CFB Week 3 big games: Teams looking for national recognition
A week after losing to Appalachian State, Texas A&M handed Miami a loss to send the Hurricanes spiraling down the rankings. More importantly for us, despite outgaining the Aggies 392-264 in total yardage, Miami couldn't cover the spread in what ended up being the swing game in our look at the biggest college football clashes of the week.
Each Tuesday, we take you through the most high-profile games for the coming week and provide some insight on where lines have moved, where they might be headed, and if there's anything worth a bet early on.
What is this game doing here? This isn't basketball season.
I wrote last week that Jalon Daniels was the best player Houston would see this season, and look who tops ESPN's QBR with a 97.5 rating. Kansas's back-to-back road wins are more impressive than Duke's win at Northwestern, especially after the Wildcats lost to Southern Illinois last week.
This is a big step up for Mike Elko's Duke defense, and though Kansas is in the unfamiliar role of favorite, it will score enough to get the cover at home and make another case for a spot in the AP Top 25.
Line outlook: Kansas -9
GameDay is going to Knoxville, excited about a nostalgic '90s matchup that's trying to return to relevance. The market is enthusiastic about the Volunteers, who have been bet up since Sunday's openers made them favorites of less than a touchdown.
We'll play the overadjustment to this line. Florida couldn't rise to the occasion for a second straight big game when it lost to Kentucky, and the Gators were sleepwalking through their clash with South Florida. An old rival will be a different story, and a road game might be just what Florida needs to get back in business. The Gators will keep this close.
Line outlook: Florida +11
Oregon overwhelmed Washington State last season despite the relative lack of a passing game, winning by two touchdowns thanks to more than 300 yards rushing. While the Cougars knocked off Wisconsin by withstanding its aggressive run game two weeks ago, Bo Nix provides more in the passing game than Anthony Brown did last year in Eugene and more than Graham Mertz does for the Badgers.
The Ducks were undervalued last week against BYU due to the final score in their opening-weekend game against Georgia, even after they managed 140 yards rushing and over 300 total offensive yards against the Bulldogs. The Palouse can be a tricky place, but the Ducks can handle it.
Line outlook: Oregon -6.5
The aforementioned loss to Appalachian State ruined an undefeated prime-time showdown at Jerry World, and the Aggies played with fire again last week. They did save face with a strong defensive effort, though, keeping Miami from scoring touchdowns. But against KJ Jefferson and Arkansas' running backs, Texas A&M won't have the same ability to bow up in the red zone in Dallas.
We'll chalk up last week's scare from Missouri State to the combination of a lookahead to this game and an underdog battling particularly hard for its coach. Maybe those struggles will get this to three - and we have all week to wait for it.
The Razorbacks need this win to earn a potential visit from ESPN next week in what would be an undefeated duel with Alabama. We'll hope they get it and find their way back here next Tuesday.
Line outlook: Wait for a +3 (-115) on Arkansas
Much to the chagrin of those who thought Toledo's 21 points would be enough to cover +32 last week, Ohio State had everyone on offense cooking. But the Buckeyes won't need 77 points to cover what might feel like a big spread in this one. The defense should force turnovers from Mertz, and it won't be run on by Braelon Allen. That means Ohio State's prolific offense may only need a relatively pedestrian 35 points to cover.
Line outlook: Ohio State -18
USC's offense is ridiculous, and we'd lean to the Trojans under different circumstances. But this late-night clash in Corvallis has upset special written all over it. Oregon State can go score-for-score with USC, and though we say it every week, this might finally be the game in which the Trojans don't win the turnover battle.
Line outlook: Wait to see if +7 comes back to bet on Oregon State
Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there’s a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on Twitter @mrussauthentic.