Boise State (-16) at UConn, Noon, ABC/ESPN2
The Broncos are coming off their worst season since 1998, when they went 8-5. They were 2-5 in seven away and neutral site games last year. This is a noon Eastern kickoff, which will feel like 10am for them.
That is where the UConn advantages end. UConn's quarterback situation is a mess and they face a very talented team this weekend that is more BYU than Stony Brook.
The Huskies have 38 first downs in two games. Boise State had 35 last week against Colorado State. Redshirt senior Grant Hedrick is a dual-threat at quarterback in Boise's up-tempo offense. He threw 46 passes and carried the ball 14 times in Week 1. While in Week 2, he attempted 33 passes and had 16 carries, racking up 432 total yards in the process.
Boise State’s opponent last week, Colorado State, rushed for 266 yards on 45 carries (5.9 yards per carry) in a Week 1 win against Colorado. The Rams could only muster 1.2 yards per carry against the Broncos, who are fifth in the country against the run, holding opponents to 49.5 yards per game.
The Broncos can be beaten in the air, though, as they have allowed 821 yards passing and seven touchdowns in two games! Luckily for them, one of UConn’s many weak points is throwing the ball.
Even if UConn somehow does contain Hedrick, the Broncos have a workhorse for a running back. Junior Jay Ajayi is averaging 5.8 yards per carry on 53 rushes in two games this year. He has also added 16 receptions. Hopefully I am wrong and the noon Eastern Time start will impact Boise State’s game. The over/under is at 49 and I would lean toward the over, but until UConn can start putting up points, I can’t back the over. Although, I will double down on this game.
Pick: First Half Boise State -9
Pick: Boise State -16
Around the AAC:
East Carolina (+10) at Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech is coming off a big win, while Shane Carden and the Pirates are still underrated. Also, Frank Beamer is 6-24 against the spread - last 30 as a favorite If you combine the total points scored in the last two times that these teams played – in 2013 and 2011 – they combined for 52 points in those game – both games were in Greenville. This game is in Blacksburg. Last year, Virginia Tech home games averaged 35.8 points per game and there was not a single game that the teams combined for more than 44 points. Sure the Hokies run more of an up-tempo offense, but give me the Pirates with the points.
Pick: ECU +10
Pick: Under 54
Toledo (+10) at Cincinnati, 8pm
(Editors Note: I promise this was turned in before last night's game. Keeping it in here for posterity)
Maybe I just want to remind you how ridiculous it is that this is the Bearcats first game of the year. Maybe I just want to let you know that this is Cincinnati’s second year with Tommy Tuberville as head coach. Or maybe I just had to tell you that the Bearcats have a quarterback named Gunner and a quarterback named Munchie Legaux (pronounced Leh-go) who will both play tonight. Holy Toledo (it might be my only chance to make that joke all season), the Rockets don’t play defense, giving up at least 20 points in all but two games last year. This year the Rockets have allowed 20 to New Hampshire and 49 to Missouri. I like the Bearcats to cover at home, they should score a bunch.
Pick: Cincinnati -10
NC State (-2) at South Florida
Please don’t make me analyze South Florida twice in a week! Just read my recap of them last week.
The over/under is 52 points. USF played in two games that went over this number. The rest of the games were under 46 points. NC State went over this total in half their games – four of those six coming in their last four games. Four (Duke, Boston College, FSU, ECU) of those games came against offenses that are much better than USF’s offense. I don’t care that NC State is 0-15 against the spread as an away favorite - losing 12 of those straight up and the fact that the Wolfpack haven’t won a road game by more than a field goal since October 2011.
The Bulls have dropped 10 straight home games against the spread as favorites since beating Florida A&M 70-17 in 2011. To add insult to injury, USF has failed to cover 75% of their games at Ray Jay in the last four years.
Pick: Under 52
Pick: N.C. State -2