NCAAF Season: 15-10-1, +4.0 Units
NCAAF Week 3: 3-5-1, -2.5 Units
Well the first losing week of the College season is now in the books and this week I’ll be looking to get back on track. Here we go…
Notre Dame (-21): I backed Notre Dame a few weeks ago after their first loss when they played Nevada. They won big and covered that game, and I’m expecting them to do the same here coming off their second loss last week against Michigan State. Despite the 1-2 record I still feel this is a very talented Notre Dame team. I’m not ready to give up on them based on a couple of close losses. I will admit there are some defensive concerns with the Irish, but luckily for them Duke isn’t the kind of team that should be able to capitalize on them much. The Blue Devils stats are a bit skewed by a 49 point performance in week 1 against NCCU, but in their last 2 games against real teams they’ve only put up 13.5 points per game. They don’t have even close to enough fire power to keep up with Notre Dame at that rate they’ll likely be scoring. For whatever problems Notre Dame as had you sure as hell can’t blame QB DeShone Kizer. Kizer has 9 TD’s to go with only 2 INT’s, while completing 63% and averaging over 9 yards per attempt. In short, he’s been excellent. This is the kind of game where I’m thinking ND hangs 40+ and Duke flat out just won’t be able to keep up. Something like 45-17 sounds about right to me. This one gets ugly.
Marshall (+25.5): Sandwich spots don’t come any better than what Louisville is dealing with this week. Coming off a big win over FSU and with a road trip to Clemson on deck, a game with Marshall just doesn’t seem that important by comparison. It’s easy to pump up college kids for a game with FSU, it’s easy to pump them up for a game with Clemson, it’s not so easy to do it for a game where you are 25.5 point favorite against Marshall. Regardless the result of Marshall/Akron last week I was going to be playing Marshall here, but the fact Marshall took a bad loss at home makes matters even better for us. With a Marshall win last week this line probably would have been 21.5 or 22, with the loss we now get some extra points. We also get a Marshall team with a bad taste in their mouth. As if they needed any more reason to be fired up for this game, coming off the loss they should be even hungrier. Obviously there’s no comparing the talent of quality of these teams, Louisville is on another level. This play is solely about a lack of motivation for Ville and the chance they come out and sleepwalk through this game. If they do, Marshall will hang around enough to cover.
UCLA (+3.5): This line a couple of points higher than where I expected it to be so I’m going to hop in there on UCLA. A few weeks ago I projected a line of about 2 in this game, so being on the other side of 3 is enough for me to get involved. The one knock I have on this Stanford team is how dependent they are on Christian McCaffery. Don’t get me wrong he’s a hell of a player to work your offense around, but the guy literally accounts for about 60% of their yardage. I think the UCLA defense is good enough to keep him somewhat under control and force Stanford to find other ways to move the ball. On the other side we can’t forget UCLA still has one of the best QB’s in the nation in Josh Rosen. Rosen is a hot shot QB who is a big time NFL prospect, which makes him worlds better than Stanford QB and game manager Ryan Burns. Through 2 games Burns has only attempted 16.5 passes per game, most of which are dump offs to McCaffery or short passes to WR’s/TE’s. This Stanford offense is just far to vanilla for me. I’ll side with the explosive Rosen and a UCLA defense that I think is talented enough to keep McCaffery from going nuts.
Arizona State (-4): I’ll admit I like Davis Webb and this Cal team, but there’s no denying the letdown spot they’ll be dealing with here against ASU. Plus the fact that ASU is looking for revenge after dropping a hard fought 48-46 battle against Cal last year. On paper I think this line is about right, but when you factor in the revenge angle and the letdown spot I think this line should be closer to 7. For as nice as Webb and company are on the offensive side of the ball, Cal can’t stop anyone on defense. SDSU and Texas went nuts on them, and even lowly Hawaii put up a 31 spot against them. This Sun Devils offense led by QB Manny Wilkins and the RB duo of Demario Richard and Kalen Ballage is plenty talented enough to light up the scoreboard Saturday night. I’m honestly expecting the Devils to flirt with 50 points here, maybe more.
Florida State (-6): I’m going to take advantage of some over-reaction to the FSU loss to Louisville and hit the Noles now that this game has dropped under a TD. Before the season I had this game lined at 13, so to now find at 6 is something I can’t pass on. Granted South Florida is a bit better than I expected I just can’t agree with this line being as low as it is. I respect Jimbo Fisher enough to know he’ll have his team ready to go on Saturday. They won’t lay down and feel sorry for themselves, instead they’ll work hard and do what needs to be done to get back on track. One bad game (and yes it was awful) isn’t enough for me to completely change what I think of a team. USF hasn’t played anyone yet this year, they’ve had 3 cakewalk games against very weak opponents. The jump they’ll see in talent level against FSU will be quite steep and frankly I don’t think they’ll be able to handle it.