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Saturday College Football Preview

by: Rich Salvatori @dickiesalvatori - posted on: 01-Nov-2013

Florida vs. Georgia (-3)

Both teams come off a bye as they renew the "World's Largest Cocktail Party." The Bulldogs will get Todd Gurley back for this game, although his ability to gash this solid Florida run defense has been very much in question.

The Gators have struggled immensely on offense, and that will have to change if they want to win this one. Georgia boasts one of the SEC's worst overall defenses, however. But one should expect that hey will be fired up to play this one.

The total for this one is being floated around at 45/46. A defensive game should theoretically favor Florida, but its tough to gauge how things will play out between these two. Georgia has won the last two, once as a favorite in 2011 and as a dog a year ago. 

Miami @ Florida State (-21)

The 'Noles are giving a seemingly ridiculous 21.5 points to the Canes heading into Saturday. This was relatively unthinkable just a few months back, but the dominance of Jameis Wimston has proven devastating for opponents, and large numbers are being tossed around in many of Florida State's match-ups.

I expect Miami to show up in this game, and I think they have some offensive players who could make things interesting. This is a relatively veteran offense who should be able to handle Doak Campbell Stadium, especially given how disrespected they are coming into this game.

At the same time, the 'Canes don't have the skills defensively to keep pace in this game. Their defense has looked reasonably well in certain games, but Winston is a completely different animal. 

The college game is forcing oddsmakers to increase spreads quickly, and the 'Noles, without the multi-year history of dominating numbers that the Oregon Ducks have, seem to be the biggest concern. 

Virginia Tech @ Boston College (+4.5)

Boston College was exploited against the Tar Heels a week ago. They didn't have the roster depth to match UNC. There passing game was nonexistent depute a strong fay from running back Andrew Williams.

Some are calling for the upset here in Chestnut Hill, but if that is to be, they need a much better effort from Chase Rettig and the Eagles pass game. Their la k of receivers surrounding Alex Amidon is appalling given that they have been unable to get any other player the ball more than seven times.

On the flip side, it's tough to say what to expect from Logan Thomas. While he had a bad game a week ago, he is more than capable of looking good once again in a game like this. factor in VT's powerful defensive front and their ability to likely limit Williams, who already has 183 carries through seven games, and I like the Hokies much more here regardless of the fact they are a road favorite of 4.5-5 points.

Wisconsin @ Iowa (+8.5/9)

While the Badgers are being regarded as one of Vegas' favorite teams, Iowa is a more interesting team than people are willing to give credit for.

Wisconsin enters this game as heavy favorites, but the Hawkeyes losses are not all that bad and they have played some quality competition to date. They had chances to upend the Buckeyes of OSU two weeks back and are coming off a defensive minded win at home over Northwestern.

Iowa's successes have come due to their defense's ability to slow down the opposition and also slug it out offensively with a bruising run game.

While this on paper looks like a decent bet given the home dog getting nearly ten, I'm also weary of the fact that Iowa's style won't work nearly as well on a team who does basically the same thing as them  in Wisconsin.

This game plays to the Badgers liking, and they should be able to contain Iowa offensively enough to stay in command of the game flow well enough for a sizable win.

Michigan @ Michigan State (-4)

After this number hovered around 5 or 5.5 at one point earlier in the week, it has since been driven down to about 4. The nature of it being a rivalry game, regardless of location, forces one to think it should be closer to a field goal, especially given how evenly matched these two are.

Michigan has a bad perception at this point due to several underwhelming performances early on. The Wolverines have some serious issues on defense and it appears that their secondary has taken steps back from last year. 

That is not good because Connor Cook has had a very good impact on this Spartans team and should continue to do so. The Spartans should score efficiently, but not with ease. I'd expect a game with some over potential given the number of 46.

The key will be the Spartans defense. While very good statistically, their secondary play can also be erratic. they get the edge at home here, but this should be tight.

Northwestern @ Nebraska

Both programs look considerably less impressive than a season ago and this game will decide a lot about the bowl possibilities for both.

Taylor Martinez still doesn't seem to get it, but he does get to go up against a weaker defense. Kain Colter's physical limitations make this Northwestern offense much less balanced as well, and that is why the Huskers are more likely to bounce back here.

Still, it should be tight. This bet was driven down from 7 to 5.5-6. That's a testimony to the lack of faith many have regarding the Husker offense and in particular its passing game. Their running game should hold an advantage over the course of continued use against this Wildcat front, though. 

Oklahoma State @ Texas Tech (PK)

In what could be the most intriguing game of the day, the Red Raiders welcome the Cowboys of Oklahoma State to Lubbock. The Red Raiders defense was challenged significantly in many of its games this season, and that makes it very interesting to see how they play against a high octane group from Stillwater.

I believe in a lot of the hype surrounding both these programs. Kliff  Kingsbury has some serous talent on this roster. Say what you want for their lack of demolitions this season, they have also comfortably beaten virtually every opponent comfortably. At the same time, his opponent, Mike Gundy has assembled a quality program who is fully capable here.

This game is sitting at pick-em and thats' probably a fair assessment. The Red Raiders get the nod at home because I don't know if I trust the Cowboys to get it done away from home. It's difficult to go against either side in this toss up, however.