Cover 4: Bear Down, California

© John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports Cal.jpg
This week, we're setting our sights on a couple of massive underdogs who deserve more respect and pair of favorites whose opponents are getting more respect than they deserve.

There's not a Clemson-over-Virginia Tech lock in the bunch, but you'll be in good shape with this foursome.

Maybe.

I'm pretty sure.

Cal (+27.5) over No. 6 WASHINGTON
Saturday | 7:45 PM (PT) | Seattle, WA (Husky Stadium)
This pick is not the result of having not seen Washington play this year. I have. Sort of. The Huskies haven't played a game that kicked off before 5 PM (PT) -- which means I've been very well aware of their games at about the midway point of the first quarter and not so aware during the second half.

Chris Petersen is not happy about this -- the playing late thing, not the me not staying locked into the action thing -- and, yet, here the Huskies are again: kicking off at 10:45 PM (ET).

Cal isn't good, but it's not bad, either. The Bears own out-of-conference wins over North Carolina and Ole Miss, lost by 10 to Southern Cal, and trailed Oregon by just a touchdown with 10 minutes to play in Eugene, OR, last week.

Washington wins, sure. But 27.5 points is a lot of points to give this team.

Iowa State (+28) over No. 3 OKLAHOMA
Saturday | 11 AM (CT) | Norman, OK (Memorial Stadium)
First things first: Iowa State didn't look half bad on defense against a Texas offense that -- for all of its uncertainty behind center -- has been relatively solid this season, and the Cyclones gave Iowa all it wanted before falling in overtime in week two.

Meanwhile, OU was a 28-point favorite in its last outing before giving up 41 points to winless Baylor and merely escaping Waco, Texas, with a win. What's more, the Sooners have the all-important Red River Rivalry against Texas looming next weekend -- which doesn't always bode so well for Oklahoma.

Twice in the past 10 years, OU has lost as a favorite the week before the Texas game. Five times in the past decade, the Sooners have played within a touchdown of their opponent on the first Saturday in October.

Again, Oklahoma wins. But 28 points is a lot of points in this matchup.

No. 19 San Diego State (-10) over UNLV
Saturday | 7:45 PM (PT) | Las Vegas, NV (Sam Boyd Stadium)
San Diego State is a good football team. Just ask Stanford. UNLV is not a good football team. Just ask Richmond.

I don't really know what else to say about this one. The Aztecs win big.

Western Kentucky (-18.5) over UTEP
Saturday | 7 PM (CT) | El Paso, Texas (Sun Bowl)
In the past two weeks UTEP has had its offensive coordinator fired and its head coach resign -- replaced by interim head coach Mike Price.

Yes, that Mike Price.

The Miners have been all aboard the struggle bus all season long. UTEP is winless in its first five games, and the team's closest loss to date is a 14-point loss at Army last week.

It hasn't exactly been smooth sailing for the 2-2 Hilltoppers, either. But a visit to El Paso, Texas, is a great opportunity for Western to seize some momentum on both sides of the ball.

Last week in a GIF:


​Season Record: 12-8 -- Still bitter about Willie's Texas A&M pick.



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