The Run Down (All Times EST)
Early Hangover Games
It’s 10am. You look to your left. There’s a 1/4 full Miller Lite can on your night stand. Your mind goes to last night watching Wisconsin vs. Western Kentucky at the bar and that’s the last thing you remember. All of a sudden it hits you… COLLEGE GAMEDAY IS LIVE FROM SOUTH BEND. You quickly rustle around for the remote in your bed. Finally, Lee Corso is in your room on a Saturday morning again.
The early slate is awesome. So much intrigue. Better somehow find three TVs because the schedule makers are shoving high-level football action right in your face.
#23 Texas (-13) vs. Maryland, Noon FS1 (Landover)
‘Member when Texas lost to Maryland in the home opener last year. ‘Member when they were favored by 14. Ya I remember. Maryland then lost three quarterbacks by the third game of the season and finished the year 4-8. Have to tune in to find out if Texas is back.
Gambling Advice: Stay away. Maryland is in hot water with their abusive environment and you never know what you’re going to get from Texas early.
Florida Atlantic at #7 Oklahoma (-21), Noon Fox
LANE KIFFIN AGAINST A POWERHOUSE. LANE KIFFIN AGAINST A POWERHOUSE. This is not a drill. We have highly entertaining Lane and a pretty good FAU team going to try to upset the Sooners in Norman. FAU was one of the hottest group of five teams last season and now they have a 25-year old offensive coordinator coaching his first game against Oklahoma. FAU’s defense isn’t bad either, this game will be entertaining early.
Gambling Advice: I like FAU to cover. Oklahoma struggled on defense last year so I think star RB Devin Singletary will put up some points. OU still wins, but not by over 21.
Ole Miss vs. Texas Tech (-2.5), Noon ESPN (Houston)
I don’t know what happened, but Ole Miss isn’t being respected at all. The Rebels (Black Bears? Landsharks? I don’t know what you want me to call you guys) have one of the best trio of wide receivers in the country. Add a pretty good quarterback and points will be put up. Tech is used to the 11am local time kickoffs and their defense will be much better than in years past. However, their offense is questionable for the first time in awhile with a lack of receiver talent and a major question at the quarterback position. Ole Miss is not very good defensively. So there’s a classic matchup of good offense vs. decent defense and subpar offense vs. bad defense.
Gambling Advice: Give me Ole Miss and the 2.5 points. They finished the year hot last year and will be a lot for the Red Raiders to handle. Also over 68 points is the right call here.
6-Pack Down Afternoon Games
Now that you’ve got your right thumb hitting the previous button on the remote back in College Football watching mode, it’s time for some great afternoon games.
#6 Washington vs. #9 Auburn (-2.5), 3:30 pm ABC (Atlanta)
Welcome to Atlanta where the players play. We got Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham throwing to Ryan Davis all day. But Auburn has to stop RB Myles Gaskin since you’re askin’. And that defensive line may be up to taskin’…. AND I’ll stop. I’ve never been a Jake Browning fan and it didn’t go well the last time he was in Atlanta (2016 loss to Alabama 24-7). Close game, but give me Stidham over Browning.
Gambling Advice: Auburn wins by 7. Also the under 48.5.
Tennessee vs. #17 West Virginia (-10), 3:30 pm CBS (Charlotte)
Will Grier and the Mountaineers have been the Big 12 sleeper pick of the summer. But the defense has major questions so I have no idea. Speaking of questions, the entire program of Tennessee is a question right now. I have no idea what product Coach Pruitt is going to put out there. It could be decent or it could be awful and they give up 56 points. Either way I’m here for it.
Gambling Advice: I’d lean towards West Virginia, but I have no clue on Tennessee so I may stay away… Or I’ll end up betting West Virginia six minutes before kickoff.
Whiskey Night Games
#14 Michigan (-1) at #12 Notre Dame, 7:30 pm NBC
Is this the year Jim Harbaugh finally puts it all together at Michigan? I mean finishing 4th in his own division isn’t what he was hired for. But that defense is loaded and Shea Patterson gives the offense at least a heart beat. I like the Fighting Irish defense, but that offense won’t score many points against Michigan.
Gambling Advice: Michigan. Michigan. Michigan.
Louisville vs. #1 Alabama (-25), 8:00 pm ABC (Orlando)
After all the offseason talk, let’s watch… Tua start the game and run up the score on Louisville. I don’t think Louisville will be able to score many points either. Think this is a down Cardinal team. Wish this was a year earlier and we had the chance to see Lamar Jackson vs. Alabama’s Defense. Also still want to see 2017 Oklahoma vs. 2017 Alabama.
Gambling Advice: Never bet against Nick Saban in an opening game matchup. Also take the under 59 points. Louisville won’t score a ton and I think Bama takes the pedal off in the fourth quarter.
One-Eye Open Game
BYU at Arizona (-11.5), 10:45 pm
Just watch Khalil Tate until you can’t keep your eyes open anymore.
