Tag Archives: College Football

2021 College Football Pre-Season Rankings

Top 25

1. Alabama Crimson Tide

Projected Record: 13-0

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The 2020 National Champions return with quite a few pieces to replace on offense including Devonta Smith, Najee Harris, and Mac Jones. However, don’t expect too much of a drop off with QB Bryce Young taking over and young talent at the skill positions . This year the defense should be much improved with a loaded defensive line, great linebackers and edge rushers, and a secondary that returns everyone except Patrick Surtain II. Alabama is loaded again and should be National Champion favorites.

2. Georgia Bulldogs

Projected Record: 12-1

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The offense is absolutely loaded with QB JT Daniels, RBs Zamir White and James Cook, and receivers Jermaine Burton, Kearis Jackson. When you also add in one of the best Tight End combinations in the country with Darnell Washington and Arik Gilbert this offense has a chance to be special. This doesn’t even include if George Pickens returns near the end of the year from a torn ACL. As for the offensive line, don’t worry. It will also be strong after returning three starters and high rated recruits waiting to take over.

The defense is also loaded. The defensive line has Jordan Davis and Travon Walker clogging the middle with Adam Anderson and Nolan Smith rushing on the edge. Quay Walker and Nakobe Dean are really solid linebackers as well. Secondary is the one area of concern as they replace a few key starters. Transfers Derrion Kendrick (Clemson) and Tykee Smith (West Virginia) should calm down the concern. Overall, this is one of the most talented teams in the country and a lock to win the SEC East.

3. Ohio State Buckeyes

Projected Record: 13-0

The Buckeyes are ridiculously loaded on offense with a great offensive line, two talented running backs, and an embarrassing amount of receiving talent featuring two of the best receivers in the nation (Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson). Freshman QB C.J. Stroud is the most likely to take over the starting role. Defense is a different issue. The top four linebackers are all gone and the secondary finished last in the Big Ten in passing yards given up last year. Their defensive line is solid, but they will need an improvement in the back end if they want to be true National Championship contenders.

4. Oklahoma Sooners

Projected Record: 13-0

The offense is going to be one of the top offenses in the nation as it checks nearly all the boxes: countless playmaker receivers (Marvin Mims, Theo Wease, Jaden Haselwood, Mike Woods), great 1-2 punch at running back (Kennedy Brooks and Eric Gray), do-it-all FB/TE (Jeremiah Hall), big body TE (Austin Stogner), and a gunslinging QB (Spencer Rattler). The only real question is the offensive line has to replace two starters.

Every year the biggest question is Oklahoma’s defense… this year the defense should be solid. Edge rusher Nik Bonitto is one of the best players in the nation. Combine that with experience at defensive line and linebacker and they look set to run through the Big 12. A main question worth monitoring are the cornerbacks with two new starters. Overall, Big 12 championship should be the minimum expectation. Playing in the national championship should be the goal.

5. Clemson Tigers

Projected Record: 11-2

DJ Uiagalelei takes over for Trevor Lawrence with a very talented Clemson team. However, a few key questions surround this Tiger team, particularly on the offensive line and secondary after last year’s blowout loss to Ohio State. On offense WR Justyn Ross returns from injury and there is a boatload of young receivers surrounding him. The question will be who steps up (EJ Williams? Joseph Ngata? Ajou Ajou?). The defensive front seven is stacked with almost everyone returning. The issues are in the secondary as it is yet to be seen if a corner opposite of Andrew Booth Jr. can emerge. Overall, Clemson has a huge home opener against Georgia… and then it is smooth sailing for the rest of the regular season. If the issues aren’t fixed on the offensive line and secondary, then this team will again not be able to compete with the elites.

6. Texas A&M Aggies

Projected Record: 10-2

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The Aggies are absolutely loaded with impact players. On offense RB Isaiah Spiller, TE Jalen Wydermyer, WR Ainias Smith, and OT Kenyon Green are all future NFL players. The main concern will be who takes over for QB Kellen Mond (Haynes King or Zach Calzada) and replacing four offensive line starters. The quarterback and offensive line are keys to a good offense and shouldn’t be ignored.

Defensively, this is a top ten defense that returns nine starters. So, expect the Aggies to be  one of the best defenses in the nation. The defense is led by Demarvin Leal who should be a first round pick. Overall, the Aggies are talented… but the unknown at quarterback and offensive line makes me hesitant.

7. North Carolina Tar Heels

Projected Record: 10-2

Mack Brown keeps on building up North Carolina. After an 8-4 season, expectations are high. Offensively they lose some really talented guys including RB Michael Carter, RB, Javonte Williams, WR Dyami Brown, and WR Dazz Newsome. Everyone else on the offense returns though and they added Tennessee transfer RB Ty Chandler. The bowl game against Texas A&M gave a little sneak peek that quarterback Sam Howell has some players to work with including WR Josh Downs. On defense there are plenty of young playmakers looking to step up. They are extremely deep at defensive line and the trio of corners Storm Duck, Tony Grimes, and Kyler McMichael should take a step forward. Overall, this is a really talented team that will be the favorite in the ACC Coastal.

8. Oregon Ducks

Projected Record: 11-2

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Oregon had a rocky season, but still won the Pac-12 Championship despite not winning the Pac-12 North. The offense was decent last year and brings almost everyone back. A key will be who wins the QB competition between Anthony Brown and freshman Jay Butterfield. The defense is led by DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, a definite top ten 2021 NFL Draft pick. Mario Cristobal has done an excellent job recruiting and there is a serious talent on the roster… they just aren’t there yet as an elite team. But expect them to be Pac-12 champions when the season is over.

9. Wisconsin Badgers

Projected Record: 10-2

By far my favorite to win the Big Ten West… this is your classic Wisconsin team. They are fantastic along the offensive line and will only get better with back-to-back five star recruits in the last two years. The question is can QB Graham Mertz perform like he did in the season opener last year against Illinois where he threw five touchdowns. TE Jake Ferguson will also be a key contributor. Defensively, they are going to be fantastic with eight returning starters to a defense that finished fifth in the country. Look for the Badgers to have double digit wins and face Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game.

