Well. Halloween is over. And if your household is anything like mine, you’ve blinked and the interior of your home has seemingly magically transformed from the fall oranges and browns to the red, greens and whites of Christmas.
I honestly have no idea how it happens so fast. There’s a Christmas themed tablecloth garland on the bookshelves, little interior lights everywhere and worst of all, my DVR is now full of Hallmark Channel Christmas movies.
You know the ones. Where each only has slightly differing plots in which the female protagonist with the quirky job (travel photographer, competitive baker, blogger, just to name a few) is unfulfilled because she hasn’t found love. Then always finds it in a place she didn’t expect. They fall in love, there’s some stupid conflict that gets resolved in five minutes and they live happily ever after.
Mrs. Covers Caley can’t get enough of them. (Thank god for noise cancelling headphones). That said, Oregon is hoping to be that made for TV movie character for this college football season.
OREGON DUCKS AT USC
The Ducks are quirky team (i.e. they play in the Pac-12 in a different uniform each week) that is unfulfilled (haven’t been to the College Football Playoff since 2015) and have the ability to live happily ever after if they can resolve the conflict ahead of them. And that means running the table in the Pac-12. More directly, that means heading to Los Angeles and defeating USC on its home turf.
Oregon has been playing pissed off ever since its last minute defeat to Auburn in Week 1, having rattled off seven straight wins, averaging 38.1 points per game behind what is turning into Justin Herbert’s best season in Eugene yet.
The potential No. 1 overall pick in next April’s NFL Draft is completing nearly 70 percent of his passes for 2,104 yards with 21 touchdowns. But the best part has been his decision making. Herbert has thrown only one pick all season.
He now faces a USC defense that ranks 83rd when it comes to giving up passing yards and is one of the worst in the country when it comes to takeaways.
But Oregon is more than just Herbert, he has talented backs and now a defense to support him. The Ducks have been attacked for 66 points the last two weeks, but that came against very solid quarterbacks and still rank 17th in Football Outsiders DFEI defensive ratings.
And while USC has performed much better at home this season, it hasn’t faced anything like this Oregon offense yet. The Ducks take another step towards that Hallmark ending and cover the spread on the way to their eighth consecutive victory.
Pick: Oregon -4.5
You ready for some MAC-tion?!?! The Bulls and Eagles head into this MAC battle with identical 4-4 records, so the 1-point spread is not unexpected, but it’s not correct.
While Eastern Michigan has a nice win over Illinois in Week 3, its other three wins came against Costal Carolina, Central Connecticut State and rival Western Michigan at home. The Eagles like to fly with the nation’s 24th ranked pass offense. But. They are one dimensional, as their run game is nonexistent. And when it comes to defense, they can’t stop anyone.
Eastern Michigan ranks 106th in total defense and 109th DFEI. But where they struggle the most, is against the run. The Eagles allow 5.2 yards per carry for 204 yards per game (both 109th in the country) and I’ll give you one guess as to what the Bulls excel at?
Ding! Ding! Ding! That’s right! Running the football. The Bulls rumble for 221 yards per game on the ground led by running back Jaret Patterson. The sophomore has rushed for 835 yards this season at a clip of 5.3 yards per carry.
Moreover, Buffalo is the classic team that run the football and play solid defense. The Bulls rank 17th in yards allowed per game and 31st in DFEI. The Bulls will ground and pound their way to a victory as they try and keep their slim MAC East title hopes alive.
Pick: Buffalo -1
UAB BLAZERS AT TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS (-12, 48.5)
The season couldn’t have started any worse for Tennessee.
The Vols opened with consecutive home losses to Georgia State and BYU as 24.5 and 3-point favorites. The quarterback play was inconsistent. And head coach Jeremy Pruitt looked overwhelmed.
But when it comes down to it, Pruitt is a good football coach and Tennessee seems like it is starting to figure things out. The Vols are 2-1 SU in their last three games, against Mississippi State, Alabama and South Carolina and covered the spread in all three games.
Quarterbacks Jarrett Guarantano Brian Maurer have both been declared healthy for this matchup, but it shouldn’t matter who is under center for Tennessee in this one. A quick look at UAB’s record and their basic defensive stats you could think that the Blazers are one of the better Group of 5 teams in the country.
But the Blazers schedule as been as soft as the plot as one of those Hallmark movies. UAB’s opponents have a combined record of 10-37 and the one time the Blazers faced a somewhat decent opponent (Western Kentucky), they lost.
And UAB’s defense is as overrated as they come. While the team ranks fifth in total yards and 11th in points allowed, but that has everything to do with that soft schedule as UAB ranks 79th in DFEI.
The underrated Tennessee defense will handle a mediocre UAB offense as the quickly improving Vols should win this one by two touchdowns.
Pick: Tennessee -12
Last week: 1-2
Season to date: 12-14-3
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