Hello college football-loving friends! As we approach the fourth weekend of college football action, I have decided to introduce a new column that I will be releasing weekly: CFB ATS picks! I will take four big matchups around the FBS along with UConn’s game and predict it against the spread. I will battle to stay above .500 and I will review how I did at the end of each week and the season’s conclusion. I hope you all enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it!
#1 Alabama (-15.5) at #11 Florida (Saturday at 3:30 p.m. on CBS):
In Alabama’s first game, they had a completely dominant performance against 14th ranked Miami, winning 44-13, largely thanks to sophomore quarterback Bryce Young’s four touchdowns by way of the air. This was followed up by a blowout at home versus Mercer, which didn’t tell us much. A key question we need to answer is if Miami is overrated. If they’re the real deal, then Alabama’s win in Week 1 is very impressive and this week shouldn’t be an issue, but if they were just a missed-preseason projection, then the game isn’t useful. The Gators, on the other hand, have not played any high-quality teams, beating FAU and USF by 21 and 22, respectively. I just don’t have enough evidence on Florida’s legitimacy to choose them.
The pick: Alabama
#22 Auburn at #10 Penn State (-6)( Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on ABC):
Penn State opened their season in a thriller at #12 Wisconsin and came out on top in an impressive performance. Although it wasn’t an offensive masterpiece, the Nittany Lions grinded it out and picked up the victory in the fourth quarter with a game-deciding touchdown by Noah Cain. The Penn State defense was very efficient, only allowing 10 points and collecting two interceptions and a fumble. Although I do like Auburn quarterback Bo Nix’s composure and ability to come through in big games, I don’t know how much I trust Auburn with the weak competition they’ve played so far. With that being said, I think that Sean Clifford and the Nittany Lions will get it done at a packed and deafening Beaver Stadium.
The pick: Penn State
#19 Arizona State (-3.5) at #23 BYU (Saturday at 10:15 p.m. on ESPN):
This matchup might be the most intriguing this week, as Arizona State, who beat each of their weak opponents by 27, travels to Provo to face BYU, who just came off an upset victory at home versus rival Utah. The Cougars looked sharp in their win where they staved off Utah’s comeback bid, icing the game with a methodical six-minute drive that resulted in a field goal that put the contest out of reach. The victory was impressive for BYU QB Jaren Hall, who threw for three touchdowns without any interceptions. I expect the Cougars to keep it rolling at home by not only covering but also winning this one.
The pick: BYU
#8 Cincinnati (-4) at Indiana (Saturday at 12:00 PM on ESPN):
Indiana had a completely abysmal start to the season, getting routed by #18 Iowa, 34-6. The Hoosiers had been picked by some as a sleeper pick to make the playoffs, which is virtually impossible now. They followed that contest up with a blowout victory against Idaho, a match they needed to win. Cincinnati on the other hand, has had no trouble with their awful schedule thus far, winning their two games by a combined 70 points. Although I do think Indiana is better than they showed against Iowa and that QB Michael Penix Jr. is the real deal, I just think that the Bearcats are too much to handle, especially given the close spread.
The pick: Cincinnati
UConn at Army (-33.5), (Saturday at 12:00 PM on CBS Sports Network):
It’s no secret that UConn has not been good this year and it certainly shows. Army is better. We know this. Built on the option offense that is specifically designed to wear down their opponents, Army has a methodical and intelligent approach to the game of football. UConn’s defense is also known for deteriorating as the game develops, which will certainly be an interesting combination with Army’s style. Expect more and more missed tackles and breakaway runs for Army as the matchup progresses. This one will get ugly.
The pick: Army