College Football Week 2 Betting and Viewing Guide
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati (-2.5)
This looked like an exciting Thursday night game until Pittsburgh lost to Youngstown State last week by 14 points. The Panthers looked absolutely awful last week, so much so that I am planning to do something else in the first half of this game and come back to watch a recorded version on my own time.
Cincinnati comes in to this game by starting their season at home. Playing against Pittsburgh is their first game of the season and had an extra week to prepare for the Panthers. Meanwhile, Pitt is playing with only 4 days in between their devastating loss to Youngstown State and playing on the road in a conference game. Munchie Legaux leads the Bearcats in his first season as a starter.
Utah (-6.5) at Utah State
The Utes took care of business last week against Northern Colorado. They won 41-0 at home. Utah State similarly took care of business, beating Southern Utah 34-3. The Aggies made an impressive run last year and was inches away from winning a few games against top opponents.
They were one touchdown away from beating Auburn, were one point away from beating Colorado State, a field goal away from beating BYU, a touchdown from Louisiana Tech, and lost by 1 to Ohio in their bowl game. This is an Aggie team that should end on the right side of many close games this season after a lot of bad luck.
I really like the Utes this year though. Impressively, Utah only allowed 114 yards of total offense across all four quarters. Other than one interception Jordan Wynn had a great game and running back John White rushed for 119 yards. I like Utah to win by just a touchdown in what will be a very exciting game.
Miami (FL) at #21 Kansas State (-6.5)
The Hurricanes pulled out a big win last week against Boston College, winning by 9 against a team that had over 15 returning starters. Miami was very effective in forcing turnovers, which proved to be the difference even though Boston College outgained the Hurricanes by over 100 yards.
Kansas State, which is the king of winning ugly and plays in a way reminiscent of the 80’s with a quarterback made for the wing-T, dominated Missouri State. But then again, who hasn’t? The Wildcats were incredibly good in close games last year and this is one that will be a close game. Bill Snyder’s Wildcats don’t make many mistakes. In other words, Miami is going to have to work for all of their points. With the game being at Kansas State I like the home team to win.
Penn State at Virginia (-9.5)
This may be one of the last good games for Penn State this year. They lost last week after a putrid second half to MAC championship contender Ohio. There was so much energy starting out the game that the Lions burned out. It didn’t seem like they had anything coming back in the second half.
Defense also seemed difficult at times for the Lions, a team known for not breaking and playing stifling defense. Virginia can score points, and will probably be the matchup difference. The Cavaliers scored 43 against the Richmond Tigers, a team that in the past has posed problems for the Cavaliers.
Penn State simply doesn’t seem to be playing with that much confidence since mid-way through the second quarter of their season opener. That doesn’t work when you’re playing on the road and I like Virginia to win a game that may cause a snowball effect the rest of the season.
Auburn (+3) at Mississippi State
Mississippi State conquered Jackson State last week like an SEC team should. They did what they were supposed to do. This leads the Bulldogs in to a must win game for head coach Dan Mullen. Mullen brought a lot of excitement with him from Florida to Mississippi State, and so far he hasn’t delivered. However, that could change with a win against the Tigers as the Bulldogs would have a good shot at competing for the top half of the SEC West.
Auburn is fresh off a 26-19 loss at the hands of Clemson. The Tigers were outgained by almost 150 yards last week but there are still too many questions around Mississippi State. This game is probably a toss up so I’ll take the points, with a slight lean to Auburn winning.
#2 USC (-26) at Syracuse
I successfully predicted that Syracuse wouldn’t cover the spread last week, with my reasoning being that they are a slow starting team. The spread last week was 42 points. This week the spread is much smaller. 4 easy touchdowns are all that is needed to cover. USC almost created that much of a difference between themselves and Hawaii in a quarter. Marqise Lee, Robert Woods, and Matt Barkley will be unstoppable.
Syracuse is fresh off a last second loss in the “Prose Bowl” against Northwestern. The defense for the Orange is spotty at best. They did create almost 600 yards of offense but committed three turnovers. Syracuse also passed for 470 yards, a number they won’t come close to reaching against USC. I like USC to win and cover.
Purdue (+15) at #22 Notre Dame
Notre Dame looked like they were back last week in Dublin when they drubbed a weak Navy team 50-10. The biggest improvement was that Notre Dame didn’t continuously turn the ball over in the red zone and then have that turnover returned for a touchdown. Progress.
Purdue has to travel to South Bend after beating Eastern Kentucky 48-6. The biggest problem that the Boilermakers present to the Fighting Irish is the passing attack. Notre Dame’s secondary wasn’t tested against Navy, but Purdue loves to throw the ball all over the place. I like Notre Dame to win but Purdue to cover, in a pick cautiously made waiting for the other shoe to drop on Notre Dame’s turnovers.
