by Rafid Farjo (@rafid_313)
As the dust settles after an electric opening week of college football, teams have begun to show their true colors. Perennial powerhouses like Alabama and Georgia showed their might in strong opening wins over Miami and Clemson respectively, while more underrated teams such as Iowa and Penn State also showed promise in impressive victories. Other supposed title contenders in Ohio State, Oklahoma, Iowa State and Clemson left many questions unanswered, as each struggled for long periods throughout Week 1. Week 2 bolsters many opportunities for these teams and others to prove themselves, including the marquee matchups of (10)Iowa at (9)Iowa State and (12)Oregon at (3)Ohio State. As we head into what should be a great week of college football, we give our best predictions and reasoning for some of the headlining games using lines acquired from DraftKings and Barstool Sportsbook.
The Game: Kansas @ (17)Coastal Carolina
The Play: Over 52 total points (-110)
Why: Coastal Carolina has the potential to score 52 points on their own. After a breakout 2020 season in which the Chanticleers went 11-1, they return standout quarterback Grayson McCall and 20/22 starters. Coastal Carolina continued their standout form into week 1 where they thrashed The Citadel 52-14 and showcased the dominant strength of their offense. Kansas on the other hand, is widely considered the worst Power 5 football program. Coming off a tumultuous offseason in which head Coach Les Miles was let go, they enter Week 2 off a narrow win 17-14 against FCS opponent South Dakota, in which a late 4th quarter touchdown was needed to prevail. Kansas is led by dual threat quarterback Jason Bean, who was the Jayhawks only source of offense throughout the game, responsible for 217 total yards in comparison to 28 yards combined by all other Jayhawks. Look for Bean to attempt to create plays with his legs and throw the ball downfield as the game will be a heavy uphill battle for the Jayhawks. Coastal Carolina should handle this game with ease, but look for the Jayhawks to put up a few points, especially towards the end of this game.
The Game: (12)Oregon @ (3)Ohio State
The Play: Over 63.5 total points (-115)
Why: Oregon heads into Columbus after surviving an upset scare against Fresno State at home. By no means is it a bad result to squeak out a win, but it was certainly not the strong start to the season the Ducks were hoping for. The Ducks offense was largely mediocre relative to its skill against Fresno, with QB Anthony Brown going 15/24 for 172 yards and star running back CJ Verdell rushing for 74 yards on 18 attempts. The Ducks offensive skill players are much more talented than they showed Saturday and I expect them to show up against an Ohio State defense that demonstrated some signs of sloppiness against Minnesota. Perhaps more worrisome for the Ducks was the ease in which Fresno State was able to move the ball through the air. The Oregon secondary was without answers for most of the game, but by limiting the Fresno rushing attack, they were able to prevail. This may not be the case against an immensely talented Ohio State offense. Ohio State returns the nation’s top WR core led by Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba as well as an explosive running back duo in TreVeyon Henderson and Master Teague. Ohio State will likely be able to break some large plays, leading to a quicker pace within the game.
The Game: UAB @ (2)Georgia
The Play: UAB Team total points over 9.5 (-121)
Why: Georgia’s defense was absolutely phenomenal from start to finish against Clemson. They were able to pressure Clemson QB DJ Uiagalelei and tackled very well. That level of play though, is unsustainable. UAB boasts a strong roster, specifically at QB led by senior Tyler Johnston. Johnston started the season off phenomenally with a 17/21 performance for 320 yards and 2TD against Jacksonville State. UAB was able to move the ball both through the ground and air. Utilizing both dimensions will be the key to scoring against the stout Georgia defense, which is bound for a letdown. The Blazers are a good team, but far off the level of Georgia and unfortunately for them, the game may not be close by the later stages. Fortunately for us though, this may create additional opportunities to put up some garbage time points to hit that over.
The Game: (15)Texas @ Arkansas
The Play: Texas -6.5 (-114)
Why: If not for a terrific rally by the Razorbacks after trailing 7-17 in the 3rd quarter against Rice, this line may be 10-15 points more in favor of Texas. I think because of that, there is too much value here with Texas to not pick them. The Longhorns looked good wire-to-wire against a ranked ULL team with QB Hudson Card throwing for an efficient 234 yards and 2TD on 14/21 passing in his Texas debut. Razorbacks QB KJ Jefferson could not say the same for his debut, going 12/21 for 128 yards, 1 TD, and an interception. The Longhorns defense looked stout as well, bending by allowing yardage, but refusing to break, doing a great job limiting points.
