The unpredictability of the first College Football Playoff has been as much about the weekly upsets as it is about the selection process. Only four teams will have a chance to compete, so every game is do-or-die for the contenders. One of our picks features Florida State taking on a tough Louisville team on the road; which will no doubt challenge them after being ranked as one of the first 4 teams in the CFB playoff that was revealed earlier in the week. Check out the rest of our plays below.
NCAA Football Game of the Week
#2 Florida State Seminoles @ Louisville Cardinals
Thursday, 7:30 PM ET
The defending national champion Seminoles have overcome some close calls with three victories coming by six points or less, including an overtime win over Clemson. Every team wants to knock off the best, and despite its record, Louisville has a realistic chance of shaking things up with an upset. Each of the Cardinals’ two losses came by six points or less, and they will enter this game with a top-ranked defense.
However, Jameis Winston, along with an offense that has averaged 37.9 points per game this year, scored 31 against Notre Dame and will have had an extra five days to prepare for this game. Florida State should win this game, but look for Louisville to keep it close. Their tough defense should help them hang around until the end.
Pick: Cardinals +8.5
Underdog Play of the Week
Stanford Cardinal @ #5 Oregon Ducks
Saturday, 7:30 PM ET
Stanford has struggled against ranked opponents this season with losses to USC, Notre Dame, and Arizona State. That being said, Stanford looked very good in a 38-14 blowout win over Oregon State last week. Now Cardinal gets another chance to surprise the college football world as they hit the road to face Oregon in their final game before their bye week. On top of that, they are getting nearly a two touchdown cushion at +12.5.
The Ducks have won three straight games by double digit margins, but their loss to Arizona at home lingers. Stanford will throw everything they have at them in what will be the Cardinal’s most meaningful game of the year. Stanford isn’t going to the BCS playoff, so this will be its Super Bowl.
Stanford has given Oregon fits in recent seasons, winning and covering in two straight meetings. More importantly, they seem to know how to keep the Ducks’ explosive offense in check. They held the Ducks to 20 points last season and 14 points in 2012. While it’s hard to envision the Cardinal coming out on top, they should be able to keep this close. They have a decent buffer with 12.5 points, so we’ll bank on this game finishing inside that range.
Pick: Cardinal +12.5
Two Team Teaser of the Week (7 Pts.)
#4 Auburn Tigers @ #7 Ole Miss Rebels +
#6 Notre Dame Fighting Irish @ Navy Midshipmen
Auburn and Ole Miss will clash this week in a game that will strengthen one team’s playoff status. Ole Miss is coming off its first loss of the season after getting beaten up by LSU last week, and Auburn is playing its third road game against a ranked opponent after splitting the first two. Both teams have the potential to put up big offensive numbers in a high scoring game that could go down to the wire. You might consider teasing the total down and betting the over, but we’ll just stick with the underdog in this one. With the seven points, we’ll take Auburn at +10.
Meanwhile, Notre Dame is coming off its first loss of the season, falling short to Florida State. However, the Irish are still in a prime position to bounce back after enjoying two weeks to prepare for the Navy. The Midshipmen have turned their season around with back-to-back wins, but it’s hard to trust them. Their wins have come against teams like VMI, San Jose State, Texas State and Temple. They’ve registered losses to Ohio State, Air Force, Western Kentucky and Rutgers. As long as Notre Dame isn’t half asleep, they should take care of business rather easily. Teasing them down allows us to place them under a touchdown.
Pick: Auburn +10 & Notre Dame -6.5