Philadelphia, PA – With all the hoopla surrounding Utah State and Louisiana Tech, San Jose State has been lost in the shuffle.
The Spartans, 8-2 overall and 4-1 in the Western Athletic Conference, have won their last four games by an average score of 43-16. They also boast the No. 1 quarterback in terms of completion percentage as David Fales leads the country hitting his targets at a 72.4-percent clip.
Despite all of that, one has to wonder how important this upcoming game against BYU is to them since their key matchup comes the following week versus Louisiana Tech. In addition, a victory by Utah State over the Bulldogs this Saturday means the Spartans have no chance to win the WAC.
Imagine how deflated San Jose State's players will be a few hours before kickoff if they see the Aggies had defeated Louisiana Tech. And if the Bulldogs had knocked off Utah State, there's a chance they could be too wound up early on, giving BYU a slight advantage.
One could argue that this game is meaningless to the Cougars as well since they are locked into the Poinsettia Bowl. But BYU is not known for giving up at the end of any season. In fact, the Cougars are 17-3 in their final three games over the last seven years.
These two teams have had one common opponent this season - Utah State. BYU won, 6-3, holding the Aggies to 243 total yards, while Utah State pummeled San Jose State, 49-27, eight days later, gaining 485 yards in the process.
BYU has lost four games this season, three of them - to Notre Dame, Boise State and Utah - by a combined seven points. Bronco Mendenhall's squad blew out Georgia Tech and Idaho since falling to the Fighting Irish and the team will add one more victory to their win total before taking on New Mexico State on Nov. 24.
Take BYU minus three points in this week's lone five-star play.
THREE STAR PLAYS
The first three-star selection comes from the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Clemson is a strong 17-point favorite over North Carolina State. The Tigers have been slowly moving up in the polls but how can they not when Wake Forest, Duke and Maryland are the opposition. All in all, Clemson has lost just one game all season, a 12-point decision at Florida State.
The Wolfpack have been in every game they have played except the one against Virginia earlier in the month. However, I wrote extensively about that contest detailing the reasons why a letdown would take place, and predicting (correctly) a big turnaround the following game against Wake Forest.
Look for the Wolfpack to stay within the inflated number.
Take North Carolina State plus 17 points.
Penn State comes back home after losing by nine points to Nebraska. It was a matchup the Nittany Lions could have won had it not been for a questionable call on an apparent Matt Lehman touchdown late in the game. Now they will have to get up for a team that was blown to bits by Wisconsin, 62-14, before they play the Badgers to wrap up the season.
The Hoosiers have a shot to reach their second bowl game in almost 20 years if they can upset Penn State and then defeat Purdue - both on the road.
Regardless if they win both games or not, they have had a very impressive season when one considers four of their losses came by a total of 10 points. Expect a gritty effort against Penn State resulting in their sixth cover in the last seven games.
Take Indiana plus 18.5 points.
The last three-star play is an over/under play in the Ohio State-Wisconsin contest. The Buckeyes have gone over the total in four of their last five games while the Badgers have done the same in six of their last seven.
Not only has Ohio State tallied over 50 points in three of its last five, but the Buckeyes also have given up an average of 31 ppg in those battles. Wisconsin probably won't score 62 as it did a week ago but the Badgers are usually good for at least 30.
Given the explosiveness of both offenses, it's quite shocking to see the total at the low figure of 52.5, especially when last year's game reached 62. Don't forget, that contest pitted a Wisconsin team that had allowed 17 points or less in six of its prior seven games and an Ohio State squad that had scored a grand total of 51 points in its prior three matchups.
Take over 52.5.
Go with Idaho +6.5 (Texas-San Antonio) and Washington State +22.5 (Arizona State).
Take Wake Forest +24 (Notre Dame) and under 42.5, Western Kentucky +4 (Louisiana), Northwestern +7.5 (Michigan State), Tulane +9.5 (East Carolina), Baylor +13.5 (Kansas State), USC -3 (UCLA) and Utah State -3 (Louisiana Tech).