every game is the most important one.
Before we get into the rest of the meat and potatoes of the Saturday card, we’ll break down the games early on in the docket. On Thursday and Friday, we are expected to see a pair of blowouts in the AAC. It starts with the Louisville Cardinals, who are -17 against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at home. This might be the toughest game of the year to date for the Cards, and there is no doubt that it shouldn’t be all that close anyone. Rutgers can play for sure, though it is going to be really difficult to go on the road in primetime and put up a fight. The next day, the Temple Owls will go looking for their first win of the season, but they aren’t even going to remotely challenge for it at +21 against the Cincinnati Bearcats.
Also on Thursday, the USC Trojans play host to the Arizona Wildcats in the first game for new Head Coach Ed Oregeron in LA, while the San Diego State Aztecs take on the Air Force Falcons. San Diego State is laying four. USC is giving 5.5.
The lone FBS vs. FCS game on the docket notwithstanding, the biggest spread on the college football betting lines on Saturday pits the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Kentucky Wildcats. The Tide are -27.5, but they are playing on the road against a team that has had a brutal go of it of late. Kentucky has had to play Florida and South Carolina in the last two weeks, and it has already had to deal with Louisville this year as well. Is this the toughest schedule in the country? There’s a good chance of it. Unfortunately, there isn’t much of a chance for an upset unless Alabama is totally just caught napping. This is the last game on the road for a month for the Tide, and they are hoping to roll right through it.
There are five other teams that are favored by at least 24, and they include the Arkansas State Red Wolves (-24 vs. Idaho), the UCLA Bruins (-24.5 vs. California), the Arizona State Sun Devils (-24.5 vs. Colorado), the Clemson Tigers (-24.5 vs. Boston College), and the TCU Horned Frogs (-24.5 vs. Kansas).
The other notable game to point out pits the Northwestern Wildcats against the Wisconsin Badgers. The Wildcats are still ranked in the Top 20 in America, even off of their loss to the Buckeyes last week. That said, on the road in Madison, they’re 10-point underdogs, and the insinuation is there that they would be underdogs even if this game was played in Evanston. That’s saying a lot for a team that really held its own last week against the boys from Columbus.
‘Totals’ are spread out more than usually are this week. The game between the Bruins and the California Golden Bears is one of the highest ‘totals’ of the weekend, and for good reason. UCLA has a Top 5 offense in the land, while Cal has a bottom five defense. On top of that, you know that the Golden Bears are going to get in their 90+ plays on offense, and that should make this one a barnburner. The 71.5 on the board in this game matches the number in the game between the Ducks and the Huskies that we have already talked about in the Pac-12.
But would you believe that neither of these games is even close to the highest ‘total’ of the weekend? The Baylor Bears are putting up insane numbers, as they are averaging well over 750 yards and 70 points per game this year after just crushing West Virginia last weekend. Can the Bears keep it up? They’re going on the road to take on the Kansas State Wildcats, who don’t have all that much of a defense. It’s not the 17 points that Baylor is laying that has us cringing. It’s the 80 in the ‘total’. We can only imagine what would happen if Baylor was to take on Cal or Oregon somewhere down the line…
Of course, we have our games on the other end of the ‘total’ spectrum as well. Four games are featuring ‘totals’ of 44 or lower this week, and for once, the game with the lowest number isn’t the one involving the Michigan State Spartans (54.5 vs. Indiana). No, the number to beat is 43.5, and it comes in a brutally bad game between the Massachusetts Minutemen and the Miami Redhawks in the MAC. It’s also notable as the first game at the FBS level that the Minutemen have ever been favored in.
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.