NCAAF Week 2: 2-2, (50.00%) -0.2 Units
NCAAF Season: 3-5, (37.50%) -2.5 Units
Went 2-2 last week with winners on Clemson and Fresno State but losers on Hawaii and North Carolina. Will look to get things on track this week as it’s my biggest card of the young season. Here’s what I’ve got…
Michigan (-24.5): This feels like a nice spot for a Michigan blowout win. The Wolverines are coming off a 36-14 over Cincy last week but they were a bit sluggish in that game. They did have two defensive touchdowns which makes the score look a bit more impressive, but the reality is the offense only put up 22 points against the Bearcats. I think Harbaugh knows his offense isn’t clicking the way it should be right now and I think they’ll be an extra emphasis on putting up some big numbers this week. On the other end we have the Air Force Academy and their triple option offense which I think Michigan should be able to handle pretty easily. The Wolverines defense is loaded with size, speed, talent etc and I think they’ll overwhelm this Air Force offense. They are going to be too big to block and too fast to run away from. Just a simple mismatch on that end of the football. Michigan is only allowing 196 yards per game of total offense and a one dimensional team like Air Force should have a ton of trouble moving the ball. Combine that with what I assume will be Harbaugh wanting to make a statement with his offense and we have all the ingredients for a 41-3 type of game.
Memphis (+3): All the attention in this one will be on UCLA and stud QB Josh Rosen. We all took notice of their 34 point come from behind win over Texas A&M and they then throttled Hawaii last week. The Bruins are ranked and in the eyes of some Rosen is playing his was into Heisman contention. Lost in all of that I think people will overlook that this is actually a pretty damn good Memphis team. They won 8 games last year and return now Senior Riley Ferguson at QB. Ferguson struggled a bit in Memphis opener but don’t let fool you, this kid is a stud and one of the best non Power 5 conference QB’s out there. Along with Ferguson the Memphis offense also features a nice 1-2 punch at RB with Darrell Henderson and Patrick Taylor Jr. who combined for 27 carries and 300 yards in Memphis opener at UL Monroe. It’s also worth noting the motivation angle in this one. This is a game that when the schedule came out for Memphis they immediately circled it. UCLA coming to town is by far the biggest game of their season and they should be incredibly fired up for it. For UCLA this is just another game. Honestly it’s the 6th or 7th biggest game on their schedule and when you factor in what for them will be a 9 AM start I’m going to assume Memphis will be the more fired up squad. In the eyes of most this will be looked upon as a big upset if Memphis wins but it won’t surprise me in the least.
Baylor (+14): This won’t be an easy play to make with as poorly as Baylor is playing right now, but you’ve gotta treat the betting markets just as you would the stock market, buy low and sell high. Right now you can’t get much lower than Baylor is and you could make the argument they are at absolute rock bottom. After home losses to Liberty and UTSA the Bears are now 0-2 and head to the road to take on a Duke team that’s riding high at 2-0 off a blowout win over Northwestern. Again I know this won’t be a comfortable play to make but I think we’ve got some two way inflation on this line. Duke is red hot, and Baylor is a punch line right now and due to that I think this line is about 3 or 4 points higher than it should be. I personally have this one at 10.5 so at 14 as uncomfortable as it is I’m going to make the play. Simple case of taking value where you can get it no matter how ugly it seems.
Texas A&M (-23.5): This is another buy low spot here with Texas A&M. As I mentioned in the Memphis write up we all now about the 44-10 blown lead and loss at UCLA and then last week only a 10 point home win against Nicholls State. Kevin Sumlin is taking a ton of heat in College Station right now and he badly, badly wants a big win. How badly you ask? Look no further than the final minutes last week against Nicholls State. A&M had put themselves in a position where simply going into the victory formation and taking a few knees was coming to cement a 21-14 win. Instead of doing that Sumlin actually risked the game by continuing to run plays in effort to punch in another TD and beef up that score a little bit. The Aggies were able to tack on a FG for the 24-14 final but it shows had bad Sumlin wants to try and get people off his back. This is a guy who is beyond frustrated with everyone from the fans, media and in this case even a board regent are treating him that he’s dying to take it out on someone. This week his team gets to face Louisiana who has allowed 114 points (57 per game) in two games this season. That 114 didn’t exactly come against powerhouses either as they allowed 48 to SE Louisiana and then 66 to Tulsa. You can bet Sumlin is chomping at the bit to go against this defense and given the way things are going in College Station right now I don’t think he’s calling off the dogs if he gets a big lead. This feels like the kind of game where Sumlin could leave in the starters deep into the 4th quarter to just keep piling it on and take out frustration. I’m expecting a big, big A&M win.
Tulane (+34): This is another play that will be uncomfortable to make, but I think is the right side. Oklahoma is coming off that big win at Ohio State last week and I highly doubt they can bring even close to that level of energy and effort here against Tulsa. Oklahoma wanted that game last week in the worst way. Last season they were beat at home by Ohio State and they wanted this revenge game very badly. You could see that emotion from QB Baker Mayfield planting the Oklahoma flag at the 50 after the game. It was no doubt a great and impressive performance from the Sooners, but I can’t see any way that they back up that level of intensity and effort against lowly Tulane. On talent alone Oklahoma knows they can just go through the motions and win this game pretty easily. Realistically Tulane is no threat to win this game outright but if Oklahoma comes out hungover from that big Ohio State win and is just basically sleepwalking through this one then Tulane can hang around a bit. Now don’t get me wrong, when I say “hang around” I don’t mean make the game close, I simply mean keep it within a few arms length. I could see this one shaking out as a 41-17 type win for the Sooners. More than anything I just doubt they care enough, or will be pumped up enough to cover this number.
Oregon State (+22): Similar angle here with Oregon State as I took with the Tulane play. Washington State is coming off an emotional, hard fought, triple OT, come from behind win against Boise State last week. In that game they trailed 31-10 with about 10 minutes to go and they had lost starting QB Luke Falk to injury. Wazzou fought back to tie in regulation and finally pulled out a win in the 3rd OT. Now is the difficult task of following up such an emotional high against a clearly inferior team. A game like that one for Washington State is not only physically draining, but equally draining emotionally. To go from a high like that and then try to rev it back up and get fired up for a team like Oregon State isn’t easy to do. Oregon State is coming off a 48-14 loss to Minnesota and I think due to that awful performance we’re probably getting a few more points than we should with this line. It opened at 15.5 and has already shot up to 22. I think we’re getting a little over-reaction from the market here and I’m going to fly in the face of it by taking the road dog.
BYU (+15.5): I’m going to take my chances with BYU getting over 2 TD’s at home in what should be a low scoring game. The total in this game is only 41 which helps a dog this big. Simply put it’s easier to cover 15.5 points in a game with a total in the 70’s or so than it is with a total of 41. BYU has struggled a bit offensively this year but their defense is only allowing 17 points per game. As far as Wisconsin goes it’s business as usual for them, a mediocre and vanilla passing game to go with a very strong rushing attack. This is the kind of game I expect the Badgers to try and grind it out by moving the ball on the ground, which will also keep the clock moving. Playing at home and coming off two straight losses this should be a max effort type showing from the Cougars. This feels like the kind of game where if BYU can find their way to even 10 points or so they’ll probably be able to cover. I see this one ending around 24-14 or so.