Not the start I was hoping for. I don’t think I’ve ever been shut out before. The only good thing is I didn’t make many plays. But I was definitely wrong about a few of my teams. I also got a few bad beats on a couple others. But that’s history. Hopefully I’ll get some of it back this week.
UCLA (+5.5) over Nebraska **
We’ve talked about this game quite a bit here. I’m just a big believer in home dogs that are able to rush the ball. And the Husker’s defense has been less than stellar against the run (allowed 171 ypg LY & 185 LW). That’s a big reason why they had the problems they did against Michigan and Wisky on the road last season. And although UCLA is still a work in progress, Mora does have a ton of talent on this team. And it’s usually the very talented teams that improve the most from the first to the second week. Should be a great game.
Utah State (+8) over Utah **
This in-state rivalry game that went from the years 1917-2009. Then was discontinued for two years. Now they are back playing again. And I can imagine the excitement level is going to be very high at tiny Romney Stadium. I almost always prefer the home dogs in these out of conference rivalry games early in the season.
I think this is where and when they have the best chance of covering the number. There is a pretty big talent edge to Utah, but this has never bothered this USU team. I still remember they took Oklahoma down to the wire a couple years ago in Norman. And they should have knocked off Auburn last year, and took BYU down to the wire. All on the road. So nothing appears to bother this team. They remind me of the old Fresno team who was willing to take on all commers. Gary Anderson being the ex-DC at Utah probably doesn’t hurt their incentive either.
Michigan State (-20.5) over Central Michigan **
I know this is a road game, but I don’t see MSU having any problems covering this number against CMU after what I saw last week. Sparty had no problems putting CMU away last year (by the half). And that was a sandwich game just like this one where they had to play CMU between Notre Dame and Ohio State. I would lay odds that Boise’s defense was much quicker than the one MSU will face this week. My number one rule is if I’m going to give double digits on the road, my team better have a good defense. No problem there.
QB Maxwell made a couple mistakes against Boise that cost them the cover. But I don’t see it happening this week against a slower and probably less agressive CMU defense. This is basically the same team with the same amount of starters back that CMU had last year in their 45-7 loss.. I just don’t see where enough has changed to make it an all that different outcome. Dantonio was very pissed off at a couple of his players in his press conference this week. And pretty much came out and said it. I’ll be surprised if after that mistake prone first game we don’t see a 100% effort this week. I expect a much cleaner game from Maxwell this time.