Let’s recap Stanford’s season.
The Cardinal gifted backers a miracle cover by scoring on a Northwestern fumble with 20 seconds left in Week 1. The next week, they allowed Southern California true freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis to finish the game on a 42-3 scoring run. Then Central Florida built a 38-7 halftime lead before cruising the rest of the game.
Forget Northwestern’s horrible offense and focus on what’s happened in the last two games: 90 points and 1,037 yards from teams that could’ve added more.
Stanford’s offensive line and running game are in shambles. David Shaw’s play-calling has become extremely predictable. And I don’t think the crowd at The Farm provides much of a home-field advantage.
The market has not caught up to how bad this year’s Stanford team is, but the Cardinal may struggle to get bowl eligible.
Oregon blew a 24-7 halftime lead last year against Stanford. Coupled with a loss to Auburn in the season opener, the Ducks should be extremely motivated.
I expect an Oregon beatdown. Lay the 10½ points.
Four more plays (home team in CAPS):
■ Old Dominion (+28½) over VIRGINIA: This is a bad spot for the Cavaliers, fresh off a field-storming win against Florida State and with Notre Dame on deck. Entering Week 4, Virginia ranked 126th and Old Dominion 103rd in offensive plays per second, so expect a snail’s pace. Virginia ranks 74th in plays of 20 or more yards, and 18 of the teams below the Cavaliers have played only two games. Old Dominion has rushed on 60.3 percent of its offensive snaps, led by QB Stone Smartt with 29 carries. Old Dominion beat Virginia Tech last year and trailed the Hokies 24-17 in the fourth quarter on Sept. 7. This is too many points.
■ MIAMI (-29½) over Central Michigan: Most people wrote off the Hurricanes after seeing Florida embarrass their offensive line and watching Miami suffer an unlucky loss at North Carolina. But since 2015, Miami is 5-1 against the spread as a favorite of more than 21 points, beating the closing number by 17 and 21½ points in the last two occurrences. I’m not impressed by Central Michigan’s wins over Albany and Akron. The Chippewas have lost their starting quarterback, starting running back and a starting receiver to injury. The team’s pass rush got wiped out in the offseason, and it won’t be able to bother Jarren Williams, who is completing 73.1 percent of his passes and has yet to throw an interception.
■ TULSA (-3½) over Wyoming: The Cowboys are the luckiest 3-0 team in the country. Missouri outgained them 537-389, Texas State outgained them 444-293, and Idaho outgained them 303-287. If not for a late fourth-quarter touchdown by Oklahoma State running back Chubba Hubbard, Tulsa would be 3-0 ATS. Tulsa has an underrated defense that’s going to make it tough on Wyoming, and Baylor transfer QB Zach Smith is completing 63.5 percent of his passes on 7.8 yards per attempt despite facing Michigan State and Oklahoma State.
■ West Virginia (-4) over KANSAS: I made this game West Virginia -8½, and I think the market overreacted to Les Miles’ upset of Boston College. The Mountaineers can’t defend the run, so expect Pooka Williams to put up numbers. But I liked Neal Brown’s decision to speed up his offensive tempo against N.C. State last week. Don’t forget that Kansas nearly lost to Indiana State and did lose to Coastal Carolina, both at home. This may not be high scoring, but on a per-possession basis, I trust West Virginia’s offense to do enough to cover.
Last Week: 3-1-1