College Football Week 2 Predictions

Week one, as predicted, was predictably awful. I usually don’t dabble in many early season out-of-conference games.

Week 1 Record: 7-13

Not off the the greatest of starts. Oh well, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

The week one games weren’t full of many competitive games between good teams, and week two looks like we’ll see much more of the same. I’m going to change things up a bit from here on out. Instead of picking every top-25 game with a line, I’m going to omit some of the games that I look at the line and just shake my head. I’ll be a bit more selective. This also will allow me to add some more tasty non-top-25 games too. These huge point spreads aren’t fun to me.

A reminder: all lines are from 5dimes, my picks are colored and all lines are as of Wednesday.

Western Kentucky @ Alabama (-40)

Well, Alabama beat Michigan by 27 points. So, they should be able to handle Western Kentucky pretty handily, right? Western Kentucky is a pretty awful team. I think Bama covers.

USC (-27.5) @ Syracuse (Neutral Field, East Rutherford NJ)

The Syracuse/Northwestern game was one of the bests of week 1. Without knowing how good Northwestern is, it’s hard to judge the significance of that game. Ryan Nassib looked really good for the Orange, but USC’s defense is a whole other beast. USC rarely ever travels to the East Coast, so the travel might be something most every single one of their players are unfamiliar with. That might keep it within 4 touchdowns.

Washington @ LSU (-23.5)

Washington is going to struggle mightily to score. LSU didn’t come close to covering at home last week against North Texas, and I think the relative lack of explosiveness they have on offense means Washington too will cover against LSU.

Georgia (-3) @ Missouri

Will Aaron Murray and Georgia give the Tigers a rude introduction to SEC play?

Georgia looked really bad at times against a poor Buffalo team, so that explains why they are such small favorites over a team that I’d think a week ago they would have been double digit favorites over. Georgia entered the season as a consensus top 10 team, where Missouri wasn’t really on the top 25 radar. The game is at Missouri and it is their first game against an SEC opponent as a member of the SEC, but I think Georgia will be much more prepared this week than they were last week, and Missouri starts off their SEC history in a disappointing fashion. 

East Carolina @ South Carolina (-21.5)

After last week’s incredibly uninspiring effort, South Carolina better cover this spread. 

Michigan State (-23.5) @ Central Michigan

Central Michigan finally has a team that coach Dan Enos can do a little work with, especially with quarterback Ryan Radcliff. Michigan State will continue to run the ball, and run the ball a lot, but Central Michigan’s deficiency on defense is in the secondary. Bell will have a huge game again, but all the running will mean fewer possessions. If you remember, I’m very high on MSU this season, so this goes a little bit against my gut, but I think Central Michigan can score enough to stay somewhat close.

Wisconsin (-8) @ Oregon State

Oregon State had a disaster of a 2011 season, and even though they return a lot of starters, they might not be favored in a single game this year besides the postponed Nicholls State game and perhaps when they host the Washington State Cougars, who looked awful last week. Wisconsin didn’t look very good themselves, but I think they’ll bounce back fine. They are better than whatever that was that they showed the other day.

UCF @ Ohio State (-17.5)

I think UCF wins the Conference USA this year. Most of their toughest conference games are in Orlando. Ohio State is a significantly better team, and UCF was really bad on the road last year (they went 0-6). Five of those road losses were one possession games, and it was their stark inability to close out games that doomed them more often than not. The experience should help with that. I really want to pick UCF to cover and even though they are now 1-0 on the road this season (Akron is a horrible team though), I have my reservations. But I’m still going to go with my gut and say they do indeed keep it respectable. 

Nebraska (-5) @ UCLA 

RB Johnathan Franklin torched the Rice defense in Week 1 to earn Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week Honors

UCLA’s in-conference schedule is as easy as it really could be. They don’t play Oregon, and they host Utah, USC and Stanford. I love when teams schedule tough out of conference teams, but considering the relative ease of their schedule this year, they could have padded a nice record if they didn’t host Nebraska. UCLA is better than you probably think, and they have a few extra days to prepare and don’t have to take a long flight to LA like Nebraska does. The spread looked real low to me at first, but I think there’s a reason to it. Jim Mora starts his home career at UCLA off on the right note.

Oklahoma State (-13.5) @ Arizona

Oklahoma State tossed Savannah State around like a rag doll last week, and Arizona struggled mightily with Toledo. I have no idea what either of those results really mean. 

Air Force @ Michigan (-21)

Michigan isn’t as bad as they looked against Alabama, but I don’t think they’re good enough to be this huge of a favorite over Air Force. Maybe the loss to Bama fires them up, but even though this one at home, I think Air Force causes enough problems offensively to keep it close.

Miami (FL) @ Kansas State (-7)

Miami had a nice road win at Boston College, but Kansas State is way better than Boston College. I had low expectations about them coming into the season, and I’m not ready to jump on the wagon. 

Purdue @ Notre Dame (-14)

This is a big game for both. A Purdue win would mean a lot for the Big 10, and Notre Dame’s schedule is too tough for them not to handle these games. Notre Dame is the more talented team and they are at home, but something in my gut has me thinking Purdue fights valiantly. 

Florida @ Texas A&M (-1.5)

Rule number one, don’t listen to me when I pick Florida. 

Duke @ Stanford (-15.5)

Stanford looked shaky against San Jose State, and that’s not really acceptable. On one hand, you’d imagine they’ll be practicing their asses off and won’t tolerate anything less than a full commitment, but on the other hand, maybe they just aren’t that good. Also, USC is on the horizon, so perhaps they’re looking passed Duke. Duke isn’t any better than San Jose State, but I think they all will keep it close. 

Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati (-4)

A Thursday night match up on national TV figures to be a very pivotal one for the Panthers, who got beaten handily at home to Youngstown State. Now they’re traveling to Cincy to play a significantly better team. I hope Pitt bounces back, but its impossible for me not to take Cincy here.

Penn State @ Virginia (-10)

Again, I’m rooting for Penn State this season for their fans and especially for those players that stuck there, but they are going to struggle all year, and 10 points on the road against a solid Virginia team isn’t enough points. 

Auburn @ Mississippi State (-3.5)

These two teams are so evenly matched. I projected both would finish 8-4 this season, and said already that the Bulldogs win this game. I’ll stick with that, but this certainly could go either way. Auburn figures to be super hungry for a win, but the same is true for the home team. And since they are at home, I’m favoring Miss State on Saturday. 

Vanderbilt (-3.5) @ Northwestern

Vanderbilt is the better team. Northwestern isn’t traditionally a great home team. Vandy wins. It’s an important game for both. Vandy has to take advantage of every non-SEC game, and Northwestern could go on a real nice run if they win this one especially after beating Syracuse. 

Utah(-7.5) @ Utah State

Utah’s Star Lotulelei might be the best defensive line prospect since Ndamukong Suh

I’m only really adding this because it’s on Friday and there’s a chance I’ll be tuning in. Utah is really good. Keep an eye peeled on them all year. The voters aren’t giving them much love quite yet, but that will come. They’ll be 4-0 entering when  the Trojans travel to Salt Lake City on October 4th, and after that, they could be favored in every remaining game they play. Sure, it was only Northern Colorado, but their defense is as good as it looked, and that defense pitched a shutout. I’m not going to say they’ll beat USC, but they’ll surprise people. They don’t play Oregon or Stanford, host USC and all of their road games in-conference are against teams that missed out on bowls. 10-2 is definitely possible. Maybe even – gasp – 11-1. 

Here’s to hoping for a better week!

 
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