Florida at Texas A&M (+1)
The Gators have looked awful on offense for two years. They struggled to score the 27 points necessary to beat Bowling Green last year at home. Texas A&M on the other hand did not play a game last week as their season opener at Louisiana Tech was postponed due to the hurricane.
Texas A&M is now running a passing attack that was brought from Houston, which made Case Keenum a household name. Spread attacks offenses based on space are what modern SEC defenses were built to stop. Both defenses have the upper hand but I just don’t think Florida can score enough points.
#13 Wisconsin (-7) at Oregon State
How is Oregon State getting 7 points in this game? It should be closer to 20. Montee Ball should be able to run all over the Beavers this weekend. Both lines at Oregon State are under serious repair. The depth chart didn’t even list a left tackle heading in to fall camp. Now they are supposed to stop one of the bigger defenses in the Big-10?
Sean Mannion is supposed to be really good. The Beavers’ game last week against Nicholls State was postponed due to the Hurricane so we are still a little in the dark on what everybody looks like. His biggest trait is supposed to be his arm strength. Arm strength is also the trait that got people excited about Ryan Katz. If there’s one thing I know in college football its that arm strength isn’t that important, see Kellen Moore. This one will be a blowout and Wisconsin will easily cover.
#7 Georgia at Missouri (+3)
The other matchup featuring the Big-12 converts against their first SEC foes. Missouri got the better conference alignment and they get to host Georgia in their first game. Georgia struggled last week against Buffalo before pulling away late.
Missouri trounced Southeastern Louisiana at home to the tune of 62-10. Missouri is led by quarterback James Franklin in their first SEC season. Again, this is a spread offense against a SEC defense that is built to stop speed. The key for Missouri is to avoid giving Georgia short fields to work with whether that be through turnovers or first downs.
Illinois at Arizona State (-3)
I realize that the opponent was Northern Arizona, but the Sun Devils looked much better than they did in previous years against similar competition. The Sun Devils converted over half of their 3rd down attempts and forced three turnovers while more than doubling Northern Arizona’s yardage.
In contrast, Illinois struggled against Western Michigan. They only had 248 yards of offense and gave up 265 yards through the air. The bright spot was that Illinois held Western Michigan to -6 yards rushing, which is really hard to do.
Illinois benefited from four turnovers (+3 in turnover margin) to win by three scores. I like Arizona State to cover as they are the home team and are slightly better.
Oklahoma State (-10) at Arizona
I’m not sure if the odds makers watched the Arizona game. Sure they rolled up 600 yards against Toledo, but they only scored 24 points and that was with a touchdown coming in overtime. The Wildcats were also awful on 3rd downs, only converting 5 out of 15. Matt Scott did have an impressive debut, throwing 30/46 for 387 yards and 2 touchdowns while rushing 14 times for 74 yards.
Oklahoma State was busy scoring every time they touched the ball against Savannah State, winning 84-0. Oklahoma State covered the largest spread in college football history (67). The Cowboys just execute and the Wildcats are still getting used to the new offense and defense. Oklahoma State will win by three scores.
Washington at #3 LSU (-23)
This will be my favorite game of the weekend other than Fresno State at Oregon. Washington is going to be absolutely wrecked when the travel to Death Valley and play LSU at home at night. There isn’t a much scarier place in college sports.
Washington did look better on defense when they took on San Diego State University when the Huskies were at home. However, the Husky offense didn’t score points after the first quarter of the game. The Huskies also allowed 199 yards on the ground to the Aztecs.
LSU is a team that is going to rush all over Washington’s defense. Zach Mettenberger will be able to pick apart the defense and throw deep balls off play action. The lone concern the Tigers should have when playing Washington is that Keith Price is a good quarterback. Price is mobile and can avoid some pressure. The Tiger secondary is probably going to be the beneficiary of a lot of pressure on Price. The ball hawks are going to be able to make a couple interceptions to create short fields for the LSU offense. LSU, teased maybe with another team like Oklahoma State, is a lock to cover.
#16 Nebraska (-4) at UCLA
Both of these teams have quarterbacks that look significantly better than last year. In a 49-20 in over Southern Miss, Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez threw 26/34 for 453 yards and 5 (?!) touchdowns. It was a complete 180 from last season where Martinez looked like he was throwing grenades around the field. This is the same quarterback that Todd McShay once said had “high school level throwing abilities.”
UCLA had a similar improvement at quarterback. Brett Hundley went 21/28 for 202 yards and 2 touchdowns while rushing for 68 yards and a touchdown on 7 carries. The contrast between Prince and Hundley is astounding. The only issue with UCLA’s win is that they gave up 24 points and 358 yards to Rice.
Without Rex Burkhead the Nebraska rushing attack will slow a little but not much. UCLA is a team that can get run on and Nebraska has the size on defense to tack on a big running back. I like Nebraska on the road.