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Saturday’s College Football Top 25 Betting Cheat Sheet: Week 2
We break down all the need-to-know facts and figures for Saturday’s Top 25 NCAAF contests.
South Florida Bulls at (8) Florida State Seminoles (-28.5, 54)
* USF defensive coordinator Tom Allen expects big things out of his 4-2-5 unit, which held Florida A&M to 182 total yards but faces a much sterner challenge in Florida State. “The kids will rise up,” Allen told reporters. “They’ll have an awesome experience, but you’ve got to compete for 60 minutes.”
* It also the Seminoles might not skip a beat on offense as senior quarterback Everett Golson took the keys from departed No. 1 NFL draft pick Jameis Winston and was 19-of-25 for 302 yards and four touchdowns in his Florida State debut. “You saw it (last week), Everett throwing the ball around, the run is going to open it up and Everett is going to sling it around,” running back Dalvin Cook told reporters. “It’s going to be a 50-50 (run-pass) offense. Everett is that type of guy.”
Jacksonville State Gamecocks at (7) Auburn Tigers (Off, Off)
* “I think it is like a championship game because you won’t play anyone better on the FCS level, so you have a stage there that our guys love to go be a part of and be in those types of games,” Jacksonville State head coach John Grass told reporters of playing an SEC opponent. “You get to see right where you are in these games because everything is magnified because (the Tigers) are a very good football team.”
* The Tigers have plenty of talent at running back and plan to have both Roc Thomas and Jovon Robinson back after the two were forced out of the Louisville game due to injuries. Those injuries opened things up for Peyton Barber, who responded with 95 of his career-best 115 yards in the second half, and all three will get carries along with Johnson moving forward.
Miami (Ohio) Redhawks at (24) Wisconsin Badgers (-31, 52)
* The Redhawks defeated Presbyterian 26-7 in Week 1, covering as 8.5-point favorites. The last time that Miami (Ohio) began the season 2-0 against the spread was back in 2007 after covering the number at Ball State (+4) and at Minnesota (+8).
* Wisconsin safety and captain Michael Caputo has been given the all-clear to play this weekend. “Mike went through all the [concussion] protocol, actually early in the week,” Badgers head coach Paul Chryst said. “So he was able to do quite a bit. Had really a normal work week, workload. That has been energizing not just to our defense but to the team.”
Appalachian State Mountaineers at (12) Clemson Tigers (-19, 58.5)
* The Mountaineers are riding a seven game SU winning streak into Clemson – the fifth-longest streak in the nation. They’ve gone 5-1-1 against the spread over that stretch
* Mike Williams, Clemson’s star wide receiver, may miss six wees following his injury in the season opener against Wofford. Williams. The 6-foot-4 junior was carted off the field following a collision with the field goal stanchion. Williams had 57 receptions for 1,030 yards and six touchdowns last season.
Hawaii Rainbow Warriors at (1) Ohio State Buckeyes (-41, 65)
* The highest-ranked team Hawaii has defeated was fourth-ranked Brigham Young 59-28 in 1990.
* The Buckeyes have thrown for at least one touchdown in 24 consecutive games, tying for the best streak in school history (1994-96).
Stephen F. Austin at (3) TCU Horned Frogs (Off, Off)
* The Lumberjacks are winless in eight contests against Big 12 teams, including blowout losses to Kansas State (55-16) last season and Texas Tech (61-13) in 2013.
* The defensive side at TCU is experiencing shortages after junior outside linebacker Sammy Douglas (unspecified) suffered a season-ending injury in the opener and news that senior defensive end James McFarland (foot) could miss the entire season. Senior defensive tackle Davion Pierson (unspecified) is in danger of missing his second straight game and senior defensive end Mike Tuaua (foot) is also ailing.
(9) Georgia Bulldogs at Vanderbilt Commodores (+21, 50.5)
* There were no questions regarding the impact of sophomore running back Nick Chubb, who rushed for 120 yards and a pair of touchdowns to kick off his Heisman campaign. The Georgia running backs is currently +1000 to win the Heisman at TopBet.eu.