10. Iowa State Cyclones

Projected Record: 9-3

19 RETURNING STARTERS!!! Iowa State made the Big 12 championship game and returns all of their major pieces. But what is their ceiling? Brock Purdy will need to take another step if they want to knock of Oklahoma as Big 12 champions. Regardless, the offense will continue to rely on 1500 yard rusher Breece Hall.

Defensively, expect the Cyclones defense to be solid again. The defense will be led by LB Mike Rose and there aren’t really any glaring holes. Expect a very good Cyclones team to be at the top of the Big 12 along with Oklahoma, but a playoff spot doesn’t seem realistic.

11. Miami Hurricanes

Projected Record: 10-2

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Quarterback D’Eriq King led Miami to a great 8-3 comeback season. Now King will have to make his own comeback returning from a torn ACL prior to the 2021 season (reports from Miami have him ahead of schedule). The offense was explosive with King and this offense returns almost everyone and added WR Charleston Rambo (Oklahoma transfer). The offensive line is strong and the running back room has two outstanding players with Cam’Ron Harris and Don Chaney Jr. Defensively, the Hurricanes will have to replace DE Jaelen Phillips and have a linebacker issue after allowing 175 rushing yards per game last year. The secondary may be the strength with S Bubba Bolden and corners DJ Ivey, Al Blades Jr., and Tyrique Stevenson (Georgia transfer). Overall, this could be a top ten team… but don’t expect them to beat Alabama.

12. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Projected Record: 9-3

The offense lost four offensive linemen, their quarterback, and two starting wide receivers. Luckily they have 1100 yard rusher Kyren Williams returning and one of the best tight ends in football with Michael Myer. Look for Wisconsin transfer Jack Coan to most likely take over at quarterback who will provide similar production to Ian Book. Expect the Irish to be led by their defense in 2021, particularly no doubt first round pick safety Kyle Hamilton. I wouldn’t expect the 2021 team to be as good as 2020, but still think they put together a really nice season.

13. LSU Tigers

Projected Record: 9-3

After Myles Brennan’s injury, Max Johnson will be the starter for LSU at quarterback. As for the rest of the offense, look for WR Kayshon Boutte to follow up a breakout freshman season. One area that needs to improve is the running game after LSU finished 109thin rushing yards behind Tyrion Davis-Prince and John Emery Jr. 

Defensively, this is a talented bunch. It starts on the defensive line where Ali Gaye and Andre Anthony lead at edge rusher. Mike Jones Jr. was a big transfer pickup from Clemson who will play a roaming linebacker role. The strength is at corner where Derek Stingley Jr. and Eli Ricks  make up a fantastic duo. Expect a major improvement after finishing 124th in total defense last year.

Overall, it’s this is an experienced, talented team with a lot of upside. But, questions remain whether Coach Orgeron can get that talent to translate onto the field.

14. Cincinnati Bearcats

Projected Record: 12-1

The schedule sets up well for the Bearcats to potentially make a run as the first Group of Five team in the Playoff with non-conference matchups against Indiana and Notre Dame. This Cincinnati team has the talent to compete as well with QB Desmond Ridder coming back for a final season. However, the offensive line still remains a question mark. A unit that absolutely is not a question mark is the Bearcat defense, led by DE Myjai Sanders and corners Ahmad Gardner and Coby Bryant. Overall, expect the Bearcats to win the American and make a New Years six bowl.

15. Washington Huskies

Projected Record: 10-2

The Huskies finished 3-1 in 2020 despite average QB play. This year, QB Dylan Morris will have a five star freshman right behind him with Sam Huard. This team is built to run the ball after returning their entire offensive line, including potential first round pick Jaxson Kirkland, and two good running backs (Sean McGrew and Richard Newton). At receiver, there is a bunch of questions on who will step up. Maybe it will be Texas Tech transfer Ja’Lynn Polk? Washington does have one of the best tight ends in America with Cade Otton though. Defensively, expect this team to be one of the best in the Pac-12 under Jimmy Lake as they added to the group with nickel back Brendan Radley-Hiles (Oklahoma transfer) and DE Jeremiah Martin (Texas A&M transfer). This team has the talent to compete with Oregon for the Pac-12 North.

16. Ole Miss Rebels

Projected Record: 9-3

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Lane Kiffin had an explosive offense in his first year in Oxford. Year two’s offense will be even better and could be special. Losing wide receiver Elijah Moore hurts, but the offense has many other weapons including RB Jerrion Ealy. Also, the offense is led by one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC, Matt Corral.   

Decent defense is going to be the key to a successful season. The linebackers are experienced with Lakia Henry, JacQuez Jones, and MoMo Sanogo. Sam Williams also provides the Rebels with a solid edge rusher. However, the question remains whether they are good enough on the defensive line and in the secondary. The Rebels need some improvement after finishing 126th in total defense last year. The Rebels top ten offense can only take them so far… for the Rebels to make the next step in the SEC West there has to be defensive improvement. Expect a solid team and a solid year for Ole Miss.

17. USC Trojans

Projected Record: 10-3

There is some serious talent on this USC team coming off a 5-1 season. QB Kedon Slovis is one of the best in the Pac-12 and the receivers are crazy talented (Drake London, KD Nixon, Jake Smith and Bru McCoy). A key for the offense will be to improve the offensive line play. The defense also brings back six starters to a top 40 defense. One of those starters is LB Drake Jackson who is highly disruptive. The secondary is experienced and the defensive line includes five-star freshman Korey Foreman… this will be a very good football team in 2021. Overall, expect USC to finish at the top of the Pac-12 South.

18. Florida Gators

Projected Record: 9-3

Dan Mullen finally has what he wants for the offense… a mobile quarterback. Expect Mullen to utilize Emery Jones in the RPO game now that Kyle Trask graduated. An issue also arises when you consider the Florida offense lost their top weapons (Kadarius Toney, Kyle Pitts, and Trevon Grimes). Add in an inconsistent offensive line and this offense will take a step back.

There are also questions on the defensive side of the ball. The best players on the defense are CB Kaiir Elam and edge rushers Zachary Carter and Brenton Cox. Outside of those players there are concerns. Expect the defense to still be OK and finish in the top half of the conference. The team as a whole will take a small step back after a fantastic 2020 season.

