NCAAF Aug/Sept: 0-1-0, (0.00%) -1.1 Units
NCAAF Season: 0-1-0, (0.00%) -1.1 Units
A complete swing and a miss with New Mexico State in Week 0. The Wyoming defense just overwhelmed and dominated the Aggies offense. Simple as that and a loss to start the season. Hopefully some better luck as we move to Week 1…
New Mexico State (+22): Right back to the well with NMSU here as I think this line is inflated due to what we saw on Saturday night. There’s no doubt the Aggies had a bad night, but now at 22 I feel this line is too high. It opened at 17.5 and has moved 4.5 points since that game on Saturday. This is a pretty wild over-reaction, especially when you factor in that Minnesota hasn’t even played a game yet. It’s not like people are drastically changing their view or power numbers on the Gophers, so a 4.5 move as a reaction to one game just seems a bit much to me. I know the easy thinking is this is a non power 5 team who was destroyed at home, and now hits the road to take on a power 5 squad. They should get destroyed, right? Well the Gophers aren’t exactly your typical power 5 team. They’ll very likely finish towards the bottom of the BIG 10 and should struggle to try and get bowl eligible. We’ll start things off at QB for the Gophers where they aren’t terribly loaded with talent. In fact they only have one scholarship QB on the roster and he didn’t win the job. Instead winning the job was Zack Annexstad who is get this… a walk on, true freshman. Not very common to a true freshman, walk on come into a power 5 team and start right away. This figures to be a low scoring game, but even in New Mexico State can score 10 that means Minnesota will need to score over 31 in order to cover. I just don’t think they have the fire power to put up a number like that. For as bad as NMSU looked Saturday night I do think there is an advantage to at least having a game under their belt. They have a game on tape and a week to know where they most need to improve. I’m not saying they’ll go in here and come out with a win, but I do expect a more competitive showing. Something like 27-14 Minnesota would seem about right.
Florida Atlantic (+21): We all know Oklahoma is a power year after year. Lane Kiffin however is on his way to building a nice program in Boca with FAU. The Owls are off an 11 win season and the level of talent on the roster is only growing. I haven’t seen an official QB decision for the opener but with 3 solid transfers to choose from he has some nice options. It’ll be Robison (Oklahoma trasnfer), Johnson (Florida State transfer), or Rafe Peavey (SMU transfer). The good news for whoever the QB ends up being is that they can turn around and hand the ball to Devin Singletary. Singletary went nuts last year with 1920 rushing yards and 32 TD’s on 6.4 yards per carry. He’s a bit under the radar playing in C-USA but he’s one of the most productive RB’s in the nation. He was a workhorse with 301 carries last year so you can assume Kiffin will try to slow the pace of this game a bit and keep things on the ground heavily. Last year the Owls had a nearly 2:1 run/pass ratio and Singletary is the key behind that. Also back is their top WR Willie Wright who caught 56 balls last season. For Oklahoma it’s now the Kyler Murray era and no denying he’s one of the best athletes in college football. On top of his football skills he was also a top 10 baseball pick by the A’s and most see his real future on the diamond instead of the gridiron. He saw a little bit of action last year behind Mayfield and now is ready to step in and start. The talent isn’t a question, but there is still a lack of experience and the fact he’s a little raw. I could see him being a big time weapon by mid season but think the first few games could be a bit of a learning experience. I’m not terribly sold on the Oklahoma defense either. It’s a BIG 12 team and really outside of TCU, nobody over there plays much defense, Oklahoma even is included there. FAU has plenty of talent on offense and if they find their way to the mid-high 20’s, Oklahoma would need to flirt with 50 to cover this number. I’ll challenge them to do it.
Navy (-10): This line was as high as 17 at some shops just last month. It was then down to 14 this weekend, and after Hawaii’s win over Colorado State it has now come all the way down to 10. All I can say is thank you very much to whoever is betting this thing down. I think Navy should be able to handle Hawaii pretty easily in what looks to be a clear let down spot. Everyone knows what you’ll get with Navy. Run, run, run and more run. They only attempted 102 passes last season which works out to under 8 pass attempts per game on average. They’ll run that triple option down your throat and it’s very tough to stop. Last year as a team they averaged 351.3 yards per game rushing. Leading the way were Zach Abey and Malcolm Perry who combined for about 2600 rush yards and 30 TD’s. Both of which are back, but now in different roles. Perry will now step in as the starting QB, and Abey who was the starting QB last year, will now play some RB and WR, but still be a key part of the offense. Hawaii held on for dear life and won that game 43-34 last week. Luckily for them Colorado State just ran out of time because if that was a 5 quarter game, the Rams win. They scored 27 points in the last 18 minutes of that game and ended up with 653 yards of total offense. Hawaii held in there defensively for 2.5 quarters, but after that Colorado State was marching down the field like playing Madden on rookie difficulty level. I expect Navy to do their thing and run the ball all over this Rainbow Warriors defense. Honestly they could flirt with 500 rushing yards, it really could be that ugly. On the other side I’ll admit that Cole McDonald looked very good, but he’ll face a tougher defense here than he did against the Rams. Navy figures to be about middle of the pack, or maybe slightly better than that defensively. Mediocre however will be a hell of a lot better than what Colorado State showed. They looked as bad and unprepared as you can get. Time will tell if that was more the Hawaii offense or the Rams defense, but for now I’m leaning towards it being more a product of horrid defense. Navy is the kind of team perfectly built to play with a lead. They run 90% of the time so if they get ahead by 10 or 14 points it’s just keep that foot on the throat mode for them. I think they roll along the lines of 42-20.
Maryland (+13.5): There’s some hype around Texas this year as Tom Herman enters his 2nd year on campus. The Horns finished 7-6, won a bowl game, and hope to bring some positive momentum into this season. They are ranked #23 in the polls, I’m not a big rankings guy but my point is there are people out there that believe in this team. While in general I agree they should be improved, I think 13.5 is a bit high in this game. It’s technically a neutral site game, but with the game being played in Landover at Fed Ex field it’s essentially a Maryland home game. They should have more fans in the stands and obviously they are closer to home than Texas will be coming from Austin. To start with I just don’t know how much firepower this Texas offense has. Last year they averaged 398 yards per game which was 66th in the nation and returning at QB is the solid but far from spectacular Sam Ehlinger. Ehlinger had his moments last year, but at the end of the day he completed under 60% of his passes and checked in at under 7 yards per pass attempt. Not exactly sparking numbers. The rushing attack wasn’t much better as no player on the roster reached 400 yards and as a team they averaged 3.6 yards per carry. Now the counter to those points will be the talent level is higher this year and Herman is still in the process of getting his guys in there. While to an extent that’s true I just don’t know if we see a huge jump this year, and especially don’t think we see it in week 1. Maryland is a team that prefers to keep it on the ground and they’ll try to run the ball and slow the pace of this game. The RB duo of Ty Johnson and Lorenzo Harrison III will be one of the major strengths of this Maryland team. That’s an under the radar combo that should be one of the most productive backfields in the BIG 10 this year. I also lean to the under in this game and the line movement shows that’s probably the kind of game we get. The lower scoring more grind it out type of game we get, the more that favors Maryland. I think they hang around and keep this game close throughout. I’m not expecting a win for the Terps, but a narrow loss of about 28-21 wouldn’t surprise me a bit.
New Mexico State (+22)
Florida Atlantic (+21)