Last Week in Review
Last week was much better at 10-4. I learned many things from week one, but with all of the hurricane cancellations we still are lacking sample size to use meaningful statistics. Some familiar patterns are emerging. Statistics are from Football Outsiders S&P.
Weekend of 9/16/17 game lines as of Wednesday 9/13 midnight EDT:
Picks against the spread are in bold.
- New Mexico at Boise State -14.5
Prediction: Boise 42 – New Mexico 17
Boise is tough at home and they lost that multi-overtime thriller last week to Wazzu. New Mexico ranks 130th in DE and lost a classic in-state pillow fight 30-28 against NMSU last week. Boise should handle the Lobo offense and win this by at least 21.
- Illinois +17.5 at South Florida
Prediction: South Florida 28 – Illinois 20
Illinois is a strong contender for the worst group of 5 team in the country. Their offense (113) stinks, but their defense (50) has been respectable. USF is supposed to be explosive this year, but we are still waiting for this team to flash its potential. The USF defense (88) is weak, just like last year. USF beat Stony Brook only 31-17 on 9/2. Illinois is 2-0 after holding Western Kentucky to 7 last week. I fear the USF volcano finally erupting on offense but Illinois appears to have enough horsepower to stay within 17.5.
- Air Force +24 at Michigan
Prediction: Michigan 35-24
Michigan did not look sharp against Cincinnati last week. Were they getting some extra triple option practice for the Fighting Falcons? One week to prepare for the triple option is usually not quite enough time. Michigan is more talented but young, and experience helps in this situation. I have a hard time seeing them pull away more than 24 points.
- Iowa State -10.5 at Akron
Prediction: Iowa State 45 – Akron 24
Iowa State is much improved (24 offense), and almost beat Iowa last week. Akron was crushed by Penn State in week one. Iowa State on the road should be able to handle Akron without too many problems.
- Oklahoma State -13.5 at Pitt
Prediction: Oklahoma State 48 – Pitt 28
Oklahoma State has a very good offense this year (2) and they have thrashed 2 weak opponents so far. Pitt stayed within the spread with Penn State, but asking them to run with Oklahoma State stride for stride means they will get outscored. If this line drifts above 17 then it starts to become suspect. At 13.5, OK State cruises.
- UCLA – 2.5 at Memphis
Prediction: UCLA 44 – Memphis 31
This line is drifting in the direction of Memphis. Why? Both teams have offense but UCLA has a much better defense. Are people scared of the 45-10 deficit UCLA climbed out from in week one? UCLA scored 58 on Hawaii last week. Memphis beat ULM by 8 in week 1. UCLA should be able to handle Memphis.
- Baylor at Duke – 14
Prediction: Duke 41 Baylor 17
Duke beat Northwestern last week 41 – 17. Baylor is 0-2 with losses to Liberty and UTSA. Baylor is going to start a few new players at critical positions. Will it matter? I don’t think so, and at -14 Duke seems like a good play.
- Notre Dame -13 at Boston College
Prediction: Notre Dame 35 – Boston College 13
Notre Dame is a good team this year and they played Georgia toe to toe. Boston College continues to reek on offense (125), and lost by 24 to Wake last week. Wake looks like a good team this year, but Notre Dame is better than Wake. Thirteen points sounds too low.
- Clemson -3 at Louisville
Prediction: Clemson 31 – Louisville 17
This game was incredible last year before Louisville started to lose depth and fade late in the year. The Cardinals are still a one-man team with Lamar Jackson. Lamar cannot continue this pace and will get hurt if he does. The Clemson D line is really good. Venables just has to contain Lamar Jackson much like LSU did in the bowl game last year. Clemson has the athletes to stop him, and they will.
- Virginia Tech -23 at ECU
Prediction: Virginia Tech 38 – ECU 10
Virginia Tech is rising and has looked good, especially on defense. ECU has seen better days (offense 85 and defense 117). This is a fun exercise in the transitive property. V Tech beat WVU by 6 who beat ECU by 36….So V Tech wins by 42. That never works, BUT 23 seems generous to ECU.
- Georgia State at Penn State -37
Prediction: Penn State 52 – Georgia State 7
Penn State has looked like a potential playoff team and Georgia State has been awful on offense and decent on defense (67). What is the difference between Akron and Georgia State? Not much and Penn State beat Akron 52 – 0. Even with the subs in 3rd quarter this seems to be worse than 37 points.
- Kansas State – 3.5 at Vanderbilt
Prediction: Kansas State 28 – 16
Vanderbilt is one of the most improved teams in the country. In week one they beat MTSU 28 – 6, and MTSU beat Syracuse last week. The Dores have a good defense, and they will need it against one of Bill Snyder’s better teams. Vanderbilt cannot score enough points on offense to stay within 3.5. KSU is underrated and wins this by 12.
- Troy -7 at New Mexico State
Prediction: Troy 37 – 17
Troy lost to Boise by 11 at Boise in week one. No shame there, and the Trojan’s defense is pretty good. They are a much better team than NMSU who will have trouble scoring on Troy.
- Stanford – 9 at San Diego State
Prediction: Oklahoma 45 – Ohio State 38
What happened to Stanford last week? Sam Darnold carved up their secondary. I think they rebound here and beat SDSU by double digits. SDSU beat Arizona State last week 30 – 20, but can they absorb the Cardinal ground game? Not this week.
- Kentucky at South Carolina – 7
Prediction: South Carolina 27 – Kentucky 17
What is going on with Will Muschamp? I thought he was a hothead that had no business as a head coach. South Carolina has looked good so far and Kentucky did not last week. The Wildcats struggled with Eastern Kentucky. Statistically, these teams are similar…so has USC just been lucky? USC at home by 7 sounds about 3 points too low.
Other Lines I Like:
- UMASS + 14.5, Tennessee +5, Purdue + 7.5, Samford + 33.5, LSU -7.5
- Charlotte to beat NC A&T (have to beat somebody) MTSU + 9.5, Central Michigan +10
Be sure to keep your eye out for our weekly blog with Dr. Senkbeil’s picks every Thursday. Challenge your college buddies and coworkers on your Alma Mater’s game and raise money for charity in the process! Don’t have the GoodBookey app? Download it below. Talk some smack and give back!