Recapping last week's selections, our college predictions went a sizzling 5 - 1 - 1 against the Vegas number. Outstanding... but on the flip side, after starting out a superb 5-0 in the NFL on opening day, we had a putrid 1 - 4 follow-up in the pro's second week of action. Perhaps we should have paid more attention to the "Almost Making The Cut" section where the NFL selections were a money making 3 - 1. The College "Almost Making The Cut" section also went 3 - 2.
Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda. Adapting the famous actor Tom Hanks’ line, "There's no crying in football handicapping!" Uh, on second thought, maybe that was a baseball movie?
Regardless, we stand a solid 21 - 12 - 1 against the odds-makers overall for a solid 63.6%, Colleges are now 15 - 8 - 1 for a stellar 65.2%, and the NFL stands at 6 - 4 placing us at our stated goal of 60%. Tom Hanks notwithstanding, we are very pleased with the early results overall. Now on with the show...
Old Dominion + 31 vs Virginia The Monarchs surprised fans after falling behind VPI early 24-3 two weeks ago, only to right the ship against the regressing Gobblers and no their no longer feared Lane Stadium in the second half. They covered easily against the Hokies. Let's take them again against the Cavaliers who are coming off a monumental program win against FSU last week. As we stated here, the Wahoos were favored for the first time ever against the Seminoles and won. Although they pushed against the line, it was still a big emotional hurdle to overcome for the program. That's were we see real value this week, for now Virginia is in a real sandwich situation with mighty Notre Dame on deck! We think Virginia beats the Monarchs this week, but as long as dual-threat Junior College transfer QB Smartt limits any big mistakes like he did against VPI, we really like this play...Take ODU plus the generous points here catching Virginia looking ahead to Notre Dame!
Tulsa - 3 over Wyoming The Golden Hurricane are favored here over the Cowboys, as Wyoming is perhaps (in the opinion of this columnist) the most fradulent 3 - 0 team in the country! In the opening game of the year, Mizzouri raced out to a 14 - 0 lead and then gifted the Cowboys with THREE turnovers and wilted in the 7,000 foot altitude. Now they travel to Tulsa, after being outgained on offense by ALL 3 opponents to date by over 150 yards in each game! On the other hand, Tulsa has already given a great account of itself against the Power 5 defenses of Michigan State and Oklahoma State. They actually led the Pokes of Oklahoma State at the half last week. We like the Golden Hurricane to win comfortably sending Wyoming home with their first L. Take Tulsa!
Northwestern + 9 1/2 vs Michigan State The Wildcats should spotlight in their preferred underdog role at home against the Spartans. Mark Dantonio coached Spartans are only 3 - 12 ATS as an away favorite, while Northwestern is a sparkling 18 - 6 - 1 as a home underdog under coach Pat Fitzgerald... Take the Wildcats and the generous points here!
Tennessee + 14 vs Florida While this columnist admits the Tennessee program is in what seems to be constant transition after the unjustified Phil Fulmer firing what seems like ages ago, they are still a very proud and tradition rich team. With QB Felipe Franks gone now for the Gators, the jury is still out with replacement QB Trask. Tennessee is 3 - 1 getting double digit points against Florida in their history and this column likes the Vols to keep it close against the Gators this week. Gone are the days when Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer turned Ben Hill Griffin Stadium into a buzz saw of doom for opposing teams. Take UT plus the points!
Southern Miss + 39 vs Alabama Choose the Golden Eagles and their back door capability in this one. With a senior QB and two stud Alabama born receivers who have been putting up huge numbers against everyone so far, and a sleepy 11:00 am start for the Crimson Tide, look for the Golden Eagles to score late and keep this game under the number posted by Vegas. Will the Crimson Tide fans and student section exit the stadium early after getting a comfortable lead? Our Golden Eagles won outright as a dog last week at Troy as predicted here and this is just too many points for Bama caught in a SEC sandwich situation with another conference game next week. Take Southern Miss and the generous points!
UAB - 10 over South Alabama Granted, the Blazers have only resurrected their program again in the past 3 years, but they have become a fortress at legendary Legion Field. How does 13 - 0 sound in home games. The Jaguars were blistered last week by a Memphis team at home by five touchdowns. In BIG state bragging rights and table scraps for all the recruits that Alabama, Auburn and the SEC don't get, look for the Blazers to send a message to South Alabama...not in our house. Take UAB to roll here!
Georgia - 13 1/2 over Notre Dame This line looks very steep, but Notre Dame's defense is a shell of what it was last year. Their run defense has been gashed by every defense its faced this year. The Bulldogs offensive line has arguably FOUR Bona Fide NFL prospects and their defense is super nasty and will be the best the Irish will see all year. This column likes the Bulldogs to send a message to the nation with a woodshed whupping over the Irish. Take Georgia to roll!
Almost making the cut... Utah, Washington State and Kentucky
L A Rams - 3 over Cleveland Over the past two seasons the Rams are 15 - 3 on the road, and readers already know how we feel about the over-hyped Browns! Given that Cleveland broke through against the Jets last week, down not only their starting QB but also his replacement in the first half no less, big deal! We point out one fact that HAS to be cleaned up before we would even consider putting any coins on Cleveland... a league high TWENTY SEVEN penalties in only two games. Take the Rams to continue their road success with the nation watching on Sunday Night Football!
Houston + 3 1/2 vs L A Chargers The Chargers 20K plus seat soccer stadium really holds no home field advantage for them. In fact, had ageless wonder Adam Venatieri of the Colts not missed two FG's and an extra point, the Chargers would most likely have lost their opener. Look for the Texans to give the Chargers ALL they want and then some, just like they did New Orleans on Monday Night Football two weeks ago, laid out in this column. Take Houston plus the points!
Minnesota - 8 1/2 over Oakland This column was wrong about the Raiders last week, but now we are going against them as they tee it up against one of the dominant home teams in recent NFL memory. The Vikings are a sparkling 20 -5 - 1 as a home favorite ATS under coach Mike Zimmer. Add to the fact, you have a West Coast team and the dreaded 10 am body clock start and we will back the Vikings once again here just like in Week 1. Take Minnesota to win comfortably.
Baltimore + 6 1/2 vs Kansas City this column was completely wrong about KC and Baltimore last week, but we like the Ravens once again. Great coaching, offense and defense, along with special teams and one intangible. That one intangible being QB Lamar Jackson and the Ravens playoff loss last year, where the Chiefs kept a last ditch drive alive with two 4th down conversions to force the game into OT, where they finally won it by a FG! Tyreek Hill's absence was mitigated by the equally fast rookie phenom Hardeman last week, which in turn allowed KC's offense to stretch the field against the Raiders. Look for the Raven's much better defense to take that away this week. Take Baltimore and the points!
Arizona + 2 1/2 vs Carolina First, Cam Newton is STILL not 100 % as evidenced by his performances to date! He does not run the ball. Now they travel west and although a desperate 0 - 2 start, we see their defense being on the field much too long just like the Lions on opening day. Take Arizona and any available points!
Almost making the cut... Detroit, Indianapolis and Washington