By: Hunter Schmidt
Thanks to those of you who read “Finding The Edge: Week 1.” The picks went 8-8-1 for a whopping gain of .4 units. Here is your weekly recap:
Week 1 Recap: 8-8-1, +.4 Units
Season Long Recap: 11-9-1, +1.95 Units
Last week was a lesson in getting the best of the number. I had Memphis at -5.5, they closed -3.5, and won by 5. I had James Madison +7, they closed +7.5, and they lost by 7 for a push. Lastly, I had the Oklahoma over at 82.5, it was around 79.5 all day on Sunday, and the game landed on 80. That slim margin is the difference between being up .4 units on the week and potentially being up 5.6 units. That’ll balance out during the season, but hopefully some of you that tail the column got the better of these numbers.
Teams that impressed me in Week 1 included Wisconsin, Tulane, LSU, and Boise State. Teams that were surprisingly bad in Week 1 include Missouri, Tennessee, South Carolina and Nebraska. The hardest part of betting Week 2 in college football is finding a good mixture of trusting your preseason research, while reacting to what we saw in Week 1.
Week 2 of the college football season features multiple Top-25 match-ups. It also includes an under the radar game where a group of five teams gets their shot at the in-state Big Ten program.
- Texas A&M travels to Clemson this week in what will be the toughest task on the Clemson schedule all year. Clemson beat the Aggies a year ago by two points at Kyle Field in College Station. Clemson is currently favored by 18 points.
- This is a big weekend for the state of Texas as LSU will travel to Austin to take on Tom Herman and the Longhorns. Both teams are hoping to start potential playoff campaigns with a signature victory over a Top-10 opponent. LSU is currently favored by 5 points.
- Cincinnati will travel north to Columbus, Ohio to take on new coach Ryan Day and the Buckeyes. Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell was the former defensive coordinator at Ohio State and will have his team fired up to take down the in-state college football powerhouse. Cincinnati is currently a 17 point underdog.
Here are the Week 2 picks:
Cincinatti @ Ohio State; 11AM CT at Ohio Stadium
Cincinnati had one of the best defenses in the country a year ago and we saw their defense step up in a 24-14 victory over UCLA in Week 1. They limited the Bruins to less than 200 total yards.
Luke Fickell was the defensive coordinator at Ohio State and most likely was frustrated when he didn’t get the chance to become the head coach after Urban retired. He is going to have his troops fired up for this game and will be able to keep the dynamic duo of Justin Fields and J.K. Dobbins from making the explosive plays we saw against FAU.
Ohio State kind of shut it down after going up 28-0 against FAU last week, before winning 45-21. Ohio State has a lot of playmakers on defense and I think we see a low scoring affair here.
Cincinnati had six road games last year and every one of them went under the total. Ohio State went under in four of their seven home games last season. I do expect Ohio State to win this game, but I think Cincinnati will keep it within the number here. I’m going to take the under and the points here.
The Play: Cincinnati +16.5 The Risk: 1.1 Units To Win: 1 Unit
The Play: Under 56 The Risk: 1.1 Units To Win: 1 Unit
Nebraska @ Colorado; 2:30PM CT at Folsom Field
These two schools combined for 61 points just a year prior, which was just under the closing total of 63.5. They combined for 960 yards of total offense and managed to slip under the total due to three turnovers from Nebraska and three missed field goals between the two sides.
Nebraska went over the closing total in four of the five road games they had a year ago. Colorado was an under team last season, but they lost a lot of starters from last year and they face one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the country here in Adrian Martinez.
Nebraska is going to be great offensively under Scott Frost, but the defense needs another year. They gave up nearly 40 points per game in last year’s campaign on the road. They allowed opponents to gash them for 480 yards per game and over 6.3 yards per play.
Colorado saw a combined 83 points in their game in Week 1. Their defense gave up over 500 yards to Colorado State and 6.47 yards per play. Nebraska didn’t look great on either side of the ball in Week 1 against one of the worst FBS teams in the country in South Alabama.
I expect their offense to bounce back here, and that has to start with Martinez, who was just 13 for 22 with 178 yards and no touchdowns last week. I expect both teams to score in the 30’s here and maybe we see Colorado win as a 4-point home dog if Martinez doesn’t show up again.
The Play: Over 64 The Risk: 1.1 Units To Win: 1 Units
California @ Washington; 9:30PM CT at Husky Stadium
California will travel to Washington for a match-up where the total has gone under the closing total in 9 out of the last 10 games. The average total in these games has been right around 48 points. Washinton and Cal were two of the best under teams in the country a year ago, with both teams going over the total in just three of their games.
Justin Wilcox took over the California program in 2017 and has transformed the defense into one of the top units in the country. Their defense gave up less than 300 yards per game a year ago on the road, while holding teams to an average of 16 points per game and 4.3 yards per play.
The Golden Bear offense ranked towards the bottom of college football in total scoring and yards per play last season. They rank in the bottom fourth of the country in returning production on offense, which is bad news because they face a Washington team that allowed just 13 points per game at home in 2018, while holding teams to 4.5 yards per play.