* A big positive for the Commodores in their Week 1 14-12 loss to Western Kentucky was their defense, which held a Hilltoppers’ offense that averaged 44.4 points last season scoreless for the first 44 minutes in the first game since head coach Derek Mason took over defensive coordinator duties.
Fresno State Bulldogs at (14) Ole Miss Rebels (-30.5, 55.5)
* The Bulldogs, who were picked to finish second in the West Division of the Mountain West, are hoping to record their first win over an SEC opponent in six tries after opening with a 34-13 home win over Abilene Christian. “Fresno State loves playing in environments against schools people would consider the bigger schools,” Rebels coach Hugh Freeze told reporters. “It will be a better test for us this Saturday to judge exactly where we are.”
* Ole Miss won its previous meetings against Fresno State in 2010 (55-38 in Oxford) and 2011 (38-28 in Fresno). They covered in both games as 2-point faves and 3.5-point dogs respectively.
(11) Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Virginia Cavaliers (+12, 47.5)
* Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire got most of the headlines after Week 1 but the performance of the defense was just as notable, especially considering the way that unit played down the stretch last season. The Fighting Irish allowed an average of 39.4 points while closing last season 2-5, but limited Texas to 163 total yards and eight first downs in the opener.
* There is an 87 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms forecast for Charlottesville Saturday. Temperatures will be in the mid-70s but wind shouldn’t play too much of a factor, blowing toward the NW endzone at around three miles per hour.
Tulane Green Wave at (16) Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (-30.5, 55)
* The Green Wave were crushed 37-7 by another ACC team (Duke) as 7-point dogs last weekend and coach Curtis Johnson is trying to ensure that doesn’t happen twice in a row. “(Georgia Tech is a) very good football team,” Curtis Johnson told reporters. “Again, the one thing we need to do is tackle, move the ball on them, and get a lead and try to make them throw the ball and become one-dimensional. That’s how you beat the option.”
* The Yellow Jackets are one of the hottest ventures at the betting window in the month of September in recent seasons. They’ve put together a record of 12-4 ATS in their last 16 games during the month. They covered as huge 41-point favorites in Week 1 with a 69-6 win over Alcorn State.
Toledo Rockets vs. (18) Arkansas Razorbacks (-21.5, 55)
* Toledo will be without its best player, RB Kareem Hunt, who led the MAC in rushing last season with an average of 163.1 yards per game but is serving a two-game suspension for an unspecified violation of team rules.
* Balance” is a new word being bantered about in Fayetteville this week as 18th-ranked Arkansas prepares to face Toledo in their annual game in Little Rock. And with good reason as coach Bret Bielema’s typically ground-oriented squad featured a 300-yard passer (Brandon Allen) for the first time in 25 games in Saturday’s season-opening 48-13 rout of UTEP.
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders at (2) Alabama Crimson Tide (-35, 56)
* Freshman quarterback Brent Stockstill got the majority of the snaps in the opener for the Blue Raiders and responded with 336 yards and four touchdowns in the win. Stockstill will get the start again over junior Austin Grammer, though Grammer is expected to get snaps.
* Alabama turned the offense over to a new quarterback in Jake Coker but is taking most of the pressure off by leaning heavily on junior running back Derrick Henry, who ran for 147 yards and three touchdowns in the opener. Saban was pleased with the decision making of Coker, who put together a turnover-free performance in the 35-17 win over the Badgers.
(17) Oklahoma Sooners at (23) Tennessee Volunteers (+1, 63)
* Trevor Knight threw for 308 yards and a touchdown while running for another in last year’s win over Tennessee, but he lost out on his starting job to Texas Tech transfer Baker Mayfield, who lit up Akron for 388 yards and three scores last week. It marked the team’s first game under new offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley and his Air Raid attack, which figures to help a team that was run-heavy last season. The Sooners were held to three yards per carry against the Zips.
