Week 2 Picks

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The first week of the 2015 season is in the books and let the overreacting commence!  Don’t start second guessing your picks already – unless you happen to have Texas, Stanford, or Penn St.  Looks like Texas is just terrible and Charlie Strong’s rebuilding will take a little while longer to take off.  Stanford needs to have an offense that passes the ball further than 8 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.  And Penn St. still can’t block anybody.  If you’re in first place after this week, that’s not a good thing.  No one has ever led this league wire-to-wire.

Looks like Vegas is staying in business.  While we picked 7 games correctly straight up, we were a horrendous 3-7 versus the spread.  It’s hard to remember that spreads aren’t necessarily how much Vegas thinks a team will win by.  There are a lot of factors that go into it so they can get equal action on both teams.

Texas A&M looked great in week 1.  Where have we seen this before?  Oh, last year.  So let’s have Texas A&M get their first ever home win over a ranked team in the Kevin Sumlin era before we start jumping on that bandwagon again.  Notre Dame looked really good.  But it was against Texas.  The Josh Rosen hype machine is going to be spinning out of control.  Expect that to continue for a couple more weeks as they have UNLV up next on the schedule.  Oregon looks like they aren’t going to miss a beat on offense.  That defense though…  And sorry to everyone that had Toledo and LSU on their roster.  You lose out on some points this year.  Especially if you have LSU.  That was going to be at least 80 points.

Week 2 is not that great a slate of games.  There’s the big Oregon-Michigan State match up and Oklahoma-Tennessee.  That’s about it.  So it should be another big scoring week across the leagues.  If you don’t pick up big points this week, it gets tough to make up ground once conference season gets rolling.  Until you get to the SEC annual bye week in November where they all play an FCS foe.  So if you have an SEC team, you can expect some extra points late in the year.

Onto Week 2…

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_text_separator title=”Saturday, September 12, 12:00 PM ET” title_align=”separator_align_left” color=”grey”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1440993973481{margin-right: 10px !important;}”][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1441769310028{margin-right: 10px !important;padding-right: 0px !important;}”]Houston

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Louisville (-12.5)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

Louisville had a tough opening week against playoff contender Auburn.  Auburn went up big and Louisville was able to close it late, but the outcome was never really in doubt.  Which really doesn’t make sense because they won the turnover battle, had more total yards, and had more first downs.  But they didn’t convert 2 times in the red zone and had a turnover returned for a touchdown.  The defense was able to pick off 3 passes and hold Auburn in check.  If the offense can capitalize on their red zone opportunities and not give up the big plays, they should be fine this year.  Houston is coming a win against an over-matched FCS opponent.  But the offense was clicking for them, as you would expect from Houston.  New head coach, and former Ohio State offensive coordinator, Tom Herman, had them firing on all cylinders as they racked up 621 yards of offense and 7.65 yards per play.  That’s tough to do even against an FCS opponent.  Houston is definitely a top contender in the AAC this year and shouldn’t be overlooked.  But Louisville should come out really focused on finishing drives and limit their mistakes to build some momentum to roll into conference play as a contender in the ACC, while Houston takes some time to adjust to a much better opponent than their opening week foe.  PICK: Louisville 31, Houston 24

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_text_separator title=”Saturday, September 12, 12:30 PM ET” title_align=”separator_align_left” color=”grey”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1440994016639{margin-right: 10px !important;}”][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_column_text]Appalachian St.

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#12 Clemson (-17)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]

You know it’s a weak slate of games when a game we are highlighting is an ACC team taking on a Sun Belt team.  But Appalachian State does not appear to be a run of the mill Sun Belt team this year.  It took them awhile to adjust the step up to FBS, but they have been on a roll since the middle of last year.  They have won 7 straight games dating back to last year.  This year they will be favored in every game but the Clemson game.  They have a strong defensive line and can put up points.  But Clemson is playing at home and has their sights set on an ACC championship.  They had a warm up game against Wofford last week, but as long as Deshaun Watson stays healthy, their offense can compete with any team in the country.  They can’t take App State lightly, but they should handle them.  Their goal is to put away the Mountaineers early, because they have a short week as they have to travel to Louisville for a Thursday night game.  PICK: Clemson 42, Appalachian State 21

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_text_separator title=”Saturday, September 12, 3:30 PM ET” title_align=”separator_align_left” color=”grey”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1440994034068{margin-right: 10px !important;}”][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_column_text]#9 Notre Dame

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Virginia (+12)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

