Philadelphia, PA – Arizona and Oregon State hook up in a 8, the squad from the South has a massive advantage on the team from the North.
The Wildcats have played three of the toughest teams in the country so far in Stanford, Oregon and Oklahoma State and last week they went into USC only to lose by a touchdown. Still, quarterback Nick Foles continued his outstanding season with 41-of-53 for 425 yards and four touchdowns versus the Trojans.
The Beavers' Sean Mannion threw 66 passes last week at Arizona State but for only 341 yards and one touchdown. He also was picked off four times. The running game was never a factor and true freshman running back Malcolm Agnew is still missing in action with an injured hamstring.
Oregon State did have to play Wisconsin earlier in the year - a 35-0 loss - but the Beavers are a team that has already dropped a pair of home games, one to Sacramento State and the other to UCLA. Moreover, they have scored just three offensive touchdowns in three Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) contests. Look for Arizona to roll to an easy victory.
Take the Wildcats minus the points.
OTHER THREE-STAR PLAYS
One thing which is a constant when Iowa plays Penn State: the Hawkeyes come out victorious. It doesn't matter where the game is played since they have won (and covered) nine of the last 11 meetings, including a 5-1 mark both SU and ATS at Beaver Stadium. Furthermore, the Nittany Lions were favored in all five of those losses.
This year's contest should once again constitute a Hawkeyes win, especially since Penn State is a shell of its former self. Outside of Alabama, the Lions have played lackluster opponents with a 3-9 combined record against other FBS teams. Not only that, knocking off Indiana by less than a touchdown and beating Temple by four points will not win Joe Paterno and his squad any style points.
On the other side, Iowa is not as strong as it has been in previous seasons but the Hawkeyes have won their last two games while averaging 39 points per game in three FBS matchups. They are a confident bunch as witnessed by the 45-17 demolition of ULM just one week after garnering the largest comeback in team history versus Pittsburgh.
Quarterback James Vandenberg has thrown for 669 yards and six touchdowns in the last two games with just one interception. That's not good news for a Nittany Lions' defense that most likely will be without cornerback D'Anton Lynn. In addition, Iowa should be able to run all day on Penn State since Lions' star linebacker Michael Mauti is out for the year.
One other key factor that favors the Hawkeyes is that they are coming into this game off a bye week while Penn State played last week at Indiana.
Take Iowa to get the outright win.
Miami-Ohio hosts Army looking for its first win of the year. It's been a rough start for first-year head coach Don Treadwell after the RedHawks went 10-4 a season ago. A lot of that success was due to a plus 11 in the turnover department along with six victories by a touchdown or less. This year they are minus one in turnover ratio and 0-1 in games decided by seven points or less.
This will be their third straight game at home after losing to both Bowling Green and Cincinnati but both of those squads are much better than Army. The Black Knights have played two Mid-American Conference clubs already and they lost to both of them. Northern Ill won 49-26 in the opener and Ball State came away with the 48-21 victory two weeks back. Still, the two games were not even as close as the final scores indicate. The Huskies were up 49-6 after three quarters and the Cardinals led 38-0 after the first 45 minutes.
Only six teams in the country have allowed more passing touchdowns than Army with Chandler Harnish and Keith Wenning throwing for a combined eight touchdowns and one interception.
Take Miami-Ohio plus the points.
Finally, ULM hosts Arkansas State in Sun Belt action. The Warhawks have had a lot of time to think about their first conference game since they last played on Sept. 24 at Iowa. It's true they are 1-3 on the year but the three losses came on the road versus the Hawkeyes, TCU and Florida State.
Arkansas State trailed WKU until the final minute last week before pulling out the four-point victory on a one-yard Derek Lawson touchdown. It will be tough to contend with ULM without the benefit of an off week, especially since the Warhawks have won the last three home meetings.
Take ULM plus the points.
Go with Western Michigan (against Bowling Green), Kent State (at Northern Ill), Tennessee (vs. Georgia), Northwestern (against Michigan), and UCLA (hosting Washington State).
Take Indiana (against Illinois), Texas Tech (vs. Texas A&M), Kansas State (hosting Missouri), and Wyoming (at Utah State).
AFTER FIVE WEEKS
The overall five-week total now stands at 22-40 after an 8-4 week. My Five- Star plays are 2-3, the Three-Star selections are 8-10, the Two-Star plays are 7-16, and the One-Star picks are 5-11.
As a reminder, the Five-Star plays are when my Power Plays and Key Plays coincide. The Three-Star choices are my personal picks, the Two-Star plays are the "power number" picks (games with at least a five-point differential between my line and the actual line), and the One-Star plays are my personal secondary selections.
THIS WEEK'S JEFF FRANK'S "DIRTY DOZEN"
1) Alabama, 107.5; 2) Wisconsin, 105.5; 3) Stanford, 105; 4) Oklahoma, 104; 5) LSU, 103; 6) Oregon, 102.5; 7) Boise State, 101.5; 8) Oklahoma State, 101; 9) Texas A&M, 99; 10-T) Florida and Notre Dame, 97; 12) Florida State, 96.5.