What a week it was in the college football world with the last-second win by Ohio State at Notre Dame, Clemson finding a rather unique way to squander a late lead when considered by NCAAF predictions as a rare home underdog and Oregon bringing Colorado back to earth in impressive fashion.
When looking at the biggest Week 4 upsets, Central Michigan topped South Alabama as a 16-point underdog
There are 21 remaining undefeated teams in the Power-5 conferences with the ACC leading the way with six.
When looking at the college football score predictions, Virginia Tech was the only team from the Power-5 conferences to lose to a Group of Five team. However, the Hokies were listed as the underdogs against Marshall.
In the national polls, USC fell three spots to No. 8 in the Associated Press poll while Washington State soared from No. 21 to No. 16 in the AP poll and 24 to 17 in the coaches poll. Colorado, UCLA and Iowa all tumbled out of the Associated Press rankings.
Georgia (+225) leads the way in the odds to win the national title. Michigan (+400), Florida State (+800), Texas (+900) and Ohio State (+1000) and are the next closest competitors according to the college football odds.
Ohio State Saves the Best For Last
Notre Dame’s proud football history is full of instances when the Fighting Irish found a way to stave off certain defeat on the final play of the game.
Notre Dame got to see how the other half lives in Saturday’s top-10 showdown with Ohio State.
The last 15 seconds of that game… pic.twitter.com/JI5RFpbOvx
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) September 24, 2023
Sam Hartman’s 2-yard touchdown pass with 8:22 left enabled the Fighting Irish to erase an early 10-point deficit. When Notre Dame stuffed the Buckeyes on a fourth-and-1 play at the Fighting Irish 11 with 4:12 to play, it looked like that would be enough to give Notre Dame the rousing home win. However, the Ohio State defense gave the offense one more chance.
Kyle McCord had some incompletions and an intentional grounding penalty on the final drive. He also connected with Emeka Egbuka on a 21-yard pass to the Notre Dame 1 to set up Chip Trayanum for the game-winning score with 1 second to play to give Ohio State the 17-14 win.
It was far from the only late-game drama involving ranked teams.
Clemson led Florida State by 10 points twice in the first half and held a 24-17 lead in the final minute. The Tigers were listed by the college football betting lines as the home underdog for the first time since 2016.
Florida State returned a fumble 56 yards for the game-tying touchdown with 31 seconds left and Jordan Travis threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Keon Coleman in overtime. Florida State forced a fourth-down incompletion to give the Seminoles the 31-24 win.
The game ended the hopes of Clemson, the defending ACC champions, returning to the ACC title game. It was also a tough blow to those who bet online and rolled with the underdog Tigers at +1½.
In the SEC, Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson hooked up with Luke Hasz on a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to tie the game against favored Louisiana State. LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels completed his first three passes on the ensuing drive to set up a 20-yard field goal with 5 seconds left to play to give the Tigers the 34-31 win.
Oregon Makes a Statement
Whenever Deion Sanders is involved in a game, it is safe to assume that there will be plenty of talking leading up to the game and lots of NCAAF picks for Oregon.
Actually, the strongest comments came when Oregon coach Dan Lanning’s pregame speech went viral as he said that Sanders’ Colorado team is more interested in Web clicks while the Ducks’ focus is on winning games.
WOW: Oregon’s Head Coach Dan Lanning
“They (Colorado) are fighting for clicks, we are fighting for wins.”
Colorado is down 21-0…pic.twitter.com/uuq3bygn50
— JPAFootball (@jasrifootball) September 23, 2023
Lanning’s team was able to back up his strong words with a 42-6 shellacking of the previously undefeated Buffaloes.
Oregon dominated the Buffaloes with a 599-199 advantage in total yards. The Ducks were listed by the sportsbook as a 22-point favorite and covered that number before halftime,
Oregon led 42-0 going into the fourth quarter before Colorado got on the board with a touchdown pass from Shedeur Sanders to Michael Harrison with 2:51 to play.
Alabama trailed Ole Miss at halftime before pulling away for the 24-10 win as the Crimson Tide made it clear that it might be a little premature to write them off even if the offense remains a work in progress.