19. Texas Longhorns

Projected Record: 9-3

Steve Sarkisian takes over a pretty talented Texas team. Honestly, although Sam Ehlinger was a solid college quarterback, Casey Thompson or Hudson Card may give this team more upside. Combine that with a solid offensive line, one of the best running backs in the nation (Bijan Robinson), and a deep wide receiving group… this offense has potential.

Defensively, Texas is led by DT Alfred Collins and LB DeMarvion Overshown. There is a hole at linebacker next to Overshown and there isn’t a clear viable option. The secondary will also need an improvement after finishing 108th in passing defense. Overall, the Longhorns have the talent for Coach Sarkisian to compete for a Big 12 championship spot right away.

20. Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns

Projected Record: 12-1

There is a reason head coach Billy Napier wanted to comeback to this team. The Ragin Cajuns are extremely experienced evidenced by their 20 returning starters off a 10-1 season. They will be tested right away with a season opener at Texas. Overall, this is a talented team who should win the Sun Belt and compete for a spot in a New Years six bowl.

21. Penn State Nittany Lions

Projected Record: 9-3

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The Nittany Lions 2020 season can be thrown to the side after starting 0-5 and finishing with four straight wins. The offense was decent last year, but lacked explosive plays. It isn’t like they don’t have weapons with wide receivers Jahan Dotson and Parker Washington returning, but can QB Sean Clifford take the next step? Penn State also returns RB Noah Cain after he missed last year with an injury. Defensively, Penn State was solid last year, but return only one starting defensive lineman. Instead the strength of this team will be in the secondary and at linebacker as they return just about everyone. Look for a bounce back year for Penn State.

22. Arizona State Sun Devils

Projected Record: 9-3

It is unknown if the Sun Devils will even be eligible for post season play following the school’s disregard to recruiting rules during COVID. However, this is a talented team that should be the favorite to win the Pac-12 South. It starts with talented QB Jayden Daniels entering his third season. Combine that with RB Rachaad White who averaged 10 yards per carry and an experienced offensive line… they are going to be good. The development of the wide receivers will be critical on their potential. On defense last year they gave up the least amount of points, but a whole lot of yards. Expect an improvement especially with corners Jack Jones and Chase Lucas.

23. NC State Wolfpack

Projected Record: 8-4

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This is an intriguing Wolfpack team coming off a 8-4 season. They have weapons with RB Bam Knight, WR Emeka Emezie, and WR Thayer Thomas. Add in a very good offensive line and QB Devin Leary coming back from injury… the offense should be pretty good. Defensively, LB Payton Wilson is one of the best players in the country and LB Isaiah Moore is a pretty dang good player himself. With the defense returning most of their starters from last year, expect an improved defense. Overall, this should be the favorite to finish second to Clemson in the Atlantic.

24. TCU Horned Frogs

Projected Record: 8-4

The main question for this offense is whether QB Max Duggan can take the next step. The offense finished in the middle of the conference last year, but the talent across the board is intriguing. WR Quentin Johnson is ready for a breakout year and there are plenty of complementary pieces including Taye Barber, Derius Davis, JD Spielman, and Shadrach Banks (Texas A&M transfer). Also, look for former five star recruit RB Zach Evans to have a majority of the carries and be an instrumental part of the offense. The offensive line is also solid including OT Obinna Eze (Memphis transfer).

The defense finished top 30 last year and will be one of the best in the Big 12 this year. Sure they lose some key pieces including LB Garret Wallow and safeties Trevon Moehrig and Ar’Darius Washington, but this defense still has solid pieces. At cornerback, Noah Daniels and Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson are both studs. The defensive line is also experienced and led by DE Ochaun Mathis (9 sacks in 2020).

Overall, this team is intriguing and a trip to the Big 12 championship game isn’t out of the question. How Max Duggan develops will have a major impact on the team’s success.

25. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

Projected Record: 11-2

The Chanticleers bring 19 starters back after finishing 11-1 last year and they should finish in the top 25 again. Especially with QB Grayson McCall coming off an impressive freshman season. The defense is also impressive after finishing top 30 nationally last year. Overall, expect this solid Coastal Carolina team to face of with Louisiana to see who will be the Sun Belt champions.

2021 Big Ten Football Preview

Big Ten Championship: Ohio State over Wisconsin

Big Ten East

1. Ohio State Buckeyes

Projected Record: 13-0

Wins: Minnesota, Oregon, Tulsa, Akron, Rutgers, Maryland, Indiana, Penn State, Nebraska, Purdue, Michigan State, Michigan

Losses: None

The Buckeyes are ridiculously loaded on offense with a great offensive line, two talented running backs, and an embarrassing amount of receiving talent featuring two of the best receivers in the nation (Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson). Freshman QB C.J. Stroud is the most likely to take over the starting role. Defense is a different issue. The top four linebackers are all gone and the secondary finished last in the Big Ten in passing yards given up last year. Their defensive line is solid, but they will need an improvement in the back end if they want to be true National Championship contenders.

2. Penn State Nittany Lions

Projected Record: 9-3

Wins: Ball State, Villanova, Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Rutgers, Michigan State

Losses: Wisconsin, Auburn, Ohio State

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The Nittany Lions 2020 season can be thrown to the side after starting 0-5 and finishing with four straight wins. The offense was decent last year, but lacked explosive plays. It isn’t like they don’t have weapons with wide receivers Jahan Dotson and Parker Washington returning, but can QB Sean Clifford take the next step? Penn State also returns RB Noah Cain after he missed last year with an injury. Defensively, Penn State was solid last year, but return only one starting defensive lineman. Instead the strength of this team will be in the secondary and at linebacker as they return just about everyone. Look for a bounce back year for Penn State.

3. Michigan Wolverines

Projected Record: 7-5

Wins: Western Michigan, Northern Illinois, Rutgers, Nebraska, Northwestern, Indiana, Maryland

Losses: Washington, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Penn State, Ohio State

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The Wolverines are a major question going into 2021 after a 2-4 season. The offense was flat and average. Other than WR Ronnie Bell, I don’t see anything to change that. Maybe it could be WR Daylen Baldwin, a Jackson State transfer who lit up the FCS level in the spring. Defensively, I believe they will be much improved with nine returning starters including two premier players (DE Aidan Hutchinson and S Dax Hill). Overall, I’m not blown away by the roster, but they should still be solid and compete at a decent level in the Big Ten East.

