Each week, my goal is to make five picks that will be the top betting selections of the college football slate. I have to look against the Las Vegas spreads and make selections based on a system of rules I've made.
In three of those games selected, the covering team did so by the skin of their teeth. South Carolina covered the point spread by winning by four (they were giving three to North Carolina). Baylor, my lock of the week, struggled early on to stop Southern Methodist, but the Mustang horse power eventually ran out, and the Bears covered a 34.5 point spread—by half of a point.
In the "hey you can't miss this because it's a non-p5" pick of the week, Florida Atlantic (seven point underdogs to Tulsa) lost–but still covered in a 47-44 shootout.
When something like that happens, you know who's the real winner? Vegas.
Either way, I still take last week as a victory since I went 4-1. Notre Dame waxed Texas, 38-3, and Illinois absolutely destroyed Kent State, proving my theory that having a bad coach isn't nearly as bad as having zero available talent.
So what's on tap for this week? Well, to be honest, not much. Week 2 of the college football season provides some more cream puff style matchups. There's a couple of enticing picks I think I don't want to touch, namely the 28.5-point spread separating Florida State from South Florida or the 3.5-point spread that Syracuse is giving to Wake Forest at home in what may be the pillow fight of the ACC.
That said, there's some good matchups in the ACC, and there's some point spreads I absolutely will touch, along with my annual "Hey that looks like a good match to pick" chance to throw shade.
On with the picks. Remember that different companies and website offer different betting odds, so the odds you find may be different from the odds offered below:
Last Week: 4-1
Season Total: 4-1
Army at Connecticut (-7)
At first glance, this one has the possibility to be laughably bad. UCONN is a terrible football team coming off of a 2-10 season a year ago. They barely beat Villanova last week, though in all fairness the Wildcats are a top five team in the FCS. Last season, they went (ironically enough) 2-10 against the spread, including a 1-6 record at home.
But they're playing Army, a team who I think all of us agree is becoming painful to watch. The Black Knights lost to Yale last year, and they opened up the season this year by losing to FORDHAM, who may have won the Patriot League and gone to the FCS Playoffs but still should not have marched into Michie Stadium and pushed the Cadets around.
Fordham did what they did to Army last week using a UConn castoff at quarterback, a guy who threw for 322 yards (266 in the first half alone). Take the Huskies in this one.
Coincidentally, Villanova plays Fordham this week.
UMass (+13) at Colorado
For a guy like me to pick UMass against the spread, you know I have to have confidence.
As bad of a team as UMass was last year defensively (and believe me they were AWFUL), they only lost to Colorado by three and lost five of their nine defeats by a touchdown or less. Last year, the Buffs were 17 point favorites but never led by more than 10, requiring a fourth quarter comeback and defensive collapse by the Minutemen in order to win.
I don't trust Colorado any more this year than I did last year. At the same time, UMass has one of the best, most efficient offenses out of all of the non-power conference teams. They can move the ball and they can really pile up yards and points. Blake Frohnapfel is the prototypical QB for the Mark Whipple offense. They're going to be pretty good again this year.
I'm taking UMass in this game. I don't know if they win, but they absolutely cover the spread.
Miami (-18) at Florida Atlantic
If you believe in the Miami offense, remember that FAU just gave up 40-plus points to Tulsa. Miami has an offense led by what might be the ACC's best quarterback. I don't think this will be one of those 63-0 games, but I do feel like the 'Canes will open up a lead and coast home in this one.
Houston (+13) at Louisville
Maybe I'm the only guy not sold on the Cardinals' new starting quarterback, Lamar Jackson. He did a solid job on the ground against Auburn, rushing for 106 yards on 16 carries. But his passing statistics were only 9-for-20 for 100 yards and a pick. Maybe with a week of practice he'll be better passing the ball, but I just don't think it will happen.
On the flip side, good friend of the program Joey Weaver from From The Rumble Seat is a Houston local who is very intrigued by the Cougars. He had some solid commentary on the team this week on Mark RogersTV, and it's enough for me to think they have the ability to cover.
LOCK OF THE WEEK:
Appalachian State at #12 Clemson (-19)
Appy State beat Howard 49-0 last week, but they're heading to Death Valley to take on a team that should be contending for an ACC championship, if not the national title.