The first weekend of college football in October is upon us, and it's bringing plenty of questions worth asking. Among the games we'll be paying close attention to this weekend will be Notre Dame's home game against Cincinnati, which sees the Fighting Irish as a rare underdog at home against a non-power conference opponent. Feel free to dig into your history books to find the last time that happened.
This could also be a dangerous weekend for ranked teams on the road. Iowa has a tricky spot on Friday night at Maryland, BYU visits Utah State, Oklahoma hopes to find its offense at Kansas State, Oregon visits Stanford, and Florida is in Lexington to face Kentucky. But when it comes to picking against the spread, our focus will be shifting toward a handful of other games of interest this weekend. And in the SEC, Alabama and Georgia are each flexing so far this season but hosting ranked opponents this weekend. Can either Arkansas or Ole Miss stir up some trouble as double-digit underdogs?
Note: All times are ET and all games are on Saturday, Oct. 2.
Arkansas (+18.5) at Georgia, 12 p.m.
The Bulldogs have easily asserted themselves as one of the top two teams in the country with one of the nation’s top defenses dominating their opponents left and right. Georgia will face its biggest challenge yet with Arkansas riding hog wild right now after a big win over Texas A&M. This just feels like a perfect spot for Arkansas to get a bit of a drop back to slight reality, and the Razorbacks certainly won’t be taking Georgia by surprise. The Hogs are going to have a good year, but there won’t be too many fond memories of this trip to Athens. Georgia 35, Arkansas 17
Georgia Tech (+3) vs. Pittsburgh, 12 p.m.
Georgia Tech has a win against North Carolina and took Clemson to the wire as the Yellow Jackets continue to show signs of progress as a program. Meanwhile, Pitt is a team you just never know what is going to happen. The Panthers are coming off a bloodbath against an FCS opponent after losing at home to Western Michigan. If this one gets high-scoring, that’s advantage Pitt. But Georgia Tech keeps this one more in their comfort zone and that leads to a scrappy win. Georgia Tech 24, Pitt 23
Notre Dame (+2) vs. Cincinnati, 2:30 p.m.
Who would have ever thought Brian Kelly would be an underdog in the Brian Kelly Bowl? Coming off a wild finish against Wisconsin last week, Kelly’s Fighting Irish are an underdog at home against Kelly’s former team, the Bearcats. This is a must-win for Cincinnati for any playoff argument, and they are fully capable of leaving South Bend with a win. They won’t, but they are capable of doing so. Notre Dame 27, Cincinnati 26
Alabama (-14.5) vs. Ole Miss, 3:30 p.m.
Giving Ole Miss two touchdowns feels dangerous in almost any situation this season with Matt Corral putting up the numbers he has been doing. But there may only be two teams capable of handling that at home. One of them just so happens to be Alabama. Ole Miss will hope to get into a back-and-forth game with the Tide, but Nick Saban’s program isn’t about to let the Rebels have their way in Tuscaloosa. Alabama may cover this one easier than you might think. Alabama 42, Ole Miss 24
Penn State (-12.5) vs. Indiana, 7:30 p.m.
Penn State and Indiana are already trending in opposite directions than they were a year ago. That’s great news for Penn State, and not so good for the Hoosiers. Penn State’s big-play offense is making things happen through the air, compensating for a lack of running game, and the defense has been rising to the occasion all season. Expect a solid performance at home in a rare revenge game situation against Indiana and Michael Penix Jr. A late score will put the game away and get a cover for the Nittany Lions. Penn State 31, Indiana 17
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