The only silver lining for last week's Buckeye game is that MC&J went 2-0 against the spread in games involving Ohio State so far this season. Apparently nobody got the memo though that while I had Virginia Tech covering, I certainly didn't have them winning outright. Week two had its ups and downs, but in the end it turned out to be a whole lot of treading water with the record for the week finishing up at 7-7.
Last week ATS: 7-7 (3-1 National, 4-6 B1G)
Season ATS: 12-15 (3-6 National, 9-9 B1G)
East Carolina v. #17 Virginia Tech (-11) - 12:00 PM - ESPN
One of the last teams Virginia Tech probably wanted to see coming off their huge win over Ohio State is the East Carolina Pirates. The last two times these teams have squared off East Carolina has not made it easy for the Hokies. In 2011 Virginia Tech squeezed out a 17-10 victory, and last year it was even closer with the Hokies winning 15-10. Last week saw East Carolina give South Carolina a test, with the Gamecocks eventually winning 33-23. I don't think Virginia Tech will be able to get to East Carolina QB Shane Carden like they did last week against J.T. Barrett. It wouldn't be a surprise to see a little bit of a hangover for Virginia Tech, but in the end they prevail.
Virginia Tech 33 East Carolina 24
#6 Georgia (-6.5) v. #24 South Carolina - 3:30 PM - CBS
Saturday will see Georgia try and make it a Palmetto State double in their first two games, this time heading to Columbia after a dominate win over Clemson at home in Athens on the opening weekend. The Gamecocks bounced back last week against East Carolina after being destroyed by Texas A&M in week one. The question is will Georgia's Todd Gurley be able to do on the ground what Texas A&M's Kenny Hill did in the air to South Carolina? After seeing what he did against Clemson it's hard to think he won't. I wouldn't bet against it. The Bulldogs make it two straight wins over the Gamecocks.
Georgia 31 South Carolina 21
#9 USC (-17) v. Boston College - 8:00 PM - ESPN
It's not easy to go into Palo Alto and beat Stanford at home, but that's just what USC last Saturday. Now all the Trojans have to do after that big win is travel all the way across the country to take on Boston College. The Golden Eagles have split their first two games, beating Massachusetts but losing to Pitt last week. While obviously USC has the more talented squad, there are a couple factors that warrant being leery in this situation. Not only do they have the long trip to the east, but also a letdown could be in store after that draining win over the Cardinal last week. Trojan linebacker Haynes Pullard is suspended for the first half after being ejected for targeting last week, and the secondary will be without injured/suspended Josh Shaw. It doesn't sound like running back Tre Madden will play either. Wouldn't be surprised to see a late Boston College cover here.
USC 37 Boston College 23
#12 UCLA (-8) v. Texas - 8:00 PM - Fox
Different coaches for Texas, but the result has been the same the last two years against BYU. Now the Longhorns and Charlie Strong have to regroup as they host UCLA on Saturday night. The Bruins haven't been particularly impressive in their first two games of the season, but they have done enough to get the wins. Injuries have decimated Texas so far this year, which could give the Bruins a chance for a big win to help them gain some confidence ahead of their next game in a couple weeks at Arizona State. UCLA hits a depleted Texas team with a (Myles) Jack attack and adds to the woes of the Longhorns.
UCLA 41 Texas 24
Tennessee v. #4 Oklahoma (-21) - 8:00 PM - ABC
Butch Jones has something cookin' in Knoxville. The Volunteers have been a fun team to watch so far this season, and could make some serious noise in the SEC in a year or two. It's hard not to like Tennessee just for the fact that they have a wide receiver named Pig Howard. But the bad news for Jones is they won't be playing in Knoxville on Saturday night. Bob Stoops is only 88-5 in Norman and 12-0 at home against current SEC teams (although that number is a little skewed since a bunch of wins came when Texas A&M and Missouri were in the Big 12). The spotlight might just be a little too bright for the Volunteers on Saturday night.
Oklahoma 45 Tennessee 20
Kent State v. #22 Ohio State (-32) - 12:00 PM - ABC/ESPN2
I wasn't surprised that Virginia Tech made things tough for the Buckeyes last week, I was more shocked with how they were really, really good at being such a pain. Now Kent State will probably have endure the rage of the Buckeyes after what Virginia Tech did in Ohio Stadium last Saturday night. Former Buckeye assistant Paul Haynes leads the Golden Flashes into Columbus, with his team having lost the first two games of the season, including last week to South Alabama, who plays in the Sun Belt Conference.
One good thing for Ohio State is they shouldn't see anywhere near the pressure on J.T. Barrett this week that Bud Foster's defense offered up last week. Hopefully Buckeye faithful will see more of the Barrett that was seen in the second half against Navy than the Barrett they saw for most of the game last week. The defense should also get a boost too, going up against a Kent State offense that has only scored 27 points this season. Ohio State was able to turn Virginia Tech over a few times last week, and hopefully more of that is in store for this matchup.
Ohio State scores early and often on Saturday afternoon, with Kent State being the recipient on some early season frustrations. Urban Meyer has his team focused and they get some much needed confidence before having a bye week to prepare for the arrival of Cincinnati into Columbus to close out September.
Ohio State 47 Kent State 13
Indiana (-7.5) v. Bowling Green - 12:00 PM - ESPNU
After being embarrassed by Western Kentucky in their season opener, and losing quarterback Matt Johnson for the year, Bowling Green rebounded last week with a 48-7 win over VMI. They host an Indiana team this week that ran all over Indiana State in their only game this season. Last year Indiana crushed Bowling Green in Bloomington, and while they won't have the home crowd this time, it wouldn't be a shock to see them do it again. Indiana would be smart to use the pass, which Bowling Green really struggled with against the Hilltoppers, to open Tevin Coleman and the running game. Had Johnson being playing here I probably would've taken Bowling Green, but without him I got the Hoosiers by double-digits.
