This has been an odd college football season so far for many reasons. First off, there are 10 job openings already and we still have four weeks or so left to go. Virginia Tech added its name to the list with the announcement that the legendary Frank Beamer is going to retire at the end of the season. Second, the AAC provided three of the 25 teams in the first College Football Playoff rankings. Memphis is the highest at No. 13, although the Tigers still have to go through Navy, Houston and potentially Temple twice. Finally, I still maintain there's truly not a dominant team left. There are several squads without a loss, but each has their faults. We'll see how this week plays out on the field.
Record: 43-39 (6-2 last week)
Temple (7-1) at SMU (1-7) (Friday)
Temple came thisclose to beating Notre Dame and sending Owl fans into a true frenzy. Instead the Owls fell short and left the game battered and bruised. The injury list is long with Kyle Friend, Jahad Thomas, Tavon Young and Nate Smith among the walking wounded. Friend is the leader of the offensive line while Thomas is Temple’s No. 1 running back. Yes, SMU's defense is next-level awful, but can Temple take advantage of it? P.J. Walker has been up and down as QB. SMU's offense has not been the problem, as the Mustangs have moved the ball well. The problem has been turnovers with nine of them occurring in the last three games. As a Temple fan, I'm still bummed over the Irish loss so you'd have to think the players will be too. This game's not as important with the Owls maintaining a two-game lead in the AAC East and a bigger contest looming at South Florida then at home vs. Memphis. SELECTION: SMU +14 (If you want to be real daring, throw a small wager on the SMU ML)
UL Lafayette (3-4) at Georgia State (2-5)
Georgia State's offense is clicking right now as the Panthers enter Saturday's matchup with ULL. The Panthers have scored 65 points in their last two games and are doing so behind a potent passing attack. Nick Arbuckle is finding things a little easier despite not getting much support from his run game. The Ragin’ Cajuns can be beaten through the air, although most teams have preferred beating them on the ground. ULL's played three straight overs as the Cajuns’ offense has been clicking a bit. Georgia State has allowed 30 points or more in five of its last six and should do so again on Saturday. ULL is 40-18 O-U since 1992, including 13-6 the last three seasons. SELECTION: Over 63.5
Vanderbilt (3-5) at Florida (7-1)
The SEC East is all but Florida's to win and will be a done deal if it can beat Vanderbilt. The Gators have been doing enough to win and are adjusting to Will Grier no longer being at quarterback. Treon Harris is getting things done as Florida is one step away from a trip to Atlanta and the SEC Championship Game. There could be a hangover after the 27-3 win over Georgia in the rivalry game. Vanderbilt has a road win at Middle Tennessee already and has the defense to hang around. The problem is the Commodores’ woeful offense that has scored just 53 points in the last four contests. The Commodores have covered in eight of their last 11 games in the Swamp. They have also covered in 13 of their last 20 SEC games. Anytime you see a big spread and a low total, the underdog is worth a look. SELECTION: Vanderbilt +21
Syracuse (3-5) at Louisville (4-4)
A pair of poor offenses play each other as Louisville hosts Syracuse. The Orange are putting up just 337.2 yards per game as they have dealt with multiple quarterback injuries this season. Eric Dungey has been very good, but he's facing a Louisville team that is giving up just 309.2 yards per game. The Cardinals have played in five unders in their last six games, as the offense just doesn't have a lot of bite. Lamar Jackson is very mediocre at quarterback. The numbers aren't great for the Orange's defense, but they really don't have to be against the anemic Louisville attack. The home team has gone under in 18 of its last 26 as a favorite and 22 of the last 34 overall. SELECTION: Under 51.5
Kansas (0-8) at Texas (3-5)
The Jayhawks have just four more chances to pick up a win. It probably won't come Saturday when they play at Texas. The Jayhawks have struggled terribly defensively, giving up 30 points or more in five straight games. The Longhorns’ offense is dying to break out after their recent struggles against Iowa State (204 total yards). Put a weak defense in front of Texas and the Horns score, as evidenced by the 86 points at home against Rice and California in September. Kansas' offense has perked up a little bit although it's not showing on the scoreboard. Texas has allowed 435.2 yards per game so the Jayhawks might be able to find the end zone more than once. SELECTION: Over 54
Utah State (5-3) at New Mexico (4-4)
The Aggies’ porous run defense will be tested once again on Saturday against New Mexico. Utah State has surrendered 606 rushing yards in its last two games. The Lobos run it well and have put up 66 points in their last two conference home games (New Mexico State, Hawaii). The problem comes on the defensive side where the Lobos allow 422.1 yards per game. These two have played in 10 overs in their 16 games combined. New Mexico has gone over in 11 of its last 16 home games. SELECTION: Over 55.5
Iowa State (3-5) at Oklahoma (7-1)
Oklahoma's loss to Texas seems like a distant memory, as the Sooners have outscored their past three opponents 180-34. The Sooners blasted Kansas State, Texas Tech and Kansas to force their way back into the Playoff discussion. Iowa State enters this on a high following its 24-0 shutout of Texas at home. The problem for the Cyclones is that the road has been unkind in Big 12 play, falling 66-31 to Texas Tech and 45-27 to Baylor. ISU has been beaten up on defense and should continue to struggle entering this one. The Cyclones have been able to put up some points of their own with Mike Warren running the ball well. Oklahoma has a road game at Baylor next so focus could be a bit of an issue. The Sooners have gone over in 22 of their last 34 games including 19 of their last 30 as a favorite. SELECTION: Over 61
— Two teams going in a different direction in the AAC play as East Carolina hosts South Florida. The Pirates have lost two straight and three of their last four as they try to get that necessary sixth win to gain bowl eligibility. ECU has a home win over Virginia Tech to go with a close loss to Florida, but those games came back in September. The Pirates are struggling on offense with turnovers while the defense has not been able to get crucial stops lately. The Bulls have won three of their last four and are doing so behind Marlon Mack and Quinton Flowers. South Florida has a huge game next week at home against Temple as it looks to move up in the AAC East standings. I don't trust either team, but based on recent results, the road team is worth a look.
— I came very close to making an official play in the game involving two one-win MAC teams. I have tried several times to fade Miami (Ohio) and was going to do so once again with Eastern Michigan. The Eagles have a semi-decent offense to go along with a horrendous defense. The same can't be said for the RedHawks, who just have an awful defense to go along with an awful offense. They have been a favorite in just four games the last three seasons, winning three of them straight up. EMU has been an underdog of 3.5 to 10 points just five times the last three seasons. I really would like to take the road team in this one, but how can I trust the Eagles to win a game on the road when they've won just one game away from home the last three seasons?
— To keep with the theme of awful teams, I came really close to taking the over in the New Mexico State-Texas State game. The Bobcats have allowed 49 points or more in five of their seven games and have allowed 553 yards per game. The Aggies actually are much worse, allowing 561 yards and 48 points or more in six of their eight contests. The two have combined for 10 overs in 15 games this season. The reason it's not an official play is because the total has actually gone down and movements like that in smaller games concern me. Only someone who knows the Sun Belt would make a wager large enough to move the line. I lean to the over especially if someone moves the line back to its original spot.
— Injuries have prevented me from potentially making Florida State an official play in its showdown at Clemson. Everett Golson and Sean Maguire are both in play to start at quarterback for the Seminoles and that makes a bit of a difference in handicapping this game. Dalvin Cook isn't 100 percent with the ankle injury either. FSU has been an underdog of 10.5 to 21 points just five times since 1992.
— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Josephs prefers non-Power 5 college football and may be the only one wagering on the Sun Belt. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.