2018 CFB Picks: Week 3

5-3 last week. I’m not gonna lie, it got a little lengthy this week. If you’re not fond of words, I suggest just looking for the bold letters. This week we’ve got three lists, an FCS section, and a 46.5 point dog. I even took a game that most people might actually watch, so that’s nice.

Picks

ARMY (-6) over Hawaii

BODY CLOCK GAME

Big time body clock game, fellas. Hawaii makes their way all the way to the east coast for a noon EST kickoff, which is equal to 6 AM on the islands. The Bows played one game last year that was morning time locally and it was a 38-0 loss to Utah State.

Hawaii has obviously looked good so far, but I think this is a tough spot for them and Army should be ready. The Black Knights just went against a pass-heavy offense and limited Liberty to 14 points.

I don’t think it’s a question that Army will be efficient with the option against Hawaii’s poor run defense. Navy had a field day running against them, but just couldn’t get any stops defensively. The Bows gave up 250+ rushing yards on five occasions during Mountain West play last year.

Overall, I just think Hawaii is due for a stinker. They’ve been better than advertised so far, but the best team they’ve played – Navy – ranks 100th in S&P+.

PENN STATE (-35) over Kent State

I don’t really need to get into the X’s and O’s of this thing. Kent State might be a little better than anticipated, but they’re obviously no match for the Nittany Lions.

And James Franklin has proven over the past couple years that he’s not afraid to run up the score a bit if he can, with results like 51-6, 66-3, 56-0, and 52-0.

Rutgers (+3) over KANSAS

I was very happy for Kansas last weekend. However, Jayhawk football has had so much difficulty having any kind of success, but they’ve been even worse at sustaining any type of success. They haven’t won back-to-back games since the first two games of the 2011 season when Turner Gill was HC.

Since then, here’s how they’ve followed up wins since 2012:

  • 2012: lost 25-24 to Rice at home (they were -12)
  • 2013: lost 23-14 at Rice (they were +6)
  • 2013: lost 54-16 to Texas Tech (they were +16.5)
  • 2013: lost 34-0 at Iowa State (they were +4)
  • 2014: lost 41-3 at Duke (they were +11)
  • 2014: lost 23-0 to Texas (they were +10.5)
  • 2014: lost 34-30 to TCU (they were +27.5)
  • 2015: j/k they didn’t win in 2015
  • 2016: lost 37-21 to Ohio (they were -3)
  • 2016: lost 34-19 at Kansas State (they were +23.5)
  • 2017: lost 45-27 to Central Michigan (they were -3)

So to recap, they’re 0-10 defending a win and 2-8 ATS. On average, they missed the spread by 11.5 points per game (that includes the two wins).

So I’m gonna go ahead and take Rutgers. They got murdered by Ohio State, but that always happens. #PeopleForget they were 4-3 against teams outside of the Top 25 last year. They also didn’t spend week one losing to Nicholls State.

Vanderbilt (+14.5) over NOTRE DAME

I don’t want to get ahead of myself here, but Vandy might be Top 25-ish good. MTSU and Nevada aren’t exactly murderer’s row, but they’ve been really good. Kyle Shurmur is playing like you’d expect a third-year starter to play. They’ve ran the ball really well, although that’ll obviously be tougher against the Irish.

But Vandy’s also been exceptional stopping the run so far, only giving up 150 total rushing yards on 2.5 YPC. Which means Brandon Wimbush is going to have to be effective through the air. Brandon Wimbush has completed 54% of his passes for 467 yards, 1 TD, and 4 INTs.

UAB (+4) over Tulane

I’m playing the flip-flop game with UAB. I feel like this is gonna be a grinder and they’ve bounced back from losses pretty well under Bill Clark.

North Texas (+7) over ARKANSAS

I thought the expectation for Arkansas this year was that they could make a bowl if things went their way, but they would probably be better late in the season. That appears to be the case as the Hogs dropped one at Colorado State, who looked dreadful in their first two games.

North Texas has predictably been tearing it up offensively and may have a defense to go along with it. They gave up 23 points to SMU, but all 23 came in the fourth quarter after the game had been decided.

The Mean Green can rack up yards through the air with the best of them, averaging nearly 460 yards per game so far. Arkansas just gave up 389 yards to CSU last week and its been a recurring issue. The SEC isn’t known for teams that air it out, but two that do – Missouri and Ole Miss – put 448 and 368 on them in 2017.

Arkansas has the better talent, but they’re at a disadvantage whenever Mason Fine drops back for NT. The Mean Green will be able to score points. I’m not sure the Hogs are far enough in their transition from Bielema-offense to Morris-offense for them to win by two scores in a shootout.

Ohio State (-13) over TCU

I don’t like to go purely on gut instinct, but I’ve just got a feeling Ohio State is going to blow TCU’s doors off. I wasn’t quite as high on the Frogs this year as last and they haven’t really done anything to make me feel better. The SMU score ended up not looking so bad, but it was a struggle for a while. Granted, the weather wasn’t great.

But Shawn Robinson is still pretty inexperienced at QB and that’s a problem against the Buckeyes.

