By Jeremy Dennis
Below, we have captured some of the more interesting college football games in terms of how much the line has moved. Hopefully, there will be some sort of explanation, but it will likely be a mystery until game day:
Washington State from -33 to -31.5: This could be an odds play. As a whole, New Mexico State will have a lot of returning talent. Add in the fact that the Cougars are starting a new quarterback could make the gamblers uneasy about such a big number.
North Carolina from +7.5 to +10.5: Interesting movement here considering the two teams playing. One thought could be with Mack Brown and staff implementing a new system, it will be hard to keep up with the Gamecocks.
Mississippi State from -22.5 to -20: This is a shocking development. Everyone pretty much expected Tommy Stevens to start for the Bulldogs considering his background with Coach Moorhead. Maybe with the possible overall improvement of the Cajuns, the oddsmakers started with too big of a number?
Alabama from -35 to -33.5: Granted, the breaking news that Crimson Tide LB Dylan Moses is probably out for the season is important as it depletes an already thin (by Alabama standards) group. However, the line was trending lower even before the injury.
Oklahoma State from -15.5 to -14: In my personal opinion, this could be a combination of a Beaver team that is trending up from last year and that the Cowboys do not play well on the road, along with a longer trip than others.
Clemson from -35.5 to -37: For those in the know, this is pretty obvious against a completely revamped system at Georgia Tech.
Army from -24 to -21.5: Another unusual movement. Army did have some attrition on the defense as well as the defensive coaching staff. Rice has nowhere to go but up since they gave up 33 points a game and scored 18.
Now let’s look at the Thursday and Friday Top Picks. I’m still working under the caveat that these are educated guesses until the computer picks next week. The evidence is the 0-2 start in Week Zero. In my defense, I did miss the total points for both games by just six. Therefore, if you would have taken the over/unders according to my point totals, your record would’ve been 2-0. There, I feel better…
UCLA (+3) at Cincinnati
The Bearcats are returning a lot of their offense and should be pretty explosive. UCLA is in year two of the Chip Kelly Experience, so one would assume they would be better than the pathetic excuse showcased last season. They have upgrades on both sides of the ball. Let’s get crazy and call for an outright upset in Cincinnati.
UCLA 36 – Cincy 27
Clemson (-37.5) vs Georgia Tech
With Paul Johnson leaving, there goes the hope that his offense could at least hold the ball long enough so Clemson can’t score 70. Not really much analysis here.
Clemson 59 – Georgia Tech 9
Army (-21.5) vs Rice
Just using a little simple logic here: Army hung 70 on Houston in the bowl game last year. If their offense is improving and Rice’s defense couldn’t stop 11 kids from getting to an ice cream truck, despite improvements by Rice on offense and defense, it won't be enough.
Army 45—Rice 20
Rutgers (-15.5) vs. Massachusetts
How does one know when they have reached “Degenerate Gambler” status? When someone analyzes and then bets on the Rutgers-UMass game!
Rutgers 38 -- UMass 12
Good Luck today and tomorrow!