College Football Weekend Preview: Welcome Back to the MAC and the Pac-12

The college football season is absolutely flying by. The Big 12, ACC, and SEC are getting to the halfway points of their seasons. Even though they're only three weeks in, the Big Ten is also reaching the halfway mark as they're only playing eight games this year. The Pac-12 begins its six-game schedule this weekend, including a brutal 9:00 A.M. local time start for Arizona State and USC. The MAC also began this week, with all of their games being played on Wednesday night. The slate this weekend is awesome, to say the least, and I'm going to hit on some of the games to watch. Let's get it.

Favorite Games of the Weekend

Stanford vs. #12 Oregon

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This is the marquee matchup in the Pac-12. Not because of Stanford, but because of Oregon. Oregon is likely to be the one team out of the conference who has a chance to make the playoff. They lost arguably their two best players in quarterback Justin Herbert and linebacker Troy Dye to the NFL. Additionally, they lost four of their best players this year to opt-outs, including likely top-five pick Penei Sewell and three starters in the secondary. Those are brutal losses that will be difficult to overcome, but with the uncertainty of the Pac-12, it seems that the Ducks are still the favorites to win the conference and potentially make one of the four spots in the college football playoff.

#9 BYU vs #21 Boise State

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There's a lot of good games on the card this week, but this might be my favorite. BYU has shit-pumped everyone in their way this season and looks like a serious contender to be the first group of five to make the college football playoff. Zach Wilson is a legitimate Heisman candidate, as he's catapulted the Cougars to being one of the top offensive teams in the country. On the other side of the ball, they've been sensational, as well, but outside of Houston, they really haven't faced a team that poses a threat offensively. BYU will be tested in a big way against a talented Boise State team, who has talent all over the offensive side of the ball. I'm likely leaning BYU, but this is going to be a close one.

Houston vs. #6 Cincinnati

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Like BYU, the Cincinnati Bearcats are looking to become the first group of five to make it to the playoff. I think they have a legitimate shot to make the College Football Playoff, especially if quarterback Desmond Ridder continues to improve. The defense is one of the best in the country and has held its own against some of the explosive offenses in the American Conference. They still have UCF and Tulsa, plus the American Championship, but if they end up going undefeated, it's hard to ignore the Bearcats.

#8 Florida vs. #5 Georgia

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This year's edition of the world's largest outdoor cocktail party has a different feel to it. The game will still be held in Jacksonville, but fans will be limited. Still, this figures to be a fantastic matchup between two top-ten teams. This game will also likely decide who's going to represent the SEC East in the SEC Championship game. Georgia and Florida have completely different styles, as the Bulldogs are reliant on their strong defense and running game, while the Gators do it with their explosive passing game. Georgia's defense was able to prevail last year and will need to perform at a high level again if they want to win.

#1 Clemson vs. #4 Notre Dame

This is likely the game of the year in all of college football. Clemson usually goes untested during the regular season, but that changes as they take on a very talented Notre Dame team in South Bend. To make matters worse for the Tigers, their leader (and likely number one overall pick in the 2021 draft) Trevor Lawrence will be out again after his COVID-19 diagnosis. Insert D.J. Uiagalelei, a true freshman who played very well in Clemson's close victory against Boston College. This time, he gets an Irish defense that is near the top in most defensive categories. Clemson's defense struggled last week, so they're going to need to bounce back in this contest.

Best Bets of the Weekend

I'm extremely cold gambling on the NFL, but I've been able to make up for it with some great numbers in college football. Typing this out, I realize that I'm 100% jinxing myself, but I don't really care. Let's see how this goes.

BYU -3 @ Boise State

This is BYU's opportunity to show the College Football Playoff committee that they truly belong in the conversation. Boise State presents a tough challenge, but I think they'll ultimately prevail and really give the committee something to think about.

Kansas vs. Oklahoma O63

Kansas is BAD, but they've been a really good over team this year. With Oklahoma's offense starting to click, I think they can easily put up a fifty burger, leaving Kansas with one or two garbage-time TDs to cash it.

Rutgers +37.5 @ OSU

I'm strictly betting on the number here. Rutgers still has a long way to go, but I really liked what I've seen out of them so far. The Scarlet Knights will likely lose handly, but I think they can definitely keep it within the number.

Clemson vs. Notre Dame U50.5

My favorite play this week. Two extremely talented defenses, a true freshman quarterback playing in his first road game, and an ND offense that struggles to move the ball. This is the recipe for a low scoring, run-heavy type of game.


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