Week 1: 9-4
WHAT WENT RIGHT: A whole lot went right — ‘Bama with the last minute defensive stand for 35 reasons; Cincy whacked UCLA; Utes did BYU on the road; tOSU and FAU went well over 63.5; Green Wave obliterated FIU; Eagles +4 did cover and get the straight up win as I told you; Rice covered 23.5 vs. Army; Okie Lite got that cover against the Beavers; Boise State came back from 18 down to get the cover and S/U win.
I TOLD YOU: To steer clear of Clemson’s obscene number (that they covered by a point and a half, late); Memphis (which pushed); and the Aggies (who failed to cover by half a point.) You’d have been sweating bullets all weekend.
WHAT WENT WRONG: Who knew the Green Wave had an offense? That one went way over. tOSU uncharacteristically took their foot off the gas early and failed to cover 4 TDs. Well, I was half-right when I wrote, “Mizzou is going to do criminal things to Wyoming in Laramie.” LOL. They did. They lost. Kent State was game as I figured, but a win by 23 isn’t a win by 24.5, Sun Devils.
Without further ado, let me help you make money. Here are a dozen picks for Week 2. All odds via Sportsline:
Bet The House, Baby
This is the worst D1 team Alabama has ever faced and will ever face under Nick Saban. The line is 54. They’ll cover it, but tastefully, and won’t allow a point along the way. Alabama will score accidentally, not because Nick is running it up, and the bench guys get to play a ton. Something like ‘Bama 62-NMSU 0
Washington -14 vs. Cal. The Bears are not good...at all. And they’re on the road against a Huskies team that hasn’t missed a beat on defense and seems to have an even better passing game. The dismantling of EWU last week was more impressive than it looked on paper. Bad matchup. I’m guessing 38-10 territory for U Dub.
Iowa didn’t look great last week. But, man, Rutgers is atrocious. The present incarnation of the Scarlet Knights gives the late 00s Washington/Wazzu teams a run for their money. This will be a one-sided blasting, though the scoreboard won’t reflect it as much. A win in Iowa City is always hard to come by, and it won’t happen this week. Hawks by 4-5 scores; say 34-10
UCF is leaps ahead of FAU: talent, scheme, efficiency, outstanding offense, depth, even that pitiful defense. This one is going to set the scoreboard on fire, but take the Knights by two touchdowns. For players of totals, over 68 is a solid number too.
As with BC/VT, I’m confused why Stanford is a +3.5 underdog here. The Cardinals hold every conceivable advantage — outside of star-ratings — and should probably be the ones favored, especially with USC’s QB Daniels out for the year. ‘Furd covers +3.5 and straight-up wins on the road. Urban Meyer to USC/ND becomes one game closer to reality.
Long Shots Worth A Shot:
Mizzou is favored by three scores over West Virginia which is completely rebuilding with a new (and better) coach. But the Tigers have systemic problems, especially in the secondary. I hate -15 at home for MU. Take the Mountaineers as a road ‘dog. WVU routinely travels the farthest of any B12 team; this short jaunt to CoMo won’t phase them.
Maryland is a just a field goal home dog, +2.5. Syracuse’s offense couldn’t get on-track against Liberty last week, and this is a far more talented team that tends to play well at home. With Clemson coming to the Carrier Dome next week, everything about this screams “trap.” Take the Turtles, straight up even.
So, too, are the plucky Rice Owls a big underdog at home. They played outstanding last week against Army (and I did warn you of that). I expect them to do the same against Wake Forest, only in a far more high-scoring affair. The Demon Deacons probably win, but the Owls cover +18.5 at home.
UNC is a 6-point underdog at home to Miami. The Hurricanes didn’t magically grow an offensive line in 9 days, and I really do like some of the young talent in Chapel Hill. Mack Brown ain’t the reincarnation of Vince Lombardi, but he’s better than what’s on the other sideline. The Tar Heels may not win, but I think UNC does cover +6.
Wyoming -6.5 at Texas State. The Bobcats are bad and San Marcos is not intimidating. The weather will be miserable, but talent and coaching mitigate that. Craig Bohl’s Cowboys start the year off 2-0 with an upset of Mizzou and then a solid 10-13 point road win against a bad TSU team.
Hawaii vs. Oregon State (+5.5) should be fun. If you take it, take the home Warriors (and you shouldn’t, by the way. Too many turnovers for UH.) That said, the o/u is 78.5 — that’s a stupid number, but this one will go way, way over 78.5. That’s your better play.
Tulane +18.5 at Auburn. Here comes the ‘Barn September hangover against a midmajor/FCS team. They have one every year. And the Green Wave are fairly talented for the AAC. Bo Nix genuinely looked terrible on Saturday night — ignore the W. Tulane’s defensive line is going to cause problems for a ‘Barn OL that still can’t establish much up front. Call it 31-14 Auburn; no cover.
Clemson is not 18 points better than A&M. They’re just not. If Elko presses those outside receivers, and the Aggies can control the edge — where Etienne lives — they’ll make Sunshine do some dumb stuff. Georgia Tech has given everyone the blueprint. I think they will do it enough. Conversely, the Tigers can be had up the gut, the strength of the A&M offense. And so too do I think the Aggies will. Mond isn’t the crap that they churn out at Georgia Tech, and A&M probably won’t give Dabo 21 free points to play with either. I think Clemson wins; simply too much talent vs. a rebuilding A&M team. But I think it’s more like a 10-point game. You have to admit though, Jimbo in a big game is terrifying; he’s as apt to get rolled by 35 as keep it close — and that’s why this is my least confident pick.
Not With Stolen Money
If you think you know what’s going to happen between Texas-LSU (-5), you’re lying. Two inconsistent flaky coaches, with Ed O on the road, running an offense that UT sees literally every week but is just two weeks old for the Tigers? The talent is close; the coaching basically a wash; the homefield meaningless. I think the ‘Horns get it done; Herman lives for these big ones (and will then lose to Kansas.) But I’m not willing to put money on it.
Four SEC teams looked horrid last week. Two of them face off Saturday. The Ole Miss Rebels are -6.5 vs. Arkansas. Neither probably will make a bowl. But, whoever holds out hope for a trip this year has to have this one. I think the Hogs get it done, and Matt Luke’s hot seat becomes a scorcher. That said, nope. Not gonna’ bet on it.