4. Indiana Hoosiers

Projected Record: 7-5

Wins: Iowa, Idaho, Western Kentucky, Michigan State, Maryland, Rutgers, Purdue

Losses: Cincinnati, Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, Minnesota

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Coming off a great 6-2 season, Indiana returns 17 starters including QB Michael Penix. The offense will need to be more explosive and the four offensive line starters will have to improve to match last season. WR Ty Fryfogle will lead the offensive weapons with Camron Buckley (transfer from Texas A&M) as a potential wildcard. On defense, they finished last year 43rd in the country. However, the defense added a few SEC defensive line transfers and have nine returning starters. Overall, the Hoosiers are an experienced team who will be a tough matchup for just about anyone in the Big Ten.

5. Michigan State Spartans

Projected Record: 7-5

Wins: Northwestern, Youngstown State, Nebraska, Western Kentucky, Rutgers, Michigan, Maryland

Losses: Miami, Indiana, Purdue, Ohio State, Penn State

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This has the potential to be a sneaky OK team in the Big Ten. The strength of the team is in the receiving core which features Jayden Reed, Jalen Nailor and Ricky White. The backfield has two talented transfers Kenneth Walker III (Wake Forest) and Harold Joiner (Auburn) running behind an experienced offensive line who returned all of their starters. The biggest question will be what transfer QB Anthony Russo (Temple) will give you. Defense is Mel Tucker’s specialty and with seven returning starters and a boat load of transfers, Coach Tucker might be putting something together. I don’t think a bowl game should be out of the question for the Spartans.

6. Maryland Terrapins

Projected Record: 5-7

Wins: Howard, Illinois, Kent State, Iowa, Rutgers

Losses: West Virginia, Ohio State, Minnesota, Indiana, Penn State, Michigan State, Michigan

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Mike Locksley has been stocking up on talent… but will it translate? The offense should be in good hands with Taulia Tagovailoa leading with talented receivers Dontay Demus Jr. and Rakim Jarrett. Defense will be the issue as five-star LB Terrence Lewis tore his ACL. There is young talent, but it has not come together yet. In the tough Big Ten East, they’ll be an average team.

7. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Projected Record: 5-7

Wins: Temple, Syracuse, Delaware, Northwestern, Illinois

Losses: Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Indiana, Penn State, Maryland

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Coach Greg Schiano has something cooking at Rutgers. He is bringing in some actual talent and they are no longer an easy out. The Scarlet Knights play tough, hard-nosed football. On offense, they bring back everyone to an offense that needs to improve. WR Bo Melton is one of the best in the conference and they will rely heavy on him. On defense they have an experienced linebacker and secondary led by LB Olakunle Fatukasi. Look for an improvement on both sides of the ball and in a few years Rutgers will be competing at the top half of the Big Ten East. As for this year? Making a bowl game would be a great achievement.

Big Ten West

1. Wisconsin Badgers

Projected Record: 10-2

Wins: Penn State, Eastern Michigan, Notre Dame, Michigan, Illinois, Army, Purdue, Iowa, Rutgers, Nebraska

Losses: Northwestern, Minnesota

By far my favorite to win the Big Ten West… this is your classic Wisconsin team. They are fantastic along the offensive line and will only get better with back-to-back five star recruits in the last two years. The question is can QB Graham Mertz perform like he did in the season opener last year against Illinois where he threw five touchdowns. TE Jake Ferguson will also be a key contributor. Defensively, they are going to be fantastic with eight returning starters to a defense that finished fifth in the country. Look for the Badgers to have double digit wins and face Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game.

2. Minnesota Golden Gophers

Projected Record: 8-4

Wins: Miami (Ohio), Colorado, Bowling Green, Nebraska, Maryland, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin

Losses: Ohio State, Purdue, Northwestern, Iowa

Minnesota’s down season last year was puzzling given the weapons and returning QB Tanner Morgan. After the down year, expect Minnesota to be closer to contenders this season especially with talented weapons WR Chris Autman-Bell and RB Mohamed Ibrahim. The defense is what really disappointed last year, but with the secondary returning important pieces like Coney Durr, expect an improvement. A key piece will be DT Nyles Pinckney (Clemson transfer). Overall, Minnesota is a wildcard to win the Big Ten West.

3. Iowa Hawkeyes

Projected Record: 6-6

Wins: Kent State, Colorado State, Maryland, Purdue, Northwestern, Minnesota

Losses: Indiana, Iowa State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Illinois, Nebraska

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The Hawkeyes were impressive last season finishing with 6 straight wins after starting 0-2. However, it will be tough to repeat with many of the team’s top players departing for the NFL. The offense does return RB Tyler Goodson after a 762 yard season. What is yet to be seen if the receivers and QB Spencer Petras can progress into a more dangerous unit. Defensively, the secondary returns almost everyone while the key will be replacing three defensive linemen. DE Zach VanValkenburg will lead the group. Expect Iowa to be serious contenders in the Big Ten West again.

4. Purdue Boilermakers

Projected Record: 6-6

Wins: Oregon State, UCONN, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan State, Northwestern

Losses: Notre Dame, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Ohio State, Indiana

Five of Purdue’s six games last year were one score games. Although they finished 2-4, this team still has some potential. The Purdue offense will feature one of the best receivers in the country in David Bell. Either quarterback Jack Plummer or Aidan O’Connell will take over and be a capable starter. Defensively they have one of the best edge rushers in the country with George Karlaftis and a solid cornerback in Cory Trice. I expect this team to do have a solid season in Coach Jeff Brohm’s fifth year.

5. Northwestern Wildcats

Projected Record: 6-6

Wins: Indiana State, Duke, Ohio, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin

Losses: Michigan State, Rutgers, Michigan, Iowa, Purdue, Illinois

The Wildcats came out of nowhere last year to finish 7-2 and win the Big Ten West. This year, I can’t see it happening. The roster returns just seven starters in a year where everyone is returning at least double digit starters. Offensively, expect QB Ryan Hilinski (South Carolina transfer) to step in, but this team will be led by their defense. The defensive line and secondary will be the strength including All-American safety Brandon Joseph. Expect the great coaching staff at Northwestern to get the Wildcats to a bowl game, but not much more than that.

