You want keys to beat Austin Peay? You do?
1: Stay healthy.
2: Score more than they do.
3: Pass the ball. Run the ball. Stop them from doing that.
We're done. Go party. Enjoy Booms Day. I know y'all aren't here mentally anyway.
Now let's get on to the fun stuff. I'm picking publicly. I've never picked a game against the spread publicly in my life. This is going to be hilarious (for everyone else but me). The rest of the usual pick gang returns.
Chris Has No Idea What He's Doing:
Alabama (-21) vs. Virginia Tech
There are three truths to post-2005 college football: Florida State will be overrated at some point, Lou Holtz will be incomprehensible, and Nick Saban-coached squads are death to face when he has time to prepare. VT gets to face Saban with seven months to prepare and a new offensive coordinator last seen driving Auburn's offense into the turf, so, ummmmmm, good luck with that, Beamer.
BYU (-1) at UVA
I'm not sure why UVa's considered good (nor why they should have a homefield advantage; for crying out loud, even VT dominates their stadium). I'm not sure I trust BYU's offense, but I think they can win this game 2-0 if things go bad.
Toledo (+23.5) vs. UF
Let's give you some numbers: 13, 3, 17, 38, 8, 14, 33, 7, 7, 23, 11. Those were Florida's margins of victory last year (that 38 was Kentucky, the 33 was that weird South Carolina game where they got 800 turnovers, and the 23 was against Jacksonville State). You think they're beating a Toledo team that's supposed to be one of the best MAC teams by 24 with the same offense best described by [nullset]? Yeah, thought so.
Baylor (-30) vs. Wofford
I can only assume this is a misprint. Also, in pre-production I_S was questioning my reasoning, so here's way more information than you want on Wofford:
- They suck every four years like clockwork (sub-.500 in 2009, 2005, 2001), which makes me think it's a coaching decision to run guys through the fire. In related news:
- 10 starters return (5 offense, 5 defense), and the leading returning rusher had 473 yards (aka what Lache Seastrunk's getting in the first half) and their leading returning receiver had 301 yards.
- Baylor has an offense.
We done here? Cool.
Boise State (+3.5) at Washington
At some point - maybe? - Washington's going to be something other than generally mediocre. (Sark's gone 7-6 the last three years.) Last year's Boise State squad was mediocre (11-2, conference champions), which - based on a sample size of pretty much every Chris Petersen season - was the outlier. All things mean equal, I'll back the better track record.
WMU (+28) vs. Michigan State
I mean, do you trust Sparty's offense to score 28 points? Do you trust Sparty's offense to score 28 more points than their opposition ever? Just for fun: Sparty scored more than 28 points twice last year (41-7 over CMU and 31-27 over Indiana). WMU's not good, but neither is Michigan State's offense.
KidB's Free Money Picks:
Texas Tech-4 over SMU: I'll be honest, I don't much about Texas Tech other than Lubbock is probably not the best place to have a bachelor party. I don't know much about SMU either, except that Craig James once matriculated there and definitely definitely did not kill five prostitutes. All I really know is that Kliff Kingsbury is awesome, and in Kliff I shall trust.
Iowa-3 over Northern Illinois: I love MACtion as much or more than the next guy. And believe me I know all about Jordan Lynch and the sick puppy healing powers of his tears that unfortunately has been heretofore squandered because Jordan Lynch has never cried. All of that information has been taken into consideration, but I'm still going with the Hawkeyes here. The B1G bounces back.
Ohio+20.5 over Louisville: I guess this is where we'll find out whether Louisville has been placed upon a preseason pedestal of appropriate height. Teddy Bridgewater is definitely good at football, but last year Louisville was not really that good at football. The Florida game was joyous to watch, but was really an outlier. So, anyway, I'm think the Cardinals are a touch overrated and that this might be reflected in the point spread. It should also be noted that I'm terrible at picking underdogs against the spread, and that Louisville is now definitely going to win by 40.
Florida State-11.5 over Pitt: I've heard that FSU has this Freshman QB who is supposed to be the real deal, but his name escapes me. Is it Jameis Loseton? No, that's not it. Hold on, is it Jameis Tieston? Nope, that's not it either. No no, it's definitely Jameis Winston. And that's how he rolls. I'm calling him an upgrade over E.J. Manuel having never seen him play, though, admittedly, I always thought E.J. Manuel was just a slightly richer man's Logan Thomas.
Clemson+2 over Georgia: I cannot wait until this game. Clemson is really good on offense. Georgia is also really good on offense. Georgia is probably a bit better on defense, but this game is being played at Clemson, which certainly counts for something. I think these two teams are relatively evenly matched and the reason I'm taking Clemson is because if there is one thing we know about Mark Richt, it's that he has the sweetest Butt Cutt in the FBS. Oh, and if there is one another thing we know about Mark Richt, it is that he loves to poop the bed early in the season. Cleaning the sheets of Coach Richt in late August and early September is not a task I would volunteer to take. Just saying.
Alabama-21 over Virginia Tech: I mean, will Virginia Tech be able to score? Like at all? Because last time I checked Logan Thomas was really really bad at the game of football. Listen, I'm not ready to call him a 6"6' Reggie Ball or anything like that. Okay, I lied, I am ready to call him that. I clearly just called him that.
BYU -1 over Virginia. I don't understand this. I know UVA should be improved, but BYU was a legitimate top 25 team last year masquerading as a five-loss team. They were bad in close games, but they don't need to win a close game against Virginia. Their defense should be able to dominate, and their offense should be able to take advantage of a thin d-line. The first week is the time where some lines just look bizarre, and you figure out whether it was the lines or your perceptions that were off. In the case of Tulsa last night, it was (most folks') perception. In the case of BYU, I think it's the line.
Texas Tech -4 over SMU. Yeah, they're starting a freshman. But SMU doesn't seem to bother defending the pass-happy spread offenses. As long as Kliff isn't a young version of Ellis Johnson, the Red Raiders should take this one.
Miami -31.5 over FAU. FAU is awful, Miami can name their score. With an offense like that, I figure Miami will name a high score.
LSU -4 over TCU. I like the Frogs this year, I really do. But people are waaaaaaay too down on LSU. They lost a ton of NFL talent, but this is a team that reloads better than anyone outside Tuscaloosa. They should definitely have an athleticism advantage, and I see them taking care of business.
Texas A&M/Rice over 66.5. These two teams were very familiar with shootouts last year and they both return a lot on offense. Of course, Manziel will miss a half, but you weren't worried about A&M scoring, were you? Rice started last season with a 49-24 loss. I'd not be shocked to see a reprise. Or, you know, 63-38. Or whatever.
Toledo +23.5 over Florida. Toledo should be a feisty MAC team, but Florida can still thrash them if their offense clicks. Do I expect their offense to click? It might, but after last year, I wouldn't have a lot of confidence. Honestly, I don't love the Saturday slate. (I did love the Thursday slate. I went 4-0. But those aren't allowed on account of they already happened). I guess I could go with the easy one and take Alabama, but I'll play the hipster today (never mind that half these picks are shared by kidb or Chris).