by Jeremy Dennis
“Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue” -- Steve McCroskey, Airplane!, 1980
There was a lot of gnashing of teeth and rending of clothes this last weekend at Chez Menace. To start the college football season at 0-5 was about as inauspicious of a start as you can get. I did say go under on Army. So, I have that going for me, which is nice. For this week’s picks, we still have a bunch of teams that are debuting, so the computer has little data to work with. I am sure that you are asking yourself, “Is he making excuses?” The answer to that is of course, yes.
Since the computer was at least closer in the games in which they picked the favorite(chosen underdogs lost by a combined 97-3), it is all favorites, baby!
There will be a new format for the articles this year. Instead of picking a percentage of games as the games of the week, all games will be predicted and will be listed in tiers as to how much I would bet in each of the tiers.
TIER ONE - FIVE UNITS
Miami, FL (-14) vs UAB
Supposedly, there is a lot of improvement coming out of Coral Gables this year. The offense is supposed to be better with D’Eriq King under center. The defense is supposed to be much faster even though they lost seven starters. UAB, while scoring 45 points against Central Arkansas, struggled mightily on defense allowing 35. I do not think that 14 is that bad of a number for the Hurricanes to overcome considering their upgrade in talent.
Iowa State (-11.5) vs Louisiana
Both teams should be improved from a year ago. On offense, the Cyclones will have their QB, two top RB’s and WR’s returning. The key to this group will be their offensive line, which will not be as good as last year’s version. Defensively, they have eight starters returning which could make them top three in the Big 12. Louisiana will challenge App. State for the Sun Belt Title. I just don’t think they will have the defensive horses to stay with Iowa State.
Army (-19) vs Louisiana-Monroe
Here is some simple deduction for you: Army beats Middle Tennessee State 42-0. Is Louisiana-Monroe better than Middle Tennessee State? Um, no. Let’s roll that Under again as well.
TIER TWO - THREE UNITS
Notre Dame (-19.5) vs Duke
Brian Kelly is putting together quite the program in South Bend. They have won 10+ games for three consecutive years. The offense should be on point again this year as they return Ian Book at QB and all five starters on the offensive line. Defensively, they will be losing some talent, but Kelly is really starting the process of reloading as opposed to rebuilding.
The season starts in earnest next week with the ACC and NFL getting on-line. The Blitzlytics Team will look to keep the train rolling that resulted in a 54.7% success rate on all college football games last year. Don’t forget to check the site regularly to get the up-to-date picks on college and pros. Also, this is the first year that Blitzalytics has put together a Prospect Encyclopedia that covers all 32 NFL teams.
Florida State (-12.5) vs Georgia Tech
Let’s face it, the Yellow Jackets are still rebuilding away from an option offense to more of a pro-style attack. They are probably still a year out from really competing in the ACC. With that, they will be on the field a bunch defensively, which will not bode well for keeping the other team out of the end zone. Mike Norvell’s new system in Tallahassee should put a lot of pressure on GT Saturday.
Clemson (-32.5) at Wake Forest
The Tigers are one of the three best teams in the nation. Wake Forest will be lucky to be one of the three best teams in the state of North Carolina. I will be channeling the Incredible Hulk with this one: 2019 made them angry. The ACC won’t like it when they are angry.
TIER THREE - TWO UNITS
Texas (-43) vs UTEP
There is a lot of hype surrounding the Longhorns this year. UTEP is not exactly a worthy opponent. I would typically be a little more comfortable with this pick. However, Texas has not been a favorite of this magnitude in over five years. Last week, the Miners only beat Stephen F. Austin by 10, so all signs point to a significant blow-out.
North Carolina (-22.5) vs Syracuse
Here is another instance where the pick is good, the team is better, but the number is just so big. Especially for a conference game. Mack Brown certainly had his troops ready last year with upsets against South Carolina, Miami, and an almost upset of then #1 Clemson. The 2020 version has 17 starters coming back from that squad. Also, keep in mind that their last two games were a 41-10 blow out of N.C. State and a 55-13 victory against Temple in the Military Bowl.
Louisville (-11.5) vs Western Kentucky
The Cardinals will have 75% of their starters back this year. After finishing 8-5 and second in the Atlantic in ‘19, there is no reason to believe that they will challenge for that spot again this season. Western Kentucky has the same amount of returning starters and should be around the top of Conference USA. One point to make is that these teams played last year and the ‘Ville won by 17. Should see the same scenario in this matchup.
Kansas State (-10.5) vs Arkansas State
The Red Wolves played a good Memphis team tough last week in a 13 point defeat. From the gambler’s perspective, is Kansas State as good as Memphis? Hard to say. I would imagine this game will have a lot of bettors’ sphincters pinching.
TIER FOUR - ONE UNIT
Tulane (-8.5) at South Alabama
We are about to see just how good South Alabama is. This will also be a statement for just how bad Southern Miss. is after the Jaguars manhandled them at home. Tulane is an up and coming team that has a good possibility of competing for a top-three finish in the American Athletic Western Division. Not thrilled about such a big number playing away from home.
App. State (-17) vs Charlotte
There will be a new coach in Boone this season. Charlotte is an up and comer and easily covered 22 against App State last year at home. I am certainly not thrilled with such a big number.
Kansas (-7) vs Coastal Carolina
Does anyone know what Les Miles is thinking these days? Does Les Miles know what he is thinking these days?
Texas State (-8) vs UTSA
This will be another example of a team that played well versus a team that hasn’t played yet. The Bobcats played SMU down to the wire. The Roadrunners would probably finish last in Conference USA if it wasn’t for UTEP.
Oh and here is the pro pick for Thursday: Kansas City (-9) vs Houston. Channeling the AFC Divisional Game from a year ago.
Don’t forget to have a look at the Blitzalytics Prospect Guide. It has info on all 32 professional teams. Here is the link so you can check it out:
Enjoy the football weekend!