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Sportspicks.com NCAA Football Preview – Who are you betting on?

You would think that as Thursdays Clemson vs North Carolina State game rolled around, fans in South Carolina would be happy to see their #3 ranked team take on an undefeated Wolfpack squad. However, as past years have shown, Clemson certainly has a tough time in the limelight. Too often they make it close to the pinnacle of success, before failing to a lesser quality team and losing their positioning. If the Tigers look to keep their #3 ranking, they will have a prime opportunity as State will be starting backup quarterback Pete Thomas, a transfer from Colorado State, in place of injured Brandon Mitchell. No less, all eyes will be on Thursday nights contents to keep an eye on whether or not Clemson can avoid another hiccup where they have so often failed in previous years.

303 Clemson -14½

66 (-110)o/u

304 North Carolina State +14½

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Speaking of Pete Thomas’ former Colorado State team, they will have their hands, and probably feet and every other body part, full as they go to Alabama to take on the #1 ranked Crimson Tide team. The Rams head coach, Jim McElwain, was the defensive coordinator for the Crimson tide during their national championship in 2012. Last year McElwain had the Rams bowling in January. But this year, a disappointing 1-2 start has fans in Fort Collins worried about a quick 1-3 start after their trip to Alabama. As for the Crimson Tide, they will need to just go about business as usual as they take on a team that no one expects to be able to hang. You always hear that any given team can win on any given day, and the Rams will be hoping for this come Sunday night in Tuscaloosa.

6:00p

363 Colorado State +39½

364 Alabama -39½

While the #2 Oregon has the weekend off, #4 Ohio State will get a visit from Florida A&M in a midday game. Word around the OSU locker room is that the players weren’t excited to be playing a subdivision oppenet this week. Don’t forget that this is a team that is one year off an undefeated, yet bowl ineligible, season and they are looking to bolster there record with as many top-notch wins as possible. Ohio State will have to make sure that they don’t overlook Florida A&M, in preparation for their showdown next week against the now unranked, Wisconsin Badgers.

The matchup between Stanford and Arizona State should be a good one. Stanford is still ranked #5, even with less than impressive wins. ASU on the other hand has made their way into the top-25, and looks to bolster its resume with a win over a top-tier program like Stanford. The bright lights will be on in full effect during this PAC-12 showdown, and the result could have implications on the overall placing of the top-25.

6:00p

367 Arizona State +6

368 Stanford -6

Although Auburn doesn’t have the talent that its had in previous years, whenever they play LSU, it’s a heck of a matchup for the Tigers to prepare for. In the SEC, there are no easy games and no weeks off, so the Tigers had better prepare accordingly if they hope to keep their record unblemished and their national ranking among the best in the nation. A loss from Stanford might be just enough to get LSU into the top 5, so they will need to do their part before sitting back and watching the primetime game between the Sun Devils and Cardinal.

6:45p

383 Auburn+17½ (-115)
384 LSU -17½ (-105)

#7 Louisville and #8 Florida State will both be playing less than challenging games this weekend against FIU and Bethune-Cookman respectively. However while these games may be just another blip on the radar for the top ranked teams, this is the highlight of the season for the kids from FIU and B-C. Don’t expect any major upsets, but don’t forget that FSU was knocked off last year by an unranked North Carolina State team around this same time of year so anything could happen.

Keep an eye out for Texas A&M’s matchup against SMU. A&M is coming off a loss to Alabama so you know they will be pumped and ready to play. As always, Johnny Manziel will look to build up his stats in his attempts for another Heisman Trophy. However, SMU is always a tough game and shouldn’t be overlooked by A&M. SMU has a potent offense that averages 475-yards per game under their quarterback Garrett Gilbert. Gilbert is the former Texas Longhorn who is no stranger to the big lights. If the rest of the SMU offense comes to play, they could give the A&M defense fits, much like the Crimson Tide did last week.

6:00p

351 SMU +29

352 Texas A&M -29

After its win against Florida two weeks ago, Miami will play its first game as a nationally ranked team this season. The Hurricanes play a mediocre Savannah State team, so they will look to improve to 3-0 and hope for some upsets ahead of them to improve their own standing.

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Michigan head coach Brady Hoke expressed his concern earlier this week as he takes his 15th ranked Wolverine team into Stores, Connecticut to play UCONN. Sure, UCONN is 0-2 on the season, but the Wolverines are still a young team that is dealing with the pressure of being a top-ranked team. UCONN is lead by Chandler Whitmer who threw for 349-yards last game, despite losing to Maryland. Add the fact that UCONN fans will surely be hyped for this game during primetime and we might have an upset alert game on our hands.

A fun one between #19 Florida and Tennessee will take place in the swamp during the day on Saturday. Florida hasn’t played since their loss to Miami a few weeks ago and Tennessee comes into the game with a 2-1 record. As much as experts would like to assume that the Gators should right their own ship and get back to their winning ways, quarterback Jeff Driskel is always a wildcard and you never know how his performance will impact the game. Tennessee loves playing Florida, whether it be in at home or in the Swamp, so don’t sleep on this game as a potential game-of-the-week candidate. Granted there are a lot of other great games in the top-25 this weekend, but this one has a lot of elements that will make it worth watching.
2:30p

315 Tennessee +16½

316 Florida -16½

There is a great load of games to watch this weekend. This is the time of year when healthy teams start to hit their groove and get things going. And with some of the sleeper teams that will be looking forward to big-game matchups, there is certainly the potential for some shakeups in the top 25.