It’s Week 2 of college football. The first couple of weeks have been a bit of a dud, so I’m really looking forward to the season progressing. Last week was a bit of a bust, but it’s early. There have been so many personnel and player changes that things will take a few weeks to settle and see what’s what.
Here’s what I like for Week 2:
My best bet: South Alabama +5 at Central Michigan
I’m not impressed with the Chippewas putting up 44 points last week in a loss to Oklahoma State. You can catch my full breakdown as to why here:
Arkansas State at No. 3 Ohio State -44.5
I know, it’s a crazy-big number, but in my preseason previews I talked about backing Ohio State in Week 2 against the Red Wolves. Arkansas State on the road last season lost to Washington 52-3, gave up 41 points to Tulsa, and another 59 to Georgia Southern. Besides simply being Ohio State, the Buckeyes have a few things going for them.
They have a top-24 pass rush going against a bottom-five offensive line. Ohio State last year was 25th in quarterback sacks and sacked Notre Dame QB Tyler Buchner three times last week. The Red Wolves were 127th in quarterback protection last season. QB James Blackman was sacked zero times last week with the Red Wolves putting up 58 points … against Grambling. Blackman played just six games last year but was sacked 19 times, 13 of which came on the road.
I have no doubts that the Buckeyes' offense can do some damage to a defense that ranked 129th last year, and that the defense can keep Blackman on the run and unable to put up points.
Why not take the Ohio State team total over 56.5? I don’t like that hook. The Buckeyes could take their foot off the gas maybe in the fourth quarter or it could also put up 59 points. Either way, I like the spread more than the team total over. I would never consider this if Ohio State were on the road, but at home, the Buckeyes last season put up 59 on Akron, 66 on Maryland, 59 on Purdue, and 56 on Michigan State. I trust this team at home.
UTSA at Army +3
Yes, Army was my best bet last week and it did not cover against Coastal Carolina, losing by 10. The Black Knights were competitive, however, producing 5.2 yards per rush and nearly 350 yards of total offense. The Roadrunners had a turbulent loss — up 30-7 at one point to Houston and ultimately losing 37-35 in overtime — and now they travel to face a top-five rushing attack.
What hurt Army last week was Coastal Carolina's run game. UTSA showed a bit of a one-dimensional offense last week with quarterback Frank Harris leading the team in rushing. No longer having RB Sincere McCormick could certainly hurt the Roadrunners this season. Plus, if there’s one thing these military teams know how to defend, it's mobile quarterbacks. I like Army on the ML +125 as well, but I’ll keep things conservative.
Kansas +13.5 at West Virginia
Do I really want to back the Jayhawks? Ugh, the answer is yes. The Mountaineers allowed over 300 yards of passing offense last week to Kedon Clovis. Perhaps the two don’t equate, but I believe this is a Jayhawks team on the rise with QB Jalon Daniels.
With Daniels behind center last season, Kansas lost by six to West Virginia, to TCU by three, and defeated Texas in overtime. He threw for six total touchdowns in those games and completed 70.7% of his passes. I’m high on West Virginia this season so I’m not expecting an upset, but I am expecting the Jayhawks to be a menace to Big 12 opponents. Something is brewing at Kansas.