6. Nebraska Cornhuskers

Projected Record: 5-7

Wins: Illinois, Buffalo, Purdue, Southeast Louisiana, Iowa

Losses: Oklahoma, Michigan State, Northwestern, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio State, Wisconsin

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You would think Scott Frost would have this team competing in the Big Ten in his fourth season. But looking at this roster… he still has a long way to go. Nebraska lost their top playmaker Wan’Dale Robinson to the transfer portal and there isn’t another guy on the roster that can fill those shoes. We are also still waiting to see if QB Adrian Martinez ever develops. On defense it is more promising with nine returning starters and one of the best corners in the Big Ten in Cam Taylor-Britt. After three straight losing seasons, getting to a bowl game will be a nice small step towards progress.

7. Illinois Fighting Illini

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Projected Record: 4-8

Wins: UTSA, Charlotte, Iowa, Northwestern

Losses: Nebraska, Virginia, Maryland, Purdue, Wisconsin, Penn State, Rutgers, Minnesota

The Fighting Illini return both quarterbacks (Brandon Peters and Isaiah Williams) in coach Brett Bielema’s first season. Illinois returns an experienced roster that will be led by a good offensive line and rushing attack. However, the team needs playmakers at receiver to step up. On defense, it is a veteran group led by linebacker Jake Hansen. Overall, this football team is an experienced group, but are lacking playmakers to be Big Ten contenders.

2021 Pac 12 Football Preview

Pac 12 Championship: Oregon over USC

Pac 12 North

1. Oregon Ducks

Projected Record: 11-2

Wins: Fresno State, Stony Brook, Arizona, Stanford, Cal, UCLA, Colorado, Washington State, Utah, Oregon State, USC (Pac-12 Championship)

Losses: Ohio State, Washington

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Oregon had a rocky season, but still won the Pac-12 Championship despite not winning the Pac-12 North. The offense was decent last year and brings almost everyone back. A key will be who wins the QB competition between Anthony Brown and freshman Jay Butterfield. The defense is led by DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, a definite top ten 2021 NFL Draft pick. Mario Cristobal has done an excellent job recruiting and there is a serious talent on the roster… they just aren’t there yet as an elite team. But expect them to be Pac-12 champions when the season is over.

2. Washington Huskies

Projected Record: 10-2

Wins: Montana, Michigan, Arkansas State, Cal, Oregon State, UCLA, Arizona, Oregon, Arizona State, Colorado

Losses: Stanford, Washington State

The Huskies finished 3-1 in 2020 despite average QB play. This year, QB Dylan Morris will have a five star freshman right behind him with Sam Huard. This team is built to run the ball after returning their entire offensive line, including potential first round pick Jaxson Kirkland, and two good running backs (Sean McGrew and Richard Newton). At receiver, there is a bunch of questions on who will step up. Maybe it will be Texas Tech transfer Ja’Lynn Polk? Washington does have one of the best tight ends in America with Cade Otton though. Defensively, expect this team to be one of the best in the Pac-12 under Jimmy Lake as they added to the group with nickel back Brendan Radley-Hiles (Oklahoma transfer) and DE Jeremiah Martin (Texas A&M transfer). This team has the talent to compete with Oregon for the Pac-12 North.

3. California Golden Bears

Projected Record: 7-5

Wins: Nevada, Sacramento State, Washington State, Oregon State, Arizona, Stanford, UCLA

Losses: TCU, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, USC

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Cal played a total of 4 games (1-3) in 2020 so there’s not really much to take from it. The team was led by their defense as the offense was pedestrian. Look for an improvement to the offense with QB Chase Garbers coming back with plenty of experience surrounding him. However, this is still going to be a team led by their defense particularly at OLB with Cameron Goode and Kuony Deng. Expect Cal to have a bounce back year and a tough Pac-12 matchup for opponents.

4. Oregon State Beavers

Projected Record: 6-6

Wins: Hawaii, Idaho, Washington State, Utah, Cal, Arizona State

Losses: Purdue, USC, Washington, Colorado, Stanford, Oregon

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Coach Jonathan Smith has made Oregon State into a competitive football team. The offense has made real strides and should be decent in 2021 especially with WR Tre’Shaun Harrison. Defense improvement will be the key, but they have the linebackers to do it. A bowl game would be a fantastic finish and a continued step in the right direction.

5. Stanford Cardinals

Projected Record: 6-6

Wins: Kansas State, Vanderbilt, Washington State, Washington, Oregon State, Cal

Losses: USC, UCLA, Oregon, Arizona State, Utah, Notre Dame

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Stanford had a quiet good year last year finishing 4-2 and winning their last four games. It won’t be as easy this year after losing QB Davis Mills and a few good offensive linemen. Look for QB Tanner McKee to take over as a young, former highly rated recruit. As for the negatives, the skill position players lack elite talent and the defense is coming off a not so great year. Expect the Cardinals to be OK in 2021 with a decent secondary and an average offense.

6. Washington State Cougars

Projected Record: 5-7

Wins: Utah State, Portland State, BYU, Arizona, Washington

Losses: USC, Utah, Cal, Oregon State, Stanfrod, Arizona State, Oregon

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The Cougars have plenty of weapons at the skill positions, but need to find a consistent quarterback. Jarrett Guarantano (Tennessee transfer) is the most likely to step in, but his college career has been anything but consistent. The offense does feature talented RB Max Borghi. Defensively, they were bad last year. However, they bring back a ton of returning starters to the defense. Overall, it is tough to predict how Washington State will finish with so many unknowns. A bowl game will be nice for Coach Nick Rolovich in his first (full) season.

Pac 12 South

1. USC Trojans

Projected Record: 10-3

Wins: San Jose State, Stanford, Washington State, Oregon State, Colorado, Utah, Notre Dame, Arizona, Cal, BYU

Losses: Arizona State, UCLA, Oregon (Pac-12 Championship)

There is some serious talent on this USC team coming off a 5-1 season. QB Kedon Slovis is one of the best in the Pac-12 and the receivers are crazy talented (Drake London, KD Nixon, Jake Smith and Bru McCoy). A key for the offense will be to improve the offensive line play. The defense also brings back six starters to a top 40 defense. One of those starters is LB Drake Jackson who is highly disruptive. The secondary is experienced and the defensive line includes five-star freshman Korey Foreman… this will be a very good football team in 2021. Overall, expect USC to finish at the top of the Pac-12 South.

