Football Friday!

September 29, 2023

SuperBook Sports previews the weekend ahead

© James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

CFB: No. 10 Utah @ No. 19 Oregon State

It will be the 99th time the Utes and Beavers meet up on the gridiron Friday night, but this time feels as if there’s something different in the air. Utah is on the way out of the Pac-12; Oregon State didn’t get invited to tag along into the Big 12. What will become of Oregon State and the conference they’re in is still up in the air. Whether or not that weighs on the minds of the Beavers is purely speculative, but surely, both programs want to send a message in what will be their final matchup within the Pac-12.

Here’s the other thing: Utah has simply been better. Since joining the conference in 2011, Utah has been consistently one of the better teams in the Pac-12, having posted only two losing seasons (2012, ’13). In head-to-head matchups, Utah owns a 7-3 advantage over the Beavers. At current, both teams are enjoying good seasons, but again, Utah is 4-0 and ranked 10th nationally, while Oregon State is 3-1 and ranked just behind at No. 19.

Utah is coming off a solid win over fellow conference and top-25 foe UCLA, while Oregon State was just handed its first loss of the season by Washington State. 

There’s no doubt that Corvallis will be on fire, wanting to send the Utes out with a sour taste of life in the Pac-12. But are the Beavers capable of doing so? As 3.5-point favorite, the oddsmakers seem to think so. 

Bud Parmalee’s Pick: Utah M/L +145

What’s wrong with this picture? Does Oregon State truly have this significant of a homefield advantage? Perhaps. But you know what tends to travel well in college football? Defense, and Utah plays it extremely well (as evidenced by its No. 6 national ranking in points against). Baylor, the team that was able to put up the most points against the Utes, could only manage 13. UCLA, a top-25 team, only mustered a touchdown. Oregon State’s highest hopes rest on the shoulders of running back Damien Martinez, who’s been spectacular this season. But Utah knows that, and will surely stack the box, daring DJ Uiagalelei – who’s thrown three interceptions in his last two games – to beat them. The Utes are no stranger to being a top-10 juggernaut, and a trip to Corvallis shouldn’t intimidate them. Don’t bother with the +3.5, just take Utah to win outright. 

© Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

CFB: No. 13 LSU @ No. 20 Ole Miss

Louisiana State will head to Oxford for the annual “Magnolia Bowl” on Saturday for one of college football’s great traditions. What could possibly make two states feud more than a shared state follower? In SEC country, perhaps the Magnolia Flower is a bit more symbolic, as this rivalry is fueled by good ol’ fashioned hatred on the gridiron. Southern Charm will be alive and well inside The Grove during the pregame festivities, but when the ball gets teed up at 6 p.m. EST – after a full day of cocktails – the war will most certainly commence.

And generally speaking, this one can get pretty bloody.

In their last 10 matchups, LSU holds a 7-3 series lead. Perhaps more notably, LSU has won six of the last seven. In 2021, when the two teams met in Oxford, Ole Miss emerged victorious as a result of a tremendous defensive effort, holding the Tigers to just 17 points in a game that failed to reach a 50-point total – the only time in six years that’s happened.

Ole Miss will be looking to replicate that same type of effort on Saturday, as the Rebels have one of the conference’s best run defenses, allowing less than three yards per carry on the season. The Rebel offense certainly isn’t bad, either, having scored 73, 37 and 48 in their first three games. Against Alabama in Week 4, things came to a screeching halt when Ole Miss put up just 10 in Tuscaloosa. 

On the other sideline, LSU will rely heavily on its stellar passing attack. The Tigers may not be phased by the Ole Miss run defense, as they prefer to chuck it up anyway, behind quarterback Jayden Daniels who’s averaging 324 passing yards and three passing touchdowns per game.

Will Ole Miss’ in-the-trenches defense be enough of a factor to stop the high-flying Tigers? Let’s see which team gets its flowers.

Bud Parmalee’s Pick: LSU-Ole Miss OVER 68.0 (-110)

© Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union / USA TODAY NETWORK

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Jacksonville Jaguars

The annual tradition of the Jacksonville Jaguars playing a game in London will continue in Week 4 of the 2023 season. They will face the Atlanta Falcons in what will essentially be a home game.

The Jags are currently favored by 3.0 points, despite having the worse overall record in this matchup. They come in at 1-2, which is certainly worse than they were hoping for after a divisional round exit just last year. Two straight losses, to the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans, have them under .500 heading across the pond.

Like any struggling team, many people can be put to blame. However, quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who came into this season as a possible MVP candidate, is the primary recipient. Lawrence has thrown for just three touchdowns in three games and has a QB rating of just 84.5, which ranks 21st in the league. If the Jaguars want to win this game against a much-improved Atlanta team, they will need his numbers to increase.

The Falcons are 2-1, but are they legit? In Week 1, they beat a Carolina team that is currently 0-3. In Week 2, they barely beat the Packers, squeaking out a 25-24 victory. And just last week, they got humiliated by the Lions in a 20-6 rout.

The Falcons have scored 55 points on the year and have given up 54. Their record is a bit misleading. They’re improved, but not by a wide margin.

The Jaguars have a talented roster that has struggled in the early weeks. One week the defense is the problem. The next week, it’s the offense. At some point, they’ll get on the same page. Expect that to happen this week.

Steve Quinne’s Pick: Jacksonville M/L (-155)

For most teams, traveling to London is a week you’d like to just get over with. But not for the Jaguars. For them, it’s a home atmosphere with some of their most supportive fans in attendance. If there’s any week in which the Jags will get back on track, it’s this week. Look for them to win this one.

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NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at New York Jets

If the Kansas City Chiefs and New York Jets played in Week 1, the spread would not have been the same as it on Sunday. The Chiefs are favored by nearly double digits now; it would’ve been around a field goal in the opener. Aaron Rodgers’ season-ending injury has caused this game to go from potential “Game of the Year” to a presumable blowout.

The Chiefs began the year 0-1 after a loss to the Lions on the first Thursday night of the season. Since the return of All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce, who missed the game against Detroit, Kansas City has seen two straight wins against Jacksonville and Chicago.

It’s not just him, however. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes has thrown for more than 800 yards and seven touchdowns through three weeks, while also tossing just two interceptions. The running back room of Isiah Pacheco, Jerick McKinnon and Clyde Edwards-Helaire is one of the best in the NFL. And after Defensive end Chris Jones ended his holdout, the defense has seen an uproot in performance.

The Jets have seen the opposite effect since Week 1. After a thrilling overtime win in their opener, they have lost two straight games and have been outscored 45-20. Head coach Robert Saleh has constantly insisted that Zach Wilson is their guy. However, backlash from fans, along with some players and former stars, may influence him to rethink that decision. For now, though, it will be Wilson.

The former No. 2 overall pick has thrown for under 470 yards in almost three full games, with two touchdowns with four interceptions. His QB rating of 57.0 is 34th in the league.

The Jets have talent around Wilson. Running back Breece Hall and wide receiver Garrett Wilson are Pro Bowl-caliber players. The defense is one of the best in the NFL, too.

Steve Quinne’s Pick: Kansas City -8.5 (-110)

Without Aaron Rodgers, it will be hard for the Jets to keep pace with Kansas City. Zach Wilson vs. Patrick Mahomes is simply an epic mismatch. Even with a top-notch defense, which should slow the Chiefs a bit, the odds of New York staying within 10 points are very, very low. Jump all over this line. It’ll move before kickoff.