(Image courtesy: Detroit Free-Press)
We are so, so, so back baby.
We’ve waited nine long months for a full weekend of college football, and now we’re so close I can taste it. Give me all of the Middle Tennessee-Vandy, and the SMU-North Texas, and the ODU-Liberty. I don’t care who’s on my screen as long as we’ve got real live college football all day long, I’m in.
Also, if you’re looking for some tips on how to play, check out today’s podcast with Rossy Three Stax. We tell you everything you need to know for your first time.
Watching college football for 25 years before playing DFS for the first time was like eating vanilla ice cream for years before that first taste of chocolate. I can’t tell you how much better your Saturdays can be when you’re pulling for the SMU quarterback to get you that 400-yard bonus.
But now, my picks. I know I call this thing “Take the Points”, but I’m laying points left and right this week. I’m big on big favorites for some reason. Bold strategy, we’ll see if it pays off.
FAU at Oklahoma (-21), 12:00 FOX
Lots of people are giving Lane Kiffin a chance to hang around against the Sooners, but I don’t see it. The Owls do bring back 15 starters and have won 10 straight, but the best team they beat in that stretch to end last season was Louisiana Tech. Kiffin’s done a nice job billing FAU as “Second Chance U” and is loaded with former Power Five cast-offs, but they don’t have the firepower to hang with Oklahoma.
Baker Mayfield’s Heisman performance overshadowed Lincoln Riley last season. Riley is the best offensive mind in college football today, and Kyler Murray fits perfectly what the Sooners want to do: play fast and sling the rock all over the place. Murray’s arguably the fastest QB in the country, and has an MLB-caliber arm. He’s my Heisman pick this year. I love Oklahoma here, and I even like the over 72 if you’re feeling frisky.
PREDICTION: Oklahoma 52, FAU 21
Texas State at Rutgers, O/U 47, 12:00 Big 10 Network
This might be the least fun bet in history. We’re rooting for a snoozer in Piscataway. But you know what’s fun? Making money, and we’re cashing an under ticket in this one.
Texas State is the Kansas of the Sun Belt. They’ve won four games in three years, and must replace virtually half of their offensive production from a year ago. The Bobcats lost 10 games last season, eight of them by more than a touchdown.
The Scarlet Knights return 81 percent of their production on defense, while Texas Southern struggled to top 20 points most of the time last season. With Rutgers starting a true freshman quarterback in this game, I love the under 48.5 in this game. Rutgers has not beaten an FBS team by 18+ points since 2014, two years before Chris Ash took over as head coach.
PREDICTION: Rutgers 27, Texas Southern 10
BYU at Arizona (-11.5), 10:45 ESPN
Kevin Sumlin’s first game at Arizona puts him up against a BYU program that’s trending HARD in the wrong direction.
Tanner Mangum is back for his 13th season under center for the Cougars, but he’s coming off an Achilles injury last November. There’s no way he’s at full strength yet. Meanwhile, I only have to lay 11.5 points with Khalil Tate, AKA Lamar Jackson 2.0? Give me every last bit of that. I don’t think Arizona is a real threat to win the Pac-12 South, but I see no way BYU slows down Tate Saturday night. Sumlin’s the kind of guy who I don’t see easing up in his first game either. I think he wants to make a statement in his debut. Wildcats big.
PREDICTION: Arizona 42, BYU 17
Michigan at Notre Dame (PK), 7:30 NBC
If you’re selling Jim Harbaugh stock, I’m buying. The Wolverines are loaded yet again on defense, led by Rashan Gary on the line and Devin Bush in the linebacking corps. Notre Dame must replace several key offensive linemen, and I think Michigan dominates up front. The Wolverines have the hardest schedule of anyone with national championship hopes. It might catch up to them by November, but with a fresh roster and easily the most talented quarterback of his tenure with Shea Patterson, I love Michigan to put it on the Irish.
BUY THE BOAT MAMA IT’S THE LOCK OF THE WEEK.
PREDICTION: Michigan 35, Notre Dame 17
Louisville vs Alabama (-24.5), 8:00 ABC
It doesn’t matter who starts at quarterback, Nick Saban might cover this spread by halftime. The sneaky secret about Louisville last year was how average they were across the board. Lamar Jackson, one of the most electric playmakers of the last decade, couldn’t lift them over eight wins. Bobby Petrino’s worked wonders before, but I don’t see any way the Cardinals compete in this game.
This might be the most talented Alabama offense ever. I don’t see anyone holding them under 50, and Saban ain’t letting Louisville touch close to 30.
PREDICTION: Alabama 49, Louisville 14
Go have fun kids, and win you some money.
What are your picks for the weekend? Send me your best bet on Twitter @JoshParcell.