2. Arizona State Sun Devils

Projected Record: 9-3

Wins: Southern Utah, UNLV, BYU, Colorado, UCLA, Stanford, Washington State, USC, Arizona

Losses: Utah, Washington, Oregon State

It is unknown if the Sun Devils will even be eligible for post season play following the school’s disregard to recruiting rules during COVID. However, this is a talented team that should be the favorite to win the Pac-12 South. It starts with talented QB Jayden Daniels entering his third season. Combine that with RB Rachaad White who averaged 10 yards per carry and an experienced offensive line… they are going to be good. The development of the wide receivers will be critical on their potential. On defense last year they gave up the least amount of points, but a bunch of yards. Expect an improvement especially with corners Jack Jones and Chase Lucas.

3. UCLA Bruins

Projected Record: 7-5

Wins: Hawaii, Fresno State, Stanford, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, USC

Losses: LSU, Arizona State, Washington, Oregon, Cal

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An extremely experienced team that is coming off a 3-4 season where none of their losses were by more than 6 points. QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson finally took a step forward and had a fantastic season down the stretch leading the Bruins to a top 20 offense. Expect the same with almost everyone back except for RB/WR Demetric Felton. Running backs Brittain Brown and Zach Charbonnet (Michigan transfer) will do just fine taking over and running behind an experienced offensive line led by potential first round left tackle Sean Rhyan. The issue will be the defense. Sure the defense returns ten starters from last year, but linebacker remains an issue. Expect former four-star Ale Kaho (Alabama transfer) to compete for a starting role. Overall, this could be a sneaky Pac-12 South wildcard contender.

4. Utah Utes

Projected Record: 8-4

Wins: Weber State, BYU, San Diego State, Washington State, Arizona State, Stanford, Arizona, Colorado

Losses: USC, Oregon State, UCLA, Oregon

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Utah will be a flat out solid team again. The defense returns eight starters and the quarterback play gets a major bump from transfer QB Charlie Brewer (Baylor). Look for running backs TJ Pledger (Oklahoma transfer) and Chris Curry (LSU transfer) to lead the offense. One thing that is a huge question mark is can these wide receivers be explosive and not just possession guys. Last year, the Utes won despite Jake Bentley’s shaky play… expect a better season from Utah and a solid team.

5. Colorado Buffaloes

Projected Record: 6-6

Wins: Northern Colorado, Arizona, Cal, Oregon State, Oregon State, Washington, Utah

Losses: UCLA, Stanford, Arizona State, USC, Arizona, Washington State

It is amazing this team went 4-2 in coach Karl Dorrell’s first season. The offense is led by RB Jarek Broussard who had 895 yards in only six games. The quarterback and receivers are a total unknown with young QB Brendon Lewis most likely starting and surrounded by La’Vontae Shenault (Brother Laviska plays for the Jaguars), Brenden Rice (son of Jerry Rice), and Dimitri Stanley. The defense was average in 2020 and should be around the same in 2021 as they are led by their linebackers Nate Landman and Carson Wells. Expect the Buffaloes to be a tough team, but regress closer to reality especially with a tough non-conference schedule.

6. Arizona Wildcats

Projected Record: 2-9

Wins: San Diego State, Northern Arizona

Losses: BYU, Oregon, UCLA, Colorado, Washington, USC, Cal, Utah, Washington State, Arizona State

In former coach Kevin Sumlin’s final 12 games Arizona went 0-12. Now with very little returning talent, a freshman quarterback, no bonified skill players, a terrible defense, and a first year head coach with Jedd Fisch… don’t expect too much. This will be a multi-year rebuild.

BOWL MANIA PICKS (Part 1)

2020 SEASON RECORD: 79-56-1 (58.1%)

We flirted with over60%, but a rough Week 15 put us just under. Anyways… HERE ARE THIS WEEK’S BOWL PICKS:

Bowl Game Picks (All Times CST)

Appalachian State (-19) vs. North Texas – Monday 1:30pm

North Texas defense is awful. Appalachian State will score at will and 19 points really isn’t that much. App State covers.

Tulane (-3.5) vs. Nevada – Tuesday 6:00pm

Tulane is a good AAC team that went down to the wire with Tulsa. I don’t really trust Nevada after many close games against average Moutain West teams… Tulane wins by a touchdown.

#16 BYU (-4) vs. UCF – Tuesday 6:00pm

UCF has given up an average of 41 points the past week to South Florida and Cincinnati. BYU and Zach Wilson will run it up on UCF.

Georgia Southern (-4) vs. Louisiana Tech– Wednesday 2:00pm

Trust the triple option during Bowl week. Louisiana Tech won’t have much practice time to learn to stop it… Georgia Southern runs it all over Louisiana Tech.

Memphis vs FAU (+10.5)– Wednesday 6:00pm

This isn’t last year’s Memphis and this is too many points. FAU covers.

Houston vs. Hawaii (+13) – Thursday 2:30pm

Way too many points for a 3-4 Houston team… might even sprinkle on the moneyline for Hawaii.

Week 15 College Football Preview

2020 SEASON RECORD: 77-51-0 (60.2%)

WE ARE OVER 60%!!! Easily one of the highest percentages in College Football Nation. The Mac Jones of pick’em this year… SO HERE ARE THIS WEEK’S PICKS:

Week 15 Games of the Week (All Times CST)

#3 Clemson vs. #2 Notre Dame (+10.5) – Saturday 7:00pm

Notre Dame proved they could play with Clemson the first time, they definitely can do it again. Too much is being made out of Trevor Lawrence not playing when DJU played very well. Overall, I think Clemson wins because of injured players coming back on defense… but it will be close.

Pick: Clemson 30-24

#1 Alabama (-17) vs. #7 Florida – Saturday 7:00pm

Why would I stop trusting Alabama? Especially after they keep beating teams by 30 and Fraudulent Florida poked their head out last week. Bama huge and Devonta Smith for Heisman.

Pick: Alabama 51-24

Top Picks of the Week

Oregon (+3) at #13 USC – Friday 7:00pm

Oregon backs their way into this game and I’m taking the points. USC plays all teams close, including a bad Arizona team.

