10 best predictions for the second full Saturday of college football. What games appear to be the best bets and best picks for Week 2’s games?
Week 2 should be gettable.
We’re all supposed to be smart about this, and we’re all supposed to know what we’re doing, but how can you not overreact to how the teams looked in Week 1?
There are always corrections, changed ideas, and crazy thoughts both ways, but it takes about a month to get a real read on just how good all of these teams are.
So beware. All of the picks try to take out the eye-test – at least a little bit – and stick with logic, reason, and …
Whatever. Week 2 is where we go for it, and then clean up the mess in Week 3. It all starts, though, with a long held belief that won’t be broken now …
Results So Far: 15-5-1
Click on each game for the preview
LINE Michigan -52
ATS PICK Hawaii
If you’ve been reading this piece over the years, you know that you’re supposed to be consistent. Over time, if you stay with it, you’ll be up as long as you don’t stray from the plan. However …
I actually like Michigan as the pick, but a man is nothing without his principles.
As the schtick goes, if someone is giving you 50 points or more walking into the stadium, you thank them, you don’t ask questions, and you take grab the gift.
Too many things can go wrong. The favorite can pull all the starters early, the underdog can come up with a few late points, the home team bus could get lost – it’s really, really hard to win by more than 50.
The problem is that Hawaii is totally gutted. It can’t hang with the Wolverines in any way, and it’s going to get annihilated. Michigan might be up 40 at halftime and just stop.
In any event, I’m beating Michigan 52-0 as we speak. Yay.
Unfortunately, though, we have two weeks of Hawaii football to have seen the problem with that, just like …
LINE Nebraska -23.5
ATS PICK Georgia Southern
I’m staying on the Nebraska Isn’t That Good At College Football train until it stops.
Northwestern with the points against the Huskers was a layup, and there were way too many sputters and coughs last week in the 38-17 win over North Dakota.
Georgia Southern and new head coach Clay Helton got in an easy tune-up against Morgan State, and so until proven otherwise by the Big Red – even though I actually think Scott Frost really will get this thing moving as the season goes on – give me the 23.5 points.
Speaking of sticking with something a tad too long …
LINE West Virginia -13.5
ATS PICK West Virginia
I’m diving back in one more time to see if the magic happens again.
Kansas was an investment god over stretches in 2020 and 2021 – it never, ever, ever covered with any regularity.
Lance Leipold is a fantastic head coach, he has the program going in the right direction, and Kansas is better than it has been in a long, long time. Asking for a two touchdown win by West Virginia at home, though, isn’t a lot.
I’m buying into the Mountaineer defensive pressure, I’m buying into JT Daniels, and I’m buying into the possibility that Kansas goes back to being that.
LINE Syracuse -23.5
ATS PICK Syracuse
I can’t believe I’m falling for Syracuse again.
I thought there was something there after a dominant performance at Ohio to start last year, and the next week came a 17-7 home clunker of a loss to Rutgers.
I bought in after an easy win over Georgia Tech in 2020, and then it collapsed in a 14-point home loss to a miserable Duke team.
I loved too much after the 2019 opener against Liberty, and then Maryland went 63-20 on the Orange.
I can’t quit this team.
I’m in that the 31-7 domination of Louisville was for real, I’m not sold that UConn hasn’t improved that much this quickly under Jim Mora Jr., and I’m buying that the Orange really are that good on the lines now.
Be careful if you go with this pick – picks from the heart end up hurting – and be extra wary of …
LINE Utah -45.5
ATS PICK Southern Utah
I DESPISE FBS vs FCS games after Week 1.
They’re money grabs for the FCS, FBS fans don’t want to see them, and I fully believe that if you’re paying a team to come into your house so you can beat the holy hell out of them – you’re funding most of their athletic department budget – then go ahead and do it.
However, that’s not how coaches think. They want to secure the win, keep everyone healthy, work on some things, and then move on.
I DESPISE picking FBS vs FCS games – too many unknowables and variables – because the FBS teams could almost always win by a gajillion if they wanted.
Utah could beat Southern Utah by 90 if it chose to. However – one 70-7 win over 2013 Weber State aside – Kyle Whittingham usually keeps these games from getting crazy. His Utes haven’t scored more than 40 against an FCS team since taking out Idaho State 56-14 in 2014, and even then the number was 42.
Figure this is something like 41-0, but again, too many weird parts to FBS vs FCS games, so don’t go crazy here.
NEXT: College Football Pick Against the Spread No. 5: Iowa State vs Iowa point total
POINT TOTAL 41.5
ATS PICK Under
If you’re new to the program, welcome to this bit.
If the pick doesn’t work, it’s not your fault.
Did you see Iowa last week?
Two safeties and a field goal? That’s the improved Iowa offense after last year’s problems? That’s all it could get in a 7-3 win over South Dakota State?
Meanwhile Iowa State beat SE Missouri State 42-10.
Last year’s Iowa 27-17 win over Iowa State went over this year’s 41.5, but it took two Hawkeye defensive touchdowns to get there.
They didn’t play in 2020, but in 2019 the Hawkeyes won 18-17. In 2018 it was a 13-3 Iowa win. 2016 was a 44-41 shootout, but the 2022 teams don’t have the makeup to do that.
The Iowa D will help here, the O won’t go off, and while 41.5 is WAY low to fall in love with the under …
If the pick doesn’t work, it’s not your fault.
NEXT: College Football Pick Against the Spread No. 4: UMass at Toledo
LINES Toledo -28
ATS PICK Toledo
I need to get away from picking against tried-and-true standbys UConn, Kansas, and UMass, but if you’re going to keep throwing reasonable numbers out there, it would be rude not to take them.
