VSiN’s college football expert takes an early look at a handful of Saturday’s top games.
Wake Forest (-2, 66.5) vs. NC State
This might be the most entertaining game all weekend. In fact, pretty much every game Wake Forest is must-see at this point. The Demon Deacons finally lost to North Carolina after building an early lead, and they fell just short of covering the 2.5-point spread. QB Sam Hartman has been a star, and I see no reason for that not to continue. But can Wake stop anyone? Specifically, can it stop North Carolina State? The Wolfpack are 6-3 ATS this season, won six of seven games and the defense has allowed only 27 points combined in the past two weeks. That group is likely to get a workout this week, however, and I could see another touchdown frenzy breaking out. I like the Over.
Texas A&M (-3, 55.5) at Mississippi
While Texas A&M’s defense might not be at Georgia’s historic level, it’s the closest thing to it in college football. On Saturday, it shined against Auburn. The Aggies allowed only three points and easily covered the 4.5-point spread. A&M has now won and covered in four straight games, allowing only 31 points over the past three. But Ole Miss could certainly challenge this. The Rebels have covered the spread in three of the past four games. On Saturday, they were able to conquer former head coach Huge Freeze and Liberty, although it wasn’t a dazzling showing. The offense, which has been superb at times, has become a bit more stagnant. While home field will help, this team needs to return to its more explosive form. If it can do that, it can certainly win this game.
Georgia (-20.5, 56) at Tennessee
The Vols are fun. They might also be pretty good. But at the very least, they’re fun. That much is clear after Tennessee beat Kentucky, 45-42, covering the one-point spread after a week of interesting line movement. I’m curious to see if this offense, which should test Georgia’s defense in a way it hasn’t been yet, can finally get this historic group to budge. The total tells me maybe, unless we’re expecting the Bulldogs to do much of the heavy lifting. And that’s very possible. Georgia, after starting a bit slow against Missouri, eventually turned it on. Although Kirby Smart’s team fell short of covering the 40-point spread against Missouri, it wasn’t far off. And that spread really speaks to the dominance of this team. Still, this is a test on the road. Not sure I’ll be on the Vols, but this will be worth a look throughout the week.
Michigan (-1, 48.5) at Penn State
Penn State has a weird month, although the Nittany Lions find themselves as a short favorite against a top-10 team. The loss to Illinois could have been a death blow to the season, but Penn State had a decent bounce back last weekend against Maryland. It wasn’t explosive or dominant, but James Franklin’s team did cover the 10-point spread. And the defense, which has played quite well even in losses, was superb. Stylistically, Michigan is there. The Wolverines delivered a Jim Harbaugh-ian 29-7 win over Indiana, which was a nice recovery after the Michigan State debacle the prior week. To me, Michigan is the better team in this game. I said that before Michigan State, and it blew up in my face. I am tempted to test it again despite Harbaugh’s issues in games just like this.