Week 1 in college football certainly lived up to the hype. Unless, of course, you’re a Virginia fan. Then everything after 5PM on Saturday was…whatever.
Week 2 isn’t as ballyhooed, but it offers some intriguing matchups nonetheless. Just within the ACC, we get two conference games, five games against Power 5 opponents, bragging rights battles in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. It all shapes up for a nice little Saturday.
So let’s get to the picks. Last week, I went 15-9 in our Yahoo pick’em league, but I only went 5-8-1 in games involving two FBS teams. So I’m in mid-season form already.
Category 1: Games Against FCS Opponents
Florida State vs. Charleston Southern (no spread)
Georgia Tech vs. Mercer (no spread)
There’s really nothing to see here. If either of these games are even remotely close, then something has gone terribly wrong. I look for both FSU and Georgia Tech to grind their FCS opponents into dust.
Category 2: FBS Laughers
#2 Clemson is a 35.5-point favorite at home against Troy
#25 Miami is a 24-point favorite at home against Florida Atlantic
Boston College is a 17-point favorite on the road against UMass
Virginia is a 24.5-point underdog on the road against #24 Oregon
I cannot accurately describe the pain it gives to put the Virginia game in this section. But the point spread is so wide following last Saturday’s debacle that I’m left with no choice. I’m optimistic that we’ll see weekly improvement from Bronco Mendenhall’s squad. He’s been known for having teams that start slow and get better as the season progresses. I think we’ll begin to see improvement on Saturday, and the Hoos will cover. I still expect them to lose by at least two touchdowns.
I also think Clemson and Miami will roll over their opponents with ease. The Tigers, coming off a trip to the national title game, don’t have much to prove in their game against Troy. Dabo is a nice guy, and I think he’ll call off the dogs before Clemson covers. Miami hung up 70 on its FCS opponent last weekend. That leaves me to think that the Canes won’t take their foot off the pedal against FAU. I’m taking Miami to cover.
Finally, I just don’t see Boston College beating anyone by 17 points. I could be wholly overestimating UMass, but BC’s offense remains dreadful. I like the Eagles to win, but the Minutemen to cover.
Category 3: Games that will tell us something
Louisville is a 14.5-point favorite on the road against Syracuse
Duke is a 5.0 point favorite at home against Wake Forest
Virginia Tech is an 11.5-point underdog in Bristol against Tennessee
North Carolina is an 8.5-point favorite on the road against Illinois
NC State is a 5-point favorite on the road against East Carolina
Pittsburgh is a 5-point favorite at home against Penn State
Louisville looked awfully good against Charlotte, but I noted last week that the 49ers might be the worst FBS team in the country. Lamar Jackson and company will meet more resistance this week in Dino Babers’ first ACC game as the Syracuse head coach. Syracuse has played well at home against highly-favored opponents in recent memory. I like the Cuse to cover.
Duke should handle Wake Forest, but Saturday will be a good measuring stick for both teams. I just can’t see a David Cutcliffe team losing this one, and I think the Devils will cover at home.
I was relatively impressed with Virginia Tech last week once the Hokies got rolling. And we know what happened to Tennessee against Appalachian State. Tech teams under Frank Beamer played relatively well on the road against big name OOC opponents. I think Justin Fuente’s squad will do enough on Saturday to cover.
North Carolina lost their season opener for the second year in a row against an SEC squad. The Heels won’t have similar troubles against Illinois. Lovie Smith is the new head coach for the Illini, and his squad won their opener convincingly against an FCS opponent. I like Carolina to win, but Illinois to keep it close enough to cover.
If you read this column last year, you might remember that I was never convinced by NC State. I’m still not convinced, but a win at ECU on Saturday would be a good start. I’m taking the Pirates to cover and potentially win outright.
Finally, let’s talk about the battle in the Keystone State. In a previous life, I did two years in grad school at Penn State. And I learned enough there to know that Penn State doesn’t give Pitt much thought. On the flip side, the Panthers would love nothing more than to shut up the copious Nittany Lions fans from across the Commonwealth. This one means more to Pat Narduzzi’s crew. I’m taking Pitt to win and cover.
Have you signed up for our College Football Pick ‘Em league yet? It’s not too late! Go to Yahoo! and enter in the group ID 4131, with the password "bronco". You can find the full details here. Good luck!