Notre Dame looked really good beating Texas.  The offense racked up over 500 total yards, and although it was Texas, the Texas defense is generally considered solid.  Malik Zaire completed the 2nd highest percentage of passes in a game in Notre Dame history, and they have a pretty decorated history.  But most importantly, he didn’t turn the ball over.  That has been the biggest problem with Notre Dame QBs the past couple years.  The Irish did suffer a big blow losing RB Tarean Foster for the season.  But if Zaire can perform at a high level all season, they will be able to overcome it.  Virginia had a tough opening weekend.  They got torched by freshman sensation Josh Rosen in the opening week.  This schedule is not going to help coach Mike London get off the hot seat.  It’s hard to see Virginia overcome the tough Irish defense.  They won’t be able to grind it out, and they are not a big play offense that can hit a couple times or two.  Last year they were 92nd in the nation for long plays from scrimmage (plays 10+ yards downfield), and that trend in continuing this year.  Look for Notre Dame to put the smack down on an over-matched Virginia team and continue their march towards the Playoff, much to the chagrin of all SEC coaches (cough, cough, Gary Pinkel). PICK: Notre Dame 35, Virginia 17

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California (-13.5)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

Like everyone expected, Cal’s offense looked  awesome in week 1.  Jared Goff put up over 300 yards and 3 TDs.  He is now in year 3 of Sonny Dykes’ air raid system, so the offense shouldn’t be a problem.  The question will be the defense.  We didn’t learn much with them playing Grambling the first week, so a step up in competition this week should start giving a better indication.  San Diego St. is a solid team.  They have average over 8 wins per year the past 5 seasons.  San Diego St. held opponents under 20 ppg last year and returned most of that defense this year.  This should be a good test for Cal’s offense.  Cal needs to win this game so they can have some cushion in PAC 12 play to be bowl eligible.  Their schedule is brutal this year with road conference games at Washington, Utah, UCLA, Oregon, and Stanford.  Cal’s offense overcomes the Aztecs’ defense for a win.   PICK: California 31, San Diego State 23

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#23 Tennessee (Even)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

The game is the ultimate early turning point for both teams!!  OU QB Baker Mayfield looks like he’ll have a field day against that Tennessee secondary.  Tenn beat Bowling Green easily b/c of their running game but BG stayed around for a while by throwing for 433 yds.  That’s a lot.  OU has a great running game and Baker Mayfield can sling the ball around.  You can certainly expect a lot of scoring on both sides.  OU’s problem is a young O-Line that could get handled at times by a solid Tenn D-Line…OU struggled in the beginning to get some push against Akron.  Look for that to be an important matchup to decide this game.  OU runs a quick offense that clearly tired out Akron later in the game, the same thing is to be expected against Tenn…if OU is up late in the 3rd qtr it’s going to be hard for the Vols to keep up.  Look…Tennessee is  a good team, I’m just not buying the Vols yet, they’ll struggle with consistency from a very young team going up against a possible top 10 team in OU.  It’s going to be a great game regardless.  It’s a Pick Em game and I am definitely taking the Sooners here, they finally have a formidable D which could bring them back into the National Title picture….first they gotta win this game. PICK: Oklahoma 42, Tennessee 35

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S. Carolina (-7.5)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

Kentucky and South Carolina both open up their SEC campaigns this weekend in Columbia after each taking their openers.  South Carolina still can’t score, only managing to put up 17 points on a North Carolina defense that has been complete garbage in recent years (or maybe Chizik is already working his magic). But… they did manage to hold UNC’s high powered offense to 13 points thanks to forcing 3 turnovers including a huge interception on 4th and goal with 4 minutes left to play.  Connor Mitch tried his best Chris Chandler impersonation in struggling to stay on the field, and didn’t look effective when he was on it (9-22, 122 yards).  SC is going to need to find a way to get the ball to Pharoh Cooper more consistently if they want to do anything this year.  Kentucky recovered to pull out a 40-33 win over UL-Lafayette, after blowing a 33-10 second half lead. Kentucky was +3 in the turnover margin, but were vulnerable to the big play giving up TD passes of 35 and 37 yards and a 75 yard TD run. A lot of high hopes for the Wildcats coming into the year, and those might be tempered a little with how they played after jumping out to a big lead. Look for the defense to be the difference again for SC in this game and the Gamecocks to pull it out at home. PICK USC 24, UK 20

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#5 Michigan St. (-3.5)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

