College Football Weekly Predictions - Week 2
by Alan Matthews - 9/11/2009
OK, it's Week 2 of college football season, and Week 1 wasn't exactly a huge success. I didn't realize that Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen has now morphed in Joe Montana, and the Irish bombed Nevada, which seemed a lock getting more than two touchdowns. As for the other loss ... well, it sure looked like a win until Memphis (+17) folded in the fourth quarter last Sunday at home against Ole Miss. The Rebs outscored the Tigers, 28-7, in that quarter to turn what seemed a sure Memphis cover into a 45-14 loss.
On the bright side, we did hit on Oklahoma State giving the points to Georgia. Hey, if we go perfect on games involving two ranked teams all year, most people would take that!
For the season: 1-2 (-100)
Here we go with this week's top picks:
North Carolina at Connecticut, Saturday, noon
Current line: UNC -4 (44.5). This line has been on the move all week - although it's back where it started. It was up to five at one point and as low as 3.5.
Who the public likes: Approximately 71 percent favor the No. 19 Heels as of this writing. That figure hasn't moved much.
I am shocked that North Carolina is giving only four points here - I would expect it to be somewhere near a touchdown. First off, UNC beat UConn, 38-12, in Chapel Hill last year, and I would argue the Heels are better in 2009 and the Huskies (now without Donald Brown, who had 161 rushing yards in the game last year) are worse. Last week, UConn didn't look very good in beating Ohio, 23-16, while UNC beat The Citadel, 40-6, its largest margin of victory in eight years. The Heels picked off Huskies QB Zach Frazer three times last year, and Frazer had three more picks last week. In addition, Huskies starting linebacker Scott Lutrus, who has started 26 games in a row and who led the team in tackles last year, is only 50-50 to play because of an injury. Meanwhile, that North Carolina defense is a beast with nine starters back. The Huskies will try to forge a running game with the tandem of Jordan Todman and Andre Dixon, who combined for 257 rushing yards last week. It won't work, and the pressure will be on Frazer again - it doesn't seem like he can handle it yet.
Take North Carolina.
Kansas at UTEP, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
Current line: Jayhawks -12.5 (62.5). This one opened at 11, so you can see the action is heavily favoring No. 25 Kansas.
Who the public likes: Approximately 78 percent favor KU as of this writing. That has been pretty steady.
Kansas looked pretty good last week in routing Northern Colorado, 49-3, while UTEP lost at home to a MAC team, Buffalo, 23-17. The Jayhawks sat star receiver Dezmon Briscoe (92 catches for 1,407 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2008) for disciplinary reasons, but it's thought he will play on Saturday. KU hasn't won a non-conference road game in six years, but that's misleading because it's just three games. You probably know about how good Jayhawks QB Todd Reesing is, but UTEP has an under-the-radar talent in Travis Vittatoe, who ranks fourth (one ahead of Ressing) nationally among active quarterbacks in passing yards per game. But KU simply has way too much offense. It has scored at least 31 points in its past five true road games and at least 24 points in nine consecutive games away from home. The Miners, meanwhile, ranked 25th in the nation in scoring offense last season, averaging 32.9 points per game.
Give the points and take the over.
East Carolina at West Virginia, Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
Current line: WVU -6.5 (43.5). This line really hasn't moved since its open at the same number.
Who the public likes: Approximately 53 percent favor the Mountaineers.
If this line were at seven, I might not love this game. But at 6.5, I like WVU in a revenge game. Last year, the Mountaineers lost, 24-3, at ECU and were never the same. Coach Bill Stewart used that game all offseason to motivate his team to get more physical, because the Pirates pushed WVU around. I tend to think oddsmakers are giving too much credence to West Virginia struggling last week against Liberty as well. ECU also struggled in beating Appalachian State - which was without its star quarterback. In a way, West Virginia might be more well-rounded this year without Pat White. I'm not saying Jarrett Brown is the athlete that White was, but Brown has a better arm, and coaches say they are going to pass downfield more. But also look for WVU to use Noel Devine more. In 12 career visits to Morgantown, the Pirates are 0-12. The last trip was a 48-7 loss. This one won't be that lopsided but will be by more than a TD.
Give the points and take WVU.
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