Remember last week when there weren't any games between ranked teams, and everybody complained about how boring it would be? The schedule gods have decided to make it up to you this week. We're not only getting six games between ranked teams this week, we're getting seven games between undefeated teams.
Who knows, maybe the two games featuring undefeated and unranked teams might see the winners appear on more poll ballots instead of the latest Power Five loser!
Anyway, while last week I was given plenty of free reign to choose my Games of the Week, this week I have too many to choose from. I tried to make the best of a bad situation, though, by introducing the Reader's Choice Game of the Week. I took to social media and offered the masses their choice of four games. Whichever one got the most votes, I would include in the column. Whether or not this remains a regular feature, I haven't decided yet, but with so many great games this week, it felt like the honorable thing to do.
The Process is for The People, after all.
Odds via SportsLine consensus
Games of the Week
No. 6 Ohio State at No. 9 Notre Dame: Remember how excited you were for last year's game between these two and how quickly it disappeared? Ohio State lost Jaxon Smith-Njigba to a hamstring injury, and Notre Dame's offense struggled in an omen of what was to come all season for the Irish. In the end, Ohio State won 21-10. Well, good news! I expect this year's meeting to be a lot more exciting!
While both the defenses in this game have been outstanding this year, neither team has faced an incredible offense. Sure, you can argue Western Kentucky is prolific, but it's prolific against Group of Five teams, not CFP contenders like Ohio State. This will be the first time we see either defense truly tested, and they will be tested. Notre Dame has made an incredible upgrade at QB with Sam Hartman, and Audric Estime is impossible to tackle. Ohio State has an NFL WR corps. We've seen many instances of talented, explosive offenses overcoming great defense in the past. I expect we'll see another example on Saturday night. The Pick: Over 55.5 (-110)
No. 19 Colorado at No. 10 Oregon: The Travis Hunter injury makes this game so much more difficult to figure out. I'd take Colorado and the points without question if Hunter were playing. It's not that I would expect Colorado to win the game, but the Buffaloes offense has been so explosive that it's hard to imagine Oregon would be able to cover a three-touchdown spread. But Hunter isn't playing, which doesn't impact the Colorado offense. He's the best defender on the team, too.
So, I'm going to lean on the one thing I have no doubt about: the Oregon offense. How many stops do you think Colorado will get in this game? My guess is that unless the Ducks turn the ball over, the Buffs might get one, maybe two. Well, Oregon hasn't turned the ball over yet this season. Bo Nix doesn't get greedy, and the Oregon offensive line should feast against this Colorado front. The Pick: Oregon Team Total Over 45.5 (-105)
Lock of the Week
No. 5 USC at Arizona State: Another situation in which I don't see one team getting many stops, if any. I'll forgive you if you haven't taken a look yourself, but the Arizona State injury chart is a bloodbath right now. Jaden Rashada won the starting job out of camp but is out until early November. Backups Drew Pyne and Trenton Bourget are both questionable for Saturday as well. Then there are the injuries on the offensive and defensive lines. It's not great!
And now here's USC coming to town off a bye. The same USC that has scored 59 points per game and has barely needed to play its starters in the second half of games. Seriously, Caleb Williams has played 21 second-half snaps this season. He's usually chilling on the bench after halftime. That'll be the case again Saturday night, but USC's backups are better than what's left on Arizona State's depth chart. The Pick: USC -34.5 (-110)
Under of the Week
Rutgers at No. 2 Michigan: Have you seen how slowly Michigan has been moving this season? Whether it was Jim Harbaugh's suspension, the different play-callers, or boredom with the nonconference schedule, Michigan is the most deliberate team in the country. Michigan's first three games of the season have averaged 112 offensive and defensive snaps per game. That's the lowest in the country. The next lowest is Air Force -- a service academy running the option! -- at 115.
The Wolverines are playing like a team whose plan is simply to win the game and get it over with. Perhaps they look to pick up the pace this week, but even if they do, I don't know how much will change. While I'm not ready to say Rutgers is good, the Scarlet Knights have looked pretty decent to start the season. They're 3-0 with wins over Northwestern and Virginia Tech and have won by an average of 21.7 points per game. I don't expect the offense we've seen from them to this point will be as effective against a Michigan defense that hasn't played a snap inside its own 10 yet (the lone TD Michigan has allowed was a 20-yard TD run by UNLV in the final minutes of a game it led 35-0), but I don't know that Michigan will be in any hurry to score a bunch of points, either. The Pick: Under 44 (-110)
Reader's Choice of the Week
No. 24 Iowa at No. 7 Penn State: You wanted it, you got it. The spread for this game is just about perfect, and I want nothing to do with it. I flirted with the idea of taking Iowa's Team Total Under 12.5, but that feels too low even for Iowa. We're only one defensive touchdown away from defeat. So, instead, I'll focus on the total.
I clearly don't have much faith in an Iowa offense that's already been bad and is banged up against a Penn State defense that's been phenomenal. However, I don't have the utmost faith in the Penn State offense, either. Drew Allar completed fewer than half of his passes last week, and the Penn State offensive line struggled against Illinois. It was a game Penn State won by 17 and should've won by 35 with all the short fields Illini turnovers handed it. While the Lions offense will be better at home, I don't know how much better it'll be with a young QB facing a defense that has proven challenging for even experienced QBs to solve. The Pick: Under 40 (-110)
Underdog of the Week
New Mexico at UMass: My pick for this game is more about UMass than New Mexico right now. The Minutemen were a Week 0 surprise with an impressive 41-30 win on the road against New Mexico State. The UMass offense looked downright dangerous with Clemson transfer Taisun Phommachanh at quarterback. However, Phommachanh was hurt in the loss to Auburn the following week and hasn't played since. His absence last week against Eastern Michigan was one of the reasons I was so confident in the under.
The Minutemen offense isn't nearly as potent without him. Throwing out the Auburn game (the level of competition was so much different), UMass scored 3.09 points per drive and averaged 0.23 expected points added per snap against NMSU. In two starts against Miami (OH) and Eastern Michigan without Phommachanh, it's averaging 1.41 points per drive and -0.10 EPA per play. New Mexico is no juggernaut, but it's been solid defensively this season, and the lack of scoring ability makes it difficult to back the Minutemen as a favorite. The Pick: New Mexico +3.5 (-110)
Games of the Week
Lock of the Week
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