It was a rough start to the season but I’ve learned from my mistakes and am looking to rebound in week 2.
Lock of the Week: 1-0
Wake Forest at BC (-1)
Executive Summary: A bottom feeder ACC team is coming into Alumni for the home opener. In year five of the program it’s imperative that Addazio wins games like this. I don’t see a letdown.
Longer Summary: I joked on Twitter that apparently when you stare into a solar eclipse it turns you into an aggressive football coach. Honestly though where the hell did this Steve Addazio come from? Addazio went for it on 4th down a few times against Northern Illinois including going for it in his own territory in a tie game in the 4th quarter. WHAT?????????????? On top of that Addazio went for points at the end of the half instead of running the clock out. Maybe the topper of it all was his decision to start a redshirt freshman quarterback on the road, which from all indications was a great move.
Now that BC has a coach coaching like it is 2017 and not going by a coaching handbook from 1983 I have even more hope for this team than I originally did when I predicted a 6-6 record. I’m concerned with what I saw from the defense last week but I’ll give the unit the benefit of the doubt and count on them to hold Wake under 20 points this week.
Georgia (+4.5) at Notre Dame
Interestingly enough this is a match-up of two teams that I picked against last weekend…and lost both picks.
I came away really impressed with Georgia’s defense last weekend and think that it may be a top 5 defense in the nation this year. DT Trenton Thompson is almost impossible to block and if you do choose to double team him it allows the stacked group of linebackers to run free and make plays. Stacked might not even be a fair enough word to describe how good the linebackers are because outside of Alabama it is probably the best group in the nation.
A lot of people are talking about Jacob Eason getting hurt which is forcing redshirt freshman Jake Fromm to start. After watching Fromm I have no concerns. The RS Freshman engineered three touchdown drives almost immediately after taking over for Eason, who went three-and-out on his first two series.
Pitt (+21.5) at Penn State
Penn State has covered 11 straight games so I guess that I’m a little bit of a sick puppy for betting against them here. Here’s the thing though---Pitt defeated Penn State just last year and I don’t think there’s that much of a difference of the rosters to warrant a 21 point spread.
James Conner is gone and that is obviously the big storyline of the season. People are forgetting that Quadree Ollison put up 1,121 yards on 5.3 ypc when he played in Conner’s absence in 2015. Also, highly recruited RB AJ Davis is in the mix now so the drop-off isn’t nearly as big as you think. Max Browne comes over from USC to give the team a decent replacement at QB and three quality starters return on the line.
I have no doubt that Penn State wins this game and puts up a ton of points. I just think Pitt can keep it pretty close in a rivalry game.
South Carolina (+3) at Mizzou
The Gamecocks not only covered on my “Lock of the Week” but won the game outright against media darling NC State, 35-28.
This week South Carolina goes on the road again, but this time against a team that I think is worse than NC State. Similar to last week I think I’m getting the better defense and the better coach in this game and even better, USC’s offense isn’t that far behind Mizzou’s.
Lock of the Week
Stanford (+7) at USC
Stanford has owned USC lately winning the last three straight and 7-of-9 overall. So why the hell are they catching 7 points here? (Now down to 3 since the time I wrote the article)
From all indications Stanford has a really good offensive line once again this year. USC does have talent on its defensive line but the group still has question marks when it comes to playing in a physical grind-it-out type of game. Western Michigan lit up the USC defense for 263 yards and 5.5 ypc so what will Bryce Love and the Stanford offense be able to do?
Obviously picking against the best QB in the nation, Sam Darnold, isn’t a good feeling. However, the Cardinal do return 8 starters on D including one of the top 10 cornerbacks in the nation Quenton Meeks, a top 15 DE Harrison Phillips, and a top 15 OLB Joey Alfieri. The Trojans are known for having the superstars but Stanford has a bunch in its own right.
USC might figure out a way to win this game but not by more than 3-4 points.