Last weekend could best be summed up as "nuts" with an abundance of tight games, dramatic finishes, big upsets, and near upsets. It could also be summed up as one heckuva week for the Sun Belt Conference which scored those three stunning road upsets of Texas A&M (App State), Notre Dame (Marshall) and Nebraska (Georgia Southern). The latter even got Nebraska's coach fired.
Buckle your seat belt for this week's FBS slate that kicks off with a pair of Friday night games, followed by a full slate of 70 contests on Saturday. In all, the schedule features 22 games against FCS foes and 50 head-to-head FBS matchups with 9 teams idle.
The Friday night action sends a powerful Air Force team to Wyoming in the Mountain West opener for both schools, and Florida State to Louisville in the ACC opener for the 'Noles.
The preseason forecast, based on the Congrove Computer Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com, projected the Falcons to go undefeated en route to the conference crown while Wyoming was picked to go 4-8. Thus, it's not surprising to see the computer giving Air Force a 17.24-point advantage in this game. Florida State is a 3.28-point computer underdog at the 'Ville as it goes opposite the early line that favors the Seminoles by 2. The updated odds at the FanDuel Sportsbook had FSU favored by 2-1/2.
The FSU at Louisville game is 1 of just 12 matches that pit Power 5 schools against each other. The others are Penn State at Auburn, Cal at Notre Dame, Colorado at Minnesota, Georgia at South Carolina, Ole Miss at Georgia Tech, Mississippi State at LSU, Miami at Texas A&M, Michigan State at Washington, Oklahoma at Nebraska, Texas Tech at N.C. State, and Purdue at Syracuse.
Three of those P5 matchups provide rebound opportunities from those Sun Belt losses, but presumably a much greater chance for a loss. On paper, Cal doesn't seem to pose a real threat at Notre Dame as those teams meet for the first time since 1967. Miami, however, could give Texas A&M all it wants and then some in the fourth-ever meeting between those programs. The return of the Oklahoma-Nebraska rivalry to Norman has lost some of its lustre with the 'Huskers poor start and the firing of Scott Frost, but the team will likely be fired up for interim HC Mickey Joseph.
Two of the P5 matchups are SEC clashes with a Georgia-South Carolina eastern division showdown, and a Mississippi State-LSU western division tussle.
BYU at Oregon isn't technically a P5 matchup, but certainly stacks up as one. BYU is rapidly moving up the charts like a Top 40 hit in the 70's. The computer had the Cougars picked to go 9-3 and Oregon projected to finish 11-1. Oregon has already has its lone expected loss, and this is suppose to be one of BYU's three setbacks. The Cougars were 5.22-point computer underdogs in the preseason, but that number has dropped to 2.55.
Penn State's visit to Auburn feels like a must-win by the Tigers to re-establish some importance on the national stage. It's also an opportunity to avenge last season's 28-20 loss at what turned out to be Unhappy Valley for Auburn. Penn State is the outright favorite by 3.5 while the computer just misses on going opposite with a 0.25-point edge to PSU.
A good prop bet this week would be whether or not Houston or UTSA will have a third straight overtime game this week. The Cougars should be on upset alert as they host a rejuvenated Kansas program that just pulled off a 55-42 overtime upset at West Virginia. The Roadrunners visit a Texas team that lost starting QB Quinn Ewers for several weeks with a collarbone injury and whose backup, Hudson Card, was hobbling with an ankle injury.
This week's schedule also sees the ESPN crew from College GameDay setting up shop in Boone, North Carolina on the Appalachian State campus after the Mountaineers stunned Texas A&M. The home team on Monday was a 13-point favorite over Troy in the sportsbooks, but the computer has that number much lower at 8.87.
Click on Weekly Picks to see the sportsbook spread, and the projected margin of every game from the Congrove Computer Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com. Also be sure to check out our Feature Picks each week.
There will be 118 FBS vs. FCS matchups this season with App State, Army and Marshall each playing two such games, and 115 other FBS schools playing one apiece.
The FBS is 70-6 vs the FCS this season and 1,644-146 (.920) since we began tracking this in 2003.
There are 22 FBS-FCS games this Saturday, and at least five of those are very interesting matchups with Villanova visiting Army, North Dakota State traveling to Arizona, Jacksonville State at Tulsa, and Montana State playing Oregon State in the Major League Soccer home of the Portland Timbers. Also, Bobby Petrino takes his current Missouri State team to visit one of his former teams, Arkansas.
The computer favors the Black Knights by 18.03 which is a surprisingly large margin given that Army is 0-2 and ranked 93rd in the FBS by the computer while Villanova is 2-0 and ranked 7th in the FCS. Conversely, Arizona is a slim 4.42-point computer choice as the No. 83 FBS program with a 1-1 record hosts the FCS No. 1 Bison with a 2-0 record. Jacksonville State is 3-0 and ranked 13th in the FCS, and has recent wins over FBS programs Florida State last year and FIU in 2020. Montana State is ranked 2nd in the FCS while Oregon State has surged to No. 17 in the FBS rankings. Missouri State is 9th in the FCS while Arkansas is 15th in the FBS.
A sixth FBS-FCS matchup actually saw the line open in favor of the FCS team, Stony Brook. The Seawolves were installed as 2.5-point favorites at UMass while the computer has the Minutemen by 8.77.
Here are the FCS wins in 2022:
September 2: William & Mary 41, Charlotte 24
September 3: Delaware14, Navy 7
September 10: Weber State 35, Utah State 7
September 10: Incarnate Word 55, Nevada 41
September 10: Holy Cross 37, Buffalo 31
September 10: Eastern Kentucky 59, Bowling Green 57 (7 OT's)
LOUISIANA - Won 15 straight over-all (FBS longest).
Last: Won 49-21 at home over Eastern Michigan on Saturday, September 10.
Next: Visits Rice on Saturday, September 17.
CINCINNATI: Won 16 straight conference games (FBS longest).
Last: Won 63-10 at home over Kennesaw State on Saturday, September 10.
Next: Plays Miami (O) at Paul Brown Stadium in the 126th edition of the Victory Bell rivalry. The series is tied at 59-59-7 after the Bearcats have taken the last 15.
GEORGIA - Won 7 straight true road games (FBS longest).
Last: Won 33-0 at home over FCS Samford on Saturday, September 10.
Next: Visits South Carolina on Saturday, September 17. Georgia leads the border rivalry 53-19-2 and won 6 of last 7.
CLEMSON - Won 35 straight home games (FBS longest).
Last: Won 35-12 over FCS Furman on Saturday, September 10.
Next: Hosts Louisiana Tech on Saturday, September 17.
MASSACHUSETTS, COLORADO STATE - Lost 8 straight over-all (Tied FBS longest).
Last: UMass lost 55-10 at Toledo, Colorado State lost 34-19 at home to MTSU.
Next: UMass hosts FCS Stony Brook as an 8.77-point favorite; Colorado State visits Washington State as a 22.62-point underdog.
FIU: Lost 17 straight games to FBS schools (FBS longest)
Last: Lost 41-12 at home to Texas State on Saturday, September 10.
Next: Visits Western Kentucky on Saturday, September 24.
VANDERBILT - Lost 21 straight conference games (FBS longest).
Last: Lost 45-25 at home to Wake Forest on Saturday, September 10.
Next: Visits Northern Illinois on Saturday, September 17.
NEW MEXICO STATE - Lost 20 straight road games (FBS longest).
Last: Lost 20-13 at UTEP on Saturday, September 10.
Next: Visits Wisconsin on Saturday, September 17