Week 1 in college football saw a few top teams (Florida State, Miami and Michigan) get exposed on a national stage, while LSU, Virginia Tech and Notre Dame announced themselves as College Football Playoff contenders.
The second week of the year lacks the pizazz of the opening weekend, but No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Georgia face big road tests while No. 17 USC and No. 10 Stanford will take center stage in the Pac-12’s first conference clash.
After going an abysmal 8-9 against the spread in Week 1, we’re sure Week 2 will be a little kinder.
*All lines courtesy of OddsShark*
Friday, Sept. 7
No. 16 TCU (-22) at SMU
The Horned Frogs looked good in a Week 1 55-7 romp over Southern. TCU scored on its first six possessions and outgained the Jaguars’ 499-185. TCU has won six games in a row against SMU, and after the Mustangs were rolled 46-23 by North Texas in Week 1, you should take the points. Pick: TCU -22
Saturday, Sept. 8
New Mexico at No. 5 Wisconsin (-35)
Bob Davie’s squad pasted Incarnate World in Week 1, but they’ll face a much better team when they head to Camp Randall on Saturday. Wisconsin was impressive in its 34-3 win over Western Kentucky, but the number is too big to take the Badgers. Pick: NM +35
No. 18 Mississippi State (-8) at. Kansas State
Mississippi State opened the Joe Moorhead era with a 63-7 drubbing of Stephen F. Austin without suspended star quarterback Nick Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald returns this week as the Bulldogs travel to Manhattan, Kan., to face a Wildcats squad that struggled against South Dakota State. Bulldogs romp. Pick: MISS ST. -8
Western Michigan at No. 21 Michigan (28)
The Wolverines’ offense was a mess in their season-opening loss to Notre Dame, as the offensive line struggled to protect new quarterback Shea Patterson. It gets a little easier Saturday as Michigan will face a Western Michigan team that gave up 55 points to Syracuse in Week 1. The Broncos also scored 42, though. Expect the Wolverines to win convincingly but a late score for the Broncos helps them cover. Pick: WMU +28
UCLA at No. 6 Oklahoma (-30)
The Bruins were abysmal in a season-opening loss to Cincinnati, and it doesn’t get any easier in Week 2. Oklahoma hammered Florida Atlantic last week and while 30 is a big number, we aren’t going to bet against Kyler Murray and Lincoln Riley for the second week in a row. Pick: OU -30
William & Mary at No. 12 Virginia Tech (No Spread)
Enjoy the paycheck, Griffins.
Portland State at No. 23 Oregon (No Spread)
Oregon’s easy opening continues after Texas A&M backed out of a home-and-home with the Ducks.
Arkansas State at No. 1 Alabama (-36)
It’s Tua Time in Tuscaloosa and the Tide once again look like the cream of the crop in college football. After hammering Louisville 55-7 in Week 1, the Tide likely will lay up a bit on the Red Wolves. Pick: Ark St. +36
No. 3 Georgia (-10) at No. 24 South Carolina
The Bulldogs get their first test of the season when they travel to Columbia to face the upstart Gamecocks. Jake Bentley should have some success moving the ball against Georgia’s new-look front seven, but in the end, Jake Fromm’s composure and D’Andre Swift’s breakaway ability will be too much for South Carolina. Pick: UGA -10
Rutgers at No. 5 Ohio State (-34.5)
Ohio State sent a message in Week 1 when the Buckeyes hung 77 on lowly Oregon State. Expect much of the same here against the Scarlet Knights. Pick: OSU-34.5
Ball State at No. 8 Notre Dame (-34.5)
The Irish’s win over Michigan vaulted them into the top 10. Notre Dame looked impressive on the defensive side of the ball and quarterback Brandon Wimbush appears to have improved over the summer, as he led scoring drives of 75, 96 and 75 yards against the Wolverines. Expect a bit of a letdown the week after an emotional win, though. Cardinals cover. Pick: Ball St. +34.5
North Dakota at No. 9 Washington (No Spread)
The Huskies get back on track after a Week 1 loss to Auburn.
Youngstown State at No. 14 West Virginia (No Spread)
Will the Penguins march into Morgantown and spoil Will Grier’s party? Nah.
South Carolina State at No. 19 UCF (No Spread)
The defending national champions* should roll easily.
Savannah State at No. 22 Miami (No Spread)
Are we sure Miami should still be ranked after the Hurricanes got their doors blown off?
No. 2 Clemson (-12) at Texas A&M
Jimbo Fisher’s squad gets its first big challenge and they probably aren’t ready for the bright lights. The 12th Man will keep the Aggies in it for a while, but eventually, the Tigers will pull away. Pick: Clemson -12
Southeastern Louisiana at No. 11 LSU (No Spread)
The Tigers painted Miami in Arlington, Texas, and now they get a week to rest up before their date with Auburn.
Alabama State at No. 7 Auburn (No Spread)
Kentucky at No. 25 Florida (-14)
Dan Mullen and the Gators put it on FCS foe Charleston Southern in Week 1, but we’ll get the first real look at Florida’s new-look offense Saturday against the Wildcats. Kentucky beat Central Michigan 35-20 in its season opener, but the Cats have lost 31 straight times dating back to 1986. The streak doesn’t end Saturday, but the Gators will sweat in The Swamp. Pick: UK +14
No. 13 Penn State (-8.5) at Pittsburgh
Penn State avoided disaster in Week 1 when it squeaked out an overtime win over Appalachian State in Happy Valley. Now the Nittany Lions will face in-state rival Pittsburgh, which smoked FCS Albany in Week 1. The Nittany Lions beat the Panthers 33-14 last year, and while they struggled against the Mountaineers, look for them to right the ship in Week 2. Pick: PSU -8.5
No. 17 USC at No. 10 Stanford (-6)
Both sides struggled early with their Week 1 opponents before pulling away to set up an important Pac-12 clash in Week 2. Stanford star Bryce Love was held to just 29 yards on 18 carries against San Diego State, but expect the Heisman hopeful to have a bigger day against a USC defense that gave up 308 yards on the ground to UNLV. Trojans freshman quarterback J.T. Daniels was solid in his first collegiate start, but it’s hard to bet on him doing enough Saturday at The Farm. Pick: Stan -6
Connectict at No. 22 Boise State (-31.5)
UConn just got its doors blown off by Central Florida and it’s only going to get worse. It’s a big number, but lay the points. Pick: Boise St. -31.5
No. 15 Michigan State (-5) at Arizona State
The Spartans were abysmal in Week 1 against Utah State. They couldn’t block, they couldn’t cover and the tackling was horrendous. Arizona State, on the other hand, creamed Texas-San Antonio, allowing only 2 yards on the ground. All that would point to the Sun Devils springing the upset, but we wouldn’t dare bet on Herm Edwards. Pick: MSU -5
Thumbnail photo via Joshua S. Kelly/USA TODAY Sports Images