FEPO got off to a solid start last week, going 3-2 against the number. Of course, people who put their money on a set of picks that included backing Boston College will soon find themselves parted with it.
Want to feel even less enthusiastic about this week's assortment of guesses? Here are five underdogs! (I just can't help myself.)
Purdue (+14) at Notre Dame
I hate the idea of playing a Notre Dame game two weeks in a row, but this situation really favors the Boilermakers.
ND is coming off a trip to Ireland, which is bound to mess with your body clock. Likewise, the Irish had an early-morning TV spot for its blowout of a physically overmatched Navy team. That has set the hype machine in full swing.
Purdue actually looks like a potential sleeper in the Big Ten. The Boilermakers are led by a sneaky good defensive line that should give ND quarterback Everett Golson and the Fighting Irish offensive line far more problems than what they saw a week ago from the Midshipmen. The potential for rotating QBs with Purdue definitely gives me pause, but not enough to dissuade me from a play.
Pick: Pur-don’t? No, Purdue.
Nebraska at UCLA (+5.5)
The Cornhuskers made a statement in their opener, blowing out a Southern Miss team that went 13-1 a year ago. That was then, though. The Golden Eagles, who only brought back four starters on defense, are adjusting to new head coach Ellis Johnson. Some growing pains are to be expected, so the 'Huskers caught USM in a fortunate spot. (Or unfortunate, depending on how you want to look at it, I guess. Anyway…)
UCLA represents a significant upgrade in terms of talent. With Rex Burkhead hobbled by a knee injury, that also eliminates one of Nebraska’s top offensive weapons.
The Rose Bowl isn’t exactly a daunting challenge, but I’ll take a play against Bo Pelini and T-Magic on the road.
Pick: Take the points and the ‘dog straight up.
Michigan State at Central Michigan (+19.5)
[ESPN 30 for 30 voice]: What if I told you that Sparty’s visit to idyllic Mt. Pleasant, Mich., is sandwiched between games with Boise State and Notre Dame?
That MSU barely beat a clearly rebuilding bunch of Broncos a week ago?
That the Chippewas are off next week?
That it’s MSU QB Andrew Maxwell’s first road start?
That CMU has a three-year starter behind center in Ryan Radcliff?
Pick: My favorite is "The Best That Never Was," although "The Two Escobars" is quite good, too. In this game? Chips.
Florida (+2.5) at Texas A&M
Missouri and A&M need to be swinging from somebody’s vine in the SEC office. Plenty of other less hospitable leagues would put the newbies on the road for their first conference game.
Instead, the Gators are visiting College Station Saturday afternoon. I’ve seen Kyle Field from the visiting team’s point of view, so I understand that Will Muschamp’s team will be entering hostile territory. The Gator O also looked downright incompetent last week versus Bowling Green.
Florida still has a lights out defense, however – the kind you don’t want a freshman QB facing in his first game, even if he is “Johnny Football.” Look for the move to Jeff Driskell as the full-time starting signal caller to help elevate the Gators to somewhere near passable on offense, too.
Pick: Aggies get gigged.
Louisiana Tech at Houston (+3)
In many ways, this has the makings of a no-bet game – Tony “I don’t fuck around” Levine just resign-fired his offensive coordinator after one week, La Poly’s opener got washed out, etc.
|"Do I look like I give a shit about your sick kid?"|
I honestly don’t feel great about this pick. We don’t know much about Levine, besides the fact that he looks like he should be somewhere foreclosing on homes or collecting taxes. Given how badly his team played in the opener against lowly Texas State, though, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Cougars bounce back with a solid effort here. Two losses to start the season would turn the heat on the coach’s seat way up, assuming anyone cares about UH football enough in the first place to get that bent out of shape.
Pick: Houston, hello.
(Last Week: 3-2; Overall: 3-2)