College Football: Weekend Preview

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This weekend’s college football action features a couple of Top-10 teams looking for revenge a year after suffering big upsets. The Ohio State Buckeyes were on their way to going undefeated last year, at least until Juice Williams and Illinois came to Columbus and ran past OSU 28-21 as two-touchdown underdogs. This Saturday, OddsMaker is listing the 8-2 Buckeyes as 10-point favorites over the 5-5 Illini in Champaign (12:00PM ET).

Out in the Pac-10, Southern Cal heads to The Farm Saturday to take on Stanford, a year after falling as 40-point chalk to the Cardinal in the Coliseum in one of the biggest shockers in college football history. This year, with the 8-1 Trojans chasing down a BCS championship game berth, and Stanford at 5-5 overall and 4-3 in the conference, OddsMaker has USC listed as 23-point chalk over Jim Harbaugh’s troops (7:00PM ET).

In true form, it wasn’t really much of an upset last year when Navy went into South Bend and beat Notre Dame for the first time since Roger Staubach was dodging defenders back in the early 1960s. The Irish were going through a 3-9 campaign, while the Middies were on their way to a fifth straight bowl berth.

This year, ND is 5-4, but they’ve lost three of their last four games, and got shut out at Boston College last week. Meanwhile, Navy is 6-3 in their first season since head coach Paul Johnson took his option attack to Georgia Tech. Last year, the Irish were 3-point favorites over the Middies. This Saturday (12pm Eastern), OddsMaker is listing Notre Dame as 3.5-point chalk over Navy.

In a Big 10 border battle, the Wisconsin Badgers, having their worst season in years, host Minnesota’s Golden Gophers in the annual contest for Paul Bunyan’s ax (3:30PM ET). Wisconsin had high hopes earlier this season, but lost its first four conference games, three of which they basically gave away at the end. Minnesota, meanwhile, started 7-1, but has lost its last two games, both at home. The Badgers also own a four-game winning streak in this rivalry.

OddsMaker is listing Wisconsin as 13.5-point chalk for Saturday’s game against the Gophers at Camp Randall.

Amongst national championship contenders this weekend; 10-0 Alabama is favored by 20 points – and going up – for its game in Tuscaloosa Saturday vs. 3-6 Mississippi State (7:45PM ET); 9-1 Texas is giving 4-6 Kansas State 13.5 points for their game Saturday in Manhattan (12:30PM ET); and 8-1 Florida is giving the ol’ coach and his 7-3 South Carolina Gamecocks 21 points for their game in Columbia (3:30PM ET).

Texas Tech and Oklahoma both have this weekend off, going into their Big 12 showdown in Norman next weekend. OddsMaker is listing the 9-1 Sooners at +400 on its updated BCS championship betting board, while the 10-0 Red Raiders can be picked up at +500.

Finally, out in the Mountain West, 9-1 BYU is a 4-point favorite on the road for their game at 8-2 Air Force on Saturday (3:30PM ET).

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