Marquee’s college football programs are hurting right now | News, Sports, Jobs

By Ralph D. Russo

The Associated Press

Sometimes it can be difficult to look away from the wreckage.

At this point in a college football season, there are plenty of compelling matchups involving teams with championship aspirations.

There are also teams that have been massively disappointed, and seeing how far they sink into the quagmire can be really alluring, especially for those who aren’t fans of those teams.

Schadenfreude is one of the most powerful feelings in college football, and many fans enjoy seasons at Oklahoma (4-3), Texas A&M (3-4), Notre Dame (4-3), and Miami. (3- 4) careened into a ditch.

All four started the season highly ranked. Achieving six wins and bowl eligibility isn’t a sure thing for any of this group.

The theme of this week’s most intriguing games is: how bad can it get?

No. 15 Mississippi

at Texas A&M

Jimbo Fisher’s Aggies are on a three-game skid and haven’t scored more than 24 in their last nine games against FBS opponents. This has sparked a lot of talk about longer-term guaranteed contracts for coaches. The Rebels defense was very accommodating in a loss at LSU last week. Maybe this is the tonic A&M needs? LINE: Ole Miss by 2.5 PICK: Texas A&M 27-24.

Oklahoma to

Iowa State

The Sooners snapped a three-game losing streak heading into last week’s opening date to calm things down in Brent Venables’ first season as head coach. Iowa State is having a disappointing season under the radar. The Cyclones have lost the Big 12 cellar-dweller title in recent seasons under Matt Campbell, but are 0-4 in the conference and in danger of their first losing record since 2016. Angst on both sides here. LINE: Oklahoma by 1.5. PICK: Oklahoma 31-27.

Miami to


Mario Cristobal looks like a coach who wants to strip the U. poles at this point, so maybe year 1 is just a throwaway. But last week, the Hurricanes lost to Duke, another program led by a freshman coach who seemed to be in much worse shape last season than Miami. Now the ‘Canes have another freshman staff on the other sideline in Tony Elliott’s Virginia. LINE: Miami by 2. PICK: Miami 23-19.

Notre Dame at

No. 16 Syracuse

The Fighting Irish still have games against No. 5 Clemson and No. 10 Southern California, with Navy and Boston College in between. Losing in the dome to the Orange and 6-6 seems like the best case scenario for Marcus Freeman’s first season as manager. LINE: Syracuse by 3. CHOICE: Notre Dame 23-20.

No. 19 Kentucky

at No. 3 Tennessee

OK, a very big game. The Volunteers have No. 1 Georgia on the horizon, but the Wildcats don’t seem like a breeze for QB Hendon Hooker and the high-scoring Vols. It’s a big stage for Kentucky QB Will Levis to show he’s worth the hype of NFL prospects. LINE: Tennessee by 12.5 PICK: Tennessee 35-27.

Other matches pitting ranked teams against FBS opponents with lines from FanDuel Sportsbook.


Utah No. 14 (-7) at Washington State: Utes have won the last three meetings, all by double digits… UTAH 35-24.

Virginia Tech at No. 24 in North Carolina State (-13.5): The Hokies have the worst offense in the ACC (4.63 yards per play) and the Wolfpack is playing with a reserve QB. … STATE NC 24-7.


No. 1 Georgia (-22.5) vs. Florida in Jacksonville, Fla.: The Gators will need a Superman performance from talented but inconsistent QB Anthony Richardson … GEORGIA 42-17.

No. 2 Ohio State at No. 13 Penn State (+15.5): The Buckeyes have won five straight against the Nittany Lions, but none by more than 13 points … OHIO STATE 31-20.

Michigan State at No. 4 Michigan (-22.5): Spartans coach Mel Tucker is 2-0 in this rivalry … MICHIGAN 42-17.

7 TCU West Virginia (+7.5): The Horned Frogs are coming off an undefeated four-game streak against teams ranked … TCU 34-28.

8 Oregon (-17.5) at California: WR Troy Franklin has become a force for the Ducks with 561 receiving yards and five touchdowns … OREGON 38-17.

No. 9 Oklahoma State at No. 22 Kansas State (-1.5): QBs Adrian Martinez and Will Howard left last week’s game with injuries and both are unsure of going this week… KANSAS STATE 28- 24.

No. 10 Wake Forest (-3.5) at Louisville: Deacons QB Sam Hartman is two TD assists behind former NC State star Philip Rivers for second place in ACC history with 95… WAKE FOREST 35-28.

No. 10 Southern California (-15.5) at Arizona: The Trojans could do without WR Jordan Addison (right leg), but that shouldn’t matter much against the worst defense in the Pac-12. .. USC 49-31.

Stanford at No. 12 UCLA (-16.5): The Bruins earn back-to-back wins over Stanford for the first time since 2008 … UCLA 42-23.

17 Illinois at Nebraska (+7.5): Illini attempts its first three-game winning streak against the Huskers … ILLINOIS 23-17.

No. 20 Cincinnati at UCF (-1.5): The Bearcats have won three straight meetings … UCF 27-23.

Pittsburgh (+3.5) at No. 21 North Carolina: Pitt RB Israel Abanikanda, the ACC’s top running back, meets the ACC’s worst running defense … NORTH CAROLINA 38-36 .

Missouri 25th over South Carolina (-3.5): Gamecocks haven’t won a game as a ranked team since September 2014 and have lost three in a row to the Tigers. … SOUTH CAROLINA 23-17.


Northwestern (+10.5) at Iowa (@MrOH1O) — Three TV networks just agreed to pay hundreds of millions of dollars for the right to show games like this. … IOWA 16-10.

Arkansas at Auburn (+3.5) (@BZSEC) – The Tigers have won six straight meetings… ARKANSAS 33-31.

Baylor (+3) at Texas Tech (@ryancachegibbs) — The last three meetings have been decided by seven points, two won by the Bears… BAYLOR 35-31.

New Mexico State (-2.5) at Massachusetts (@Brett–McMurphy) — It’s a major college football game…NEW MEXICO STATE 27-21.

RECORD: Last week: Straight-up – 9-10; Against the spread – 8-11.

Season: 118-51; 87-91.

Follow Ralph D. Russo at

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