Colorado vs. Minnesota (Minn -27.5; O/U 47):
Maybe this is an emotional hedge, but I really don’t trust the Buffs in this spot. I am sure you don’t either. Last year, in what truly may have been one of the worst games of football I have ever seen, the Buffs were not able to eclipse 70 yards of offense for the entire game. They ultimately got shutout at home 30-0. Since then, CU has gotten worse, and Minnesota has only improved. Defensively the Gophers have been phenomenal so far, Mohammed Ibrahim, who missed last years game after being one of the top running backs in the country the two years prior, has been ripping defenses to shreds. Their pass game has been incredibly efficient because of this. I don’t think you need me to provide too much analysis on the Buffs’ woes if you have watched either game this season.
This number simply is not big enough. Minnesota has aspirations to win the Big 10 West, and if PJ Fleck gets a chance to run it up against the Buffs and his former OC, I think he will take advantage. I don’t care who is starting for quarterback at CU; this game is going to get out of hand. At least we can line our pockets in the process.
Pick: Minnesota -27.5
Purdue vs. Syracuse (CUSE -1.5; O/U 60.5)
I bet against Syracuse last week, and they made me eat crow for it. Through 2 weeks this looks like a completely different team than in recent years. I am a believer now. The pass game seems like it is legit. The Orange poached Robert Anae as their OC (he was at Virginia last year, and the offensive production from those 2 teams this year has swapped. Virginia is lost on offense after being second in the country in passing YPG last year. Cuse has been lethal through the air thus far in the season, and Sean Tucker at running back is really a treat to watch.
Purdue looked competitive and probably should have won week 1 against Penn St. That was in West Lafayette, though, and I think Cuse’s defense will be stout enough to hold them off. Dino Babers may need this win to save his job at Syracuse, and I think he gets it done here. I don’t hate the over either.
Pick: Syracuse -1.5
Oklahoma vs. Nebraska (Nubs +11; O/U 64.5):
What should we expect from the first game of the post-Scott Frost era? Well, I will bet on them still being a leaky sieve on defense. They’ve given up over 500 yards of offense against the 2 FBS opponents they’ve played this year. Northwestern lost to Duke at home after shocking the Huskers in Dublin, and the mighty Georgia Southern Eagles gained 642 yards and scored 45 points in Lincoln. This D has been shockingly bad.
Oklahoma has played a little different brand of football so far since Brent Venables has been at the helm. The Sooners are running a little slower paced offense than we have seen in the past with Lincoln Reilly (only 62 offensive plays per game through 2 weeks). I will chalk some of that up to being able to coast against 2 offenses that were not able to score enough to keep the games competitive (UTEP and Kent St.). Nebraska will threaten enough offensively to force the Sooners to open it up a bit. I trust Jeff Lebby at OC and Dillon Gabriel to put up a big number in this spot. I’m not taking any risks betting against an interim coach in his first game, so I’ll just bet on a shootout.
Pick: Over 64.5