We stand at 1-1 after Week 0, with Nebraska letting us down tremendously. I feel you Nebraska fans, Scott Frost should be fired for not only his performance as a head coach, but also failing to get his team to perform when it matters most (when we place our money on him). Meanwhile, Vanderbilt’s offense seems revamped and confident, though I know Hawaii is more or less fielding a high school team this year. Nevertheless, we have more plays than I imaged us to have for week 1, so let’s see what we’ve got. Time to go 7-0.
Ball State at Tennessee Under 68.0
Ball State went 6-7 last year, and it’s unlikely to get any better this year for them as they lost a ton of talent. Their starting quarterback is gone, and their main weapon of attack is sophomore running back Carson Steele. Their O-line going up against the Volunteers’ front men will not be able to create many gaps or holes for them, though, and I’d be surprised to see them exceed 14 points tallied for the day. The Vols, however, will likely be up something like 28-7 or 35-7 at halftime. Which means, all their ones will be done for the day by the 3rd quarter. I have a difficult time seeing the freshmen/third string of Tennessee put up three touchdowns with a closed-up playbook and running clock. Tennessee wins something like 45-10.
Rutgers at Boston College Under 48.0
This is a game consisting of two of the lowest-tier Power 5 starting quarterbacks in my opinion. For reference, Noah Vedral of Rutgers and Phil Jurkovec of Boston College amassed just five touchdown passes COMBINED over each teams’ last six games in 2021… Combine that with Rutgers’ inability to run the ball at just 3.6 yards per carry and their 120th ranked scoring offense, and I fail to see them managing to surpass 20 points in this contest. Conversely, their run defense held up stout outside of facing off against their conference powerhouses. If there’s a prop bet for more field goals to be kicked than touchdowns scored, this might be the contest to wager it on. Regardless, my prediction is one team wins something like 20-17. Our money should be safe with the under.
#23 Cincinnati at #19 Arkansas Under 52.0
Cincinnati notably comes into the season without their starting QB and a few weapons from last year. They also played just two top defensive teams last season, scoring just 24 points and 6 points, respectively, in those games. So, heading into a hostile environment where Arkansas’ defense is expected to be heavily competitive, it’s hard picturing the Bearcats to come away with a lot of points. Conversely, Cincy lost their three leading tacklers and sack-men, as well as all-star DB Sauce Gardner. The Razorbacks head into 2022 without their greatest skill players in Trelon Smith and Treylon Burks, but should still be able to put out a very good product on the field for the year. It shapes up to be a solid, hard-fought Arkansas win. But for the teams to combine to 52, I have a hard time justifying. Under 52.
#5 Notre Dame +17.5 at #2 Ohio State
You know those teams you just have a pulse for? That was me with Notre Dame last year, as I knew when they were being overrated or underrated, and I feel pretty solid with my thoughts about them heading into this year. This was a top 10-15 defense last year, and if the offense would’ve been more consistent they could’ve been even better. Regardless, they return most of their key pieces from a year ago as well as brought in one of the best safeties in college football (Brandon Joseph) to replace Kyle Hamilton. On the other side, OSU is likely to put out the best offensive product in college football. But with their defensive woes from a season ago, it doesn’t make sense to say they’ll be able to outscore the Fighting Irish by 17 in Game 1 of this season, even with Jim Knowles heading that side of the ball. They’ll certainly still have their kinks to work out. Ohio State wins this game something like 38-28 as their incredible offensive run in 2022 gets out to a hot start.
Mississippi State -15.5 vs. Memphis
Watching this game last year nearly caused me to pull all of my hair out. And while I’m only slightly exaggerating, Mike Leach probably felt the same way. And I know he and his team remembers. To put it into perspective, the Bulldogs outgained Memphis 468 yards to 246, and had four offensive touchdowns to the Tigers’ two touchdowns, yet lost 31-29. (But if you’d like the full breakdown of just how ridiculous the game was, find the highlights on YouTube and you’ll understand.) Seth Henigan and Brandon Thomas are quality sophomores for Memphis, but aside from them, the two-deep roster is lackluster at best and downtrodden from last year, leaving much to be desired. On the other hand, MSU returns essentially all their main guys and targets from a year ago, plus they’ll be at home in this game. By the third quarter, the Tigers will be worn down and the Bulldogs will almost certainly pull away. Leach and company get their revenge in Davis Wade Stadium to begin 2022 play.
Louisville -4.5 at Syracuse
This breakdown may come back to bite me, but I’m all the way sold on Vegas being flat wrong about what the spread should actually be. These two teams are heading in opposite directions, and as of right now I’d be fully surprised to see Dino Babers at the helm for the Orange for much longer. Syracuse ended last season getting outscored a combined 34-113 in their final three games, notably being trounced 3-41 to Louisville. Additionally, they have eight underclassmen starters on defense and 18 of 22 underclassmen comprise their two-deep. Malik Cunningham and Tiyon Evans will be one of the best QB-RB combinations in all of college football this year who’ll be working behind a seasoned offensive line. There’s hope for Syracuse’s offensive to improve from last season, as they return most of the skill players and a lot of O-line starting production, but their 2nd string is almost completely green in terms of playing time. I’m not saying this will be like the 41-3 throttling from a year ago, but there’s a slim chance Syracuse has a shot at keeping up with what I believe will be a truly dynamic Cardinals’ offense.
Georgia Tech Team Total Under 13.5 vs. #4 Clemson
What did Clemson build their national championship teams on and continue riding on the back of last year? The defense. And in particular, their front seven. This is Georgia Tech’s offensive line two-deep roster from left to right:
(These are bets I like, but am not quite confident enough in them to put them in my official plays for the week.)
#4 Clemson at Georgia Tech Under 51.0:
#13 NC State at East Carolina Under 55.0:
Though it’s lesser known, these two teams are quite the rivalry and do not like each other. I believe the two defenses will be greater catalysts to each team’s season than the offenses for the year, but this particular rivalry sees their games trend over with more points being scored than expected. It should be a fun matchup to watch, nonetheless.
Written by Alex Hill