#2 Ohio State @ #13 Penn State
Matt: The atmosphere within Beaver Stadium is going to be electric but unfortunately for the Nittany Lions, the team won’t be able to match the energy. The Buckeyes may be the best team in the country and are a force to deal with. The offense is almost unstoppable, and the defense is coming along nicely as well. I think by the time that the third quarter starts, this game will be all but over. Penn State hangs around for the first quarter and then Ohio State turns on the jets. Give me the Buckeyes to easily take this matchup.
Ohio State 45 Penn State 27
Marissa: In a game in which C.J. Stroud was kept under 300 yards, threw an interception, and the rushing attack only ran for 66 yards the Buckeyes still won 54-10. The Buckeyes have one of the more complete teams in college football, as their defense stepped up to force six turnovers on a day when the offense struggled at the start against Iowa. Now, Penn State on defense has been decent, but they will need a consistent pass rush to get to Stroud. The Nittany Lions will also need to clean up their missed tackles, as they have allowed 140 rush yards per game. Even with a down week last week, the Buckeyes still have TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams on the ground to go with their passing attack. Penn State will keep it close to start, as they frequently do. But, against a Buckeye defense allowing the third-fewest passing yards per game (149), and eighth-fewest rush yards per game (90.9) it will be difficult for them to keep pace with Ohio State.
Ohio State-52 Penn State-14
#9 Oklahoma State @ #22 Kansas State
Matt: Oklahoma State is now in the driver’s seat for the Big-12 as long as they don’t have any more slipups. Kansas State won’t be an easy game for them by any means, but they are the more talented tram between the two programs. The Cowboys look like a team on a mission to right the wrongs from last season and the Wildcats are just another team standing in their way. The Wildcats will keep this game close with it being at home but give me the Cowboys to hold serve. The road team takes this game by 10 points.
Oklahoma State 30 Kansas State 20
Marissa: With a win over Texas last week, Oklahoma State looks primed to make their run for the Big 12 title. Spencer Sanders rebounded last week from a few bad weeks prior by completing 34-of-57 passes for 391 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing for 43 yards. Kansas State has plenty of questions coming into this game as Adrian Martinez, Deuce Vaughn, Josh Hayes, and many other key players suffered injuries last week against TCU. If Martinez can’t go, it will be Will Howard at quarterback against a Cowboys defense that has a top-notch pass rush. Their pass rush has accumulated 18 sacks on the season, led by Brock Martin with four. Both Martinez and Vaughn lead the Wildcats rushing attack, which would be a huge hit there as well, allowing the Cowboys defense to focus more on affecting Howard.
Oklahoma State-41 Kansas State-31
#19 Kentucky @ #3 Tennessee
Matt: This matchup could be the game of the week. Kentucky comes in ready to knock off the Volunteers off the massive pedestal that they have been on this season. However, Tennessee may be one of the more complete teams in the country and has already taken down Alabama. Quarterback Will Levis is going to need the game of his life if he wants to shock everyone and grab a win on the road. It won’t be easy as the Volunteers defense has been pretty good this season. This is a perfect situation for a trap game from Tennessee with Georgia looming on their schedule next week. However, I think they are too talented and will be ready to go. Give me the Volunteers to stay undefeated.
Marissa: The plan for Kentucky in the game should be to run the ball and run the ball often to keep their defense off the field from facing the Tennessee offense. Luckily, the Wildcats have Chris Rodriguez Jr. back who has rushed for 395 yards and three touchdowns. Rodriguez Jr. will have to play a huge role because the Tennessee offense can strike quickly. Hendon Hooker is looking like a Heisman candidate with his 2,093 yards and 18 touchdowns to only one interception. Jalen Hyatt will be tough for the Kentucky defense to slow down, as he has an average of 19.2 yards per reception and 12 touchdowns. So, Kentucky can either grind this out on the ground to make it low scoring, or they let Will Levis sling the ball to match Hooker and take advantage of a Tennessee secondary allowing an average of 329.7 yards in the air per game. Kentucky will keep it close as Tennessee may be looking ahead to their game with Georgia, but the Volunteers keep their undefeated season alive.
#20 Cincinnati @ UCF
Matt: Cincinnati has been playing close games so far this season and that normally isn’t a recipe for success long term. If they want to reach any goals that they set out for this season, they can’t slip up. They already have one loss and a second one will likely take them out of a top bowl game. UCF has looked good in spurts this season and has a challenge on their hands with the Bearcats. Cincinnati won’t go down quietly and are coming to Florida on a business trip. They sit at 5-2 on the season and if they can take down Cincinnati, it would go a long way in their season. UCF tends to have a good home field advantage and I think it actually works for them this week. Give me the Nights to knock off the Bearcats and earn a massive victory here.
Marissa: Last week, the Cincinnati Bearcats got a narrow victory over AAC competition in SMU, and it will most likely be that way again against UCF. The Bearcats had to rely on their ground game with Charles McClelland, who ran for 129 yards and a touchdown over 16 attempts. They didn’t turn the ball over at all, which is a key factor compared to UCF. In the Knights’ last game against ECU, John Rhys Plumlee threw three interceptions. The Bearcats run defense is 29th in the country and should be able to slow down Rhys Plumlee and Isaiah Bowser. When you neutralize the Knights’ ground game, you have a high chance of winning. UCF is not a team that is going to beat you through the air, and with the Bearcats defense as stout as it is, they should walk away with the victory.
Missouri @ #25 South Carolina
Matt: This game doesn’t seem like it will be good on paper but in the SEC anything is possible. Missouri has played the top teams hard this season so far even if they haven’t been able to come away with victories. South Carolina is back in the top 25 and still has some things to prove so they’ll likely want to come out strong here and make sure it’s not a bump in the road. The Gamecocks defense is going to be the key in this matchup. They have been very good so far and will need another strong showing to take down Missouri. I think Missouri has a chance to pull off the upset, but South Carolina may be a little too strong for them. Give me the home team to hold serve here.
South Carolina-30 Missouri-21
Marissa: Good things happen for Missouri when Luther Burden III is able to find production. In the Tigers’ last game against Vanderbilt, they won 17-14 and Burden had four receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown. It will come down to if Brady Cook will actually be able to get the ball to Burden against South Carolina, though. The Gamecock defense has combined for 10 sacks while also accumulating nine interceptions. For Cook, he has already taken 15 sacks on the season and has thrown seven interceptions. Since starting the season 1-2, South Carolina has picked up momentum and won four straight games. Spencer Rattler has been prone to interceptions but was able to throw zero against Texas A&M but did fumble the ball. If Rattler plays clean and doesn’t force anything while the South Carolina defense keeps up their turnover trend, they can make it five consecutive games with a win.
South Carolina-27 Missouri-14