8 Oregon at #13 Utah

3:30PM Kickoff on FOX (10/28)
Current Records:
Oregon: 6-1 (3-1 Pac-12)
Utah: 6-1 (3-1 Pac-12)

Probably the biggest game of the Week, two of the Pac-12’s best trying to not only stay in the race for the Pac-12 Championship game but also the College Football Playoff. After losing to Washington by 3 Pts in Week 7 (36-33), Oregon got back into the win column taking care of business against Pac-12 holdout Washington State (38-24). Oregon is one of the few teams in the country to score more than 30 Pts a game, due in part to QB Bo Nix (who I have talked about before) having Heisman caliber season, while also running back Bucky Irving helps out in the rushing attack: leading the team in total rushing yards and leading rushers in 5 of the Ducks games. Head Coach Dan Lanning took the blame for the loss to Oregon, saying he should have taken the field goals early in the game rather than go for 4th down situations. I think Lanning will keep that mindset the rest of the season. On the flip side for all the injuries that have hit Utah this season it is so impressive they are 6-1 over halfway through the season. Longtime starting QB Cam Rising was officially shutdown for the season (has not played since tearing ligaments in knee last season), in his place Bryson Barnes and Nate Johnson have filled in admirably. Barnes has started the last two games, out-dueling last year’s Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams, leading the Utes to a 34-32 win over the USC Trojans (second loss and a row for USC). What Utah lacks in offense this year however they make up in a stout defense, the USC game (32) and their lone loss to Oregon State (21) are the highest point totals they have allowed all year.
I do like Oregon in this game however. Their offense is just too explosive for a depleted Utah team to handle, while the Utah offense can not put up points like Oregon to keep up. Oregon is 7 Pt favorites at the time of me writing this, I like them to win by that margin, maybe a little more. But let me be clear, do not count out Utah out the rest of the year, the Pac-12 is college footballs best conference this year and it has a habit of some crazy upsets (see Stanford of Colorado).

20 Duke at #18 Louisville

3:30PM Kickoff on ESPN (10/28)
Current Records:
Duke: 5-2 (2-1 ACC)
Louisville: 6-1 (3-1 ACC)

Game number two of three for 3:30PM games to checkout this Saturday. Both Duke and Louisville are coming into the matchup off of a loss last week. Duke got thumped by Florida State (38-20) while Louisville got beat in a shocking upset by Pitt (38-21), pretty similar scores for both games too. Duke’s chances in this game really hinges on if QB Riley Leonard is healthy or not, he injured his ankle on the last play in their loss to Notre Dame a few weeks ago, and re-injured that same ankle last week. Their offense really seems to take a step back without him at the helm, and the team is only averaging 173.3 passing Yds a game to begin with. Louisville, besides the shocking loss to Pitt on the CW (games CW is giving some bad juju to ACC teams this season), is having an excellent first year under Jeff Brohm. Unlike Duke, Louisville was able to beat Notre Dame (literally the week after Duke and ND played). Like Duke though, Louisville’s success will be dictated on how well QB Jake Plummer will take care of the football. In the loss to Pitt he through 2 INTs, one of which was an 86 Yd pick six, the second pick happened on the next drive for the Cardinals. This game is going to be close, Louisville is a 4 Pt favorite going in to, and I’m leaning towards them winning a really close game. I like Louisville by 3 Pts.

Miami (OH) at Ohio

3:30PM Kickoff on CBSSN (10/28)
Current Records:
Miami (OH): 6-2 (3-1 MAC)
Ohio: 6-2 (3-1 MAC)

The last of the 3:30PM choices of games to watch is a big time MAC East Showdown and a rivalry game, The Battle of the Bricks. I briefly touched upon this game last week when I cover Toledo vs Miami, Ohio is waiting in the wings for the their chances to knock Miami out of MAC Championship hunt, whoever wins this game takes complete control of the MAC EAST (both Miami and Ohio are tied for first right now), and will most likely punch their ticket to Detroit. Miami comes into this game after losing a close one with Toledo last week (21-17), not only did the Redhawks lose the game but they lost their 5th starting QB Brett Gabbert to a season ending leg injury. Since losing to Miami (FL) in week 1, the Redhawks were scoring over 20 Pts a game, when Gabbert got hurt they only score 17 to Toledo. Now starts Aveon Smith, who started 9 games in place of an injured Gabbert last season, he has some experience but will it be enough to take on a vaunted Ohio Defense? The Bobcats managed to get back into the win column last week squeaking out a win over Western Michigan (20-17). Ohio always seems to drop some random MAC loss halfway through the season and I believe they got that bad juju out when they lost to Northern Illinois the week prior (23-13 loss), and that loss was the most points they have allowed all season, 23. The offense is incredibly solid, led by talented QB Kurtis Rourke and his favorite target Sam Wiglusz. I am an Ohio U Alum, but that is not the reason I am taking the Bobcats in this game. Miami lost their dynamic and MAC leading passing leading QB to the end of the season, while Ohio’s Defense is probably the best its been since 2012, and also since naming their field “Frank Solich Field” last season Ohio is 10-0 at home. I do not see that streak ending in the Battle of the Bricks.