Friday, September 9, 2016

Your NCAA Football Week 2 Primer (With Picks!)

Pitt running back James Conner's return from Hodgkin Lymphoma has been one of the feel-good stories of the early season. His Panthers will host Penn State Saturday, renewing the in-state rivalry for the first time since 2000.
By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

Have you caught your breath from last week yet?

I'm just getting there, what with the Houston domination, Florida State comeback and Texas looking (sorta) like Texas again. Or maybe Notre Dame is bad again, who knows?

Oh yeah, and Alabama is still Alabama. That's why I told you last week to hedge all your national title bets with a decent sized wager on the Crimson Tide. It's boring, but my Oklahoma bet ain't looking so great right now, and my Florida State pick was on life support at halftime, so sometimes boring is good.

Anyways, you're gonna have a little more time to catch your breath, because we don't have even one battle of ranked teams this week. Yeah, it's a pretty bare slate, but at least we get a pair of in-state rivalries renewed.

Let's get to the picks against the spread for all games featuring ranked teams, and a few select other games.

Ed. Note- I don't count picks of games with no line in my record, though I do list those games each week.

Picking Week 2

Last Week Against the Spread: 10-5
Year Against the Spread to Date: 10-5

Home Team in CAPS


No. 13 Louisville (-15) over SYRACUSE

Neither of these teams were challenged in Week 1 (Syracuse smashed Colgate while Louisville ate Charlotte), so I'm just gonna go with my preseason notion that UL is pretty good and Syracuse is pretty bad.


Cincinnati (-6) over PURDUE

And so begins a long season of betting against my alma mater. You know times are tough in West Lafayette when people are pulling positives from the Boilermakers' win over Eastern Kentucky in the opener, and I fully expect any and all optimism to be erased Saturday.

With a new Athletic Director in place, Purdue coach Darrell Hazell may not make it through the year. 

NO. 21 OKLAHOMA STATE (-20.5) over Central Michigan

Hopefully one team from Oklahoma can beat a mid-major this season. Amirite?

PITTSBURGH (-4.5) over Penn State

Rivalry renewed! Great to see these two teams playing again, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Penn State isn't actually any good. So, I'll go with Pat Narduzzi's Panthers at home.

NO. 5 MICHIGAN (-35.5) over Central Florida

I'm a believer, Jim. You're just as big of a jerk as Urban and Nick. The Wolverines continue to pile up style points in Ann Arbor.

NO. 6 HOUSTON (-Infinity) over Lamar

Ok, there's no line here, but whatever it is, I'm taking it.

UMASS (+17.5) over Boston College

UMass hung tough with Florida last week, and while I actually think BC has a better offense than the Gators at this point (based solely on the Eagles' second half last week), asking for a three-score win might be a bit much. BC has a great defense, but they're going to need to put together a full game on offense for me to pick them with this line.

As I type this I'm having visions of BC exploding for 45 and making me look like a fool. Oh well.

NO. 9 Georgia (-A Lot) over Nicholls

Another game without a line. Man, what a letdown of a week.

NO. 20 TEXAS A&M (-Dammit) over Prairie View A&M

To determine, once and for all, which A&M is best…

NO. 3 FLORIDA STATE (-Ugh) over Charleston Southern

Yeah, I guess all these teams did schedule tough openers. Still, this is no fun.

NO. 2 CLEMSON (-35) over Troy

Yes, an actual line! While it is an inflated blowout line, at least we have something to bet on. Clemson's explosive and experienced offense was held in check last week at Auburn. They'll take their frustrations out in the home opener against over matched Troy.

NO. 4 OHIO STATE (-29) over Tulsa

Oh, come on. Urban's gonna run this thing into the 70s to pad J.T. Barrett's Heisman stats, we all know that.

Akron (+24) over NO. 10 Wisconsin

Here is your typical "Big Ten team coming off a big win about to look like crap against a MAC team." Tale as old as time.

Nevada (+28) over NO. 18 NOTRE DAME

How many people out there think Notre Dame actually stinks, 2012 was a fluke and Brian Kelly is a fraud? If the Irish lose here, that will be everyone.

NO. 1 ALABAMA (-28.5) over Western Kentucky

That half-point has me a little nervous, because I'm basically betting on Nick Saban taking his foot off the gas later rather than sooner, but this team is so good and so deep defensively, they could probably hold Western Kentucky under 10 points with all backups.

Southern Methodist (+31.5) over NO. 23 Baylor

There will probably be a lot of points scored in this one, so I can see why the line is so high, but SMU can't possibly be as bad as they were last year. Can they?

NO. 19 OLE MISS (-A GOOD AMOUNT) over Wofford

I remember when Wofford beat Purdue in basketball one year when I was there… Suck it Wofford!

NO. 25 MIAMI (-24) over Florida Atlantic

Oh look, The U has replaced UF as the formerly great Florida school to round out the Top-25, simply because voters couldn't think of anybody else.

That said, FAU can't stop anybody, so quarterback Brad Kaaya should have a field day.

NO. 14 OKLAHOMA (-46) over Louisiana Monroe

OU takes out a lot of frustration this week. It won't be pretty.

NO. 15 TCU (-7) over Arkansas

TCU looked uncomfortable last week against South Dakota State, while Arkansas should have lost to Louisiana Tech… Yeah, I'll just go with the home team.

Texas El Paso (+30) over NO. 11 TEXAS

I mean, I think the Longhorns will win, and they might still win comfortably, but you get the feeling this game might be a bit of a let down. When was the last time this program has had to deal with success? It's been a while.

Iowa State (+15) over NO. 16 IOWA

The Cyclones upsetting the Hawkeyes has become the least surprising rivalry upset in the country. Surprised to EVER see this line over 10 points.

NO. 21 LSU (-TOO MANY) over Jacksonville State

No more!

Virginia Tech (+11.5) at NO. 17 TENNESSEE

The Vols should be better and sharper this week, but when you need a furious comeback to beat Appalachian State, you don't get the benefit of the doubt against a two-score line.

NO. 24 OREGON (-24) over Virginia

UVA is so bad you guys!

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