* Another suspension for a violation of team rules has thrust Tennessee defensive tackle Danny O’Brien from the mix for at least a week, coach Butch Jones announced on Wednesday.
(21) Missouri Tigers at Arkansas State Red Wolves (+10.5, 58)
* Arkansas State has gained at least 400 yards of total offense in 10 of 14 games under coach Blake Anderson, including five contests with at least 500 total yards.
* During its 10-game road winning streak, Missouri has recorded 39 sacks and 21 turnovers (13 interceptions, eight fumbles).
Ball State at (19) Texas A&M (-30, 63.5)
* The Aggies are 16-0 in nonconference games under fourth-year coach Kevin Sumlin.
* Three backs shared the majority of the Cardinals’ 229 rushing yards, with Green (73 yards, three TDs) and freshman James Gilbert (61 yards, two TDs) reaching the end zone.
(20) Arizona Wildcats at Nevada Wolfpack (+11.5, 63)
* Three Arizona players who were suspended for the opener for a violation of team rules — starting WR Samajie Grant, starting S Tellas Jones and backup DT Anthony Fotu — will be available this week according to head coach Rich Rodriguez.
* Junior Tyler Stewart takes over for four-year starter Cody Fajardo at quarterback and had a solid opener for the Wolf Pack, completing 13-of-20 passes for 163 yards and a touchdown and also rushing for 43 yards on nine carries, including a 15-yard touchdown run.
Lamar Cardinals at (4) Baylor Bears (Off, Off)
* Waco hasn’t been kind to visitors in recent years, as Baylor is 25-1 at home since 2011.
* The Cardinals breezed to a 66-3 triumph against NAIA Bacone last Saturday in their season opener. Joe Minden passed for three touchdowns, Carson Earp threw for a pair of scores, and Lamar added 264 rushing yards in a game where the coaches agreed at halftime to shorten the third and fourth quarters to 10 minutes apiece.
Idaho Vandals at (10) USC Trojans (-44, 67)
* USC has won all eight meetings, the most recent being a 38-10 victory in 2007.
* The Vandals have lost 22 consecutive road games and are just 2-22 in two-plus seasons under coach Paul Petrino.
(5) Oregon Ducks at (6) Michigan State Spartans (-3.5, 64.5)
* Oregon WR Bralon Addison, who had 890 receiving yards in 2013 before missing 2014 with an injury, had three catches for 24 yards and a TD last Saturday.
* Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio announced Spartans reserve S Mark Meyers was suspended indefinitely for an off-field incident that occurred over the weekend.
(15) LSU Tigers at Mississippi State Bulldogs (+4, 50.5)
* Mississippi State has not defeated LSU in consecutive meetings since 1990 and 1991.
* The Tigers are a lights out bet at the start of campaigns, as LSU has won its last 12 season openers.
(23) Boise State Broncos at BYU Cougars (+2.5, 55)
* The Cougars are 62-5 when scoring 30 or more points in coach Bronco Mendenhall’s 10-plus seasons.
* The Broncos have won 10 consecutive games, the nation’s second-longest active winning streak behind Ohio State (14).
(13) UCLA Bruins at UNLV Rebels (+30.5, 65.5)
* UCLA has won its last 10 games away from the Rose Bowl, which matches the school record set in 1997-98.
* Tony Sanchez said his team, coming off an ugly 2-10 campaign in 2014, won’t accept moral victories but that’s exactly what a season-opening 38-30 loss at defending MAC champion Northern Illinois was for long-suffering Rebel football fans. UNLV, which closed as a 21 1/2 point underdog, actually led 17-3 late in the second quarter and despite wilting defensively in the second half, showed some fight and drove into Northern Illinois territory late in the game on a potential game-tying touchdown drive that ended when usually reliable sophomore star Devonte Boyd dropped a pass on 4th-and-9 that would have been an easy first down.