Josh Kendall

USC is off, but some interesting contests to watch

Clemson’s Deon Cain
Clemson’s Deon Cain mwalsh@thestate.com

Six-and-four isn’t a huge bounce back week, but after the season I have had, I’ll take it. Most South Carolina fans will probably watch more teams than they usually do this weekend, so here are my thoughts on what to expect:

Mississippi State at BYU (minus-7.5)

This is a tough Friday night trip for a Bulldogs team that’s struggling. The good news is it’s Mississippi State’s week to win. The Bulldogs have gone loss, win, loss, win, loss – in order – this season. The point spread here also is an indication that Las Vegas is losing some faith in the SEC as the dominant conference in college football.

Straight: BYU

Against the spread: Mississippi State

N.C. State at Clemson (minus-18)

The Wolfpack will have some confidence coming into Death Valley after upsetting Notre Dame last week. Quick question: Does Clemson ever play a road game? Every time I look up, the Tigers are at home. Just kidding. The next real test Clemson faces is at Florida State on Oct. 29.

Straight: Clemson

ATS: Clemson

Nebraska (minus-3.5) at Indiana

The Hoosiers are better than they’ve been in several years. The Huskers are better than they were in second-year coach Mike Riley’s first season. This is a game Riley can’t afford to lose if he’s really turning the corner in Lincoln. With Tennessee and Wisconsin, the two teams just ahead of No. 10 Nebraska in the AP poll, playing tough games this week, it’s a chance for the Huskers to make a move this week.

Straight: Nebraska

ATS: Indiana

Missouri at Florida (minus-13)

The Tigers have the No. 2 offense in the SEC. This week, we’ll get to find out if that’s an indication of major improvement or of a weak schedule. The Gators will be plenty rested after their unscheduled bye last week because of the postponement of the LSU game.

Straight: Florida

ATS: Missouri

Alabama (minus-12.5) at Tennessee

IF the Volunteers play a full 60-minute game and don’t turn the ball over, they can absolutely beat Alabama. However, we haven’t seen Tennessee look like it’s capable of doing that, and we’re halfway through the season. The Vols took Texas A&M to overtime on the road despite seven turnovers. Imagine how high their ceiling is if they cleaned things up some.

Straight: Alabama

ATS: Alabama

Colorado State at Boise State (minus-30)

Boise State fans gave me some rightful grief for leaving the Broncos out of my Associated Press poll this week. They’ll be happier this week as long as Boise State avoids the upset. The undefeated Broncos have taken Houston’s place as the possible CFB spoiler.

Straight: Boise State

ATS: Colorado State

Ole Miss (minus-7.5) at Arkansas

Despite being a matchup of a couple also-rans in the SEC West, this will be a compelling game. The Razorbacks usually beat somebody they aren’t supposed to.

Straight: Ole Miss

ATS: Arkansas

Vanderbilt at Georgia (minus-14)

This game just doesn’t feel like it’s going to be any fun to watch. The Bulldogs, who seem incapable of a passing game at the moment, will batter the Commodores into submission at some point in the third quarter and start getting ready for Florida.

Straight: Georgia

ATS: Georgia

Georgia Southern at Georgia Tech (minus-11)

Be careful Paul Johnson.

Straight: Georgia Southern

ATS: Georgia Southern

Ohio State (minus-10.5) at Wisconsin

The Badgers held Michigan to 14 points. The same Michigan team that scored a million against Rutgers last week. Wisconsin won’t beat the Buckeyes, but it will muck up the game enough to cover.

Straight: Ohio State

ATS: Wisconsin

Last week: 7-3 straight, 6-4 against the spread

Season: 46-16 straight, 28-33-1 against the spread

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