Hey friends, who’s ready to have a little fun? Maybe make a little money? All of you? Great!
It’s Take the Points, my weekly life advice column. My life advice is to bet on college football. With that in mind, it’s time for my picks for Week 2.
If you followed me on Twitter, you saw that last week’s picks went 5-2 against the spread. That’s good! I’m richer today than I was a week ago. I want all of you to share in my glory.
Don’t forget to download the CFB Country podcast. Today’s episode features Chris “Bear” Fallica from College Gameday. We hand out picks for all the biggest games this weekend, then Rossy Three Stacks hops on for his teaser bets of the week. It’s hilarious and if you aren’t listening yet, you’re missing out. Give it a try today.
On to the picks:
Fresno State (+43) at Alabama
Chris Fallica gave the stat of the century on my podcast today when he said that Nick Saban has never covered against a Group of Five school after winning a season opener against a Power Five team. Nick Saban never runs it up on the little guys. He saves that for Florida, and South Carolina, and Georgia.
If you feel like backing Alabama, maybe try the first half line, which is Alabama (-26.5), but for the game, expect the Tide to jump out to a big lead early and sit on it, maybe even giving up a backdoor touchdown or two late. All Fresno State likely needs is one touchdown and the Bulldogs will cover.
Final Score: Alabama 45, Fresno State 7
Louisville (-10) at UNC
Even on the road, I feel like Vegas is tricking us by only shorting Louisville 10 points here. North Carolina was complete mess last week against Cal at home. Going from Mitch Trubisky to Brandon Harris at quarterback is like going from Ed Cota to Adam Boone at point guard. Carolina fans never thought they’d see anything like that again, but here we are. Fedora refused to name Chazz Surratt the starter this week, despite throwing for 100 more yards and no interceptions (Harris threw two) last week.
If North Carolina is still hashing out its QB situation, there’s zero chance they keep up with the Cardinal’s offense. Louisville struggled with Purdue last week, but the Cardinals averaged 6.6 yards per play, and lost three fumbles that kept the Boilermakers around. Lamar Jackson totaled nearly 500 yards of offense alone. The Tar Heels don’t have an answer for that.
Final Score: Louisville 44, North Carolina 21
East Carolina at West Virginia (-24.5)
East Carolina is coming off an embarrassing 34-14 loss to JMU. Here’s the key stat in this game: the Pirates let the Dukes rush for 410 yards on 42 carries – that’s 9.8 yards per carry! West Virginia might be coming off an emotional loss to Virginia Tech, but the Mountaineers put up nearly 600 yards of offense against an elite Virginia Tech defense. Justin Crawford averaged more than eight yards per carry against the Hokies. East Carolina doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of slowing down Crawford, let alone the Mountaineer’s passing attack.
Final Score: West Virginia 59, East Carolina 20
Middle Tennessee at Syracuse (-10)
The Blue Raiders let Vanderbilt pitch the ball all over the field like Smokin’ Jay Cutler was back in town, losing 28-6 at home to the Commodores. Vandy threw for 296 yards, three touchdowns and no picks last week. Dino Babers has to be licking his chops at the thought of airing it out against MTSU.
The Orange don’t have the athletes to compete week in and week out against Clemson, Florida State and the upper-echelon of the ACC. But in games like this where they aren’t outmatched athletically, Babers eats.
Final Score: Syracuse 48, Middle Tennessee 34
Auburn at Clemson (-5.5)
With Deondre Francois’ season-ending injury last week, the door swung wide open for Clemson to make a third straight trip to the College Football Playoff, suddenly, Auburn may be the best team the Tigers will face this season. The problem for Gus Malzahn’s team is star running back Kerryon Johnson’s status. Johnson has not practiced all week since injury his hamstring in the season opener. If he can’t go, it’s up to Kamryn Pettway to be the bellcow against the best interior defensive line in the country.
I like Clemson at home in this spot. Kelly Bryant looked fine last week in a blowout win over Kent State, but this is his first real test. Clemson has far more healthy weapons at running back and receiver than Auburn, and I think Bryant’s going to surprise us with a couple game-changing plays on Saturday night. Give me Clemson by double-digits.
Final Score: Clemson 31, Auburn 20
Minnesota (+2) at Oregon State
Oregon State might win the Charlie Weis Worst Power Five Team Award this season. The Beavers lost by 31 to Colorado State two weeks ago, only to watch the Rams fail to score a touchdown against a rebuilding Colorado team last weekend. The Beavers followed up that opening loss with a nail biter against Portland State, 35-32.
I have no reason to believe Oregon State has any confidence or momentum coming into this game. As for Minnesota, the PJ Fleck era got off to a decent start last week, beating Buffalo 17-7. The Gophers have a massive advantage on the sideline in this game. Fleck is going to have Minnesota fired up at the chance to pick up a Power Five win on the road. I’m shocked the Gophers are catching points here. Hammer the Boat, Gophers big.
Final score: Minnesota 34, Oregon State 17
There you have it — Week 2’s picks are on the record. Let’s put another winning week on the board. Don’t blame me if you lose, but do blame me if you win.