College football’s spooky season was alluded to in the Week 9 edition of this recurring column, and a few ranked teams fell victim to rather unfortunate circumstances. Playing on the road in-conference only gets more challenging as the season wears on but mix in thousands of raucous fans dressed as Ken and Barbie, and ranked teams are in trouble.
Oklahoma bowed out from the diminishing list of unbeaten teams, dropping an early game against Kansas after the Jayhawks scored with under a minute to play. The North Carolina Tar Heels tripped up for a second straight game when favored by 12+ points, falling to Georgia Tech on the road as the latest victims of a pesky, revitalized Yellow Jacket team that ranks second in the ACC in total offense. Finally, a late October night in Tucson saw the Arizona Wildcats spoil Oregon State’s bid to compete for a conference title with an upset win at home.
We extended the college football props winning trend in Week 9, cashing all three rushing plays to boost our record over the last three weeks to 8-1. In the ACC, Wake Forest’s Demond Claiborne was held to 22 yards on 11 attempts, while Jordan Waters from Duke only carried five times for 23 yards in a shutout loss to Louisville.
Finally, the Air Force Academy rushed 57 times for 261 yards against Colorado State, led by senior fullback Emmanuel Michel’s 130 yards and a touchdown. We head into Week 10 with serious momentum and present our best bets for this weekend’s games.
The Sacramento State transfer has led the team in carries throughout the season but is beginning to find himself in a 50-50 timeshare with DeCarlos Brooks. In the last two weeks, Brooks, who transferred in this season after two years at Cal, has just one fewer carry than Skattebo and averaged over six yards per carry.
Skattebo broke a 66-yarder against Wazzu last Saturday but has otherwise been about as effective as his new teammate in recent weeks. The Utah defense is eighth in the country against the run at 86 yards per game allowed and ranks 25th in opponent rushing average (3.3 ypc).
They’ve held opposing teams to 2.4 ypc and 58.2 rush yards per game at home, and we expect Skattebo to struggle in Salt Lake City.
The SEC’s third-leading passer enters his second road game against a ranked opponent in 2023, although this test differs from the others. The Tigers are 16-point dogs in Athens against Georgia and have risen to #14 in the country on the strength of a 7-1 record.
Cook has had some big games against ranked teams this season, throwing for 356 yards against K-State in September and 411 yards when facing LSU on October 7. Both those performances were at home and took a combined 82 pass attempts to achieve.
The Dawgs have not played many teams with effective QB play this season but allowed South Carolina’s Spencer Rattler to throw for 256 yards between the hedges at home. That is probably the best comparison to the possible success that Cook could have, and we expect him to surprise the defending champs with an early big play or two that help us reach this total.