Thursday, September 8, 2016

College Football: The Week 2 FIVE. (We all need a little bit of something)

Last week was just one of those weeks. Yes, it was bad. 1-4 bad. The kind of bad that makes you want to saddle up to the bar and order a some rounds while dumping $20's into the video poker machine.

But things are looking up, because we have a full weekend of football coming our way and a fresh new FIVE, ready to go....

1. Louisville (-15) @ Syracuse. If you weren't impressed with the performance of Lamar Jackson last week for Louisville then it's possible that you didn't see the game?  While Louisville romped Syracuse had a workman-like 33-7 win over Colgate. I think the Cardinals are just too much. UL 52 SU 10 Louisville to cover 15.

2. Texas Tech @ Arizona State (-3) While I'm not yet totally ready to buy into the "Texas Tech is a contender this year in the Big XII" story, I am ready to buy into the "Arizona State is not very good" story. I think Tech gets the upset here. Texas Tech 38 Ariz State 31. Texas Tech to pull the upset on the ML.

3. Boston College (-17) @ UMass. Pretty short and sweet here. I'm not sure Boston College's offense can SCORE 17 this year, much less beat anyone by more than that. Boston College 13 UMass 0. UMass to cover 17.

4. Ohio @ Kansas (-3). Talk about your irrational exuberance. Kansas gets one (sort of) field rushing win over Rhode Island (FCS, last year's record, 1-10) and suddenly bettors think they are running the table.  I'm kidding, of course, but Ohio is not horrible.  Ohio 27 Kansas 28. Ohio to cover 3. (I would have bet them on the ML but I already have one straight up upset in the FIVE with Texas Tech)

5. S. Carolina @ Mississippi State (-7). This week's SEC pillow-fight brings us one team that stretched itself to beat....Vandy, and another team that lost to U. S. A. (South Alabama). How Miss State is a TD favorite here is beyond me. This feels like a FG game.  S.C. 17 Miss St. 20 S. Carolina to cover.

Games considered but which did not make the cut. (Like Ms. Delaware in almost every Ms. America pageant.)

Cincinnati (-6) @ Purdue. True, Cincinnati did not look good last week early, Starting slow before finally putting away UT-Martin  28-7. And the Boilermakers defense against Eastern Kentucky?  There's a LOT to suggest that Cincy is going to run away with this. EXCEPT, they get Houston next Thursday on a short week and could be looking ahead. This game was originally in my five but I took it out because the last point brings in too much uncertainty.  Cincy 35 Purdue 24

Arkansas @ TCU (-7.5) This could be the weekend's most compelling game. And I wanted to put it into my FIVE but I've got a mental block against backing coach Bielema. That said, I think Arkansas is in here with a real chance. Arkansas 24 TCU 27.

Iowa State @ Iowa (-15). This intra-State rivalry CAN produce some surprises. But I don't think it will this year. Iowa is the MUCH stronger team.  Iowa State 3 Iowa 28.

BYU @ Utah (-3.5). Maybe the best part of bowl season last year was Brent Musberger calling these two teams in the Las Vegas Bowl. The good news is that QB Taysom Hill got one last year of eligibility. The bad news is I have zero idea of what this Utah team has.  BYU 27 Utah 28. (Or, Utah could win/lose by 50. I really don't know)

North Carolina (-9) @ Illinois. I don't know about you but I'm not ready to say that any program coached by Lovie Smith is a college football contender. That said, I think 9 is a high number for this game. UNC 27 Illinois 24.

Virginia Tech @ Tennessee (-11.5). Will be interesting to watch only because its being played at a race track. This is the game where I, sort of, expect UT-Knoxville to start putting it together. Plus, I've a sneaking suspicion that App State might be a tougher out this year than Va Tech. Va Tech 10 UT-Knoxville 38.

UNLV @ UCLA (-26). Either UCLA is going to be angry that they lost to aTm and are going to try and put a whupping on UNLV, or they're going to go full-on Mora and come out unfocused and struggle. This is Mora, I'm betting the latter. Plus, UNLV is on the ascendancy right now. UNLV 24 UCLA 35.

Washington State @ Boise State (-10.5) Last year the Cougs blew one to Portland State and then started slowly turning it around before finishing with a good season. This year they had better be fully woke because Boise on the Blue Turf is serious stuff. Wazzou 27 Boise 35.

Lamar @ Houston (N/L). Something to watch for:  Does Greg Ward Jr. play. I don't think he should if his shoulder is sore. Cincinnati is Thursday. Lamar 3 Houston 56.

Penn State @ Pitt (-5.5). This line keeps creeping toward Pitt and might get to 6 or 6.5 by game day. If it gets to 7, I'd jump all over Penn State. PSU 24 Pitt 27.

Rice @ Army (-10). I just wanted to include this game so that I could write about the Black Knights being a 10 point favorite.  Pretty cool. Rice 10 Army 35.

And finally......

UCF @ Michigan (-35.5)

I hate big lines like this.  I understand them, but I hate them.  Because no matter what Michigan does it will be looked at by the National Press as "meh". Next week is an improved Colorado team, and then Big Blue starts conference play.  In the middle of that they need to take care of business and dispatch UCF with prejudice. This is a school who's talent well is dry. George O'Leary might be a folk hero there, but he left this program with little to work with.  I also want to see Speight continue to improve, and a power running game emerge.  UCF 6 Michigan 59.

Good luck to you if you're betting, don't forget to NOT take any of these picks to heart or you might be backed off for sheer insanity.  Seriously, I'm an accountant in Houston for goodness' sake.

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