As we look ahead to Week 3, a few things are becoming clear within the Group of Five. UCF is still a major contender, SMU is going to be a problem in the AAC, FIU is in trouble, and we still aren’t quite sure what to make of FAU after two games against elite teams. The early lines have been released, and below are my thoughts and leans for Week 3.
1. Ohio at Marshall
Spread - Marshall - 5
This should be a great game this weekend. Two talented teams coming off tough losses who should be playing in bowl games later this year. The Bobcats lost a tough game at Pitt where they could only muster 212 total yards on offense. The Thundering Herd lost at Boise State 14-7 and the defense was incredible in the loss. They gave the offense every opportunity to possibly steal the game. Unfortunately, the offense was non-existent and they didn’t have a first down in the second half. If Marshall plays defense like that the rest of the season, they will be a strong contender in Conference USA. Look for the offense to play much better this Saturday, and they should win and cover.
I lean Marshall in this game and think they cover the five points.
2. Stanford at UCF
Spread - UCF - 7.5
Back in June, this line was at -2 in favor of the Knights. The line movement is likely due to Stanford losing at USC and with the uncertain availability of Stanford quarterback KJ Costello. In addition, we aren’t sure who will play quarterback for UCF with Brandon Wimbush missing the FAU game due to injury and Dillon Gabriel playing in the win over the Owls. The Cardinals will travel across the country and play in the middle of a hot and humid fall afternoon in a hostile environment.
I like the Knights to win and cover
3. Maryland at Temple
Spread - Maryland - 5.5
Temple embarrassed the Terrapins last season in College Park with a score of 35-14. This is a clear revenge spot for Maryland. The Terrapins are playing lights out football and destroyed Syracuse 63-20 on Saturday. They have scored 142 points in two games and have looked unstoppable on offense. I would jump on this line early as it will continue to climb as the week goes on.
I really like Maryland in this matchup
4. FAU at Ball State
Spread - FAU - 2
I’m not sure what to make of FAU at this point. They are 0-2 with losses to Ohio State and UCF. They fell behind by three scores early against UCF and couldn’t recover. Moving forward, Lane Kiffin needs to find a way for the offense to start faster. The Owls have not led for a single second all season. They travel to play Ball State and this is a game that FAU has a legitimate chance to win. The Cardinals are coming off a 4-8 season and are 1-1 so far this season.
I think FAU gets back on track on Saturday win a hard fought win.
5. Louisiana Tech at Bowling Green
Spread - Louisiana Tech - 9
Louisiana Tech is another team that has struggled thus far but has a lot of talent on both sides of the ball. Quarterback J’Mar Smith threw for 220 yards and a touchdown on Saturday in an uncomfortable win over Grambling. The Bulldogs have the talent to win a conference championship but the offense needs to be more consistent and put some points on the scoreboard. They have only scored 34 points in two games which is not going to cut it once conference play begins in two weeks. Tech has the talent advantage against the Falcons and should win by two scores. The Falcons have over 20 walk on players and they don’t have the depth of Louisiana Tech on either side of the ball. This is another line that may get higher as the week continues.
Louisiana Tech should win and cover this game.