As we head into week two, the record stands at 5-4-2, not where we want it, but we’re learning a lot about these teams going into this week. Georgia may have the best defense in the country, and that over was dead immediately, straight up a bad play. On the flip side, two underdog victories between UCLA and UTSA were nice plays. Looking ahead to this slate, it’s not as loaded with big-time games. However, there’s plenty of lines that have caught my eye.
South Carolina at East Carolina, South Carolina -2
The Gamecocks rolled over a lesser opponent Eastern Illinois 46-0 last week, even with emergency quarterback Zeb Noland. This week, head coach Shane Beamer has said sophomore Luke Doty is trending towards playing, but it will be close. Doty is a dynamic threat with his legs, and Noland showed he could take care of the ball. They also will be returning 2020 SEC’s leading rusher Kevin Harris at running back, his workload may not be huge, but this running back room is more than enough to run all over East Carolina. Last week, Appalachian State ran for over 226 yards on the ground, with two running backs tallying over the century mark. East Carolina gave up four sacks last week, and South Carolina will dominate the line of scrimmage in this game. If Luke Doty plays, this won’t be close.
Buffalo at Nebraska, Buffalo +14
After losing against Illinois for the second year in the row, Scott Frost and Nebraska were able to right the ship in a confidence booster game against Fordham. Scott Frost’s hot seat should still be steaming right now with how his tenure has fizzled out in Nebraska. Rumors of losing the locker room, this Nebraska team needs to come ready to play against Buffalo. This Buffalo team does not make mistakes, and they will come prepared to play a huge B1G program. Their rushing attack hasn’t missed a beat losing, Washington Football Team running back Jaret Patterson. Kevin Marks Jr. is an experienced back that has taken over the lead-back duties for the Bulls. I’m now fading Frost as much as possible this year, and that starts against Buffalo.
Iowa at Iowa State, Iowa +4.5
The big Iowa early-season out-of-conference rivalry game between the Hawkeyes and Cyclones is set to be a great game on Saturday. Historically, this game is dominated by the Hawkeyes - even with Matt Campbell, Iowa State has had trouble staying in these games. Since taking over at Iowa State, Campbell has yet to beat Iowa, and it stays that way this year. This line screams trap game, but I’m taking it still. Iowa is a good football team with a great defense, loaded at all three levels. Last week, they dominated against a ranked Indiana. They got lucky with a couple of defensive touchdowns, but they’re an extremely physical team in the trenches. Iowa State lacks offensive line talent and struggled against Northern Illinois in a look-ahead game. They may not have wanted to give too much away in their first game, but can we believe in Brock Purdy and this offensive line? Iowa is 3-0-1 in the last four underdog games. The Hawkeyes will continue to dominate this matchup and have a great chance of winning straight-up.
Washington at Michigan, Washington +7
There are not many must-win games for teams in week two. This is one of those for Washington. This team was embarrassed against Mountain West opponent Montana losing straight up. They looked out-matched on offense and couldn’t buy a way into the endzone. That can’t happen this week - this team is talented enough on defense to be a PAC-12 champion. Dylan Morris may not be the guy at quarterback for this Huskie team, and maybe it’s time we see five-star freshman Sam Huard. On the other side, Michigan is on a high note, starting 1-0 against Western Michigan. They handled them pretty easily, which is what’s expected when you’re a powerhouse school. We’ve seen this story repeatedly where Michigan can’t win the big games, and even with a loss against Montana, this is a big game playing Washington. The Huskies have to play pissed off and show why they were a top 25 team coming into the season. A week one hiccup against Montana can be looked over if they upset a team like Michigan. Looking at the public money, over 75% of the money is on the Michigan spread. Michigan is 1-5 against the spread in their last six games. Washington will come to play and has a good chance to be a huge upset spot and ‘let down’ game for Michigan.
Texas at Arkansas, Texas -7
Is Texas back? The Longhorns took care of business and covered easily against Louisiana last week. Hudson Card looked a bit shaky at first but settled in well for a true freshman. Oh, and they also have the best running back in the country. Anyone that isn’t aware of Bijan Robinson needs to be now. Robinson can take over games at will and will have a huge game in Arkansas. Last week, the Razorbacks battled back after being down 17-7 at halftime and reared back to cover a -19.5 spread. However, the passing attack looked bad, and the whole offense didn’t get going until the second half. It was a great win by the Razorbacks, but Texas is a different animal. Hudson Card will be more comfortable in his second career game, and the passing attack should open up. This is a huge game for both teams as soon they will be conference rivals within the next couple of years. Can Texas become an SEC powerhouse?
Middle Tennessee at Virginia Tech, u54.5
“Enter Sandman” and the Hokies entrance might have been the highlight of the weekend. Lane Stadium was rocking against a ranked opponent in UNC and was able to pull off a huge upset win. With another home game, Tech has a huge advantage with a dominant defense. They were able to get after Sam Howell last week and should keep it going against Middle Tennessee. The under is 4-0 in the previous four home games for the Hokies. Tech also averaged less than 70 plays per game in 2020, outside the top 90 teams in the country. This game could be a letdown spot for the Hokies, but the defense could show up for them.
Boston College at Massachusetts, Boston College -37
One of the best games of the year, Boston College’s red bandana game in honor of their grad Welles Crowther, who was one of the heroes in the 9/11 tragedy. Coming up on the 20th anniversary this Saturday, it may be an emotional one for the Boston College family, even in an away game. UMass isn’t known for being a great program the last couple of years, but Boston College will be ready as always for this game. Jeff Hafley has grown this program and looks to be one of the better ACC teams in the conference. This game is a staple in Boston College history and, basically, a home game staying in state. The Eagles will handle UMass easily.
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