TCU’s a really good program, but they’ve not fared particularly well whenever they play elite teams, at least recently. They looked like they were close to Oklahoma’s level last season until the two took the field together. The results were two Sooner blowout victories. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the same here.

Picks *SPECIAL FCS EDITION*

Northern Iowa (+20) over IOWA

This is mostly a situational spot, but the Panthers are usually a decent bet when playing one of the big in-state schools. Here’s how they’ve performed in those games:

  • 2017: 42-24 loss to Iowa State
  • 2016: 25-20 win over Iowa State
  • 2015: 31-7 loss at Iowa State
  • 2014: 31-23 loss at Iowa
  • 2013: 28-20 win at Iowa State
  • 2012: 27-16 loss at Iowa
  • 2011: 20-19 loss at Iowa State

You get the picture. I’m not telling you they’re going to win, but history says you’re not going to see them in one of those 66-0 blowouts. They’re a Top 25 FCS team and they’re coming off a bye week after a disappointing 26-23 loss to #15 Montana on the road.

They’ll be charged up for the Hawkeyes. And this game is sandwiched between Iowa State and Wisconsin for the Hawks, which are two of the three biggest games for them on the schedule. Letdown spot, potentially.

Murray State (+37.5) over KENTUCKY

The Wildcats are obviously coming off a huge win for them, finally beating Florida. So we’re looking for a letdown spot here. If we’re looking at recent history, the last big win for UK was probably at South Carolina last year. They followed that up with a loss at home to Florida (who ended up 4-7).

The year before, they won at Louisville, but that was the last regular season game of the year. FWIW, they lost the bowl game by 15 to Georgia Tech.

But going back to 2015, after the Cats beat #25 Missouri, they responded by having to finish off a 6-5 FCS Eastern Kentucky team in OT.

And that’s really the only three times Kentucky’s been in this situation under Mark Stoops and I would argue that the win in Gainesville was the biggest of them all. Letdowns are natural and somewhat expected and with Mississippi State up next for BBN, it’s a prime spot for Murray to hang around. I’d prefer a first half line here, but they’re not out. If I find one later in the week, I’ll tweet it out.

Rhode Island (+10) over UCONN

Well, UConn appears to be dreadful. They’ve played two pretty good teams, but still, losing your first two games by an average of 47 points after the excitement of the start of the season has to really take the wind out of the old sail.

Here’s UConn’s performance against FCS schools recently:

  • 2017: 27-20 win over 4-7 Holy Cross
  • 2016: 24-21 win over 6-5 Maine
  • 2015: 20-15 win over 6-5 Villanova
  • 2014: 19-16 win over 5-7 Stony Brook
  • 2013: 33-18 LOSS to 13-3 Towson

To sum that up, the Huskies are +0.6 PPG in their last five meetings with FCS teams.

And Rhode Island is coming in hot. They were predicted to finish last in the CAA, but shoved it down everyone’s throats with a road victory at #15 Delaware in the opener. Last week, they rolled over Albany in a game that wasn’t even as close as the final score indicated. The Rams were up 45-7 heading into the fourth quarter.

I just might sprinkle a little on the +270 money line.

Delaware State (+46.5) over WESTERN MICHIGAN

Listen, I get it. This one is disgusting. Delaware State is disgusting. But it’s a principle thing. There are certain teams that should never be giving 46.5 points and Western Michigan definitely qualifies. They’re not a Top 100 FBS team. Their defense appears to be hot garbage so far, giving up 55 at home to Syracuse and 49 on the road at Michigan (35 in the first half). Wouldn’t you say a good performance for WMU would be, say, winning 56-10? Yes? They wouldn’t cover. Give me the Hornets and give me the 46.5.

YTD: 7-7 (-0.7u)

Leans

MICHIGAN (-35) over SMU

SMU looks terrible and Michigan’s offense looked capable of at least piling up the numbers against weak competition last week. I still don’t trust Harbaugh and his 32 Power offense enough to lay this many points, though.

South Florida (-10) over ILLINOIS

I liked Illinois last week and they came through, but USF’s offense looks like it’ll keep humming with Blake Barnett at QB. Just don’t have a full read on either team yet, however.

Eastern Michigan (+5) over BUFFALO

EMU may actually have a decent offense this year, but they still seem to convert yards into points. Not sure how either team reacts here after big road wins for both.

Arkansas State (-1) over TULSA

I think Arkansas State is going to be the better team, but the Red Wolves just spent last Saturday getting mauled for 3.5 hours by Alabama and Tulsa looked decent against Texas.

PURDUE (+7) over Missouri

I’m not going full homer here, but the public is all over Mizzou, yet the line has only come down a half point. Purdue’s not good, but they’re a couple of plays away from 2-0. Mizzou has looked good so far, but they did lose this matchup by 35 points at home last year.

UTAH (+6.5) over Washington

The half point is a big deal and I don’t believe quite enough in Utah to actually buy it. But Rice-Eccles is a really tough place to play and Utah might be the best team in the Pac-12 South.

 

 

 

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