We’ve lost track of what appropriate numeral to give to give this weekend of college football, so we’ll give a fitting label: Dirty Dog Saturday.
The name is suitable because, on this fine Saturday, plenty of underdogs should add some bark to their bite.
Virginia Tech at North Carolina
Kenan Memorial Stadium
Chapel Hill, NC
Weather: might rain, might not
This game presents two 2-0 teams fighting for a comfortable seat in business class behind mighty Clemson. Head coach Mack Brown and sophomore quarterback Sam Howell have brought a ton of excitement to Tar Heel nation. The Texas Longhorn legend won seven games after five years of retirement. Howell threw for over 3,600 yards and 38 touchdowns as a freshman in 2019.
Meanwhile, Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente is trying to get back to chasing double-digit wins after losing 12 games the past two seasons. The good news for the Hokies is that they likely get their difference-maker back this week.
Hendon Hooker is the sensational redshirt junior that Tech hopes can lead this team to glory. The quarterback threw for 1,555 yards and 13 touchdowns last season. He scored five more with his legs while running for 356 yards. Hooker sat out the first two games of this season.
The Hokies have fared very well in the junior’s absence. They’ve done so by leading the nation in rushing yards per carry (7.2). The Virginia Tech offense is averaging 41.5 points per game while running the ball 66 percent of the time.
The matchup breeds good versus good in many areas. The North Carolina defense is only giving up two yards per rush, good for third in the nation. For the Tar Heels, penalties and third downs will be the key. They have tallied 19 penalties in just two games. Their average yards-to-go distance on third down is 8.6. The Hokies defense has a third down conversion rate of 30 percent, and they are playing clean football with just four penalties per game.
Give me Virginia Tech and the points. Home field advantage won’t be a factor. Hooker and the rushing attack will pay dividends, especially if the game is played in wet conditions. Don’t be afraid to sprinkle some on the money line here. Virginia Tech is 6-1 ATS versus North Carolina in their last seven meetings.
Hurry up and get to your sportsbook. Hopefully, it’s MyBookie. If it’s not, it should be. The line is dropping on this game, and we’ve seen around a 30 cent drop on the money line in the past 24 hours.
Virginia Tech (+3.5)
Auburn vs. Arkansas
Weather: get a boat
Pretty much everywhere in the southeast is going to get as hammered as an Auburn sorority girl on a Saturday night. On this particular night, they may want to proceed with caution as to not drink while swimming around Toomer’s Corner. The rain will be heavy, and winds will be steady around 10 MPH.
This bodes well for Arkansas. The added element will likely take away some of Auburn’s greatest attributes. The Tigers’ biggest play-maker, Seth Williams, will have to be accounted for somehow. The Razorback secondary will need all the help it can get taming Williams and the other dynamic weapons that Auburn presents on the perimeter.
Last week, a stiff Georgia defense held Williams to 46 yards and the Tiger offense to six points. While Arkansas upset Mike Leach and a potent Mississippi State Air Raid, they will have to keep their wits about them and adapt to a more traditional scheme.
Neither team does anything extremely well. They each rank 71st and 70th, respectively, in total yards per game. The average between the two is a paltry 273.8 yards per contest.
This is going to be a telephone booth fight. The Auburn offensive line is as soft as Charmin. Arkansas has the most experienced quarterback (Felipe Franks) and, by far, the best running back (Rakeem Boyd). Two touchdowns is plenty for this bet. I actually grabbed this at (+17) when it opened. The line has come crashing down, but there are still options. You could tease this game with the aforementioned game, or the Lock of the Week. Or parlay the three. Either way, the Hawgs will bark like dogs on Saturday.