Both of these defenses looked good against decent FCS teams holding their opponents to less than 14 points in Week 1. Washington does need to replace quite a few starters on defense, but this unit shouldn’t have any issues with the California offense. I think we see another low scoring affair that Washington wins 23-10. I’ll take the under.
The Play: Under 44.5 The Risk: 1.1 Units To Win: 1 Unit
Illinois @ UCONN; 2:30PM CT in East Hartford, CT
Illinois started the year out with a 42-3 win over Akron, but the most impressive part of the victory was the defense holding the Zips to 192 yards and just 3 points.
This defense looked greatly improved from a year ago and will face a UCONN team that barely beat Wagner last week, 24-21. UCONN really got the ground game going with Kevin Mensah carrying the ball 36 times for 144 yards and Art Thompkins pitching in another 91 yards.
Illinois will be without Mike Epstein for this game after he tore his ACL, but they should have no issue putting up points against one of the worst defenses in the country.
If the Huskies go to the air, don’t be surprised if the Illinois secondary forces a few turnovers that lead to points. Illinois stopping the rushing attack will be the key to covering the number here.
The Play: Illinois -20 The Risk: 1.1 Units To Win: 1 Unit
Stanford @ USC; 9:30PM CT at the Coliseum
USC lost starting quarterback JT Daniels for the year with a season-ending knee injury last week against Fresno State. This week they are going to start Kedon Slovis who is a true freshman from Scottsdale, Arizona.
I think USC has the advantage in the trenches and skill position over Stanford, but no way am I backing a true freshman quarterback against David Shaw.
Stanford quarterback K.J. Costello is questionable this week after suffering a head injury in the Northwestern game. Even if Costello does play, I would expect Stanford to run the ball and try to protect him. This game should be first to 20 and I’m going to grab the under.
The Play: Under 45 The Risk: 1.1 Units To Win: 1 Unit
These were two of my preseason favorites that let me down a week ago. I’m going to trust my preseason research and back these teams for the second straight week.
FIU will face a Western Kentucky team that lost to FCS Central Arkansas a week ago. Missouri comes back home to face West Virginia who got outplayed by James Madison, but escaped with a victory due to three turnovers by the Dukes.
The Play: FIU -7 The Risk: 1.1 Units To Win: 1 Unit
The Play: Missouri -13.5 The Risk: 1.1 Units To Win: 1 Unit
Two teams that I expect to bounce back from Week 1 losses are Miami and UCLA.
San Diego State won 6-0 a week ago against Weber State and their defense looked terrific. Juwan Washington injured his ankle against Weber State and the backup running back is still injured. I expect another poor performance from the Aztec offense, but their defense should be able to keep UCLA out of the end zone.
San Diego State is just 1-8 ATS in their last nine games. The under has hit in four of their last five games and I expect both trends to continue here.
Miami needed better offensive line play to pull the upset over Florida in Week 0. They got an extra week of preparation for a North Carolina team that beat South Carolina as a double digit underdog.
Both of these teams had combined totals of 44 in their first game with both going under the closing total. The total has gone under in five of the last seven games in this series and I think the Miami defense can get pressure on freshman quarterback Sam Howell.
I think we see a 24-17 type of game where Miami prevails due to better offensive line play and an extra week of rest/preparation.
The Play: UCLA -7.5 The Risk: 1.1 Units To Win: 1 Unit
The Play: UCLA Under 45.5 The Risk: 1.1 Units To Win: 1 Unit
The Play: Miami -3.5 The Risk: 1.1 Units To Win: 1 Unit
The Play: Miami Under 47.5 The Risk: 1.1 Units To Win: 1 Unit
In the two big games this week, I am taking both of the SEC teams.
Jimbo Fisher is very familiar with Dabo Sweeney from his days at Florida State and nearly upset Clemson last year, losing 28-26. Clemson has the best skill position players in the country, but I think the Aggies will get enough stops defensively to keep this within the number.
Kellen Mond looked really good in Week 1 against Texas State as he was making throws into tight windows that we haven’t seen out of him before.
LSU travels to Austin, Texas after taking care of a good Georgia Southern team a week ago. Austin got some turnover luck against Louisiana Tech that allowed them to cover, but I wasn’t that impressed with the Longhorns in Week 1 compared to LSU. I could see LSU winning by double digits in Austin.
Joe Brady is one of the best football minds in the sport regardless of level and I think LSU runs over a Texas defense that is in the process of returning a bunch of starters from a year ago.
The Play: Texas A&M +17.5 The Risk: 1.1 Units To Win: 1 Unit
The Play: LSU -6 The Risk: 1.1 Units To Win: 1 Unit
A few more…
The Play: Tulane +18.5 The Risk: 1.1 Units To Win: 1 Unit
The Play: Coastal Carolina +7 The Risk: 1.1 Units To Win: 1 Unit
The Play: UCF -10.5 The Risk: 1.1 Units To Win: 1 Unit
Alright, that is going to wrap it up for this week. That’s 17 picks for Saturday!
Enjoy a cold beverage and cherish what should be a beautiful weekend of college football.
Cover photo via: Jim Lytle/AP Photo
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