For the second time in three weeks, Chris Petersen is a home underdog. It’s not something the Washington coach expected when his team was hyped as the Pac-12 preseason favorite. But a lot of predictions made in the summer fade with the tree leaves by the fall.
Utah, 7-1 straight up and 5-3 against the spread, still has long-shot College Football Playoff hopes if several things break the right way down the stretch. The first thing the Utes need is a victory over the Huskies on Saturday in Seattle.
Petersen had a bye week to figure out what went wrong in Washington’s fourth-quarter collapse in a 35-31 loss to Oregon. The Huskies’ young defense has been exposed at critical times, and though senior quarterback Jacob Eason has posted good numbers — 67.4 percent completions with 16 touchdowns and three interceptions — he has not made enough clutch plays.
The Utah defense has been dominant, allowing a total of 23 points in the past four games, but it faced Cal’s third-string quarterback and Arizona State’s freshman quarterback during that span, when three of those games were at home. Eason is headed to the NFL as a likely first-round pick.
Tyler Huntley, the Utes’ quarterback, has been hobbled by a left leg injury. With an extra week to prepare, Petersen should be a good bet. When the Westgate SuperBook opened lines in the summer, the Huskies were 4½-point favorites in this matchup.
The pick: Washington, +3½.
Florida (+6) over Georgia: There has been more fizzle than sizzle in the Georgia offense with Jake Fromm at quarterback. The Bulldogs have scored more than 23 points just once in the past four games. The Gators are strong enough defensively to continue Fromm’s frustrations in this rivalry game in Jacksonville, where Dan Mullen gets the coaching edge over Kirby Smart.
USC (+4¹/₂) over Oregon: The Ducks were nearly knocked out of the playoff hunt last week, yet survived to edge Washington State as 14-point favorites. Oregon’s defense allowed 31 points to Washington and 35 to the Cougars in back-to-back games. The Trojans’ Kedon Slovis passed for 406 yards and four touchdowns in a comeback win at Colorado. After season-saving comebacks the past two weeks, it’s a tough spot for the Ducks to be laying more than a field goal on the road.
Brigham Young (+3½) over UTAH STATE: Before a bye, the Cougars upset Boise State 28-25 as Baylor Romney passed for 221 yards and two TDs in his first start. The Aggies, 1-3 ATS in their past four games, allowed 472 yards in a 31-7 loss at Air Force a week ago.
Last week: 2-2. Season: 11-15-2.
Credit: Source link