It is amazing that we are already a month into the College Football Season. We have seen thrilling last second victories, comebacks, collapses, and upsets abound. Already we have seen great games in the forms of LSU-Auburn, Stanford-Oregon, and Ohio State-Penn State, with many more not named and so many more to come. But, with all of the polls that come out each week, the movement in each is nearly meaningless. The only thing that matters is what the College Football Playoff Committee decides in just four weeks. A lot can happen in these next few weeks, from the top teams going down to surprising upstart teams rolling in. Let’s see how these next four weeks could play out.
With all of the country’s focus on the two top ten matchups that we have under the lights this weekend with Penn State – Ohio State and Notre Dame – Stanford, we cannot forget about what is a very juicy undercard as we head into conference play.
Each week I will post my 5 underdog points plays that you should keep your eye on.
- ARMY (+7.5) at Buffalo
- The Bulls come home to UB Stadium 4-0, after a trouncing of Rutgers. But this is their first test of the year, and get an Army squad that travels well. Buffalo won by just 7 points against the two best teams it faced, Eastern Michigan and Temple – neither stack up to what this Army team has been doing lately. Should be tight.
- NEVADA (+5) v Air Force
- The last three games in this Mountain West cross-divisional series have been decided by one possession. The Wolf Pack are 2-2 thus far, losing two early kickoffs out east. They get to travel close to an Air Force team that has just one win, and that was to FCS Stony Brook. I find this to be a very odd line for this game, even with Nevada’s blunders on the road.
- GEORGIA SOUTHERN (+3.5) v Arkansas State
- The Eagles took care of business at home their first two weeks before going to Clemson. Now they are back home at Paulson Stadium against an Arkansas State team that has been squeaking out wins in their last two. It isn’t easy winning at Georgia Southern and this could easily be a one point game in the end.
- SAN JOSE STATE (+11) v Hawaii
- Facing a 4-1 Rainbow Warriors team is a challenge, but they play noticeably worse on the road. SJ State is still looking for their first win, but I can give them a pass when their last two games came on the road at Washington State and Oregon. This is a very generous line here.
- BYU (+17.5) at Washington
- One of the sneaky ranked v ranked games of this week, BYU has been play strong fundamental football thus far. Going into Camp Randall a few weeks ago and knocking off Wisconsin was just a taste of what it looks like BYU has in store for the rest of the season. Now they get to head up to Seattle to face off with a Washington squad that hasn’t quite looked themselves as of late, and might be looking past this game to the big Pac-12 slate that they have coming up.
(all lines from Draft Kings at the time of writing)
White. Nothing like it. Pure, clean, loud, busy, random, raucous, 31-10, 4OT, super reliable from inside 40. Moments that can only be described by two words: White Out.
This Saturday, one team steps into a house where every thought is blocked out by white noise. Where ever fan is clad in one color, a sea – no an ocean – of white. A place where the team from Columbus was the first victim to go down under the lights of white at Beaver Stadium in 2005. A place where they were rocked from No. 2 just two years ago.
The players may be different. No Saquon Barkley; no J.T. Barrett; no Grant Haley; no Curtis Samuel; no Chris Godwin; no Tyler Durbin. The stakes may have changed. What was once seemingly a top team vs a wild underdog has turned into a top ten matchup. But what hasn’t changed are the teams, the rivalry, the animosity, the hatred, Penn State – Ohio State. Two teams rooted in history, a rivalry that dates back to trips to Columbus in the 60s, a Fiesta Bowl in the 80s, top ten matchups during the 90s, #324, a blocked punt, and a birth of a tradition.
The White Out Game is one like no other. An environment ranked at the top of most people lists, called “a scene” by Kirk Herbstreit, the toughest atmosphere to play in by Nick Mangold, and a noise level that Urban Meyer wished “they would save […] for other games.” In 2013, it played host to one of the most famous games ever to occur on the field of historic Beaver Stadium, a 4OT thriller against No. 18 Michigan, one defined by Allen Robinson’s miracle catch at the one yard line. In 2016, it gave Penn State the statement win over then No. 2 Ohio State they needed to say “we are back.” In 2017, it gave Penn State a defining high as they routed Michigan under the lights. What will 2018 bring, one can wonder?