The Oregon Ducks travel to East Lansing on Saturday to take on the Michigan State Spartans bringing us a top-10 non-conference matchup for the second straight season. Both teams are coming off Week 1 victories that illustrated that neither team is ready to take on the Ohio States of the college football world. However, a victory in this game should provide a nice push for the winner into the top four of the rankings heading into Week 3.
Last season, Oregon used their depth and speed on offense to overwhelm Michigan State in Autzen Stadium. The victory helped propel the Ducks into the College Football Playoff and Mariota to a Heisman Trophy. The stakes this season should be pretty similar. Both teams are still in the process of breaking in new players after losing major talent and leadership this offseason.
Oregon turns the offense over to Vernon Adams Jr., a graduate transfer from FCS Eastern Washington, who brings a strong arm and confident playmaking ability to the position in 2015. Against his former team in Week 1, Adams went 19-of-25 for 246 yards and two touchdowns through the air while rushing for 94 yards on 14 carries. Defensively, the Ducks are working on replacing their entire secondary and still have work to do after surrendering 438 yards through the air in the season opener.
Michigan State has the benefit of continuity under center with QB Connor Cook returning for his senior season. Cook looked good against the Ducks last season for nearly three quarters and finished the game 29-of-47 for 343 yards with a pair of touchdowns but threw two interceptions that helped Oregon secure the win. The vaunted Spartan defense is also breaking in a new secondary and a new defensive coordinator and the growing pains were evident in Week 1′s 37-24 win over the Western Michigan Broncos when they allowed 365 yards through the air and sweated out an upset attempt into the fourth quarter.
The difference in this game will be which defense has made the most improvement from Week 1 and which offense can control the pace of play. I believe that home-field advantage provides just enough of a push to help generate a couple Duck turnovers and to get the Spartans the win.  MSU covers by 1/2 a point. PICK: Michigan St. 38 Oregon 34

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_text_separator title=”Saturday, September 12, 8:00 PM ET” title_align=”separator_align_left” color=”grey”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1440994103384{margin-right: 10px !important;}”][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_column_text]Temple

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Cincinnati (-7)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]This Saturday night Cincinnati takes on the Temple Owls.  In week one both teams had relatively easy victories even though the opponents were vastly different in regards to being a quality opponent.  The Temple defense shut down Penn St. 27-10 and sacked Christian Hackenberg TEN times – good luck with your draft stock Mr. Hackenberg behind that O-Line.  On the other side the Cincinnati offense did what was expected and dominated lowly Alabama A&M 52-10.  In week 2 the AAC along with crazy college football fans such as anyone reading this will have a pretty good understanding who is going to be a title contender from the east – is the Temple defense going to be able to shut down the Cincinnati offense?

In my opinion we shall see truly how good the Temple Owls defense is when they travel to Cincinnati on Saturday – the Cincinnati high flying offense should pose a slightly (ok…vastly) tougher test for the Temple defense.  If this game was in Philly it might be a different story, but with the game being played ‘On Campus’ in Cincinnati and the fact Cincy’s offense is a lot better than Penn St. I am going with the Bearcats to take down the Owls…..and cover that spread.  PICK: CINCY 30, TEMPLE 20[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_text_separator title=”Saturday, September 12, 9:15 PM ET” title_align=”separator_align_left” color=”grey”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1440994118806{margin-right: 10px !important;}”][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_column_text]#14 LSU

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#25 Miss. St. (+4.5)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

LSU didn’t get their warm up game due to weather, I gotta think that is going to hurt production in “Game 1”.  Miss St got more than they wanted against S. Miss in their “warm up” game.  I’m a little worried for LSU coming out against Miss St to start the season…especially since the game is @ Miss St.  Davis Wade Stadium is a tough place to play with all of those cow bells (the CFB version of vuvuzelas).  LSU QB Brandon Harris is no doubt a great talent, it has yet to be seen against any team of merit.  His WRs are top notch and having RB Fournette in the backfield doesn’t hurt.  So the offense should hum along, right?  It all depends on Harris.  Miss St showed that their secondary is in big trouble if they can’t sort out their play, the D-Line was formidable against S Miss…LSU should adjust their play call to throw the ball more often than not….then again it’s Les Miles and his coaching strategies can be labeled as questionable at best.  So what is going to happen? I believe that Miss St capitalizes on too many LSU mistakes and the passing game for LSU isn’t what it needs to be just yet.  Clanga Clanga stirs it up and wins at home.  PICK: Miss St 27 LSU 23

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BYU (+3)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

Can we all settle down after the Hail Mary that gutted Nebraska and everyone in the surrounding area?  BYU has to go with their backup QB after Taysom Hill went down with a foot injury, gone for the season in 3 of his 4 years, unreal.  BYU’s backup QB Mangum is certainly no slouch, he’s 22 years old and before he went on his mission Mangum was considered a top prospect.  Once he shakes off the rust of not playing since 2012 he’s going to be good, anyone on the back end of the schedule is going to have their hands full.  Both of these teams are “sleeper” non-Power 5 teams that could get some consideration for the Playoff if they run the table….but I highly doubt any of that happens.  Boise looked great in the 1st half against Washington, the 2nd half was god awful….they couldn’t do anything on offense and got lucky to pull out a win against Washington.  The problem is the passing game for Boise, it’s BYU’s weakness, if they don’t fix it this week they’ll be in major trouble.  There is no reason for me to believe that Boise will suddenly throw for 300+ yds in this game. Get ready for BYU QB Mangum to be the talk of the town and BYU to get some more attention by the pundits and setting up a great game against UCLA in Week 3.  Calling a small upset here, BYU by a touchdown.   PICK: BYU 30 Boise 23

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Season Record – Straight Up: 7-3

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Season Record – Versus Spread: 3-7

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Upset of the Week: 0-1

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