The first Saturday of October has another great slate of NCAA Football games to enjoy. But don’t worry, we got a quick, pre-snap read of all the big games and all the betting details you need to know.
(12) USC at Utah (14.5, 48)
USC QB Matt Barkley has thrown four interceptions in his last two games after being picked off just once in his first two contests. Remember, the senior tossed 39 touchdowns last season, while getting picked off just seven times. Utah expects to have junior DE Joe Kruger (2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles) and sophmore S Eric Rowe back from injuries as the defense looks to rebound after allowing 512 yards against Arizona State. The Trojans are 5-1 ATS in their last six conference games.
Connecticut at (21) Rutgers (-7, 40)
Rutgers was the only team in the nation to win three road games in September. Now the No. 21 Scarlet Knights come home after a week off for four of the next five contests. Rutgers leads the nation in rushing yards against (62.5) and boasts RB Jawan Jamison, who is averaging 122.8 yards per game and can tie Ray Rice for the school record of five straight 100-yard games to start a season. The underdog is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings between the schools.
(22) Northwestern at Penn State (-2, 47)
Northwestern will try for its first 6-0 start since 1962 when it visits Penn State on Saturday. The No. 22 Wildcats, who are 5-0 for the third time in five years, are coming off a school-record 704 yards of offense in their 44-29 victory over Indiana last week. Penn State has outscored its opponents 49-0 in the first quarter and 76-9 in the first half. The Nittany Lions have been outscored 59-47 after intermission.
Kansas at (8) Kansas State (-24.5, 52.5)
Kansas is 2-23 in conference play, has lost 17 straight road and neutral site games dating to September 2009 since the 2009 season. Kansas State is riding high two weeks after earning a signature victory over then-No. 6 Oklahoma – its highest-ranked road win to date. Senior QB Collin Klein is 15-4 (9-3 Big 12) as a starter. He has passed for five touchdowns and rushed for five more while completing 70 percent of his passes. The favorite is 14-3 ATS in their last 17 meetings.
(25) Boise State at Southern Mississippi (+9.5, 47)
Boise State nearly blew a 25-point lead last week, holding on for a 32-29 victory over New Mexico. The Broncos offense has accounted for only seven plays of 25 yards or more in their first four contests. The Golden Eagles have struggled mightily on offense, scoring only 17 points per game in losing their first four contests by an average of 17 points. The under is 4-0 in Southern Mississippi’s last four home games.
(19) Mississippi State at Kentucky (+10)
Quarterback Tyler Russell and the Bulldogs’ spread offense average 36 points per game, good for 35th in the nation, and will likely rely heavily on their rushing attack as they look to earn a fourth straight win over Kentucky. The Wildcats offensive’ game plan is more clouded as starting quarterback Maxwell Smith is sidelined indefinitely with a torn ligament in his left ankle—an injury suffered in Kentucky’s 38-17 loss to South Carolina last week. The road team is 5-1 ATS in their last six meetings.
Arizona at (18) Stanford (-9.5, 54)
The Cardinal, who fell from No. 9 to No. 18 in the USA Today poll, have won 16 of their last 17 home games, and have followed their last six losses with victories dating to 2009. The Wildcats’ have the No. 9 passing attack in the nation at 343.8 yards per game. Fifth-year senior QB Matt Scott leads the Pac-12 with 1,608 yards and has completed 64.1 percent of his passes with 10 touchdowns and six interceptions. Stanford has won eight straight games in October.
Georgia Tech at (15) Clemson (-10.5)
The Yellow Jackets have allowed 1,119 yards and 91 points in their last two games. The Tigers, bouncing back from a second-half collapse against Florida State, pulled away from Boston College for a 45-31 win last week. All-American receiver Sammy Watkins, who missed the game with an abdominal virus, is expected to return. Watkins has already missed three games this season. He didn’t play in the first two after being suspended for an offseason drug arrest. The underdog is 14-4 ATS in their last 18 meetings.
(3) LSU at (11) Florida (+2.5, 42)
The Tigers are giving up 12.6 points per game, the Gators 12.8. LSU’s defense has 41 tackles for loss, including 11 sacks. The Gators’ stout defense could get a lift from the return of outside linebacker Jelani Jenkins, who had a pin removed from his fractured right thumb. Florida has not allowed a point in the fourth quarter and has outscored opponents 64-13 after halftime. The Tigers are 2-5 ATS in their last seven meetings.
