Week 1 of college football was highly entertaining if you like scoring and blowouts. Every game involving a ranked team versus a non-ranked team ended with a victory for the team with a little number next to their name — 23-0 to be exact. The only ranked team to lose was Oregon and a ranked team had to lose in that game because the opponent was a ranked Auburn squad.
Did we learn anything from Week 1? Probably not. At the top of the rankings, Clemson crushed, Bama rolled, Georgia stomped, and so on and so on. But the gambling side of it was fun as were also several games that came down to the wire against the number for the side and total.
Unfortunately, I was on the wrong side of too many of those games. Michigan State won by 21 but failed to cover the -21.5 line. Washington State and New Mexico State scored 65 points but I played the under 64.5 and lastly, Oregon blew a 21-6 lead against Auburn with the Tigers scoring a touchdown when a field goal would have let us cover the +3.5 line.
Nevertheless, we are back to pick another five games for Week 2 of college football.
Western Michigan at No. 20 Michigan State
I’m going back to the well here because I don’t think Western Michigan is going to score much at all on Sparty. The Michigan State defense is one of the best in the country and last week they sacked the quarterback six times and had 13 tackles for a loss in their win over Tulsa.
However, the Michigan State offense did not look improved. The 28-7 win wasn’t pretty and should have been a much larger margin of victory. MSU QB Brian Lewerke only threw for 192 yards and missed open receivers all night. I don’t think he will do much better in this game.
Western Michigan hasn’t won in East Lansing for 100 years. That’s a real stat. I don’t think this is the team to be able to do even though they did win their first game in very impressive fashion over Monmouth. Michigan State is going to blitz the heck out of QB John Wassnik who threw for 5 touchdowns last week. Watch out for corner Shakur Brown who had 2 sacks against Tulsa.
The Spartans have their first Power 5 game next week against Arizona State and I don’t think they will show very much on offense. Western Michigan won’t score but I don’t think MSU will either.
No. 22 Syracuse at Maryland
I circled this game for the potential regional line movement in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and I was right to do so. This line opened at Syracuse -2 before being bet all the way to the other side where Maryland is now the favorite.
And it should be.
The Terps looked outstanding in their 79-0 win over Howard. I don’t care who you are playing in college football, 79-0 is 79-0. Maryland QB Josh Jackson, a transfer from Virginia Tech, looked tremendous throwing for four touchdowns and 245 yards.
Syracuse shut out Liberty 24-0 with new head coach Hugh Freeze coaching from his hospital bed. It was a weird deal and weird game, but the Orange came away with the win and that’s all that really matters. Defensively, ‘Cuse recorded eight sacks and 14 tackles for a loss, but I don’t think we learned a whole lot about the Orange from that game. This is back-to-back road games to open the season for Syracuse and that’s tough.
There was a better number when this game opened and I don’t like betting games like that but I think that Maryland is the better team with the better offense.
No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 11 Texas A&M
Last year, Texas A&M was a 2-point conversion away from being tied with Clemson with 26 seconds left in the game. It would have been a massive moment for Jimbo Fisher to beat a top team like Clemson in his first season in College Station. Heck, even taking them to overtime would have been huge but it would have been even bigger if Clemson had lost that game. A loss that early in the season could have prevented the Tigers from making the playoffs where they won their third national title by blowing out Alabama.
That was a different Clemson team than the one the Aggies will see on Saturday. For starters, this game is in Death Valley and Clemson’s quarterback keeps getting better and better. Trevor Lawrence will be the top pick in the NFL draft when he comes out and he did not play well last year in this game.
The Tigers have won five of their last six games against the SEC and Texas A&M and 1-3 in their last four true road game openers.
I’m actually going to pick the first half here at DraftKings. The Tigers come out charging and take over the game early.
No. 18 Central Florida at Florida Atlantic
If this game wasn’t being played after FAU played Ohio State, I might think that the in-state rivalry angle could factor into this game. However, the Owls were down 35-6 heading into the fourth quarter and they had no answer for Ohio State’s offense. The points they did score were all in garbage time and I wasn’t even impressed with that.
UCF won their opener 62-0 and it could have been worse for Florida A&M. While it’s only one game for the Golden Knights, UCF has been doing this to people for a long time now. New QB Brandon Wimbush threw for two scores and his back-up Dillon Gabriel threw for three.
This is the home opener for FAU but I think UCF is just too powerful.
No. 25 Nebraska at Colorado
I had former Nebraska running back Ahman Green on my radio show this week to talk about Scott Frost and the rivalry with Colorado. He told some great stories about playing at Colorado but he also talked about Scott Frost returning toughness to Lincoln and the physical mindset that Nebraska used to play with every week. The Huskers did not look good in Week 1 against South Alabama but I think they weren’t showing their cards.
Colorado beat their in-state rival Colorado State in the opener but it was a back-and-forth game that either team could have won. In fact, I think the Rams blew the game in several key spots by not taking advantage of Buff mistakes. I don’t think that will be the case this weekend.
Nebraska QB Adrian Martinez was expected to be in the Heisman conversation and he won’t be if he doesn’t turn up his game in a big way this week. I think he will and I think the Huskers will show why they were picked as one of the most improved teams heading into the season.