#14 Northwestern vs #4 Ohio State (-19) – Saturday 11:00am

19 points isn’t enough. To compete with Ohio State you have to throw the football… Northwestern can’t do that. Ohio State big.

#10 Oklahoma vs #6 Iowa State (+6) – Saturday 11:00am

Iowa State beat the same Oklahoma team once… why would I not think they could keep it close again?

Missouri (-1.5) at Mississippi State– Saturday 2:30pm

People need to stop pretending the 2-7 Mississippi State football team is good… they’re not. Missouri wins.

Ole Miss (-1) at LSU – Saturday 2:30pm

Do not be fooled by LSU… they are still not good offensively. No way LSU will be able to keep up with Ole Miss’s offense.

Tulsa (+14.5) at #9 Cincinnati – Saturday 7:00pm

This will be a low scoring slugfest. So of course I’m taking Tulsa and the points. Maybe even a little moneyline sprinkle.

WEEK 14 COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW

2020 SEASON RECORD: 74-50-0 (59.7%)

Another great week and we are almost to 60%.. It is a smaller slate this week…. SO HERE ARE THIS WEEK’S PICKS:

Week 14 Game of the Week (All Times CST)

Army (-7.5) vs. Navy – Saturday 11:00am

This rivalry could go either way… but we are trusting Army.

Pick: Army 24-13

Top Picks of the Week

#1 Alabama (-32) at Arkansas – Saturday 11:00am

Alabama continues its dominance. 32 points is not enough.

LSU at #6 Florida (-22.5) – Saturday 6:00pm

Florida is going to put it on. Not as bas as Alabama, but close.

#22 Oklahoma State (-5) at Baylor – Saturday 6:00pm

Texas A&M struggled last week against a LSU team that stinks. Auburn can keep it close.

TGIS Top Ten – Week 6

1. Clemson Tigers

Clemson won convincingly over Miami 42-17 and it is clear no team will challenge them in the ACC. The Tigers are in danger of losing the #1 spot to the winner of Alabama/Georgia this week only due to their strength of schedule.

2. Alabama Crimson Tide

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647 yards and 48 points to Ole Miss… not good. However, the offense was absolutely flawless with Mac Jones going for 28/32 and 417 yards and Najee Harris running for 206 yards and 5 TDs. We’ll find out Saturday whether the defense really is suspect or the performance was just a wacky anomaly.

3. Georgia Bulldogs

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Georgia has the best defense in the nation. But their offense continues to look pedestrian with Jake From 2.0 aka the Mailman aka Stetson Bennett IV. The battle with Bama will be a true test for both units on whether they are the best team in the SEC.

4. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Notre Dame messed around with Duke and Florida State… but I’m forced to put them at #4. Not because the Fighting Irish have been impressive, but because there are so few teams undefeated with very few games played. Let’s see if they mess around against Louisville on Saturday also.

5. Oklahoma State Cowboys

Nothing has changed with Oklahoma State after a bye week last week and this week due to a cancelled game. It is clear the Oklahoma State defense has improved from last season. The Pokes will face their first real test against Iowa State in a few weeks. I still believe this team has playoff potential in the pedestrian Big 12.

6. North Carolina Tar Heels

Another team that is just an above average, undefeated team. 4 point win against Boston College? Ew. 56-45 shutout against Virginia Tech? Eh. We have to let the season develop to see if North Carolina stays this high. The Tar Heels next three games are against Florida State, NC State, and Virginia.

7. Texas A&M Aggies

Texas A&M moves back into the top ten with their win over Florida. I honestly don’t understand how you can rank Florida above the Aggies, but there are plenty dumb AP voters who did just that. The Aggies are good… not great.

8. Florida Gators

The upset loss has Florida down, but not out. Florida is still a major contender in the SEC East with their explosive offense… the defense remains a huge issue though. The scenario remains the same: Beat Georgia to win the East.

9. Miami Hurricanes

My opinion of Miami remains unchanged. Possibly the second best team in the ACC, but nowhere near ready to compete with Clemson. Clemson was able to keep D’Eriq King in the pocket and make him throw. Can other ACC teams do that? We will wait and see.

EARN YOUR LOGO (#10)

10. Cincinnati Bearcats

Cincinnati has not played anyone decent, but the bye week leaves them in the ten spot. If the Bearcats win their next three games (Tulsa, SMU, and Memphis) pencil them into the top ten and as the Group of Five team with the best shot at a New Year’s Six bowl.

Week 6 College Football Preview

2020 SEASON RECORD: 24-21-0 (53.3%)

TGIS went 5-8 last week after being fooled by LSU and Florida. I’ve learned and I’m moving forward… HERE IS THIS WEEK’S PICKS:

Week 6 Game of the Week (All Times CST)

#3 Georgia at #2 Alabama (-3.5) – Saturday 7:00pm

Game Preview: No Saban? No problem. The Alabama defensive performance against Ole Miss was pathetic. But it has caused a major overreaction instead of looking at the brightside… Alabama’s offense is lethal. The game comes down to a simple concept: Mac Jones > Stetson Bennett. Sure Georgia has the edge on defense, but I don’t see Georgia’s offense being able to keep up with Bama’s. Bama wins. (UPDATE: Saban is one negative test from coaching… hope you grabbed the line when it was at -3.5)

Pick: Alabama 31-24

Top Picks of the Week

Auburn (-3) at South Carolina – Saturday 11:00am

Auburn squeaked out a close victory against Arkansas, but they are still a better team than the Gamecocks. We learned last week from LSU a big win over Vandy doesn’t make a team good… so don’t be fooled by the Cocks 41-7 win. Auburn by at least a touchdown.

Pittsburgh (+13.5) at Miami – Saturday 11:00am

Pittsburgh plays solid defense and will be able to contain D’Eriq King. They may not win against the Hurricanes, but they will keep it within two touchdowns.

Kansas at West Virginia (-22.5) – Saturday 11:00am

If Kansas is an underdog by less than four touchdowns take the other team. Kansas has lost to Coastal Carolina by 15, Baylor by 33, and Oklahoma State by 40. Take West Virginia.