Indiana 38 Bowling Green 24
West Virginia v. Maryland (-3.5) - 12:00 PM - Big Ten Network
After dropping seven in a row to West Virginia, last year Maryland emphatically ended the Mountaineer winning streak with a 37-0 win in Morgantown. West Virginia has shown some early signs of life, hanging with Alabama in their opener, and beating Towson 54-0. What the Mountaineers have done have mostly been on the arm of Clint Trickett, for has thrown for over 700 yards in the first two games. Maryland turned the ball over six times last week at South Florida, but still won 24-17 because South Florida is South Florida. I'm torn on who I think is going to win this game, so I'll take the points in a what should be a close game.
West Virginia 31 Maryland 28
Miami (Ohio) v. Michigan (-31) - 3:30 PM - Big Ten Network
The Redhawks have lost 18 games in a row. Michigan was hilariously bad last week in a 31-0 rout by Notre Dame. This feels like a game that the Wolverines will roll in and you could probably have the spread sit at 41 and still come out on top. Brady Hoke can feel good about himself before the next crushing loss that'll come sooner rather than later for the Wolverines.
Michigan 55 Miami (OH) 14
Iowa State v. Iowa (-10) - 3:30 PM - ESPN
Do you love a good ol' fashioned slopfest? Iowa State versus Iowa is the game for you! Remember the 2012 matchup between these schools? Nothing quite like a 9-6 barnburner. Iowa State had a shot at upsetting Kansas State last week but they crapped the chance away in true Cyclone fashion. Meanwhile Iowa needed a fourth quarter comeback to survive against powerhouse Ball State. I turned out to be an idiot last week for laying so many points with the Hawkeyes last week, so why am I going to torture myself and do it again (especially now with news of offensive lineman Brandon Scherff being out for the game)? Because even though this is a rivalry game, that close call last week could be deflating for an already fragile Iowa State team. Iowa on the other hand has the home crowd, and the comeback last week could add a little win to their sails.
Iowa 31 Iowa State 14
Minnesota v. TCU (-13.5) - 4:00 PM - Fox Sports 1
After a pedestrian performance in the season opener, running back David Cobb exploded for 220 yards for Minnesota last week, which was the first 200-yard performance for a Golden Gopher running back since 2005. TCU returns nine starters on defense, so the sledding could be tough for Cobb in Fort Worth. Last week I thought Minnesota was giving too many points against Middle Tennessee State, and this week I think that the Golden Gophers are getting too many points. TCU beat up on Samford in week one, but is that enough to warrant them being nearly two touchdown favorites after going 4-8 last year? Minnesota is tough and will keep this one tight.
TCU 27 Minnesota 20
Illinois v. Washington (-13) - 4:00 PM - Fox
This Saturday afternoon matchup has shootout written all over it, when these two teams square off in Seattle. Washington survived a 59-52 decision against Eastern Washington last week, while Illinois held off pesky Western Kentucky 42-34 in Champaign. Oklahoma State transfer Wes Lunt has made a major impact for Illinois, throwing seven touchdowns in his first two games for the school. Cyler Miles took over as quarterback for Washington after being suspended for the game against Hawaii, and is a threat both through the air and on the ground. Just too many points to lay against a Illinois team that can keep pace.
Washington 41 Illinois 34
Purdue v. #11 Notre Dame (-28.5) - 7:30 PM - NBC
How bad is Purdue? Not only did they lose to Central Michigan on Saturday, but they lost at home by 21. Now get to go lose at Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis to Notre Dame. At least they'll get to play in a NFL stadium, because at this rate none of the Purdue players never will again. Darrell Hazell's team now gets to play a squad that just humiliated Michigan 31-0 in South Bend. Everett Golson has looked great so far after a year-long suspension. The Boilermakers have kept the last two meetings close somehow, but it's hard to think they'll make it close this year. It hurts to give this many points, but it's also hard to back Purdue at all right now.
Notre Dame 48 Purdue 17
Penn State (-3.5) v. Rutgers - 8:00 PM - Big Ten Network
Just think, the winner of this game will be halfway to bowl eligibility (Penn State, can go bowlin' now if you live under a rock and hadn't heard). The Nittany Lions suffocated Akron last week on their way to a 21-3 victory. An interesting matchup will be to see if Rutgers running back Paul James is able to find any holes against the Penn State defense, after he scored six touchdowns in the first two games. The Scarlet Knights will need James to have a big game to counter Christian Hackenberg and the Penn State offense. I do like Rutgers in this spot as crazy as it sounds. In their first game under the lights in the Big Ten they best the Nittany Lions.
Rutgers 27 Penn State 24
Nebraska (-10.5) v. Fresno State - 10:30 PM - CBS Sports Network
Remember that one time when Nebraska almost lost in Lincoln to McNeese State before Ameer Abdullah hit up one of those Mario Bros. star powerups? Oh yeah, that was last week. Now the Cornhuskers are giving double-digits on the road in Fresno. Actually McNeese State probably would beat Fresno State right now. The Bulldogs have lost their first two games by a 111-40 margin. Nebraska is averaging nearly 350 yards on the ground so far this year, while Fresno State is giving up over 260 rushing yards per game. Bo Pelini scares all his Cornhuskers into getting back on track and getting a easy win in Fresno
Nebraska 45 Fresno State 21