There were a couple of bad beats a week ago, but the analysis was sound. We’ve got a good mix of non-conference and conference games before we go ACC only for the foreseeable future. 5-3 a week has us 10-7 on the season and looking to build. Without further ado, here are the picks.
Western Michigan Broncos @ Pittsburgh Panthers
Pittsburgh -14.5; Over/Under 58
The Pitt defense is good, but it’s still capable of giving up points. Western Michigan quarterback Kaleb Eleby can sling it and while they won’t challenge Pitt on the scoreboard, they should be able to hang within a couple scores through the game. The hope here is they can do just enough early to force Kenny Pickett and company to stay in the game all forty minutes
Pick: Over 58
I ended up on the wrong end of the Hokies 35-14 win over Middle Tennessee last week, but the logic wasn’t terrible. I thought VaTech was in position for a let down after their big win over UNC the previous week and it looked like it early as they only led 14-7 at the half. This week they head to Morgantown for a game the home team will have had circled. If VaTech was up for their tilt with UNC, West Virginia will be as up, if not more from a visit from their old rivals. I still don’t love this VaTech team and this is the week we start to see why.
Pick: West Virginia -3
Boston College Eagles @ Temple Owls
Boston College -14.5; Over/Under 57
With the Eagles leading 14-0 at the half visiting UMass last week, I thought the Under 58 looked like a winner. Then the JV defenses entered the game and the scoring snowball got rolling. In the end, 59 points were scored in the second half alone and it was another L in my books. I’m not deterred however. I still think the BC defense is really good and the Eagles lost quarterback Phil Jurkovec for the foreseeable future. Dennis Grosel is capable filling in, but I look for them to keep things simple and ease him into the fold. Temple is not great, but with the meat of the BC schedule coming up, the Eagles won’t press the issue and just make sure they get out of Philly unscathed.
Pick: Under 57
This game all depends on how you felt about Miami coming into the season. If you thought the Hurricanes were overrated, the Alabama and Appalachian State results were no surprise. But if, like me, you think the Hurricanes are a top tier ACC team, the first two games are easy to reconcile. First, Alabama is Alabama. Second Appalachian State is one of the best non-Power Five teams in the country and the game came sandwiched between Alabama and this game. It’s because of the the last two weeks that we’re getting value on the number. Michigan State is fine, but wins over Youngstown State and Northwestern don’t really get my attention. I think Miami wins and the number is doable.
Pick: Miami -6.5
Since I’ve been writing this column, I’ve almost blindly trusted Clemson in ACC games despite always having to lay big numbers. I’m going back to that this week. Clemson jumped out early against South Carolina State and never looked back. Look for Clemson to do the same this week against a Georgia Tech team that will be significantly outmatched.
Pick: Clemson -28
What are we going to do with this Florida State team? A week after giving Notre Dame everything they can handle, they end up on the wrong end of a last second touchdown falling to Jacksonville State. Meanwhile, as a Norfolk resident, my tax dollars now go to Wake Forest after they beat Old Dominion and Norfolk State to open the season. I like Wake Forest, but there’s something that doesn’t feel right about them laying five points to Florida State, even at home.
Pick: Florida State +5
If ACC Football did an ACC/Big Ten Challenge like they do in basketball, we’d get Ohio State/Clemson at the top and this game at the bottom of card. David Cutcliffe and Pat Fitzgerald are coaching legends at their respective schools taking both to success levels rarely seen. Still, that isn’t saying much and these two are both looking at bottom of the table finishes in their conferences once again. This game will be competitive only in the sense that the score should be close. Nothing by either team impresses me and I see an ugly, low scoring affair.
Pick: Under 49.5
Virginia’s offense exploded last week. All facets looked fantastic and what more is there to say about Jelani Woods. He looked like he was playing with boys on that opening drive. North Carolina was also clicking putting 59 points on Georgia State. I wish I could have gotten this number when it opened closer to ten, but as long as the game stays over a TD, I like the Hoos. If scoring is high, the game will come down to whoever has the ball last. But if it’s low scoring, I actually like the Hoos defense to get the job done. Either way, the game will be close, so give me the points and the Hoos.
Pick: Virginia +8