After the smorgasbord of delicious week one matchups, week two is our post-feast diet. But all is not lost: football is still football after all, and there’s a little something to enjoy about each of these games.
As always, lines from vegasinsider.com.
#13 Louisville (-14.5) at Syracuse – If You Missed Lamar Jackson Last Week . . .
. . . then watch him Friday night. If you weren’t paying attention in week one, he lit up Charlotte to the tune of eight touchdowns (in the first dang half) as the Cardinals rolled to a 70-14 win. For all you out there saying “yeah but it was just Charlotte,” did your team’s quarterback score eight touchdowns in 30 minutes?
Syracuse will provide ever so slightly stiffer resistance, but Dino Babers’ offense will throw a lot, and Louisville is going to get its fair share of chances. Louisville 45, Syracuse 24
Penn State at Pittsburgh (-4.5) – The Battle to Decide the Best Team in Pennsylvania Besides Temple
Why don’t these two teams play every year? Penn State scurred? Pitt scurred? Either way let’s cherish this home-and-home, the first meeting between the Pennsylvanian Big Cat teams since 2000.
While the offenses are intriguing as Penn State’s new pro-style spread meets Pitt running back/cancer-destroyer James Conner, expect defense to rule the day in a hard-fought struggle. I think Pitt is a bit more established and Pat Narduzzi has something cooked up for the Nittany Lions. Pitt 24, Penn State 20
Arkansas at #15 TCU (-7.5) – Can Anyone Get a Stop?
We got quality SeptemBERT as the Hogs nearly were felled by Louisiana Tech . . . but the Frogs had issues of their own allowing way too many big plays while allowing 41 points to South Dakota State. I think Kenny Hill and TCU are better poised to win a shootout but I fully expect Arkansas to get its licks in. TCU 45, Arkansas 35
Iowa State at #16 Iowa (-18) – ¡El Assico!
During the offseason I’d had this pegged as a potential stumbling block for Iowa, figuring Matt Campbell would have the Cyclones ready to take the Hawkeyes to the wire. Then Iowa State lost to Northern Iowa.
I still think 18 is a bit big of a spread for a game which seemingly always devolves into a quagmire of terrible football, but Iowa State isn’t ready to punch with Iowa quite yet. Iowa 37, Iowa State 20
BYU at Utah (-3.5) – Holy War
I can never tell whether these two teams love or hate to play each other (such is the nature of a rivalry, I suppose). Utes fans think since they’re Pac-12 now that playing independent BYU is beneath them . . . and they might be onto something, as Utah owns the last six meetings, including last December’s Las Vegas Bowl, wherein the Utes exploded to a 35-0 first quarter lead and held off a furious Cougar rally. (I know, it seems unbelievable but there actually was a game last year that BYU failed to win on late-game heroics.)
In another game where I expect defense to own the event, I think BYU’s slightly better-established offense is the difference maker in a close game. BYU 29, Utah 24
Virginia Tech vs. #17 Tennessee (-11.5) (Bristol, TN) – The One at a Racetrack
The Vols hope to rev up their offense (racing joke) after nearly stumbling in week one. Meanwhile the Hokies hope to act as a pace car (racing joke) for Joshua Dobbs and Jalen Hurd. The wheels haven’t fallen off (racing joke) for Tennessee yet, but fans would prefer a slightly less checkered performance (racing joke). Tennessee 28, Virginia Tech 20
Texas Tech at Arizona State (-2.5) – Jeez, It’s 2AM and This Game is Still Going
Kinda baffles me that Arizona State is a favorite, even at home, against Patrick Mahomes and the Red Raider offense. The Sun Devil defense, which allowed six 20+ yard passes in its 44-13 win over Northern Arizona, has to play a heck of a lot better in a hurry. Texas Tech 45, Arizona State 42
Washington State at Boise State (-11.5) – Swing Your Smurf
It makes sense people might overlook the Cougs after an FCS loss . . . but still, that line for a team that can move the ball like Wazzu just ain’t right. Still, it’s hard to beat Boise on the blue turf. Boise State 34, Washington State 27
And don’t sleep on this one: Wyoming at Nebraska (-24.5)
Did a bit of a double take when I saw this line. Wyoming has a long way to go but showed what it’s capable of in toppling Northern Illinois in overtime. Head coach Craig Bohl, owner of roughly a million FCS national titles at North Dakota State, won’t be intimidated against his former employer. Nebraska comes out sleepy and wins, but gives fans plenty to fuss about leading up to next week’s date with Oregon. Nebraska 34, Wyoming 26