Gambling Advice: Take Arizona and wake up in the morning a winner. BYU is still bad and Arizona will be a surprise team in the Pac-12 this year.
OH DEAR LORD THERE’S TWO MORE DAYS OF FOOTBALL
#25 LSU vs. #8 Miami (-3), Sunday 7:30 pm ABC (Arlington)
You rested all day and now you’re ready for a Sunday Showdown with Miami and LSU. It’ll be interesting to see if LSU is able to get any offensive production this year. The defense will be good and will slow Miami down. However, Miami’s defense is solid and will keep LSU from scoring. Low scoring, Close game, Miami wins.
Gambling Advice: I think I’m going to stay away. Miami ended the year awfully, but so did LSU. If anything I’d take the under 48.
#20 Virginia Tech (+7) at #19 Florida State, Monday 8:00 pm ABC
This game is not getting enough hype. Monday Night. ACC Football. Top 20 matchup. What a huge game with ACC Championship implications IN THE FIRST WEEK! As for the game it is tough to play an away season opener, but I think not enough respect is going to the Hokies. Florida State has Deondre Francois back, but the defense is young. Yet, so is Virginia Tech’s. Virginia Tech had a better season last year and has a better team. Virginia Tech in a close one.
Gambling Advice: Virginia Tech and give me those 7 points. I like Virginia Tech to win outright, actually.
Top 10 Bets of the Week
- Northwestern (+3) at Purdue– Northwestern has a Senior quarterback, their defense is loaded, their team is better, but they’re not favored? Northwestern is the easy call.
- North Carolina at California (-7)– This is ludicrously low. North Carolina has 13 players suspended (including their starting quarterback). California has their entire offense back and a really good running back. North Carolina has finished last in the ACC in the last five years in stopping the run. North Carolina has to fly across the country to play a 1pm local time game. This has blowout written all over it.
- Ole Miss (+2.5) vs. Texas Tech
- Michigan (-1) at Notre Dame
- SMU at North Texas (-4)– SMU lost their head coach and North Texas has basically their entire offense back. North Texas wins by double digits.
- Bowling Green at Oregon (-31.5)– Justin Herbert playing against a low level MAC team is going to be a 40 point blow-out.
- Florida Atlantic (+21..5) at Oklahoma
- BYU at Arizona (-11.5)
- Virginia Tech (+7) at Florida State
- Alabama vs. Louisville (Under 59.5)
- Appalachian State (+24) at Penn State– Last year Georgia didn’t even beat Appalachian State by 24 points. And Penn State is supposed to do that without Saquon Barkley? Penn State wins by double digits, but not by 24 points
- Washington vs. Auburn (-2.5)
- Alabama (-25) vs. Louisville
My Top 25
- Ohio State
- Mississippi State
- Michigan State
- Notre Dame
- Boise State
- West Virginia
- Penn State
- Virginia Tech
- South Carolina
Rant of the Week
Let’s talk about Alabama’s starting quarterback “controversy.” This has been going on, non-stop, for seven months in the national media. I’m here to say… THERE IS NO CONTROVERSY.
Jalen Hurts has been a very good game-managing quarterback for Alabama, but he has never developed as a passer. He is able to carve up the Arkansas and Ole Miss defenses of the world because of how great of a runner he is. But let’s take a look at how he has done against Top 25 Power-5 Defenses:
Florida State: 10/18 96 Yards 1 TD, 15 carries 55 yards 1 TD
LSU: 11/24 183 yards 1 TD, 14 carries 44 yards 1 TD
Mississippi State: 10/19 242 yards 1 TD, 19 carries 40 yards 1 TD
Auburn: 12/22 112 yards 1 TD, 18 carries 82 yards
Clemson: 16/24 120 yards 2 TD, 11 carries 40 yards
Georgia: 3/8 21 yards, 6 carries 47 yards
Against these tougher defenses, Hurts is a 54% passer and averages 4.2 yards per carry. The opposing defenses are able to focus on stopping the run and aren’t scared of a 54% passer. A sad fact is Hurts has never developed as a passer. For people that watch Alabama, it is the same anytime he drops back. Looks at Ridley, if he’s not open he looks to scramble out of the pocket, and then most likely he will try to run or throw it away. But then came Tua Tagovailoa.
Tua was a revelation not only in the National Championship game, but throughout the season. He would stay in the pocket, go through his reads, and would throw with arm talent Tuscaloosa hadn’t seen before. Tua displayed the ability of the weapons Alabama actually had at receiver. Nick Saban reported that when Hurts was sick for a few days in National Championship preparation practice, Tua went 54/58 against the Alabama defense. 54/58!!! This was a defense that held opponents to 53.8% passing.
Jalen has a role in the offense as a premier running quarterback in college football, but Tua is a next-level quarterback Alabama has never had during the Nick Saban tenure. If Tua is not out there taking the first snap against Louisville, it will be the first time I doubt Nick Saban mentally.