It’s the start of the college season. Kind of-sort of. Do people even call this “week one of college football?”
There are four games slated for Saturday. Think of it as an appetizer to next week’s barrage of games that awaits. Let’s not get crazy though. We’ve waited a long time and these games aren’t the most “watch-able.” So let’s be smart and wager wisely.
South Florida -20.5 at San Jose State
Don’t let that stint at Texas fool you. Charlie Strong is a very good college football coach. Texas was almost a “set-up” job from the start. It’s always nonsense when a coach is given a bad squad and never really given an opportunity to turn the program around. That’s in the past now though and Charlie Strong finds himself in a great situation with South Florida. He has a true dual-threat QB in Quinton Flowers. Much of the defense is returning and although it wasn’t a “shut down” defense (lowest point total allowed was 20 points to Syracuse) one would expect improvement especially with Charlie Strong at the helm. San Jose State on the other hand lost in a bunch of shoot-outs against teams with equally horrible defenses. Towards the end of the year they showed some fight against Boise State and Air Force but ultimately came up empty. Last season San Jose couldn’t do much to stop the oppositions run attack and did very little to stop the oppositions pass rush (gave up 50 sacks). With uncertainty at the quarterback position after Spring, this is a squad that is really ripe for the picking. Charlie Strong will look to make an example out of someone early. South Florida will be heavily favored in their first three games of the season and for good reason. This is a double digit win team come year’s end.
The Pick: South Florida -20.5
Rice +30 versus Stanford (game being played in Sydney, Australia)
Stanford enters this season asking themselves: “who will fill the void left by running back Christian McCaffrey?” The answer is found in the speedy Bryce Love. Love is no slouch, as he averaged 7 yards a carry last season including three 100 yard rushing games (most notably the 115 yards he put up against UNC in the Sun Bowl).
Rice’s offensive line is weak – to put it lightly and going up against a tradition front-force like Stanford will be the beginning and end of this game. Rice’s offensive line will be pushed around and their secondary is one of the worse in college football. Good news is that Stanford isn’t looking to do much more than run due to the fact they have no real studs in their wide out group and nobody is really sold on Keller Chryst as anything more than “a guy who plays quarterback for Stanford.”
Stanford went 10-3 last year and never won by a margin of 30 points. Subtract their best players from both sides of the ball (Christian McCaffrey and Soloman Thomas) and it’s hard to see them coming out week one and looking to blow the barn doors off of anyone. Head coach David Shaw isn’t one to run up the score either. He’d rather kill the clock when up.
The Pick: Rice +30
Good Luck and Wager Wisely!