The Game: NC State at Mississippi State
The Plays: NC State ML (-130), Over 55 total points (-106)
Why: NC State, led by QB Devin Leary, was phenomenal on both sides of the ball against USF in week 1. Leary led a balanced attack, in which the Wolfpack established themselves physically with 232 yards though the air and 293 on the ground. The NC State defense was also impressive, allowing 0 points and forcing 2 turnovers. Mississippi State comes into week 2 needing a missed field goal to survive 35-34 against Louisiana Tech despite a nearly 400 yard passing performance from QB Will Rogers. The Bulldogs defense often struggled, getting beaten physically with cornerbacks looking lost. With NC State’s physicality and offensive efficiency (7.84 yards per play in week 1), expect more of the same for the Bulldogs defense. The Mississippi State passing attack won’t allow NC State to repeat their shutout and will put some points on the board to keep it close, but the Wolfpack defense is simply the much better unit in comparison with that of the Bulldogs.
The Game: (5)Texas A&M @ Colorado
The Play: Colorado +17.5 (-116)
Why: Texas A&M is one of the best teams in the country, but against a good Colorado team on the road, 17.5 will be a lot to cover. Texas A&M was led by freshman QB Haynes King in week 1, where he showed positive flashes, but disappointed in turning the ball over 3 times. Kent State is not of the caliber where they could punish the Aggies for these turnovers, but Colorado is. There should be a distinct home advantage for the Buffaloes, who were clinical in Week 1 against Northern Colorado, a team led by former Michigan QB Dylan McCaffrey. Expect Colorado to be able to move the ball on the ground and mix in some deep passes. A&M is the better team, and should win the game, but in this scenario 17 points seems too much to cover.
The Game: Georgia State @ (24)North Carolina
The Play: UNC -25.5 (-109)
Why: UNC was not impressive in their first game of the season, dropping it against a very good Virginia Tech team, but perhaps that was to be expected after their tremendous offseason losses including RBs Michael Carter and Javonte Williams as well as WR Dyami Brown to the NFL. Despite that, they are still led by Heisman candidate QB Sam Howell and will be looking to rebound in a big way off their loss. Opponent Georgia State was beaten down physically against Army in week 1 (a game in which Georgia State was favored) losing by a score of 43-10 and was largely unsuccessful at moving the ball on offense. Against a much more talented and very motivated UNC team, Georgia State will be far outmatched on both sides of the ball, having no match for the Tar Heels speed and physicality.
The Game: Washington at Michigan
The Play: Michigan -6.5 (-112)
Why: As if anyone needed another reason to root for Michigan this weekend, the Wolverines head into this game after shattering expectations in Week 1. Their offense looked good behind a 2TD passing performance from QB Cade McNamara, and their running back rotation of Haskins, Corum, and Edwards looked solid. Top Wolverine WR Ronnie Bell was lost for the season to a torn ACL in the 2nd quarter of the opening game vs. Western Michigan, but the bench is deep for the Wolverines. Jackson State transfer WR Daylen Baldwin and Sophomore WR Roman Wilson will likely be in line for a bigger role with Bell out, and the strong rushing attack should account for some of the lost production. Defense could be a concern for the Wolverines, as it was largely untested in week 1, but the signs point to an improvement so far off of an abysmal 2020 performance. Washington will come into Ann Arbor much more disappointed with their week 1 performance. The Huskies were defeated 13-7 by FCS Montana at home, their first defeat to Montana in over 100 years. The offense was completely stagnant, not scoring any points after an early touchdown. Quarterback Dylan Morris threw 3 interceptions, and as a team the Huskies were only able to muster 65 yards rushing. This looks like a classic case of teams heading in opposite directions, and with the Huskies coming into a night game at a raucous Big House, where the Wolverines are notoriously impressive historically (7-1 with fans), expect Michigan to handle business.
*Betting odds acquired from DraftKings Sportsbook 9/7/2021
**UAB team total odds taken from Barstool Sportsbook