GoSooners College Football Picks For Week #2
Last Week: 0-6 ATS
Not the start I was hoping for. I don’t think I’ve ever been shut out before. The only good thing is I didn’t make many plays. But I was definitely wrong about a few of my teams. I also got a few bad beats on a couple others. But that’s history. Hopefully I’ll get some of it back this week.
UCLA (+5.5) over Nebraska **
We’ve talked about this game quite a bit here. I’m just a big believer in home dogs that are able to rush the ball. And the Husker’s defense has been less than stellar against the run (allowed 171 ypg LY & 185 LW). That’s a big reason why they had the problems they did against Michigan and Wisky on the road last season. And although UCLA is still a work in progress, Mora does have a ton of talent on this team. And it’s usually the very talented teams that improve the most from the first to the second week. Should be a great game.
Utah State (+8) over Utah **
This in-state rivalry game that went from the years 1917-2009. Then was discontinued for two years. Now they are back playing again. And I can imagine the excitement level is going to be very high at tiny Romney Stadium. I almost always prefer the home dogs in these out of conference rivalry games early in the season. I think this is where and when they have the best chance of covering the number. There is a pretty big talent edge to Utah, but this has never bothered this USU team. I still remember they took Oklahoma down to the wire a couple years ago in Norman. And they should have knocked off Auburn last year, and took BYU down to the wire. All on the road. So nothing appears to bother this team. They remind me of the old Fresno team who was willing to take on all commers. Gary Anderson being the ex-DC at Utah probably doesn’t hurt their incentive either.
Michigan State (-20.5) over Central Michigan **
I know this is a road game, but I don’t see MSU having any problems covering this number against CMU after what I saw last week. Sparty had no problems putting CMU away last year (by the half). And that was a sandwich game just like this one where they had to play CMU between Notre Dame and Ohio State. I would lay odds that Boise’s defense was much quicker than the one MSU will face this week. My number one rule is if I’m going to give double digits on the road, my team better have a good defense. No problem there. QB Maxwell made a couple mistakes against Boise that cost them the cover. But I don’t see it happening this week against a slower and probably less agressive CMU defense. This is basically the same team with the same amount of starters back that CMU had last year in their 45-7 loss.. I just don’t see where enough has changed to make it an all that different outcome. Dantonio was very pissed off at a couple of his players in his press conference this week. And pretty much came out and said it. I’ll be surprised if after that mistake prone first game we don’t see a 100% effort this week. I expect a much cleaner game from Maxwell this time.
Ole Miss (-7 -120) over UTEP ***
This will be a good measuring stick game for both teams. Proabably more so for Ole Miss after coming off a 2-10 season. And UTEP will find out in a hurry if they are the real deal after giving OU a fright in El Paso in that late night game in El Paso. But UTEP is no longer in their element, and they don’t have the greatest road record against BCS teams. I think OU’s offensive problems http://www.sbnation.com/2012/9/6/3296244/oklahoma-sooners-football-offense-landry-jones-trey-metoyer had more to do with OU than it did UTEP’s defense, which is the weak part of their team. At least on paper. I think the Miners are going to find that Ole Miss will present a whole new set problems for them. Unlike OU they’ve got a duo threat QB (83% completetions LW) and all 4 receivers are back. I think this Ole Miss team will have a much better offense this season. They’re going to still have problems against the SEC defenses. But i think they’ll have much better success against their OOC opponents. Plus I’m a big fan of HC Hugh Freeze. I think this guy is the real deal. He took an Arkansas State team who was coming off a 4-8 season with only 13 starters back, and led them to a 10 win season. Your normal everyday coach isn’t going to be able to do that. I think he’ll have his team pumped for this first real test of the season. And they’ll get their second win, which would match last year’s total.
Florida (-1) over Texas A&M **
Call me superstitious, but I wasn’t going to take this line until Florida became a favorite in this game. There’s almost nothing I hate worse than taking ranked teams who are dogs to unranked teams. Like I’ve stated here before, I’m not a fan of Muschamp. But i think this is one game where he’s not at a big coaching disadvantage going against Sumlin, who will be coaching his first BCS conference game with a new freshman QB and new schemes. And what’s worse, their first game of the season after getting their game with LT postponed last week.. I think this is going to be a HUGE disadvantage for the Aggies in trying to get up to speed on offense against one of the better defenses in the country. On the other side, I’m betting that UF was a little vanilla on offense last week and didn’t show us their whole hand. We should see a little better effort this week with a game now under their belts. I’ll be very surprised if the Aggies come out a well oiled machine with all of the changes they’ve made this past season. I guess we’ll find out. But when in doubt I would rather put my money down on the SEC team.
Air Force (+21) over Michigan **
I expect a better showing out of the Michigan offense this week. But I’m betting this team still has a bit of a Bama hangover after getting their defense softened up last week by the physical Bama offense. AF will present some different problems for them. AF is not an easy team to prepare for after playing a big game. Judging by the interviews that I heard from the Michigan players and coaches before the season started, they put a lot of time and effort into that Bama game. They also went as far as to close their practices. So the results of that game had to come off as a major disappointment to this team. I don’t put all of my eggs in one basket depending on letdowns. But I think AF isn’t really the kind of team you want to try and get your team refocused for. The triple option can be tricky. I know AF lost a lot of starters from last season. But they are a system option team like a Navy or Army where they just plug in. I do like their 5th year senior QB, who has started in 3 games and played in 21 others.. I think he is every bit as good as Jefferson. But in a different way. Not quite as good a passer, but a much faster and more dangerous runner. So he fits very well into Air Force’s complex triple option attack. They also bring back their terrific RB Cobb. With AF you never know quite what kind of team your going to get. I’ve seen them bring back 14 starters and go 7-6, and bring back 10 starters and go 9-4. So you never know for sure with this team. But we do know these academies will give 100% effort in every game. And it is especially dangerous to give too many points to a team who is verycapable of shortening a game. Sometimes a good offense is your best defense. I’ll take the points.
Rice (+10.5) over Kansas **
I wasn’t very big on this game when I first looked at it. I have trouble getting excited about playing junk teams. But SoonerBS made some good points about this game in his Cappers Empire site http://www.cappersempire.com/forumdisplay.php?3-NCAA-Football&s=99f31a4eb337fb1e41ea09f52e8f04eb I looked at the game for a long time last night. I just wasn’t very impressed with Kansas box score against FCS opponet South Dakota State. Kansas was one of the worst defensive teams in the country last year with a -218 ypg in league play. And now they are a DD favorite over a divison one team. Their lone two wins last season came in their first two games against an FCS team and an AQ team. They’ve dropped 10 straight games in a row, and are being asked to win by double digits against a Rice team who faced a much stiffer test in their first game against UCLA than Kansas did against an FCS opponent. Oh and did I mention that Kansas beat SDST by just 14 points despite SDST turning the ball over 5 times. And Notre Dame transfer Crist was only 17/36 passing against a bad defense. Those numbers tell me at least in this first game that they might have a serious lack of playmakers on the outside. Kansas does have a good running game. But they’ll probably need more offense against a Rice team who proved last week they can score from anywhere. I’m not sure how much differece it will make, but Kansas does have their first conference game on board next week vs TCU. This isn’t a strong play by any means. And I don’t get the warm fuzzies over this play. But for Kansas to be able to beat any divison one team with a pulse by double digits, I’ve got to see it to believe it. Rice looked like they had a little spunk last week against UCLA. Hopefully they’ll bring the same spunk to this game.