Bye weeks don’t nearly get as much love when it comes to college football as they do in the NFL. A lot of that has to do with the fact that keeping track of bye weeks for 130 teams is a lot harder than it is for 32. There are more than a handful of teams on byes this week in the college football world, so they’re getting a chance to rest up and get ready for the push to bowl eligibility, division titles, conference titles, or the College Football Playoff.
The nice thing is that we still have a lot of college football games when teams are on byes. It’s not like the NFL when we may get cut down to 13 games when there are a lot of teams on a bye. The college card always has a lot of opportunities.
Some of those opportunities look more attractive than others because of situational betting spots. Rivalry games, non-conference games dropped into the middle of conference play, look-ahead spots, and sandwich spots are all part of the equation this week and in the remaining weeks of the college football regular season.
Let’s check out some of those games and some situational spots to consider for Week 7:
Texas Tech at TCU (-7) – Multiple injuries kept this line off the board when everything opened up on Sunday night. Some of those injury concerns are still present, but both teams had a bye last week to attempt to get things in order for this Thursday night tilt. These teams have split the last six meetings, including TCU’s 82-27 win back in 2014. The last time this game was in Fort Worth, Texas Tech escaped with a 27-24 victory. Will the Horned Frogs exact home revenge?
Also, this is the first of three straight opponents off of byes for Texas Tech.
Georgia Southern (-17) at Texas State – Remember what we said last week about the Georgia Tech vs. Louisville game? There aren’t many things worse in college football than facing the option on a short week. Texas State has enough problems trying to compete, but now they’ll draw the option on a short week. Texas State also hasn’t seen this particular option since 2015. This is a big number for an option team to cover, but Texas State is in a really tough spot here.
Air Force at San Diego State (-10) – A double letdown spot?! The Falcons beat Navy in convincing fashion last week by a 35-7 score in Colorado Springs to grab the first leg of the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy series. The Aztecs went up to Boise State and upended the Broncos on the smurf turf, despite not really playing much in the way of offense. This is a short-week option game for the Aztecs, but few coaches in the country are better against that ground attack than Rocky Long. The real question here is how many points SDSU’s inept offense needs to score to win by 11+.
Miami (FL) (-6) at Virginia – There are certain benchmarks that coaches and teams want to hit. For Virginia, a win over a ranked team like Miami would be one of those accomplishments. The Cavaliers haven’t beaten a ranked foe since the beat Louisville in the third game of the season in 2014. Miami has played a rather poor schedule since losing to LSU in Week 1 and is playing only a second true road game and the first true road game for starter N’Kosi Perry. While Miami was struggling with Florida State, the Cavaliers were enjoying a bye week. The stage is set for an upset in Charlottesville.
Troy (-9) at Liberty – There aren’t any good weeks to break in a new starting quarterback because of a torn ACL to your previous one. Against the Liberty Flames, it could be especially bad for Troy. The Flames scored 93 points in their two games in the state of New Mexico and now return home to host the Trojans. Troy was an 11-point favorite, but this line has ticked down to 9 because of the injury to Kaleb Barker. That makes this a pretty tough spot for Troy, especially with a trip to Lynchburg, Virginia and an unfamiliar venue.
Colorado at USC (-7) – It’s not often that you see a top-20 team as a touchdown underdog against an unranked team, but that’s the case for #Pac12AfterDark action between Colorado and USC. The Buffaloes are 0-12 against USC lifetime and have lost six consecutive seasons in a row to the Trojans. Colorado is really stepping up in class athletically in this spot, but USC is also one of the country’s biggest disappointments.
Army (-15) at San Jose State – San Jose State has actually been a pretty decent underdog bet this season, though they lost badly last week to Colorado State. Now the Spartans get a service academy with the triple-option. This isn’t an awesome spot for Army with cross-country travel, but the Knights were idle last week. The longest the winless streak goes for San Jose State, the more desperate they become. Their home game October 27 against UNLV could very well be the last chance, so we should see spirited efforts going forward. They have not faced an option team yet this season and haven’t since playing Cal Poly in Week 2 last year. The last FBS option team the Spartans faced was Air Force in 2016. This is the second straight opponent for San Jose State off of a bye.
Washington (-3) at Oregon – This isn’t really a situational spot for this week, rather one to consider going forward. Washington is stepping up in class this week after struggling last week against a lowly UCLA team. Oregon needs this game to create some havoc in the Pac-12 North after blowing the game against Stanford. Washington won 70-21 two years ago and 38-3 last year after Oregon won 12 in a row from 2004-15. The seniors certainly remember the last two beatdowns, including the worst loss at home in program history. Washington hosts Colorado next week and Oregon has to go to Pullman to face Washington State off a bye. I’d be looking to fade both teams.
Ole Miss (-6) at Arkansas – Arkansas’s 2018 season is best remembered for North Texas’s fake fair catch punt return touchdown. Well, the Razorbacks have a chance at a win this week. Arkansas has played Auburn, Texas A&M, and Alabama over the last three weeks and Chad Morris’s team is ready to play a comparable opponent. Ole Miss has padded numbers against teams like UL Monroe and Kent State, but this is a stiffer test. This game is in Little Rock, so just make that note. It is a true neutral-site, as you can get to Little Rock in about three hours from both places.
Wisconsin at Michigan (-7.5) – Wisconsin has played the 78th-ranked schedule per Sagarin and somehow doesn’t cover into this matchup against Michigan undefeated. Michigan’s only loss this season came against Notre Dame. Not only is this a playoff elimination game, even though Wisconsin is probably eliminated already, even with a Big Ten title, but this is a nice step up in class for both teams. Michigan hasn’t really played anybody since the Notre Dame game, though Northwestern did give the Wolverines a huge scare. Wisconsin did play a tough Iowa team, but managed to escape by being +3 in turnovers. This will be a good litmus test for both squads.
UCF (-4.5) at Memphis – We touched on this game last week, but Memphis has double revenge after losing twice to the Knights last season. There is no shame in losing to the National Champions*, but you can bet that Memphis wants to make amends after the lopsided 40-13 regular season loss and the 62-55 loss in the AAC Championship Game. Neither team has played a remotely challenging schedule to date, so we’ll have to see how comparable opponents fare against each other.
Baylor at Texas (-14) – It would be hard to fault Tom Herman’s team for slipping up this week against Baylor. After all, last week’s win in the Red River Rivalry was Herman’s MO, as he continues to be one of the best underdog coaches in the country. Getting back to work this week against an inferior Baylor team could prove challenging.
Michigan State at Penn State (-13.5) – You can almost throw Sparty’s record out the window because there aren’t many people that play up to superior competition like Mark Dantonio. The Spartans look awful this season and draw a very angry Penn State team that had a bye week to seethe after the loss to Ohio State. The Nittany Lions could very well blow out Michigan State, but history would suggest that the Spartans keep this one close.
Hawaii at BYU (-12) – Hawaii makes another trip to the mainland and does so to play in altitude against BYU. That makes this a pretty obvious situational spot. Hawaii, though, played in Provo, Logan, and Laramie, Wyoming last season, so it’s not like they aren’t used to those types of conditions. Cole McDonald’s status is a biggest worry than the elevation this week.