Utah, still playing without quarterback Cameron Rising, looked pretty healthy on the defensive side of the ball in a 14-7 win over UCLA while Washington State topped Oregon State in a battle of Pac-12 undefeated teams.
Week 4 Bad Beats
There were more than a few games in Week 4 that had people’s interest right down to the final play of the game.
Clemson was looking good as a 1½-point underdog at home as the Tigers had the ball and a seven-point lead with less than a minute to go. However, Florida State returned a fumble for a score and won the game in overtime.
The total for that contest fell in the 55½-56 range so when Clemson failed to answer Florida State’s touchdown in overtime, there were either some very happy or rather irritated folks.
Those who took Syracuse at -13 against Army had to be a little unhappy when the Golden Knights scored on an 80-yard pass play with 2:32 to cut the lead to 29-16. The two-point conversion try was no good and that only added to the drama of the best NCAA football bets for the week.
The Michigan-Rutgers game was right on the 24-point line when Rutgers drove into the red zone on its last drive. Rutgers passed on a field goal and when a fourth-down pass fell incomplete, Michigan was able to run out the clock in the 31-7 victory.
Duke was leading UConn 41-0 with less than 30 seconds left when a TD by UConn quarterback Ta’Quan Roberson pushed the game over the 45-point total.
Taking a Look Ahead
It could be another week to remember with four games between ranked teams.
It starts on Friday night with host Oregon State favored by three points against Utah.
Notre Dame heads to Duke as a six point favorite, LSU is favored by 2½ points on the road against Ole Miss and Texas is a 17-point favorite against Kansas.
Clemson, Georgia, Louisville, LSU, Michigan, Missouri, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Southern California, Oregon, Texas A&M and Washington are teams from Power-5 conferences listed by college football odds as road favorites this weekend.
Among those games, one worth watching will be the Colorado-USC matchup to see if there is still some buzz around Colorado or if that ended with the way the Buffaloes were run off the field against Oregon.
Then There Were Five
There are five Football Bowl Subdivision teams that are undefeated outright and against the spread.
Oklahoma, which had to work for a 20-6 win over Big 12 newbie Cincinnati, is joined by Oregon and Penn State as teams from Power-5 conferences still perfect in both categories.
Syracuse improved to 4-0 but the Army game landed on the 13-point spread.
Liberty, in its first season as a Conference USA team, is also 4-0 ATS and outright.
Something of interest is that Georgia and Michigan, the No. 1- and 2-ranked teams in the national polls, have yet to cover this season.
Georgia came up short ATS as heavy favorites in each of its first four games while Michigan is 0-3-1 against the CFB odds.
On the Move
Here’s a look at the biggest line moves in Week 4.
In the game of the week, Ohio State went from being a 7-point favorite against Notre Dame to the line closing in the 3-3½ range. Obviously, those who went with the 3½-point line came up on the wrong side with Ohio State winning 17-14.
Ohio State vs Notre Dame 2023 an instant classic
What range of emotions did you go through during the final 8:29? pic.twitter.com/dg2AoClKZP
— Menace 2 Sports (@Menace2Sports) September 24, 2023
Illinois opened as a 12-point favorite and at kickoff, the line set by the sportsbook moved to 16½. The Fighting Illini won 23-17 against Florida Atlantic but came up short when it came to covering.
Miami’s game at Temple moved from 25½ to 22½. The Hurricanes had no issues covering against host Temple with a 41-7 victory.
The Utah-UCLA line opened with Utah at -8. As it became clear that Rising would miss another game, the line closed at 3. Utah took a 14-0 lead on the way to a 14-7 victory.
One issue with college football lines opening so early are the resulting wild line moves. That was the case in the Alabama-Ole Miss game as the 15½-point line with Alabama as the favorite was set before the loss to Texas and an uninspiring win over South Florida.
Alabama covered with a 24-10 win versus the Rebels as a seven-point favorite.
The same thing happened with the Texas-Baylor game, with a line once set at -8 saw Texas favored by 17 by kickoff. The line move had little impact thanks to the Longhorns‘ 38-6 win.
LSU opened as a 12½-point favorite against visiting Arkansas and failed to cover with a 34-31 win as the 17½-point favorite.
It was a similar story with Arizona going from a 9½ to 13-point favorite only to edge Stanford 21-20.