Week one is in the books, and we had a lot of drama and some huge upsets with Georgia State taking down Tennessee in Knoxville and Wyoming beating Missouri in Laramie. Next week’s lines have been released and here are my initial thoughts and early leans for the matchups.
1. UCF at FAU
Spread - UCF -8.5
UCF had a big win over Florida A&M, but I’m not sure how much we learned about the Knights. Brandon Wimbush missed some throws that would have resulted in explosive plays. These are plays he will need to make as the season moves on and the opposition improves. The Owls came out sluggish and were blown out by Ohio State. FAU was down 28-0 before they could blink. Quarterback Chris Robison will need to play better for the Owls to compete with UCF. The Owls might have suffered a big injury with Alabama transfer BJ Emmons possibly breaking his foot on his first carry of the season. This is a big game and FAU should have a nice crowd on Saturday night. I expect a great effort. However, UCF has too much talent and should pull away in thee second half.
I like the Knights in this matchup
2. Western Kentucky at FIU
Spread - FIU -9
Both teams were terrible last week and need a win to bounce back. Western Kentucky lost at home to FCS opponent Central Arkansas to spoil Tyson Helton’s first game leading the Hilltoppers. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a change at quarterback with Ty Storey getting a chance to led the offense. FIU was destroyed by Tulane, giving up 350 yards on the ground. The Panthers’ defense struggled against the run last season and it doesn’t look like much has changed. The opening game loss could be a wakeup call for the Panthers, and they still have a great opportunity to win a conference championship. Look for Butch Davis to rally the team and I expect them to play much better in their home opener. I’m hoping this line drops a few points, but I think the Panthers roll by two scores regardless.
I’m leaning FIU -9
3. Marshall at Boise State
Spread - Boise State -12.5
The Broncos had a great win and an amazing comeback Saturday afternoon in Tallahassee. Boise looked dead in the water in the first half but came roaring back for a 36-31 win. True freshman Hank Bachmeier was remarkable in his first career start throwing for over 400 yards. Marshall quarterback Isaiah Green also had a career day with four touchdowns as they rolled VMI at home. This is an under the radar game this week and I think both teams will compete for conference titles. Boise State should be favored, but this seems like too many points.
I lean toward the points with the Thundering Herd
4. North Texas at SMU
Spread - SMU -4
The Mustangs had a hard fought and impressive win Saturday night over Arkansas State. Texas transfer quarterback Shane Buechele played well in his first start for the Mustangs passing for 360 yards in the air. This is also a revenge spot for SMU as they were humiliated by North Texas last season in Dallas. Mason Fine threw for over 400 yards and three scores in the easy win a year ago. North Texas had an up and down win over Abilene Christian on Saturday night. The Mean Green scored 51 points and Mason Fine played well. The defense however gave up over 450 yards and 31 points to ACU. I’m high on SMU this year and think they get revenge with a comfortable win over North Texas in their home opener.
I favor the Mustangs to win and cover
5. Tulane at Auburn
Spread - Auburn -18.5
Auburn had a massive win over Oregon, and freshman quarterback Bo Nixon played great down the stretch to pull out the victory. The Tigers have a very difficult schedule with games against Texas A&M, Florida, LSU, Georgia and Alabama in SEC play. That said, capturing an opening win over a talented Ducks team was a great start and needed victory. The Green Wave blew out FIU at home and look to be a contender in the AAC. Tulane quarterback Justin McMillan played great in the win and seems to be in command of the offense. Auburn may have a little bit of let down after the Oregon game and it’s a challenge anytime you face Willie Fritz and his unconventional offense.
I’m leaning towards Tulane and the points in this matchup