Week 2 is one of my favorite weeks of the season because you get so much overreaction from week 1. This team is great, that team sucks, this team is finished, that team is going to be a title contender, etc, etc. For the most part teams aren’t actually as good or as bad as they showed in just one game. Take everything with a grain of salt. Here’s what I have for week 2….
UCLA (+30): After what we saw in week 1 from both Oklahoma and UCLA it isn’t terribly surprising that this line has steamed from 25 to 30 already this week. Oklahoma ushered in the Kyler Murray era with a 63-14 throttling of Florida Atlantic and UCLA lost 26-17 at home to Cincinnati. Oklahoma was ahead 56-0 by the middle of the 3rd quarter and dominated FAU about as badly as a team can be dominated. They had 650 yards of total offense and moved up and down the field with ease all afternoon. Here I suspect they could have an eye looking ahead to Iowa State though. As you may remember the Cyclones went into Norman last year and beat the Sooners, so this is a revenge game for OU. You know they’ll want to avenge that loss and should be pretty fired up to do so. I don’t think they are in any danger of losing this game to UCLA, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they aren’t quite as pumped up as they were last week, or as much as they will be next week. As far as the Bruins go, they lost that game last week but did actually win the yardage battle 306-304 over Cincy. The 306 yards offensively isn’t much to hang your hat on, but 304 yards allowed is a nice defensive showing. Obviously the quality of opponent is drastically going to increase against Oklahoma, but I do think the UCLA defense is at least good enough to keep from putting up the kind of numbers they did last week. Offensively it looks as though Dorian Thompson-Robinson will step in and make his first career start. I’ve never been a big fan of Wilton Speight and this honestly might end up being an upgrade for the Bruins. I see a 42-20 type win for Oklahoma here.
Colorado State (+14): Colorado State has been arguably the most disappointing team in the nation so far this season. They laid an egg and lost to Hawaii as a big favorite in their opener, and then followed that up with a blowout loss at the hands of Colorado last week. Now they sit at 0-2 with already 88 points allowed this season. For as bad as all that is, it now affords with a nice buy low opportunity. On the positive side QB KJ Carta-Samuels has been slinging the ball all over the field. He’s averaging 356 yards per game through the air and has 6 TD’s to go with only 2 INT’s. I was somewhat bullish on this Rams team coming into the season and if there’s ever a time to bounce back and show some pride this is it. I like some of the things I’ve been hearing from Bobo this week and it sounds like they are practicing well and determined to have a strong showing. On the Arkansas side it’s tough to take away too much from a 55-20 win last week at home against Eastern Illinois. It is however worth nothing that while the score shows a 35 point win, they only outgained EIU in total yardage 433 to 357. Of most concern is that as a team they had 34 carries for just 80 yards on the ground. That isn’t exactly ideal if they are playing from the lead as far as looking to put a game away. Colorado State with that impressive passing attack is exactly the kind of team you want if trailing late and forced into pass mode. Ultimately I think we see a hungry and desperate Rams team and with 2 TD’s in my back pocket I’ll take a shot with them at home.
California (+3): BYU is coming off a win as a double digit road dog last weekend at Arizona. I think that game however says more about Arizona than it does BYU. The Cougars actually led this game 28-10 going into the 4th before Arizona put up a few late TD’s to make the game look closer than it actually was. The BYU defense took away Tate’s running game and forced him to become a pocket passer and that’s how you beat that Arizona team. I give them credit for coming up with a nice road win, but Arizona just isn’t that impressive to me at all. Keep Tate in the pocket, force him to throw, and that’s a very beatable team. On the Cal side there are some questions at QB as it doesn’t look like they are going to announce a starter until right around game time. Ross Bowers started last week but didn’t see any action in the 2nd half as Chase Garbers and even Brandon McIlwain saw time the rest of the way. Garbers and McIlwain are more dual threat kind of guys and will keep a defense honest. That said BYU has proven they can handle a running QB as I already touched on how they did that last week against Tate. My guess would be Bowers starts but it wouldn’t be shocking to see 2 or even all 3 guys get some snaps. This figures to be a low scoring game as neither offense is very explosive or threatening. The Cal defense was excellent last week against North Carolina, especially taking away the pass. UNC QB Nate Elliott was only 15 for 35 with 137 yards and 4 INT’s. It was truly a dominant and swarming defensive showing. Here they’ll face Tanner Mangum who in my opinion has been pretty mediocre his entire career. I made this game a PK personally so I feel like I’m getting a field goal for free. This is the kind of low scoring game that figures to be close and 3 points goes a long way. I’ll be on the short road dog.
Rice (+17): Hawaii has been putting up video game numbers offensively in their first two games but I think they could come back to earth a bit in this one. I’m not saying they’ll get beat or anything, but now as a 17 point favorite I think we’ve found a nice sell high spot. Through two games Hawaii is averaging 43 points and 617 yards per game, there’s no denying the numbers are impressive. Rice also already has two games under their belt and were surprisingly in the game last week against Houston. They ultimately lost 45-27 but were actually leading 27-17 midway through the 3rd quarter. As a team Rice is 9th in the nation with 310 rush yards per game and you can bet running the ball will be their plan of attack on Saturday night. Simply put, the more time they have the ball, the less time the high powered Hawaii offense will have it. Hawaii’s defense is certainly vulnerable and if Rice could put up 27 against Houston I see no reason they couldn’t get into the 30’s against the Rainbow Warriors. For as great as the offense has been, the defense has allowed 532 yards per game so far this season. I have very little doubt that Rice should be able to chew them up on he ground and move the ball fairly easily. My line for this game was only 13.5 and I think there’s some recency bias with Hawaii based on how they’ve opened the season. It’ll likely be a shootout as reflected by the total steaming from 65 to 71.5. I see a Hawaii win but not expecting a blowout, something along the lines of 42-31 Hawaii would be along the lines of what I’m looking for.
Colorado State (+14)