Iowa State at (13) TCU (-7)
The Horned Frogs have allowed only three TDs and 29 points in their first four games while the Cyclones had a streak of 157 minutes, 40 seconds without allowing a touchdown come to an end late in the first half of last week’s 24-13 loss to Texas Tech. The under is 4-0 in the Horned Frogs’ last four games overall and Iowa State has played under the total in six of their last seven conference games.
(14) Oklahoma State at (24) Texas Tech (4.5, 57.5)
The Sooners’ suddenly erratic offense faces a surprising Red Raiders’ defense ranked first in the nation in five categories, including passing yards and total yards allowed. Texas Tech is first in the country, allowing only 167.5 yards per game and a measly 3.1 yards per play. The home team is 5-1 ATS in their last six meetings.
Washington State at (17) Oregon State (-15.5, 58.5)
Oregon State, led by sophomore QB Sean Mannion, has the No. 4 passing offense in the nation and owns three quality victories – a pair of Pac-12 games on the road and against Wisconsin. The last two games in which Oregon State scored 40 or more points both came against Washington State, including a 44-21 victory last season in Seattle when Mannion threw four touchdown passes. The Cougars are 2-10 ATS in their last 12 meetings.
(7) West Virginia at (9) Texas (-7)
West Virginia QB Geno Smith put himself in the Heisman driver’s seat by passing for 656 yards and eight touchdowns against Baylor last week. Smith is off to one of the best starts in NCAA history, passing for 1,748 yards and 20 touchdowns with no interceptions. The senior leads the nation in passing efficiency at 208.4 and has completed an astounding 83 percent of his passes. The over is 4-0 in West Virginia’s last four October games.
Miami (Ohio) at (23) Cincinnati (-18.5)
The Bearcats and RedHawks have the fifth-longest rivalry in the nation going as Saturday marks the 117th meeting. Cincinnati has dominated in recent years, winning six straight by an average margin of more than 28 points. The Bearcats have won the last two meetings by a combined 72-3, including 27-0 last year. The favorite is 6-1 ATS in their last seven meetings.
(5) Georgia at (6) South Carolina (-1.5, 54)
Georgia will try to thwart the four-man rush of South Carolina, which leads the SEC with 22 sacks – six more than second-place Texas A&M. Bulldogs junior QB Aaron Murray has collected 12 touchdowns against three interceptions, but he’ll be without top target Michael Bennett. The team’s leading receiver suffered an ACL injury during Tuesday’s practice and will be sidelined for the season. The under is 13-2 in their last 15 meetings.
Miami at (10) Notre Dame (-14, 53.5)
The Fighting Irish had a bye week to soak up the fact they’re off to their best start since 2002. They held their second straight ranked opponent out of the end zone in a 13-6 victory over then-No. 17 Michigan last game, seven days after a dominating 20-3 road victory over then-No. 10 Michigan State. The Notre Dame defense has taken a big step forward this season, ranking ninth in the nation in sacks (3.5 per game) and pass efficiency defense (96.79). With eight INTs, the Irish defense has already matched its season total from 2011. The under is 6-1 in Notre Dame’s last seven games overall.
(20) Nebraska at Ohio State (-3.5, 56)
The 20th-ranked Cornhuskers own the nation’s fifth-best rushing attack at 305 yards per game and average 6.4 yards per carry. Ohio State senior RB Jordan Hall is doubtful after suffering a knee injury against the Spartans. Carlos Hyde, who missed two games earlier this season with a knee injury, will be counted on to pick up the slack. The Cornhuskers are 0-3-1 ATS in their last four road games.
(4) FSU at North Carolina State (+17, 54)
Florida State’s stop unit could get tested Saturday as North Carolina State gained a school-record 674 yards in last week’s 44-37 loss at Miami. The Seminoles are averaging 51.0 points per game while allowing only 11.4, which ranks seventh nationally in the FBS. Florida State is 1-9-1 ATS in its last 11 meetings with North Carolina State.
Washington at (2) Oregon (-24, 65.5)
Oregon seeks its ninth consecutive victory over visiting Washington when the two Pac-12 squads meet on Saturday. The No. 2 Ducks have won each of the previous eight meetings by 17 or more points while establishing themselves as the power school of the Pacific Northwest. Oregon has also won 27 of its last 28 home games and is averaging 52.4 points and 550.6 yards per game this season. The Huskies are 0-7-1 ATS in their last eight meetings.