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College football forecast: Hurricane Ian impacts this week’s picks

Hurricane Ian’s landfall has impacted college football, with a handful of games in the Southeast moved or rescheduled to kickoff at a different time.

The tropical storm has played havoc with totals for Saturday’s games, as bettors try to figure out whether the worst of the wind will be gone by then.

Rather than play amateur meteorologist, we’ll stay mostly away from games that take place below the Mason-Dixon Line this week and concentrate on the Big Ten and Pac-12 instead.

To start, we’re going chalk with Minnesota, which is the team to beat in the Big Ten West Division and a 12½-point home favorite over Purdue on Saturday.

The Golden Gophers are off to a 4-0 start after last week’s thumping of Michigan State and lead the nation in total defense (187.8 yards allowed per game). They rank second in scoring defense (6.0 points allowed per game) and haven’t given up more than 10 points in a game.

Offensively, Minnesota is led by running back Mohamed Ibrahim and is second in the nation in rushing, averaging nearly 300 yards per game. Experienced quarterback Tanner Morgan guides a unit that is putting up 45.8 points per game.

Purdue quarterback Aidan O’Connell is a game-time decision, according to coach Jeff Brohm. The Boilermakers are already riddled with injuries on offense and would lose their remaining bit of explosiveness with backup QB Austin Burton at the helm.

Also, Purdue is 0-6 straight-up in games played at Huntington Bank Stadium.

Here are four more plays for this weekend:

UNLV -14½ over New Mexico: It’s beginning to feel like 2013 again, the last time UNLV finished with a winning record. The Rebels are 4-0 against the spread and look dangerous on offense with quarterback Doug Brumfield, who leads the Mountain West in passing efficiency. The Lobos were on the road last week and have one less day to prepare with the Friday night kickoff.

UCLA +3 over Washington: The Rose Bowl hasn’t been kind to the Huskies, who lost eight straight there to UCLA before winning in 2018. And this is an odd spot for Washington, which is playing its first road game of the season on a Friday night in a potentially empty stadium. The Bruins aren’t as good as their 4-0 record, but they’re not as bad as their underlying numbers, either.

California-Washington State U53½: The Golden Bears put up 49 points last week in a win over Arizona, their highest point total since 2018. Washington State hung 41 in a loss to Oregon. But that was the first time in their past five games that the Cougars have seen the total go over.

Michigan State +8½ over Maryland: There is some recency bias at work here, with the Spartans fresh off a blowout loss to Minnesota while Maryland covered in a loss at Michigan. The weather could impact this game, and we’re expecting a wet track that will keep the score close.

Last week: 2-3

Season: 8-12

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

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