The return of MC&J for the new season didn't go quite as planned, with just a 5-8 record. The national games were especially ugly, with no wins against the point spread being secured. Clemson collapsed late, Florida State peaked too early, and I have no idea what South Carolina was. At least the Big Ten games were a little better, and MC&J got really luck with a late Buckeye cover. Now with a week down hopefully things will get a little bit easier going forward with at least some tape on most teams to go off of.
Last week ATS: 5-8 (0-5 National, 5-3 B1G)
#24 Missouri (-3.5) v. Toledo - 12:00 PM EST - ESPN
After last year's 38-23 win by Missouri over Toledo in Columbia, the second leg in that series will happen on Saturday in Toledo. Both teams defeated FCS opponents last week, with Toledo rolling up 666 yards of total offense in a 54-20 win over New Hampshire. Alabama transfer Phillip Ely threw for 337 yards and four touchdowns in his first start at quarterback for the Rockets. For as good as the pass offense was for Toledo, the pass defense was equally bad, allowing 400 yards through the air. Not only is a return to Ohio for Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel, who is still the winningest coach in Toledo history, but also for quarterback Maty Mauk, who played his high school football in Kenton, Ohio. At first I was liking Toledo to possibly pull the upset, but the more I look into it the more I think Missouri wins by at least a touchdown.
Missouri 41 Toledo 31
#14 USC v. #13 Stanford (-3) - 3:30 PM EST - ABC
Both teams barely had to break a sweat in their season openers last week, and they both dominated in different way. USC racked up 700 yards of offense in a 52-13 win over Fresno State, while Stanford only allowed 115 yards to UC-Davis in a 45-0 blowout. Last year USC beat Stanford 20-17 in Los Angeles which put a dent in the BCS Championship hopes of the Cardinal, so you know Stanford will be hoping for a little payback. With how good the USC offense looked in week 1, Stanford will have to do what they did to Oregon last year and hold on to the football and grind the Trojans down. The Cardinal haven't lost at home since 2010, and I think homefield is the difference in this tight matchup.
Stanford 28 USC 24
East Carolina v. #21 South Carolina (-17) - 7:00 PM EST - ESPNU
After getting dominated last week at home against Texas A&M, South Carolina will try and earn their first win of the season on Saturday when they host East Carolina in Columbia. If Kenny Hill is able to pass for 511 yards in his first start against the Gamecock defense then how many yards will Shane Carden get through the air? Last year Carden through for over 4,100 yards through the air, so South Carolina won't get a break from the aerial assault from opponents. Mike Davis again won't play for South Carolina, and while I think the Gamecocks win this one, the Pirates will make them sweat a little bit.
South Carolina 38 East Carolina 24
BYU v. Texas (-1.5) - 7:30 PM EST - Fox Sports 1
By reading this you just got dismissed by Charlie Strong. Sorry. At this rate Texas won't have enough players to field a team in this game. Not only does Texas have to deal with suspensions, but earlier in the week it was revealed that quarterback David Ash wouldn't be available due to concussion symptoms and center Dominic Espinosa is out due to a ankle injury. Enter Tyrone Swoopes at quarterback for the Longhorns in this matchup. Charlie Strong's defense was dominant in the season opener, but they didn't have to deal with quite the quality of quarterback Taysom Hill and the rest of the BYU offense. With all the injuries and losses that Texas has suffered lately, I just don't think that the Longhorns will have quite enough offense to keep up with the Cougars. It won't quite be the 40-21 beating that Texas got handed to them in Provo last year, but still a BYU win.
BYU 27 Texas 21
Western Kentucky v. Illinois (-5.5) - 12:00 PM EST - Big Ten Network
While Illinois was struggling against FCS opponent Youngstown State in a 28-17 win over the Penguins, Western Kentucky was having their way with defending MAC champion Bowling Green. It could be a entertaining quarterback battle in Champaign, with Wes Lunt having tossed four touchdown passes in his first start for Illinois, and Brandon Doughty amassing 569 yards and six touchdown passes against Bowling Green. The no-huddle offense that Western Kentucky runs could cause serious problems for Illinois, and if they don't pull off the upset they at least keep it close until the end.
Illinois 37 Western Kentucky 34
Akron v. Penn State (-14.5) - 12:00 PM EST - ABC/ESPN2
After pulling out a last-second win against Central Florida in Dublin on Saturday, Penn State returns stateside to take on a improving Akron team on Saturday in Happy Valley. What scares me for Penn State in this game is not only the trip back from Ireland, but also this could be a bit of a sandwich game with the Big Ten opener on deck. Akron took Michigan to the limit in Ann Arbor last season, and their spread offense could cause some problems for the Nittany Lions defense. This one isn't quite as close as the Zips loss in Ann Arbor last year, but they have enough to keep this within the number,
Penn State 34 Akron 23
Central Michigan v. Purdue (-3.5) - 12:00 PM EST - ESPNEWS
Do you remember where you were when these two met in the 2007 Little Caesars Bowl? I know I certainly don't so don't be upset if you don't either. Central Michigan held off Chattanooga last week 20-16, and now they get to try and topple mighty Purdue. And by mighty I mean a team that has already equaled their win total from last year. Purdue scored 43 points last week which seems like was as many as they scored all of last year. Central Michigan wide receiver Titus Davis is one of the best wideouts in the country, but he is "day-to-day with a sprained knee. If Davis is effective I could see Central Michigan winning, but if he is limited I think Purdue wins. I'm gonna assume he is going to be a factor in this one so the MAC takes one over the Big Ten.
