The sun shines a little brighter and flowers smell a little sweeter when The Six Pack is back on the profitable side of the ledger, and that's where we sit after a 4-2 performance last week. After struggling in our Games of the Week and Lock of the Week this season, we swept all three last week and continued to ride our beloved Kansas Jayhawks for our fourth win.
The Jayhawks are back this week but in unfamiliar territory. You know it's been a crazy start to the season when one of the premier games of the weekend is in Lawrence, Kansas, between a ranked Kansas and a ranked TCU.
I don't want to jinx anything, but I'm feeling good about this week's slate, too. Some teams are still undervalued and a few are ripe to be plucked as the market is a little too high on them, and it's time to buy back a bit. All odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.
Games of the Week
No. 17 TCU at No. 19 Kansas: I'm in an awkward position here. I've been betting the Jayhawks every week, and they've been exceedingly good to me. Not only have they covered all five of their games, but they've won them, too. Unfortunately, I think the winning streak comes to an end for Kansas on Saturday. As good as the Jayhawks have been, TCU is the best, most complete team they've faced. I fear the Horned Frogs will be too much for them.
However, I do not believe the Horned Frogs will be so much that Kansas won't cover the touchdown! The Jayhawks had their worst offensive performance of the season against Iowa State but still won the game with their defense. That's an encouraging sign moving forward. Also, while TCU is the most complete team the Jayhawks have faced, it's not particularly special on the defensive side and has given up plenty of explosive plays. That's not good news for a team facing this Kansas offense. I expect a lot of points and neither team to pull too far away from the other. TCU 35, Kansas 31 | Kansas +7
No. 11 Utah at No. 18 UCLA: I was impressed by what I saw from Dorian Thompson-Robinson and the Bruins against Washington last week, but it's had too much of an impact on the line in this game. Yes, there were questions about the Bruins entering the game because they'd played a soft schedule to that point, but a solid offensive performance against Washington hasn't convinced me much. The Huskies effectively moved the ball against the UCLA defense and offered little defensive resistance.
That won't be the case against a Utah defense that ranks 13th nationally in defensive success rate, 15th in points allowed per drive and fourth in EPA (expected points added) per snap. What would worry me even more if I were a UCLA fan is that the Utes rank eighth nationally in pressure rate, and Thompson-Robinson has never fared well when pressured. Utah 37, UCLA 31 | Utah -3.5
Lock of the Week
Purdue at Maryland: Purdue picked up a nice 20-10 upset over Minnesota last week, which has boosted its street cred a little too much this week. Particularly if you watched the game. Minnesota drove into Purdue territory six times but came away with only a field goal and a touchdown; a missed field goal and three interceptions made up the other outcomes. Purdue's defense certainly deserves credit for it, but the Gophers were also without star running back Mohamed Ibrahim. Meanwhile, the Boilermakers' offense was ineffective. The Boilermakers cannot afford to have another performance like that against a Maryland team that will score on you.
Purdue's overall defensive numbers this season are solid, but the Boilermakers haven't faced an offense like this Maryland group. The Terps have NFL talent at the receiver position and are efficient in the passing game. Maryland ranks 28th nationally in success rate on offense and is scoring 3.02 points per possession (22nd). That includes 27 points and nearly 400 yards of offense on the road against Michigan. If the Terps can do that on the road against the Wolverines, they shouldn't have too much difficulty with Purdue's defense. Maryland 34, Purdue 27 | Maryland -3
Under of the Week
Virginia Tech at Pitt: What a wonderful matchup we have here. In one corner, we have a Virginia Tech team that cannot score points. Seriously, the Hokies only scored 10 points against a North Carolina defense that rolls out of bed and allows 30 points every morning. In the other corner, there's Pitt. A team coached by a man who finds points morally repulsive and a cancer on the game of football. Pat Narduzzi's Panthers won the ACC last year and reached the Peach Bowl, and he expressed relief this offseason that the team's offensive coordinator Mark Whipple had left for Nebraska because he called passing plays too often.
The Panthers probably wish they could've thrown the ball more during last week's 26-21 loss to a Georgia Tech team that just fired its coach. I don't think the Panthers will be upset for the second straight week, but I don't think they're going to score many points, either. I know Virginia Tech won't. Pitt 20, Virginia Tech 7 | Under 41.5
Underdog of the Week
Army at No. 15 Wake Forest: Do you remember what happened when these two played last season? Let me refresh your memory. There were 21 shared possessions (not including the possessions at the end of each half) in the game, and 18 of them ended in a touchdown. One ended in a defensive touchdown on a pick six. There was also a turnover on downs and one punt. The final score was 70-56 Wake.
I don't think this year's meeting will be as high-scoring, but I don't think Wake Forest will have an easier time stopping Army, either. The Knights rushed for 416 yards on the Deacons last year, and Wake hasn't shown me enough defensively this season to lead me to believe it's solved those issues. Of course, Army isn't going to stop Sam Hartman from throwing all over it, but it's still hard to trust the Deacs to cover three scores here. Not without multiple Army turnovers. Wake Forest 48, Army 35 | Army +17
Upset of the Week
Florida State at No. 14 NC State: I don't like NC State that much! I don't mean as a program or a school. I mean it in the sense that the Wolfpack might be 4-1 and ranked No. 14 in the country, but I don't think they're nearly as good as the ranking suggests or the spread in this game suggests. The offense is so plodding and inefficient. NC State ranks 71st nationally in success rate and 91st in explosive play rate. They lack explosive playmakers, and it's making Devin Leary -- a good QB -- look ordinary.
Meanwhile, Florida State is a team with plenty of its own flaws, but it has an explosive offense (8th nationally) and ranks 16th in EPA per snap (0.21) and 25th in points per drive (2.98). The Seminoles can put points on the board in a hurry, which makes them dangerous in any matchup, especially against an offense that can't score quickly. Florida State 27, NC State 24 | Florida State (+130)
Games of the Week
Lock of the Week
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