I put together a solid 3-2 week to get the season started. I have to admit I became slightly nervous when Colorado State started the week getting totally obliterated against rival Colorado---I see you now Buffaloes.
I again became nervous on Saturday night when I was stuck at a family event and couldn’t watch my "Lock of the Week" Alabama getting off to a slow start against USC. Like a true degenerate, I was frantically refreshing my Twitter feed trying to figure out why ‘Bama couldn’t score of the Trojans. It wasn’t much past the first quarter that I stopped refreshing my phone as Nick Saban’s club destroyed the Grade III race horse program from Troy.
I’m feeling good after the successful start last week so let’s keep the winning streak going!
Last Week: 3-2
Lock of the Week: 1-0
Boston College at UMass (+17)
There are a lot of reasons to like the Minutemen in this game. Mark Whipple’s squad is coming off of a 24-7 loss at Florida in which UMass trailed by only three in the 4th quarter. This game is basically the National Championship for UMass fans and it would make their year being able to knock off the hated Eagles.
On the field there are two wildcard factors that make me lean UMass. The Minutemen play a 3-4 defense and actually have quite a bit of athletes on that side of the ball. The 3-4 defense can be touch to prepare against, particularly when you aren’t used to going against it. It might take the BC offensive line a while to get a feel for things. My other wildcard is Whipple. Say what you will with the "BC should hire Whipple jokes" but the guy has a set of brass balls. Against Florida, I saw Whipple go for a 4th-and-14 from Florida’s 36-yard line in the 1st quarter with his team down only 7-0. Low and behold, UMass converted the first down, and ended up scoring a game tying touchdown on the drive. I’m sure Whipple will coach this game like he has nothing to lose, which can spell trouble against a team that is coached conservatively.
Virginia Tech (+11.5) at Tennessee
I don’t have a lot for you on this game. I basically feel that Butch Jones is a crappy coach on game day and that new VT coach Justin Fuente is one of the best young offensive minds in the game. New QB Jerod Evans looked good last weekend---albeit against Liberty---and had 8 returning starters around him. I think the Hokies keep this within 10.
NC State at East Carolina (+4.5)
Last week I had success when I took Miami (OH) as a system play over Iowa. I noted that Iowa had struggled in the last few years as a home favorite, particularly against MAC competition at home. Sure enough, Miami managed to keep it somewhat respectable against the Hawkeyes and covered the 27.5 point spread.
East Carolina has had a ton of success against the ACC in the last three years, going 4-1 straight up against the conference in that time. In the one game the Pirates lost to Virginia Tech in 2013 they still covered the 7 point spread, so they are a perfect 5-0 ATS against ACC teams. Those weren’t cupcake games either as three were against Virginia Tech and two were against UNC.
I know East Carolina is picked at the bottom half of the AAC this year, but I still like their chances against an unmotivated NC State squad.
Akron (+24) at Wisconsin
Not only is this a system play going against a team coming off of a huge emotional win but this is a game I had circled even before Wisconsin knocked off LSU. Therefore, I’m happy to take whatever extra points Akron is getting that Wisconsin got from getting national pub from beating the Tigers.
Terry Bowden is doing a great job getting Akron football to respectability in the MAC. The Zips are coming off of their first bowl game appearance in ten years and are a projected favorite in the East Division of the MAC. The strength of the Zips is at DL where they have two Ohio State transfers and a Miami transfer, so I don’t think Wisconsin is going to be able to just push them around all day.
Lock of the Week
South Carolina at Mississippi State (-6.5)
You might think that picking a team coming off of a home loss at the hands of an average Sun Belt team is the equivalent of jumping in and buying the stock of a company whose CEO is getting investigated for embezzling money. However, I think this is a classic case of overreaction to week one results.
South Carolina was considered the worst team in the SEC heading into this season. I don’t see how that has changed after beating the second worst team, or maybe the true worst team, Vanderbilt.
This isn’t supposed to be one of Mississippi State’s strongest teams since Dan Mullen arrived, but then again he has out-performed the SEC Media’s predictions the last five years. This team has some players on defense and should hold South Carolina to 10 or less. I like the Bulldogs by 10 in this game.