Central Michigan 31 Purdue 28
Northern Illinois v. Northwestern (-7) - 3:30 PM EST - Big Ten Network
If Northwestern's defense can't wear the right wristbands in the first half, do you think they'd notice if Northern Illinois puts Jordan Lynch behind center? Now the Wildcats will have to try and earn their first win of the season against a team that has made it a habit of pulling upsets over Big Ten competition. There still is questions of how the Huskies will fare after the loss of Lynch even after a 55-3 win over Presbyterian because really not much can be taken from a win over Presbyterian. Northern Illinois ran for over 400 yards in the opener, while Northwestern was victimized by California's passing attack. With the early season turmoil for Northwestern between their opener and the transfer of Venric Mark, I just find it hard to back the Wildcats to cover right now.
Northwestern 27 Northern Illinois 24
Maryland (-12.5) v. South Florida - 3:30 PM EST - CBS Sports Network
Maryland put up the most points under Randy Edsall when they defeated James Madison 52-7 in the season opener. Meanwhile in Willie Taggert's second-year, the Bulls scraped together a 36-31 win over Western Carolina. Had it not been for Marlon Mack and the 275 yards rushing and four touchdowns he put up, South Florida probably would've lost to their FCS foe. This seems like a no-brainer to take the Terps, but gambling isn't always that easy. Neither quarterback looked great in their first game, so I'll side with Mack and the Bulls in this one.
Maryland 28 South Florida 20
Middle Tennessee State v. Minnesota (-16) - 3:30 PM EST - Big Ten Network
A matchup between two teams that played in bowl games last year is on the Saturday slate in Minneapolis. Both teams dispatched the FCS competition that they played in the first week, and each look to earn another win towards bowl eligibility. Minnesota showed a stout defense, but their offense looked suspect at times. If this turns into a high-scoring game Minnesota could have a scare put into them by the Blue Raiders. What the Golden Gophers need is more out of running back David Cobb, after he only went for 74 yards on the ground in the opener. I think 16 points is just too much to lay in this contest.
Minnesota 31 Middle Tennessee State 20
Ball State v. Iowa (-17) - 3:30 PM EST - ESPN2
Iowa wasn't terribly impressive in the first week, but they still earned a 31-23 win over Northern Iowa in Iowa City. They'll stay at home this week when they take on Ball State, but at least they won't have to deal with the graduated Keith Wenning behind center. Ball State hasn't scored a point in two previous meetings with Iowa, and while I think they'll break that shutout streak in this matchup, I don't think they'll keep it terribly close. The Hawkeyes put together a sold all-around performance ahead of their annual rivalry game with Iowa State next week.
Iowa 37 Ball State 17
#7 Michigan State v. #3 Oregon (-11.5) - 6:30 PM EST - Fox
One of the most entertaining games of the college football season takes place on Saturday in Eugene. Michigan State and their physical style of play takes on Oregon and their up-tempo offense. Neither team was tested in their opening game, but Michigan State did survive a scare when Connor Cook took a late hit to his knee early in the win versus Jacksonville State. Cook came back in the game ended up with three touchdown passes in limited action. The Spartans have a very Stanford feel to them, and we've all seen the fits that the Cardinal have given the Ducks the last couple years. Oregon has a young defense, so if Michigan State can get their running game going and hold onto the ball for long drives, the Ducks could be in trouble. In a very entertaining game the Ducks pull out the win, but Michigan State will make them earn it.
Oregon 35 Michigan State 31
Michigan v. #16 Notre Dame (-3.5) - 7:30 PM EST - NBC
The last chapter (at least for the near future) of one of the best rivalries in college football comes to an end in South Bend on Friday night. Everett Golson is back as the quarterback for Notre Dame after sitting out last year, and he impressed in the opener, accounting for five touchdowns against Rice. Devin Gardner didn't fill the stat sheet quite as much as Golson, but he still led his team to an easy win in a revenge game (still hilarious) against Appalachian State. What could keep the Fighting Irish on their heels is the balance that Michigan has between Devin Funchess through the air, and Derrick Green and De'Veon Smith on the ground. I'm really rooting for the meteor in this game, but since that likely won't happen I'll take Michigan to win this one in a classic to end the series
Michigan 38 Notre Dame 34
Virginia Tech v. #8 Ohio State (-11) - 8:00 PM EST - ESPN
If Ohio State was giving 11 points to Virginia Tech with Braxton Miller at the helm, you'd run with that all day long. As we all know Braxton is gone for the season, but the offense did look to make progress later in the game against Navy. Now the Buckeyes return home and they'll have their work cut out for them with Bud Foster's defense. Ohio State certainly has the weapons to be able to put a dent into the Hokie defense, but will Barrett have enough time to find those weapons while facing what will surely be waves of pressure coming at him. It should be interesting to see if the Buckeyes can find Dontre Wilson or Jalin Marshall on some dump-offs early to ease some of the heat that Barrett will face.
Virginia Tech had their own first-time starter on Saturday when Texas Tech transfer Michael Brewer lined up at quarterback for the Hokies after 16 years of Logan Thomas taking the snaps for Frank Beamer's team. It was hard to get a good read on how the Buckeyes defense has progressed from last year since they were taking on the triple-option of Navy. One thing that Brewer knows that he'll see more of than what Navy did is pressure from the defensive line of the Buckeyes. Along with Brewer, the Hokies have named freshmen Shai McKenzie and Marshawn Williams as co-starters this week. With the strong front-seven that the Buckeyes possess, it could make for a long second game for both running backs.
With the renovations to Ohio Stadium that added seating to the stadium, there should be a record crowd in Columbus on Saturday night. The noise is going to deafening for the Hokies when they are on offense, and could pose problems for a team with not much experience at quarterback and running back. Even with that the Buckeyes won't have it easy if they want to earn a victory on Saturday. They'll take down the Hokies, but the margin of victory will be just inside the number.
Ohio State 31 Virginia Tech 23