“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil” – Psalm 23:4 – Photo courtesy of Jacob Thompson Photography
Week 2 of the college football season gets underway tonight with some Friday night action. The real show, though, is Saturday afternoon into Saturday night. #12 Texas A&M enters a real Valley of Death (see what I did there) as they face #1 Clemson on the road. Then right after that game is another big Top 25 match-up as #6 LSU travels to Austin, TX to take on Sam Ehlinger and the 9th ranked Longhorns.
I’m going to make my picks for both of these games, plus a number of others. For the season, I am currently 8-4 in picks. Not a bad first week, but we will shoot for a little better in Week 2.
#21 Syracuse at Maryland (-2) – Noon – ESPN
The Orange head to College Park, MD as less than a field goal underdog Saturday as they face a Maryland team that just dropped 79 on Howard… wait I think Maryland scored again. Syracuse didn’t look great against a Liberty team whose head coach was bed-ridden after having major surgery, but that didn’t stop Hugh Freeze from coaching that game! I think a lot of people think Syracuse will walk away with a victory, but I’m not so sure. This to me feels like the kind of game Syracuse is bound to lose, especially since they will be looking ahead to next week’s game against #1 Clemson. I like the Terps in this one.
Maryland – 45, Syracuse – 38
West Virginia at Missouri (-13.5) – Noon – ESPN 2
West Virginia started slow last week against FCS opponent James Madison while Missouri is still reeling from an opening loss on the road at Wyoming, a game in which Missouri was gashed for nearly 400 yards by the Cowboys offense. Neither team plays defense, so this one will probably be a shoot-out. Missouri QB Kelly Bryant will help keep this one close for sure and might even do enough to give the Tigers the win. West Virginia will need a big game from their QB Austin Kendall and they will need to run the ball for more than 34 yards (their total last week… as a team!). Ultimately I think WVU does just enough to squeak out a win.
West Virginia – 42, Missouri – 41
#12 Texas A&M at #1 Clemson (-16.5) – 3:30 – ABC
Possibly the toughest test the top ranked Tigers will have this regular season, they take on a Texas A&M team that nearly derailed them a year ago. Clemson ended up with 28-26 win in College Station, but not before some controversy near the end of the game. Luckily for the Tigers, they are at home this year. Clemson’s secondary didn’t get much of a challenge from Georgia Tech a week ago, so this will be a good measure for those guys. Aggies QB Kellen Mond has had his struggles on the road, and because of that, I like my Tigers in this one. I’m not going to say they will cover the 16.5 point spread, but I think two scores is reasonable.
Clemson – 31, Texas A&M – 21
#25 Nebraska (-4) at Colorado – 3:30 – FOX
I’m actually very excited about this game on Saturday afternoon. A classic rivalry that was renewed last season for the first time since both teams left the Big 12. Nebraska has dominated the rivalry all-time, but it was the Buffs getting the win last year in Lincoln, 33-28. Nebraska looked really bad offensively last week against South Alabama, but their defense was the saving grace. I think the defense will have to play great again against a Colorado team that can put up a lot of yards and a lot of points. I like the Huskers in a close one.
Nebraska – 34, Colorado – 31
BYU at Tennessee (-4) – 7:00 – ESPN
Will anyone actually watch this game or be in Neyland Stadium for this match-up between two teams that, let’s just be honest, are just really bad? I’ll give BYU the benefit of the doubt because they lost to a tough Utah team last week in a heated rivalry game. Tennessee lost to Georgia State. Yes, a program that has only existed since 2010. There aren’t a lot of bright spots in Knoxville right now, and I don’t think it gets any better for Vols fans.
BYU – 35, Tennessee – 21
#6 LSU (-6.5) at #9 Texas – 7:30 – ABC
The second of our Top 25 double-header on ABC is a great match-up between two traditional college football powerhouses. These two teams haven’t played against one another since 2003 and have only met twice since 1963. Both teams had easy wins against lesser opponents in Week 1 so this will be a game to see exactly how good these two teams are. Is this the year that Texas is finally back? I love QB Sam Ehlinger and I think his performance will determine the outcome of the game. LSU proved they can actually throw the ball, but that was against Georgia Southern. How well will Joe Burrow do on the road? I’m not surprised LSU is favored, but 6.5 seems a little high. I think it’ll be close early, but I’m taking Texas to pull away in the second half. Hook ’em!
Texas – 27, LSU – 17
Miami (-4.5) at North Carolina – 8:00 – ACCN
At first glance, this doesn’t seem like a very tasty match-up, but I honestly believe that this will be a very entertaining football game. This could make or break Miami’s season and after beating South Carolina a week ago, UNC is riding high and will be ready to get Mack his first home win back in Chapel Hill. Both teams feature really young, but really talented quarterbacks. I like what I saw from Sam Howell last week against the Gamecocks. I’m going to take the Tar Heels in this one.
UNC – 28, Miami – 14
And my SoCon games of the week this week:
The Citadel at Elon – 2:00
Both of these teams are coming off really heartbreaking loses against ranked opponents. The Citadel could have won, had it not been for three turnovers, and Elon lost on a last second 52 yard field goal. This is an old SoCon match-up circa mid-2000’s. I think both programs are really good and can still have really good seasons, but a loss here hurts moving forward. I’m going to stick with the SoCon team and take the Bulldogs. I think they do a better job of holding on to the ball this week and wind up getting the W.
The Citadel – 27, Elon – 20
Chattanooga at Jacksonville State – 7:00 – ESPN+
Chattanooga looked a little sleepy against Eastern Illinois in Week 1, but they got the win. Jacksonville State got obliterated by Southeast Louisiana 35-14. I know Jacksonville State is good and they are ranked in the FCS Coaches Poll, but I’m not big on the Gamecocks. QB Nick Tiano, I expect, will have a bounce back game after a poor performance last week. I’ll take the Chattanooga Choo-Choo’s (not there name for those that may be confused).
Chattanooga – 38, Jacksonville State – 21
Furman at Georgia State – 7:00 – ESPN3
And finally, in the best game I think in the SoCon this week, Furman travels down to Atlanta to take on a Georgia State team that is riding high after the win over Tennessee. Dan Ellington proved he can ball and Georgia State played a nice game defensively. But Furman has weapons of their own and I believe actually have a more talented and physical defense. Not many are going to give Furman a chance, but I like them in this one. I believe Darren Grainger and Devin Wynn will have a big game for the Paladins. I don’t know if it will be a runaway, but I’m taking Furman on the road. Go Dins!
Furman – 31, Georgia State – 27
Comment below and let me know who you like in some of these match-ups. Do you agree or disagree with my predictions?
Also, check out our show on SoundCloud.com. Search for The Spread w/ Cameron Tarrant. SoCon John Hooper and I had a great discussion as we previewed this upcoming week of college football. The Sunday recap show will air Sunday evening, so stay tuned for that.
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