Week 1 was great and all, but week 2 should be even better. There are four top-25 tilts and playoff implications all over the place. The four game between ranked teams jump off the page and Nebraska @ Oregon and Pitt @ Penn State headline the next tier of quality matchups. My thoughts on the five biggest games are below, but I’m staying away from gambling on the biggest games. Not only do these games not need the extra adrenaline, but I just like other bets more than any of these spotlight games. I’ll post my bet slip here and be following the results all weekend on Twitter @ScoringPlays. Enjoy the big games this weekend and best of luck!
Pitt @ Penn State (-21):
Penn state fell 42-39 last year and it ended up costing the the playoff. This was before Trace McSorley had grown into his home-run swing ways and James Franlkin’s team found their groove. The Nittany Lions and Saquon Barkley looked in Heisman form against Akron, which is relevant because Pitt might not be THAT much better than Akron. They had to go to Overtime to beat Youngstown State, which is a good FCS team, but still an FCS team. It’s hard to lay 21 points in a rivalry game, but I think this is a revenge game for Penn State and they have a huge talent edge. They blow this one open. Penn State 45-13.
Auburn @ Clemson (-5.5)
Kelly Bryant looked amazing against Kent State, but we’ll know a lot more about him in 2 weeks after the Tigers face Auburn and Louisville. Even with DeShaun Watson, the Tigers struggled to score against Auburn last year (admittedly, it was the first week of the season) and Auburn’s offense should be better this year with Jarrett Stidham at the helm. If Auburn can go into the reigning champions’ house and get a win, they’ll have an inside track to 6-0 before they face a brutal back half of their schedule. The winner of this game will get a lot of playoff buzz. I want to take Auburn here, but just struggle to see Clemson losing at home. I think Clemson will get a lead and hang on, but Auburn will cover the 5.5. Clemson 34-31.
Oklahoma @ Ohio State (-7.5)
This is another game where I like the underdog (the Sooners are getting 7.5), but struggle to see the Buckeyes losing at home. Ohio State dominated Baker Mayfield and Co. last year in Norman and looked like they shook off their early-season rust late in the game at Indiana. Oklahoma won’t get embarrassed again, but Ohio State will cover the spread late and keep the Big Ten’s momentum rolling. Ohio State 38-28.
Georgia @ Notre Dame (-4)
Is Notre Dame back (to being decent)? Can Georgia win in South Bend with a backup quarterback (Jake Fromm making his first start)? There’s a lot of unknowns with these two teams who look like they’ll be contenders this season, but have struggled to turn top talent into top results recently. I don’t think the QB switch is a huge loss for Georgia, but a night game in South Bend is a tough ask for anyone. I’ll be in the stands for this one and I think Notre Dame will be ready to have a big game. Georgia will be able to run on Notre Dame, but if the Irish can win the turnover battle this one won’t be that close. Notre Dame 34-24.
Stanford @ USC (-6)
The Cardinal took care of business against Rice and USC faltered a bit against Western Michigan before pulling away late. I imagine the Cardinal will be a popular underdog pick this week, but I think USC lives up to the hype this week. Darnold gets his Heisman train rolling and Stanford won’t be able to keep up. USC 34-17.
My bet slip this weekend:
Nebraska +13.5 vs. Oregon
Iowa State +120 ML vs. Iowa
West Virginia -24 vs. E. Carolina (they lost to James Madison)
USF -17 vs. UConn (They almost lost to Holy Cross)
Minnesota +2 vs. Oregon State