Colorado State vs. Colorado Free NCAA Football Pick for Friday
by CarbonSports - 8/29/2014
Game: Colorado State (+3) vs. Colorado (-3)
Total set at 59
There's nothing like an in-state rivalry to get the college football season going as these two schools from Colorado open up the season against each other for the third straight season and seventh time in eight years. Last year's game was a 41-27 win for Colorado as three-point underdogs and it was the third time in four years that the Buffaloes got the better of the Rams in this rivalry.
Colorado comes in as FG favorites this year and that might be bad news for them as the favorite is only 4-6 ATS the last ten times these two teams have met. But it's tough to dispute how much they dominated last year's contest with 509 total yards of offense that included 400 yards through the air. The QB from that game Connor Wood is gone from the program now and although he was stellar in that performance, he wasn't the starter the entire season as the four-win team switched between him and Sefo Liufau last season and generally went with the hot hand. Liufau comes in as the starter this year and he's got a very experienced O-Line in front of him and that always helps. Liufau is a guy who takes good care of the ball and moves the chains so look for the Buffaloes to have some success offensively in this contest.
Defense is where Colorado struggles though as they allowed every Div I opponent to score at least 24 points against them last year. Eight of 11 starters return from that unit as HC Mike MacIntyre hopes they are improved bunch, but until I see a game or two of them taking the necessary steps towards improvement it's tough to trust them.
Despite their opening week loss to Colorado, it was actually the Colorado State Rams who finished with a much better record last season. Part of that is because they play in the softer Mountain West (as opposed to the Pac-12), but a eight win season is something to be proud of, especially when that final win came in a Bowl game against another Pac-12 team (Washington State). The Rams finished last year with a 9-4 ATS mark and were 4-2 ATS as underdogs. They've got the revenge angle in their favor this year and have their starting QB (Grayson) and three of their top four WR's all returning to action this season.
Colorado State's Bowl win came in dramatic fashion as they erased a 15-point deficit with three minutes to go to win 48-45 and wins like that are great morale boosters during the off-season and into the next year. A retooled O-Line might be a bit of a concern for Grayson and company this year, but with a big game looming @ Boise State next week, the Rams have to come out of the gate well to avoid season their season take a turn for the worst right out of the gate.
That's why I'm grabbing the points in this rivalry game with the Rams as they are sick and tired of losing to their in-state rival. They've got much more stability on offense with all those starters returning and I've touched on how bad Colorado's defense can be. In a series where the underdog is 6-4 ATS the past ten years and a neutral field taking away any homefield advantage the Buffaloes might have, I'm backing Colorado State tonight.
Take Colorado State +3
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