Iowa State (+11) over TCU
I’ve upped my strength of play on this game from 2 to 3 stars. Not much to say here. Without QB Pachall it takes a big playmaker out of TCU’s offense and passing game. I believe the backup QB is more mobile. So we’ll probably see more running out of TCU and less of the homerun pass plays that they’ve relied on so far this season. ISU coming off a disappointing home loss to an improved Texas Tech team.
ISU had several turnovers in that game, and one interception on the TT goaline is what turned that game around and led to a 14 point swing. Knowing Rhoads, he’ll have his team fired up and ready to scratch and claw for a win here to keep from going 0-2 in conference play. I look for a low scoring game. Total is already down to just 42. So points will be at a premium. I’m glad I got the +11 before the hammer came down on Pachall. But with the line over a TD I think I would still give Iowa State a shot.
Kansas State (-24) over Kansas ***
This is always a game that KSU has marked on their calender every year. This in-state matchup is all about recruiting, with Kansas having one of the best JUCO systems in the country. So winning this game is a must to keep the upper hand on those schools. KSU has been very dominant in this series in the last 20 years going something like 16-4. The only time I didn’t see them dominate is when Kansas had Mangino as coach of the “Rock Chalk Jayhawks” during that brief 3 or 4 year period.
This happened to be about the same time that Bill Snyder decided to retire when he realized he wasn’t winning the recruiting wars. But Mangino got kicked out, and back in comes a rejuvinated Snyder to make it a second career with his Cats and take back the recruiting base in kansas. And I don’t see him letting it go anytime soon. Especially against Weis. The only thing I don’t like about this play is sometimes teams don’t always come out as sharp as they were after having a bye week. I’ve heard some players say that they hate bye weeks, and they can be overrated. Especially when their playing well. So I’ll be curious to see how KSU comes out in this game. And more importantly how they finish. If Kansas wasn’t such a bad team, i probably wouldn’t play it. But my line for this game is KSU -34. So hopefully the -24 isn’t too good to be true.
Syracuse (-1) over Pitt **
Cuse had an uncharacteristically bad game against Minnesota in their last out in commiting 4 turnovers and having 10 penalties in that game. I think if they play a clean game here they have a great chance of knocking off Pitt at home. Both teams have very similar numbers on both sides of the ball. Both of these teams have played similar schedules with Pitt playing two FCS and two FBS teams. But the 3 BCS opponents that Cuse has faced Minnesota, USC, Northwestern all have winning records.
Cuse has been in all of these games. And even gave USC a tussle before losing by 13. Now they are back home after a bye week and two weeks to fume over their last loss. My bet is coach Marrone will have his team fired up and focused for this first conference game. And QB Nassib will show us the form he showed against NW and USC. i think Cuse owns both the better QB matchup and coaching matchup in this game, along with the game being played in the Carrier Dome.
Vandy (+7) over Missouri ***
This is a good situational play, with Missouri coming back from playing two tough games on the road, and Vandy rested and coming off a much needed bye week after playing the two best teams in the SEC East in the month of Septmeber. Along with a road game against an undefeated Northwestern team. So basically Vandy has played 3 BCS teams with a combined record of 15-0! A hell of a way for any team to start the season. Much less a team like Vandy. They should find the going much easier here against a banged up Missouri team (also check out latest player suspensions). This is really a no brainer for me. Vandy is 0-2 in conference. Franklin will have his team ready to give 100% against an overrated Mizzou team.
With the Maryland and Virginia games I highly recommend referring to Jimmy Shivers thread. He’s the ACC guru, and i think he’s dead right on both of these selctions. Maryland is the way better defense playing at home against a struggling WF team who couldn’t even beat Duke at home last week after QB Renfree went down. Plus their defense is giving up way too many points. As they showed in their only other road game vs FSU. Six is just a big enough line to make me nervous betting on an offensively handicapped team like Maryland. But hopefully the Turtles will stay more mistake free in this game and make it a good start to conference play.
Virginia looked like they were finally starting to come out of their offensive funk last week against La Tech in which they racked up 625 yards to LT’s 385, and for all practical purposes should have won the game if not for some costly mistakes and penalties. I’m going to give it one more shot with the Cavs, who look like their finally ready to break out with a win. And they’ll never get a better chance against a wounded Duke team.
North Texas (+12) over Houston **
With the exception of UCLA, North Texas is the only team with a defensive pulse that Houston has faced all season. McCarney has built a pretty good hard nosed team that with the exception of LSU in their first game, has been very competetive in every contest this season. I was especially impressed with the Mean Green when they went to Kansas State, got down and dirty with the Cats, and gave them a tussle for the full 60 minutes. Since that game, they’ve lost a close contest with an underrated Troy team, and a win last week at FAU in which NT had a 17-0 lead, but maybe got a little complacent along the way and let FAU make the game much closer than it should have been. But with the exception of their two excellent top 10 BCS opponets, North Texas hasn’t been a DD dog to anybody else this season, especially another AQ team.
I think we’ve all see over the last two seasons, and especailly this year how the Sunbelt has raised their game and become a much tougher conference. Overall, they are certainly as good or better than the CUSA. Which is the conference that North Texas is joining next year. I like the way the North Texas is playing on both sides of the ball. And after facing LSU and Kansas State, I don’t think Houston is going to put any fear in them.