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Gridiron Players Club (10/28/23)


(3 Picks)

12:00PM EST: Florida State -20.5 (3 Units)

FSU's really hitting their stride on defense. You look at last week and see Duke scored 20 points but their defense played great. For starters Jordan Travis threw a pick 6. FSU also went for it on 4th and 1 on their own 36 yard line and didn't get it which eventually led to a field goal. 10 of those 20 came from offensive blunders. They held a terrible Syracuse team to 3 the week before and V-Tech to 17 a few weeks back. From the 2nd half of the Clemson game this defense has really put it all together. Clemson scored just 7 second half points against them and they also shut them out in OT. FSU's defense has allowed just 37 points in their last 3.5 games of football.

Wake Forest's offense also flat out stinks. Going back they scored 21 against Pitt, 13 on V-Tech, 12 on Clemson, and 16 on Georgia Tech. Outside of Clemson those are some average and poor defensive teams. Defensively Wake isn't the worst defense in the ACC but it's a bad match-up. They rank 102nd allowing 253.8 passing yards per game against FBS opponents and they've played next to no great passing teams.

FSU has one of the best passing attacks in the nation led by Jordan Travis. He's completed 65.1% of his passes for 1,750 yards and 15 touchdowns with just 2 interceptions so far this season. They very easily have the best receiver room the Deacons will face this season.

Florida State also lost to Wake Forest last year. That was when Wake had Sam Hartman leading the team, one of the better College Football QB's. But that's a positive becasue they won't be overlooking this game and they're out for revenge here. Travis threw for 281 yards and 3 Touchdowns last year and this FSU offense is better across the board. FSU ranks 4th nationally averaging 41.6 points per game. They're a vastly superior team talent wise here.

3:30PM EST: Notre Dame -20.5. (4 Units)

Notre Dame is one the best teams in the Nation and it's unfortunate they fell asleep and dropped that game to Louisville. This is a team that can bang with the best in the Country as they showed against OSU and by blowing out USC. Their defense is scary good when playing at Home and that Pitt offense sucks. They somehow managed to scored 31 offensive points against Louisville on just 288 yards of total offense but outside of that they've failed to top 24 points against an FBS opponent. They average just 21.2 points per game which ranks 101st. On the road that dips to just 14.7 points per game too.

Pitt would like to run the football as an offense but they're not very good at it. Averaging just 93.5 rushing yards per game (119th). They don't pass well either throwing for just 198.5 yards per game (95th). All together that's 292 yards per game and there's only 11 offenses averaging less than that in the FBS. Notre Dame also limits teams to just 3.7 yards per carry and have played quite a few good rushing teams. When you can't run the football this Notre Dame pass rush is daunting. They got home 6 times against Caleb Williams last week.

Offensively Notre Dame has all the pieces with Sam Hartman under center. They've struggled on the road against tough defenses but have taken care of business at Home. Their 33 points per game against FBS opponents still ranks 25th in College Football and they've played 4 strong defensive teams. We talked about that last week. Pitt's defense is nothing special, they allowed 38 to an okay V-Tech team and 41 to a similarly powered North Carolina offense.

As long as Notre Dame can avoid that post big game hangover, they should cruise to the cover here. HC Marcus Freeman does a good job over there and he had his boys fired up to play against USC despite all but being eliminated from playoff contention the week before. This is a proud program and they have the right leader for the job.

3:30PM EST: Texas -19.5 (4 Units)

Just another game with massive talent discrepancy. If Quinn Ewers were playing QB for Texas this line's closer to 30 but it's Maalik Murphy under center and we don't think it matters. He was one of the top QB prospects in the 2022 class and opted to stay despite Texas recruiting Archie Manning a year later. He's been with the program and understands Sark's system. Texas has the best QB room as far as depth goes in the nation at the moment. But Maalik is a big pro style QB with an absolute cannon for an arm. There isn't a throw on the field he can't make and he makes the long ones look more effortless than starter Quinn Ewers.

Everyone else on the field for Texas is just better than the BYU counterpart. Texas has one of the top defenses in the nation and excel against the run. It's an awful match-up for BYU's offense. Everyone's riding the BYU pony because of transfer QB Kedon Slovis who's played well against inferior teams but there's a reason he couldn't hack it at any Power 5 program. He's played 3 decent defenses all year in Texas Tech, TCU, and Arkansas. His combined stat line: 43/86 (50%), 446 yards, 4 TD's, 1 INT, 1 Fumble Lost. None of those defenses could even shine the Longhorn defense's shoes either.

BYU is going to have to throw the football. The BYU offensive line is incredibly outgunned in this one and Texas has shut down just about every running game they've faced. Slovis also provides next to no running threat so they won't have to worry about that either. Slovis is going to have to drop back and consistently make good throws against a talented Texas defense that knows it's coming. He also has to do it on the road.

BYU's defense has been scored on willingly by any decent offense. TCU put up 44, Kansas 38, and Arkansas 31. The last time they went to Texas they got smoked 44-11 by TCU 2 weeks ago. The Longhorns offense has scored at least 30 points in every game and Sark is going to change it up a bit with Maalik under center. The one thing Texas is going to be able to do is run the football. They average 179.4 rushing yards per game and BYU allows 161.5. A young QB's best friend is the ground game and play action. BYU doesn't really know what to prepare for either with Maalik. If Texas jumps ahead early it's going to be a very long day for BYU.

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