Welcome to the second official week of the college football season where, in these parts, one must tread cautiously. We write every season about how important it is to remain calm, understand why we stunk so bad during opening week, and avoid overreacting at all costs. The goal, as always, is to hope that the odds-makers don’t do the same, which would provide an opportunity to make some money.
So in order to maintain our inner zen, we summon the great Walter Sobchak, the coolest customer of them all.
So that’s the order of the day. Play it cool, don’t make rash decisions based upon one week’s worth of results, and keep things in perspective.
Then again, if things keep heading south, this could be us sooner than later.
Best Call of the Week
We’ll go with the proceedings in Seattle, as the rival across the mountains messed around for a bit, then turned on the afterburners and ran away from Boise State. The result was my only double-winner of the week, as Washington covered the spread and nearly hit the over by itself.
Worst Call of the Week
Lots to pick from! Seems like most folks whiffed on Colorado, so I don’t feel too badly about that. I am most upset about taking a touchdown with North Texas. Sweet Jesus are they ever bad! I don’t think Cal has scored than many points since Joe Kapp was slinging the ball around Strawberry Canyon.
Mandatory Kick to the Fellas
Army had it in the bag! The bag I tell you! Or not. It seems the new cut blocking rules have dealt a mortal blow to the Black Knight offense. Still, they led 13-3 deep into the fourth quarter. UL-Monroe, not exactly an offensive juggernaut, had got INT for TD, INT, punt, punt, punt on its last five possessions. So of course they break off a 62-yard touchdown run, followed by a turnover, and before you know it, our directions to cover town drive us off a cliff.
Dishonorable mention to UCLA, who just couldn’t bring itself to play a good quarterback until it was too late.
On to this week, where we saw what we believed to be some money-making opportunities when the lines opened, and struck before they moved in what we believed would be a less favorable direction.
The Gamble-Tron is taking the bait, against its better judgement, on Utah -4.— PJ Kendall ✈ ⚰ (@Deathby105) September 3, 2023
Also snagging Boise as a short home dog (+2), Ole Miss -4, and the Tar Heels -13. https://t.co/6gat75qyCa
Let’s have a look at the movement since then. News came out that Baylor’s starting quarterback will miss the game, and the line now sits at Utes -7.5. Value!
Boise is no longer anyone’s darling apparently, as it’s gone from a +2 home dog to +3.5. The Broncos are almost never a home dog, and the last time they were, they beat Fresno by four touchdowns. We remain confident.
Ole Miss is now laying 7.5, and North Carolina’s spread is up to as many as 19 in spots, so we appear to have found some significant value! Whether that holds up remains to be seen, as always.
On to the Pac-12, where there are five home teams catching at least six points. Yeesh.
Ok, I’ll say it. This is the biggest non-conference game in Martin Stadium history. A Big Ten team with a Top 20 ranking is coming to Pullman in WSU’s last year as a power conference member for the foreseeable future. The place is sold out. The weather will be beautiful. And to top it off, we will likely have the biggest CougCenter author gathering in the history of the site.* WSU has to win. Either way, we’re snagging 6.5 points, especially since nearly everyone seems to be on the road team.
*I have no idea if this is close to true
The Pick: Cougs
Nebraska at Colorado (-2.5)
If you’d bet this game before the season, you could have caught the home team getting seven! Think that would be a good bet now? Much like Chip Kelly, I am questioning Matt Rhule’s decision at quarterback. I mean, did you see Jeff Sims last week. Holy fright night.
The Pick: Colorado
Utah (-7.5) at Baylor
7.5? Only the suckers are getting that line.
The Pick: See tweet!
Tulsa at Washington (-33.5)
I don’t know if Tulsa is any good. I know that Washington is really good. Seems like that’s all we need here.
The Pick: Washington
Oregon (-6.5) at Texas Tech
This is another massive landmine on the way to overreaction city, as Oregon hung 81 on a hapless Portland State team, while Texas Tech went to Laramie and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Texas Tech had a lot of preseason hype (by its standards) and the guess here is that the team from Lubbock will settle into its nice, familiar 6-6/7-5 sweater.
The Pick: Oregon
Arizona at Mississippi State (-9.5)
Both teams opened the season with FCS patsies, and both had a relatively easy time of it. In the interests of a certain betting slip, I’d really like to see Arizona win this one, as it would provide a little breathing space for anyone who has money on Mississippi State’s season total going under six. I don’t think I’ll be any closer to my bet after this one.
The Pick: Cowbell
UCLA (-14.5) at San Diego State
Let me see if I’ve got this correct: Chip Kelly watched an entire preseason camp’s worth of practices, and concluded that Ethan Garbers was better than Dante Moore? How? Why? This is like that time our former knucklehead decided it was a good idea to start Jarrett Guarantano over Jayden de Laura. How’d that go? Ahyhoo, if Moore had started last week, UCLA probably would have had far less trouble than it did, and almost certainly would have covered!
The Pick: SDSU
Oklahoma State (-3) at Arizona State
I don’t know much about either team. What I do know is that ASU is undergoing massive roster turnover, may have a morale problem on its hands regarding its lack of postseason eligibility, and barely escaped with a win over Utah last week. Hang on. I’m being told it was actually Southern Utah that put a scare into the Sun Devils. Gulp.
The Pick: OAN Fan Club
Auburn (-6.5) at Cal
This is a weird one. Is Cal as good as it looked last week? There’s no way that can be true, as I think North Texas stinks. Meanwhile, Auburn hasn’t traveled to the west coast for a game since Pete Carroll was in his second year at USC. Carroll is still coaching, while the guy who was on Auburn’s sideline went on to become one of the worst U.S. Senators in modern times. Once Auburn moved on from that coach, it wound its way toward a head man who used to preach Bible verses with one phone and call prostitutes with another. If that doesn’t perfectly summarize college football in the south, I don’t know what does. Where was I? Oh yeah.
The Pick: WDE
Stanford at USC (-29.5)
Both teams looked pretty good last week. I have absolutely no idea what to make of this game, especially since Stanford is practically brand new, and didn’t exactly face a defensive juggernaut last week. I’ll put my faith in Lincoln Riley and Caleb Williams.
The Pick: USC
Ready, Fire, Aim
- Purdue team total Over 22.5
- Virginia team total Under 16.5
- Texas A&M at Miami Under 51
- Memphis -21
Sicko Play of the Week
Can you imagine a time in the last decade or so when UTEP, coming off a loss to a recently-FCS team, would be a favorite on the road at Northwestern? I know Wildcat football history isn’t exactly littered with success, but UTEP? UTEP??!! Somebody knows something, so we’re running toward the smell and taking the Miners and laying the short point-and-a-half.