By Michael Roth
I got back to winning ways in week 2, going 9-5 in college football, making my season record 13-11. I hope to continue these winning ways in a week 3 slate without many marquee games, but a good amount of closer spread matchups.
Boston College -5 At Wake Forest: The Eagles have dominated so far, putting up 117 points in their first two games against subpar competition. Wake Forest, however, struggled with Tulane before failing to cover against Towson. I expect Boston College to continue to score points in bunches while their defense, led by Zach Allen, a defensive linemen who had 100+ tackles last season, will make enough stops to stay unbeaten.
Miami -10 At Toledo: I know Malik Rosier isn’t good, but Miami is playing every game with a chip on their shoulder after taking a huge season opening loss to LSU. The only data we have on Toledo is a huge win over VMI. Toledo also got beat up defensively last season, giving up 52 points, and the Rockets lost stud QB Logan Whiteside. I’ll take Miami big time.
Ball State At Indiana under 57.5: Ball State showed off some impressive defense against Notre Dame last week, holding the Irish to the same point total as Michigan did a week prior. Indiana’s offense isn’t special either, as they were held to 20 points against Virginia.
Rutgers +3 At Kansas: Kansas was the team everyone expected to fade after losing to Nicholls State. Then they broke their record 46 game road losing streak against FBS opponents. One week later, and they are laying points at home against a fellow P5 opponent? Give me Rutgers and the points. They are better than Kansas and after an emotional win for the Jayhawks, I expect some letdown from them.
UTEP At Tennessee -29.5: I’m fading UTEP until they give me a reason not to. After getting destroyed at home against an FCS opponent they were blown out by UNLV, with the Rebels covering a 23.5 point spread. And now Tennessee is less than a touchdown more favorite? I’ll take the Vols, especially because every win matters for first year head coach Jeremy Pruitt, so I’ll expect him to run it up against the Miners.
Kent State +34 At Penn State: Kent State has actually looked pretty good this season, there has been nothing up to this point to prove that they haven’t drastically improved from a 2-10 season last year. The Flashes defense has impressed me so much this season, they fought for a long time against Illinois before falling by 7. Then they shut down Howard, limiting them to 14 points just one week after they put up over 600 yards of offense against Ohio. Penn State is also coming off an emotional win over Pitt on the road. While James Franklin has shown no hesitation to running the score up in these types of games, I don’t think he gets that opportunity because of a lack of focus and motivation for their last tune up before conference play.
Vanderbilt +14.5 At Notre Dame: Vandy has taken care of business so far this season, blowing out Middle Tennessee and Nevada. Notre Dame looked awesome against Michigan but struggled last week against Ball State. Brandon Wimbush isn’t a consistent quarterback and against a talented Vandy defense, he’s going to have to make plays to win this game comfortably, and I don’t think he’s able to do that. While Notre Dame should win this game with just enough offense, it’s not enough to cover over 2 touchdowns.
Boise State At Oklahoma State over 63.5: I’m stunned how low this total opened at, the fewest points either team has scored in a game this year are 55 points. I’ll repeat, the lowest amount of points either team has put up this year in a game is 55. Boise State put up over 800 yards last week against Uconn, 800! I can’t wait to watch these offenses light up the scoreboard all day.
Ohio At Virginia over 48: I was ready to take the over in this game, but with the news of Hurricane Florence it was a stay away for me. However, by moving the game to Nashville, I love the over in this contest. Ohio averaged 38 points a game last season and returns star QB Nathan Rourke who should get a full game after being benched 3 drives into his senior season. However, he will be starting again for the Bobcats’ second game, and I expect him to get back to his Sophomore success where he threw 17 touchdown passes and ran for 21 more.
Duke +6 At Baylor: Why is Baylor favored in this game? I mean sure they haven’t lost to Abilene Christian or UTSA… but Duke has beat actual solid football teams fairly convincingly. Army and Northwestern aren’t world beaters, but they’re a lot better than Baylor’s opponents. Duke is also 2-0 ATS while Baylor is 0-1.
Georgia Southern +34 At Clemson: I’m trying to avoid any game that could be affected by Hurricane Florence, however this play is too good to pass up. Georgia Southern has a potent rushing attack and will not be forced to adjust if there is heavy rain and winds. Clemson also hasn’t been super impressive offensively, not going above 30 against A&M or 50 against Furman.
Central Michigan At Northern Illinois under 44.5: Northern Illinois has struggled to find any offense thus far, scoring 13 points in 2 games. Their defense however has been impressive, Iowa was held to 3 first half points while Utah was shut out. I don’t expect the Huskies defense to struggle in the second half due to stamina, playing a team their size in Central Michigan. The Chippewas also haven’t looked good offensively, scoring 20 first half points because of 4 first half turnovers by Kentucky and then being held to only 7 points at home against Kansas.
Ul Lafayette At Miss State under 64: Mississippi State has a loaded defensive front 7, with NFL draft prospects in Montez Sweat and Jeffrey Simmons. This Bulldogs defense held Kansas State to 10 points and dominated them all game. Nick Fitzgerald also sometimes struggles to find receivers accurately downfield.
Marshall At South Carolina -13: Another instance where I’m taking a game potentially affected by the Hurricane, and in this case I love South Carolina in any weather. Not only will the Gamecocks have a huge advantage upfront, they will also have a big advantage out wide. When you consider these 2 factors I have them winning by over 2 TD’s.
Ohio State At TCU over 58: Ohio State’s offense has not skipped a beat without Urban Meyer. Dwayne Haskins has been fantastic through two games, and looks like a heisman contender. TCU has also been impressive offensively, scoring 97 points in 2 games. While neither team has faced a defense as talented as they will play in this game, I still think the offenses have the advantage, I’m worried though about TCU really struggling to score, or if they get up early trying to run the clock out, but those seem like low probability outcomes.
Those are all my picks for the week, make sure to check out my twitter @mikerothou for all my sports takes and reactions to the games this weekend. My twitter will also give updates to my podcast where I discuss every CFB game of the weekend and give out NFL picks which went 4-2-1 last week.