College Football Predictions: The Four Best Bets For Saturday's College Football Action
Iowa State vs. Texas Tech Prediction
Iowa State entered 2021 with their highest expectations in school history: a preseason Top 10 ranking, and picked to return to Dallas for the second straight season. Instead, it was a brutal start to the season with losses to Iowa, Baylor, and another near-loss to FCS Northern Iowa.
Quarterback Brock Purdy rounded into his usual “Broctober” midseason form, and Iowa State notched victories over Kansas State, Top 10 Oklahoma State, and just destroyed Texas last Saturday 30-7.
Iowa State and Texas Tech have had similar offensive outputs, however there is a significant difference on the other side of the ball. The Iowa State defense ranks 2nd in the Big 12 in points per game (18 per game) – Texas Tech is 2nd worst (33 per game).
Factor in the off-field distraction of a midseason coach firing, the ensuing coaching search and hire, and that they are demoralized after the 52-21 loss to Oklahoma… 10 points isn’t enough for the cover.
Prediction: Iowa State 38, Texas Tech 23
Pick: Iowa State -10 @ -110
Arkansas vs. LSU Prediction
LSU fought their hearts out for 60 minutes against 29-point favorite Alabama. And they ended up with three possessions that could have taken the lead in a 6-point margin.
Credit LSU for playing their best game of the season, but that display was unlike their performance we’ve seen the past 1.5 years after the national title run.
Meanwhile, Arkansas just clinched bowl eligibility for the first time since 2016, and looks to snap LSU’s 5-year streak in the Golden Boot.
Arkansas’ offense has shown it can be explosive, while the defense has several All-America candidates that fly around the field. It is hard to quantify the intangibles, but any way you slice it they appear to favor Arkansas. They want to lock in their first winning season in five years, and beat another rival on their 2021 revenge tour. Meanwhile LSU is in the waning moments of a lameduck coaching tenure.
Intangibles aside, Pick Six Previews’ Game Grader formula sees this as a touchdown-plus, rather than the field goal advantage.
Prediction: Arkansas 28, LSU 20
Pick: Arkansas -2.5 @ -110
Ohio State vs. Purdue Prediction
Even before the 2021 season started, the Purdue Boilermakers were known casually as the “Spoilermakers” for their trend of pulling off big upsets over ranked teams or favored Big Ten opponents. Since the AP Poll began in 1936, in terms of “unranked over Top 2 ranked wins” Purdue has more than double the next closest program.
They lived up to the moniker in 2021, by already knocking off then-#2 Iowa in October, and then-#3 Michigan State last Saturday. Head coach Jeff Brohm comes into these games with an attacking, aggressive, pass-heavy mindset. It helps having All-America candidate David Bell at receiver, and a defensive pass rush led by George Karlaftis.
They have also been a thorn in Ohio State’s sides over the years – either playing them much closer than expected (2002 and 2012), or even pulling out the shocking outright upset (2018).
Ohio State is 4-5 ATS this year, and the spread losses came against strong offenses. Look for a high-scoring game, but for Purdue’s offense to hit enough explosive plays to stay within the 3-touchdown margin.
Prediction: Ohio State 45, Purdue 31
Pick: Purdue +21 @ -110
Arizona State vs. Washington Prediction
Washington is one of the most one-sided teams in America. A very strong defense is being wasted by an inept offense. UW only gained 170 yards last week, which in turn puts the defense on the field longer and in worse field position, which compounds the problem further.
Arizona State is a more complete team, features a top quarterback in Jayden Daniels, one of the nation’s top running back combos, blue-chip receivers and tight ends, and a fast defense.
Arizona State is still in contention for the Pac-12 South, while Washington has nothing left to play for and finds themselves embroiled in off-field controversy with the staff and head coach.
Prediction: Arizona State 27, Washington 16
Pick: Arizona State -6 @ -110