Following a break-even first two weeks of the season, starting with Week Zero, we are ramping up our efforts to bring you all the winners for the college football weekend!
Oregon at Ohio State (-14.5) (O/U 63.5)
On the surface, one might think to take the Buckeyes in this one after they pulled away from Minnesota last week. Oregon struggled against a game Fresno State. I’m going the other direction and taking the Ducks in this one. Over a two-score buffer makes me confident that Oregon can keep this game closer than Vegas expects. The Ohio State defense struggled to stop the run last week. Oregon is a far more explosive team than Minnesota. Ohio State wins, but Oregon keeps it close.
Picks: Oregon +14.5, Under 63.5
Florida (-28.5) at South Florida (O/U 59)
The Florida Gator offense is evolving under quarterback Emory Jones. Jones remains a work in progress as a passer. I would anticipate the Gators being a more ball-controlled style of offense in the short term. The Gators should not have any issue winning this one, but a four-touchdown favorite is too rich for my blood.
Picks: South Florida +28.5, Under 59
South Carolina (-2.5) at East Carolina (O/U 56.5)
I know it was against Eastern Illinois, but South Carolina looked great last week. The Gamecocks have a balanced offensive attack. Their defense is underrated as well. I would have thought this spread would have been 2-3 points higher. Landing at less than a field goal, I’ll take South Carolina on the road here.
Picks: South Carolina -2.5, Over 56.5
Miami (OH) at Minnesota (-20) (O/U 54)
Playing a tightly contested game against Ohio State a week ago, this is a big ‘let down’ spot for Minnesota. Compound that they lost the catalyst of their offense, running back Mohammed Ibrahim, to a season-ending leg injury. I expect the Golden Gophers to be victorious, but this could be a nail-biter.
Picks: Miami (OH) +20, Under 54
Toledo at Notre Dame (-16.5) (O/U 55)
Notre Dame squeaked out an overtime victory over Florida State, and although victorious, their poor performance resonated with head coach Brian Kelly. I would imagine that Kelly is kicking some tail in practice this week and that the Fighting Irish come out rolling on all cylinders at home. I’ll take the Irish they win going away.
Picks: Notre Dame -16.5, Over 55
UAB at Georgia (-24.5) (O/U 46)
You would think that this might be a ‘let down’ spot for Georgia. Coming on the heels of a victory over Clemson, perhaps the Bulldogs are looking past UAB. I want to contradict that narrative. The Georgia offense looked pathetic for most of the Clemson game. J.T. Daniels will look sharp in the home opener against UAB. I’ll take Georgia’s offense to rebound. I’ll give the points.
Picks: Georgia -24.5, Over 46
Iowa at Iowa State (-4) (O/U 46)
Iowa State limped to a six-point victory over Northern Iowa last week. One of the preseason darlings, the Cyclone’s looked sluggish. I have to imagine Iowa State plays significantly better in this one. The battle for the state of Iowa has some sneaky shootout appeal.
Picks: Iowa State -4, Over 46
Texas A&M (-17) at Colorado (O/U 50.5)
I’m not sure how many people paid attention to Texas A&M last week. The Aggies’ 31-point victory over Kent State may have flown under the radar. Texas A&M is tremendous and balanced. I don’t see how Colorado can keep up in this one.
Picks: Texas A&M -17, Over 50.5
Appalachian State at Miami (FL) (-9) (O/U 54.5)
Nothing will get your season off on a good note like getting thumped by Alabama. Miami ran into an insurmountable opponent last week. The Hurricanes’ season can go right down the tubes if they don’t turn it around this week. I expect Miami to look much better, playing against a much more inferior opponent.
Picks: Miami (FL) -9, Under 54.5
NC State (-2.5) at Mississippi State (O/U 55.5)
Mississippi State stormed back a week ago to snatch a victory away from Louisiana Tech 35-34. The Bulldogs opener will not solicit much confidence. This week will be a bounce-back week. I believe Mississippi State will put together a good showing through all four quarters against NC State. The fact that Mississippi State is an underdog in this one surprised me slightly. I will take the Bulldogs not only to cover but to win this game outright.
Picks: Mississippi State +2.5, Over 55.5
Texas (-7) at Arkansas (O/U 56)
Texas overwhelmed Louisiana-Lafayette with a rushing attack led by Bijan Robinson. It would be a natural, knee-jerk reaction to jump all over the Longhorns in this spot. The moment you believe in the Texas program, you are left disappointed. On the road, facing an SEC team in Arkansas, this game feels like a trap. Give me the Razorbacks to keep the game under one score, and I like the under as well.
Picks: Arkansas +7, Under 56
Washington at Michigan (-6.5) (O/U 48.5)
Similar to the Texas/Arkansas game, the Washington/Michigan game feels like a trap! The Wolverines jumped all over Western Michigan last week and never looked back. In a primetime spot, this is where Michigan falters. I am very close to picking the Huskies to win this game outright. At the minimum, I will take Washington to cover, and I’ll take the over.
Picks: Washington +6.5, Over 48.5
Stanford at USC (-17.5) (O/U 51.5)
All preseason I sang the praises of the USC Trojans. I’m not jumping off the bandwagon quite yet. USC is far superior to Stanford, but we have seen how well a Stanford team performs against long odds. Stanford has just the recipe to give the Trojans all they can handle. I expect the Cardinals to play strong defense and to run the ball effectively. Playing keep away from the USC offense is the best approach. The Trojans walk out with the victory, but Stanford keeps it too close for comfort all night long.
Picks: Stanford +17.5, Under 51.5