Piece on ESPN Chalk:
Utah Utes at Oregon Ducks (Oct. 28)
This game opened up with Oregon as the 4.5-point favorite in Autzen Stadium, but the line has since risen to 5.5. Since that opening number came out, Oregon's top wide receiver, Darren Carrington, got booted off the team -- and Utah scooped him up and added him to their receiving corps. With Pitt's games getting adjusted to a couple of suspensions, you would have thought this game would have moved in the opposite direction than it did.
Still, I have Oregon at No. 26 in my Power Poll and Utah at No. 43, and I personally had the Ducks -10. Autzen Stadium is a tough place to play, and after Oregon was embarrassed 62-20 there two years ago, they will be looking for revenge. They certainly have the talent to get it done, too. I would expect this number to climb to seven.
USC Trojans at Colorado Buffaloes (Nov. 11)
The line on this opened up at USC -14 and dropped a point to -13. To me, this is a proper correction, and I even think it will continue to drop.
Last year, USC won at home by only four points in a tight game. Now the warm-weather California boys are traveling to a potentially snowy Boulder, Colorado, in November and will have to deal with the altitude and weather. Colorado is the defending Pac-12 South champ, yet it is a two-touchdown 'dog at home? I like USC and have Colorado pegged for fourth in the South, but the Buffaloes are a very talented group.
This seems like a trap game for USC, which may be playing tight to protect an undefeated record. I had USC -7 when I first looked at this game, and I think the number will resemble that a little more at game time.
Ole Miss Rebels at Mississippi State Bulldogs (Nov. 23)
Mississippi State moved from a 5-point favorite to a 10-point favorite. Last year, Mississippi State won the Egg Bowl. In doing so, the Bulldogs not only knocked the Rebels out of a bowl game, but they also qualified for a bowl at 5-7 by getting to five wins with their academic achievement. That win was on the road, and Mississippi State gets the Egg Bowl at home this year.
They were favored by a little more than the home field edge at -5 in the opening numbers. Since the firing of Hugh Freeze, the line has shot up five points to -10. This could go two ways. If Ole Miss starts to lose players in August, the season could spiral out of control. However, I like Ole Miss' talent, and Matt Luke will have to answer fewer off-field questions than Freeze did, so I think when the game rolls around, the line will be closer to -3. I would grab the inflated value on Ole Miss and take the 10 points right now.
Louisville Cardinals at Kentucky Wildcats (Nov. 25)
Louisville opened up as an 11.5-point favorite in this one, and the number has since dipped to 10. Jay Kornegay of the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook says money on Kentucky has moved the line. Last year, Kentucky went on the road and upset No. 11 Louisville, 41-38. In the two years prior, Kentucky blew leads against their rival and lost, so these games are always competitive.
When I did my number in June, it was Louisville -3. Kentucky has 17 returning starters and gets this game at home. Louisville's offense averaged 49.6 points per game in their first 10 games last year, but once teams caught up to Lamar Jackson, the Cardinals averaged just 19 points per game over their last three games. I think this number will continue to drop.