Louisville (+17) at #4 Notre Dame– Saturday 1:30pm

I just can’t quit Louisville. Their defense is awful, but they can put up points. Notre Dame couldn’t even cover against Florida State… the Cardinals will be fine.

Duke at NC State (-4.5) – Saturday 2:30pm

This isn’t enough points… NC State is the much better team and Duke won’t be able to keep up. NC State by double digits.

Ole Miss (-1.5) at Arkansas Under 76– Saturday 2:30pm

Keep an eye on this one before kickoff. Ole Miss has some unknown COVID cases. Regardless I think Ole Miss is one of the better teams in the SEC despite their terrible defense. I also don’t trust Feleipe Franks with a point total of 76. Ole Miss wins 41-30.

#11 Texas A&M (-5) at Mississippi State – Saturday 3:00pm

Mississippi State is not good. The LSU game fooled all of us. Texas A&M wins by over a touchdown and KJ Costello keeps throwing interceptions.

North Carolina (-13.5) at Florida State – Saturday 6:30pm

Florida State is still awful… I don’t care that they covered against Notre Dame. North Carolina in a blowout.

Boston College (+12.5) at Virginia Tech – Saturday 7:00pm

The ACC is random… but I don’t understand this line. Boston College has proved to be better than expected at 3-1 and hasn’t lost a game by more than four points (against North Carolina that thumped VT by double digits). The line is way too large and is worth a moneyline sprinkle.

Week 3 college football preview

2020 SEASON RECORD: 4-7-0 (36%)

Alright we went 3-3 last week. But we’ve knocked off the offseason dust and now we are ready for the start of conference play in the Big 12 and SEC… HERE ARE THE PICKS:

Week 3 Game of the Week (All Times CST)

#23 Kentucky (+7.5) at #8 Auburn (UNDER 49.5) – Saturday 11:00am

Game Preview: Get ready… the game of the day comes early. Kentucky runs the ball efficiently behind a great offensive line and has a bundle of returning talent on defense. Auburn… also plays good defense, but lost many of the key starters off last year’s team. This will be a low scoring game where I like Kentucky with the upset. I STILL DO NOT TRUST BO NIX.

Pick: Kentucky 24-20

Top Picks of the Week

Kansas State at #3 Oklahoma (OVER 59.5) – Saturday 11:00am

Kansas State gave up 35 points to Arkansas State who didn’t have 12 of their starters. Oklahoma might score 60 on their own. Over hits with ease.

#23 Iowa State (-2.5) at TCU (UNDER 47)– Saturday 1:30pm

TCU is without their starting quarterback and will start Matthew Downing (first career start). Iowa State struggled mightily on offense in their first game against Louisiana-Lafayette. This game screams the under and an Iowa State close win.

#22 Army (+14) at #13 Cincinnati – Saturday 2:30pm

Army has outscored their opponents 79-7 in their first two games. Trust the slow pace Army offense to keep it within two scores against a good Cincinnati team.

#9 Texas at Texas Tech (UNDER 70.5)– Saturday 2:30pm

Unders have been killing it early in the year. Texas does not have a bad defense either so look for this game to be under 70.5. 38-21 Texas wins.

Duke at Virginia (-4.5) – Saturday 3:00pm

Duke has some major injuries on defense including to cornerback Mark Gilbert. 4.5 points is not nearly enough for a solid team like Virginia (I mean they were in the Orange Bowl last year). Look for the Cavs to win by a touchdown or more.

#2 Alabama (-27) at Missouri- Saturday 6:00pm

Always take Nick Saban in season openers. Especially when the opposing team has 12 players out due to COVID and shaky quarterback play. Alabama by a million.

#16 Tennessee (-3.5) at South Carolina – Saturday 6:30pm

Something must be going on here. Tennessee is at least a touchdown better than the Gamecocks who have an average defense and zero playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. I’m taking the bait by picking the better team to win by more than 3.5.

Florida State at #12 Miami (-11.5) – Saturday 6:30pm

Florida State has zero offense. Miami is now explosive with D’Eriq King at quarterback and plays solid defense. Miami wins big in this Saturday night game.

Week 2 College Football Preview

2020 SEASON RECORD: 1-4-0 (20%)

Not exactly the start we hoped for… BUT WE ARE BACK. After a few upsets in Week 1, here is your Week 2 slate:

Week 2 Game of the Week (All Times CST)

#17 Miami (+2.5) at #18 Louisville – Saturday 6:30pm

Game Preview: Miami is coming off a 31-14 win against UAB where they ran for over 300 rushing yards. You know who is not good stopping the run? Louisville. This is a matchup nightmare for Louisville and not only do I think Miami covers, but they win the ball game behind D”Eriq King. I’ve been hurt before by Miami… I’m ready to be hurt again.

Pick: Miami 37-31

Top Picks of the Week

Houston at Baylor (-4) – Saturday 11:00am (CANCELLED)

While I know Baylor lost a ton of talent from last year’s team, they still have Charlie Brewer and straight up are the better football team than Houston. This is a Houston team that finished 4-8 last season including finishing the year 1-4. Baylor wins and covers.

Tulsa at #10 Oklahoma State (-23.5) (UNDER 66.5) – Saturday 11:00am

I’m a huge believer in Oklahoma State this year. Defensively they’ll be improved and offensively they’ll continue to score points. However, 66.5 points is too many points for a game where it is both teams first time on the field. Cowboys win 41-17.

#14 UCF at Georgia Tech (+7.5)– Saturday 2:30pm

Georgia Tech looked pretty good last week and now face a UCF team that has not played a football game yet. This is a moneyline sprinkle opportunity as Georgia Tech has the team to pull the upset behind true freshman quarterback Jeff Sims.

Louisiana Tech (+5.5) at Southern Miss- Saturday 6:30pm

This line honestly doesn’t make sense to me. Louisiana Tech is coming off a 10-3 season. Southern Miss looked horrible against South Alabama… Don’t overthink this, Louisiana Tech is the easy pick.

Wake Forest (+2.5) at NC State – Saturday 7:00pm

Quarterback Sam Hartman played well in Week 1 as Wake Forest battled with Clemson. On the other side, I do not trust NC State’s starting QB Devin Leary. Wake Forest is ultimately the better football team and should beat NC State. Give me the 2.5 points too for comfort!