Last Week’s Picks
Craig and Rich got the season started with a 2-1 record in Week 0. Meanwhile Matt and Zack have a bit of catching up to do after dropping 1-2 records.
This Week’s Picks
UTSA at Illinois | “The Fighting Illini looked pretty good last week despite what was almost a fourth quarter collapse. I’ll take them to win by at least a touchdown on Saturday. ”
Louisiana at Texas | Not only do I think the Ragin’ Cajuns will cover the spread, I think they can win this game. Texas is starting a freshman quarterback against the 23rd ranked team in the nation. What could go wrong?
Alabama at Miami | Alabama is the favorite to win the CFP this year, and their 2021 campaign will start with a big win over Miami. I can see the Crimson Tide running away with this one in the second half.
Fresno State at Oregon | Oregon’s defense will certainly be a stronger challenge to Fresno State than UConn did last week when the Bulldogs posted 538 total yards of offense. However, the key here is going to be how Fresno can not only move the ball on the ground but also force some key turnovers with their aggressive defense. The Bulldogs are a few sustained drives and a turnover or two away from covering nearly a three-touchdown spread.
Penn State at Wisconsin | I think this game is going to be a lot of fun and extremely close. Mike Yurcich takes over as the third offensive coordinator in three years for the Nittany Lions and the first thing he’ll need to do is work with quarterback Sean Clifford on ball protection. The key matchup here is going to be Clifford vs. Wisconsin linebacker Jack Sanborn and a Badger defense that held opponents to under 20 points per game last season.
North Carolina at Virginia Tech | Quarterback Sam Howell is UNC’s key to making a berth in the ACC championship game and he’s got a major test right out of the gate. Tennessee transfer Ty Chandler will try to help overcome some of the personnel loss the Tar Heels experienced after the 2020 season but there’s no time for a learning curve. The Hokies are going to have the opportunity to move the ball as well, particularly through the air, as they attack a UNC defense that ranked 87th nationally against the pass in 2020. I think this is a one-score game and Virginia Tech playing at home has a great opportunity to cover.
Alabama at Miami | There’s a lot of noise surrounding this matchup as the Crimson Tide usually make quick work of any and all challengers. However, with an experienced offensive line and the playmaking ability of D’Eriq King for Miami, this one hits differently. Possessing an outside shot of upsetting the top ranked team, the Hurricanes have offensive fire power. But, the Crimson Tide have the most talented defense in the country. It will literally be strength on strength. I just don’t see this being a three touchdown win for Bama in the season opener.
Louisiana at Texas | Louisiana posted a 10-1 record last season and is playing a vulnerable Longhorn program. With a new head coach and a new face under center, there’s plenty of cause for concern. Still, I’m not buying into the hype that is Texas! But, I do believe there is a severe talent discrepancy between these two. Late in the fourth quarter, that’ll be the difference maker as UT pulls ahead by 10 for a win over a ranked foe.
Indiana at Iowa | Despite playing on the road, it’s easy to overlook a defense that produced a +8 turnover margin through all of last year. That’s exactly what the Hoosiers bring to the table. Combined with the ability to get into the backfield consistently, it’s the defense leading the charge in Big 10 play for Indiana. Squaring off against an Iowa team that returns five starters on offense…yeah that should be a field day for Hoosier fans!
Baylor at Texas State | Baylor is more than likely going to struggle plenty this season, but Texas State struggled to 2-10 last season, so it’s not exactly farfetched to believe the Bears will beat the Bobcats by a couple of touchdowns.
LSU at UCLA | I bet against the Bruins last week before they smacked Hawaii, but LSU is a different beast. Despite a mediocre season in 2020, I believe the Tigers will be much improved this year, and they’ll start with a big road win against UCLA.
Northern Iowa at Iowa State | The Cyclones are going to be very good this year, and the Panthers…well, they probably won’t be. Still, a 32-point spread for a team that barely averaged 32 points a game in 2020 is a lot for me. I think Iowa State wins big at home, but they just barely miss covering.
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