UMass lost last week 42-10, and the only reason it wasn’t far worse is because Tulane chilled out in the fourth quarter. Even then the win was 32.
Don Brown is a strong coach. He led UMass to big things back when it was in the FCS, and now he’s back and has a ton of work to do.
What’s the problem here? 4-of-11. That’s what the UMass quarterbacks did against a Tulane secondary that isn’t exactly Alabama. Three takeaways helped the Green Wave pull away, but the offense didn’t have any issues getting things moving.
So why the relatively low number for a Toledo team with the firepower to call its own final score in this?
37-0, It had no problem whatsoever with LIU last week, but the spread was 49.5, and I’m guessing investors are a tad spooked.
There’s no need to get too weird here. The Toledo defense allowed 113 yards of offense against the Sharks, QB Dequan Finn and the Rocket offense might as well have been passing against air – and the running game is sure to average five yards per carry.
NEXT: College Football Pick Against The Spread No. 3 Maryland at Charlotte
LINE Maryland -27.5
ATS PICK Maryland
It’s always scary to pick teams in Week 2 – you don’t want to read too much into Week 1. There aren’t any preseason games, teams are still trying to get the timing and depth charts right, and things change in a hurry.
However, if you have two games of work to go off of, things start to change.
Just how bad is Charlotte?
It’s got experience, decent Conference USA talent, and it has a solid head coach in Will Healy. However, it opened the season by getting destroyed by Florida Atlantic 43-13.
Last week Willie Taggart’s Owls lost to Ohio 41-38.
The 49ers went back home for a breather against William & Mary to get ready for what was coming next, and they left Jerry Richardson Stadium a 31-17 loser to an FCS team.
There weren’t any turnovers. There wasn’t anything funky. Charlotte was just bad.
Yeah, it’s Maryland, and there’s always the ultra-flake factor to consider.
The 2019 team looked like a world-beater after obliterating Syracuse 63-20 and starting the season 2-0 by a score of 142-20. And then it went on the road and lost to Temple.
The 2018 team shocked Texas, hung 45 on Bowling Green, and then … lost to Temple.
Last year’s team started 4-0 before losing six of its next seven games.
It will be okay.
If Maryland shows up and does what it’s capable of, it might put 65 up on the 49er D.
It’s going to run for 250, pass for about 300, and it’ll win easily. Take the chance that if Florida Atlantic could win by 30, the Big Ten team can, too.
NEXT: College Football Pick Against The Spread No. 2 Alabama at Texas
LINE Alabama -20.5
ATS PICK Alabama
Sometimes you just need to cleanse your palate.
Enough FCS games, and enough with mediocre Group of Five programs killing time before the regular conference season starts.
Alabama. Texas. Two giants – at least, Texas is a giant revenue producer – two big names, one massive storyline.
Just how quickly has Steve Sarkisian built up the program?
He’s got the NFL skill guys who are every bit as good as what Bama is bringing, but does he have the lines in place? Is Texas going to start tackling again?
The atmosphere should be great – even for an early game – and everyone will desperately want this to be interesting. However, I’ve had three Alabama insider types tell me this could be Nick Saban’s best team yet.
I don’t exactly buy that, but his bunch just hung 55-0 on defending Mountain West champion Utah State. It took that high-powered offense, crumpled it up into a ball, and only allowed 136 yards and seven first downs.
Saban and Bama have a reputation of destroying everyone in Week 1. How about Week 2?
There might be a Mercer and a New Mexico State in this bunch, but Texas A&M and Penn State is in here, too – twice.
Going back to 2009, Alabama is 13-0 in Week 2, winning by a combined score of 551-154 or an average of 42-12.
Texas is 1-2 in Week 2 over the last three seasons, losing to Arkansas in 2021, LSU in 2019, and slinking past Texas Tech 63-56 in 2020.
Saban hasn’t won a Week 2 game by less than 21 points since his 2013 survived Johnny Manziel 49-42.
It’s just 20.5 points, and it’s Alabama.
And finally, sticking with the big splashy game people will be paying attention to …
NEXT: College Football Pick Against The Spread No. 1 USC at Stanford
LINE USC -9
ATS PICK USC
May you find someone who goes head over heels in love with you as much as I’ve fallen for this USC team.
It would be far, far healthier for me if Stanford came out and rolled, otherwise I don’t quite know how I’ll be able to contain the full-on fanboy gushing all season long.
Really, do you get just how talented this thing is that Lincoln Riley put together?
First of all, you want an upgrade? USC has Lincoln Freaking Riley as the head coach. How the guy isn’t right now preparing the Dallas Cowboys for the Sunday Night opener against Tampa Bay is beyond me.
Did you see what Riley’s team did to Rice? Of course you didn’t because you were too busy watching other things.
How do I know you – and the rest of America – didn’t see the 66-14 destruction? No one wants to talk with me about Caleb Williams.
19-of-22, 249 yards, two touchdowns, 68 rushing yards.
Jordan Addison caught two touchdown passes. The defense scored three times. The running game averaged over seven yards per pop. It all worked.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, it was only Rice, but this collection of all-stars was sharp from jump – that’s not as easy as it seems.
Stanford was solid in the 41-10 win over Colgate, but now the show is coming to The Farm, and it’s only giving up nine points after the line started out at 11.5.
Don’t think for a second that everyone around this program doesn’t get how big this is after the wheels came off following the loss to Stanford last season.
Don’t think for a second that everyone doesn’t know that this gets the prime ABC slot.
Getting the win by ten points is a must against a program that lost its last four games last year by 21 points or more. If USC really is in for a special season, it all has to kick in now.