It's Week 2 of the college football season, and new faces (Texas A&M & Missouri), are officially in new places, as they make their SEC debuts, plus the Pac-12 is involved in SIX different BCS conference showdowns this week.
Last week: 5-5
Miami @ Kansas State (-7), September 8:
In our first game of the week, the Hurricanes visit the Wildcats in Manhattan. The 'Canes showed signs of a potentially explosive offense against Boston College last week, but also showed signs of a potentially vulnerable defense.
That points to what should be a high-scoring affair in the Little Apple. And recently, that has favored ageless (and forever eligible, it seems) K-State QBN Collin Klein and the rest of his charges. I'll take Kansas State to cover at home here.
Auburn @ Mississippi State (-3), September 8:
In more early action, the Bulldogs host the Tigers in their SEC opener in Starkville. Recent history has suggested that if there's a time to not make the trip here, it's early in the season, as Mississippi State has had many "near misses" in SEC home openers.
Of course, that also means they've never actually been able to close the deal in any of those, either, and with Auburn desperate to avoid 0-2, I see the Tigers surviving here, too. I'll take Auburn on the road, in what to me is not really an upset.
USC (-26) @ Syracuse, September 8:
In afternoon action at the Carrier Dome, the Orange host the high-powered Trojans. Picking USC games, it seems, is going to be a weekly episode of "how many points are they getting this week & do you have the heart to take them to cover?"
And although Syracuse'e equally-high-powered offense racked up 41 in a loss to Northwestern last week, it's the fact their defense gave up 42 that should scare them here. Even on the road, I think the Trojans covering this spread is a pretty safe bet. I'll take USC to cover.
Florida @ Texas A&M (-1), September 8:
In College Station, the Aggies get their SEC baptism-by-fire when they host the Gators. A&M seems to be getting considerably more love here than the other SEC newcomer playing their first SEC game this week (that would be Missouri, more on them later), and I can't really figure out why.
The only thing there really was to love about the Aggies a year ago was Ryan Tannehill, and he's now toiling away in NFL hell in Miami. Plus, Will Muschamp's experience against the A&M offense from his Texas days is an advantage for Florida, too. Give me the Gators on the road here.
Wisconsin (-7) @ Oregon State, September 8:
Since this line for this one opened at 11, there seems to be a lot of money coming in on the Beavers, which has closed the spread down to a single touchdown for the Badgers trip to Corvallis.
It's not hard to figure out, either, since Wisconsin nearly blew a big lead against Northern Iowa, only winning by 5. The Beavers should keep it close for awhile, since they're playing at home, but the Badgers will do what they do, which is give it to Montee Ball a lot and wear down a tired defense. Give me Wisconsin to cover.
Washington @ LSU (-24), September 8:
The Pac-12, as you will see, is stepping up their out-of-conference game this week with no less than six of our feature contests involving Pac-12 teams playing other BCS conferences in big games.
They likely won't have much success in this one, as the Tigers will still be more than formidable, even with Tyrann Mathieu (not calling him by that other name), no longer on the team.
And despite the Huskies, and more specifically, head coach Steve Sarkisian, bringing in a live tiger to practice as "preparation", walking into Death Valley at night is a whole other animal. Give me LSU to cover.
Nebraska (-5.5) @ UCLA, September 8:
In yet another Pac-12 out-of-conference test, the Bruins open up their home slate at the Rose Bowl against the Cornhuskers. Nebraska's offense already looked to be in mid-season form last week against Southern Miss, and while the Bruins also looked good on that side of the ball, they had a slightly lesser opponent, with all due respect to Rice.
That leaves it to the defensive side of the ball, where the vaunted "Blackshirts" of Nebraska's defense should make more than enough plays against the Bruins to win comfortably here. Give me Nebraska to cover.
Georgia (-2.5) @ Missouri, September 8:
In Columbia, the Tigers make their SEC debut by hosting the Bulldogs. Though it is wise to question why both Missouri and A&M left the Big 12 for here, at least you can point to the Aggies having some sort of football success on their side, while you can't really point to that with Missouri.
And opening at home doesn't do them any favors either, since it's Mark Richt's bunch they're opening with. The less said about this, the better, really. Give me Georgia to cover on the road.
Oklahoma State (-10) @ Arizona. September 8:
Out in Tucson, the Wildcats host the Cowboys. Before we go any further here, can I just say that I would pay any amount of money to see Mike Gundy and Rich Rodriguez in a steel cage match?
Now then, onto this game. Despite the 84 points put up by Okie State a week ago, they will get their first real resistance from Arizona this week.
That being said, the Wildcats are not exactly known for their defense these days, so I smell a fairly easy Oklahoma State win here nonetheless. Give me Oklahoma State to cover.
Illinois @ Arizona State (-3.5), September 8:
Staying out west, the Sun Devils host the Illini in Tempe. If I told you that nothing about these teams excites me, you'd probably then be wondering why I'm picking it.
And the answer is because Arizona State has a history of producing exciting games in this spot, which I think will continue here with an Illinois team they seem to be pretty even with. All things being pretty equal, then, I will go with Arizona State to cover.
And there you have another week of picks down. Let's see how much I get laughed at this week, shall we?
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