If you missed out on this week’s national picks, be sure to check them out here.
Last week ATS: 9-9 (6-2 National, 3-7 B1G)
B1G games (All games Saturday unless otherwise noted):
Maryland (-10.5) v. Florida International - Friday 7:30 PM EST - CBSSN
Maryland got the D.J. Durkin era off to a good start with a 52-13 win over Howard last week. Even though running back Wes Brown is suspended for the first three games, the Terps had little trouble getting the running game going, seeing six players rush for at least 40 yards in the rout.
Florida International had Indiana on the ropes last week, taking a one-point lead into the fourth quarter, but Ron Turner’s team completely fell apart in the fourth quarter of the 34-13 loss. The Panthers are 0-10 against the Big Ten and there is a real good chance that record moves to 0-11 after tonight’s game.
Maryland 38, Florida International 23
Penn State v. Pittsburgh (-5) - 12:00 PM EST - ESPN
Penn State finally has their rival back! These two schools haven’t squared off since 2000 when the Panthers shutout the Nittany Lions 12-0. Penn State fans want no part of calling Pitt their rival, but these two schools really are perfect for each other.
While we joke about whether this should be called a rivalry game or not, the running back battle in this one really is superb. Saquon Barkley is coming off rushing for 105 yards in the season opening win over Penn State, which is the sophomore sixth career game of 100 yards rushing or more. Pitt’s James Conner returned to the field for the first time since 2014 in the win over Villanova. The 2014 ACC Player of the Year ran for 53 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries.
Pitt may have the experience advantage and home field advantage here, but the spread seems a little high. This feels like the type of game that comes down to a last second field goal. Pitt will end up winning but Penn State covers.
Pittsburgh 23, Penn State 20
Central Florida v. No. 5 Michigan (-36) - 12:00 PM EST - ABC
Good for you UCF, you just ended a 13-game losing streak with a 38-0 win over South Carolina State in Scott Frost’s first game as head coach. Your present? You get to go to Ann Arbor and get housed by the Wolverines.
I learned my lesson after thinking Hawaii could keep it with 40 against Michigan last week. I’m still not completely sold on Michigan overall, but I think they have little problem rolling Central Florida here.
Michigan 48, Central Florida 10
Cincinnati (-6) v. Purdue - 12:00 PM EST - Big Ten Network
Purdue beat Eastern Kentucky last week 45-24, raising Darrell Hazell’s record with the school to 7-30. Hazell might not be a bad FCS coach, since he is 4-0 against FCS teams, while his record against FBS teams is a pathetic 3-30.
Cincinnati struggled with Tennessee-Martin in the first half, but found their stride in the second half on their way to a 28-7 win. The Bearcats will be looking for their first road win against a Big Ten opponent in 59 years. After beating out Gunner Kiel for the starting quarterback job, Hayden Moore threw for 260 yards and two touchdowns in the season-opening win.
This does feel like a game that Purdue will cover, and even though they are playing at home, I just can’t back the Boilers until I see more consistent play out of them. The Bearcats aren’t as sluggish this week and earn a double-digit win.
Cincinnati 41, Purdue 31
Wyoming v. Nebraska (-24.5) - 12:00 PM EST - ESPN2
After not only playing at Nebraska, but also spending time there as an assistant coach, Craig Bohl returns to Nebraska as Wyoming’s head coach. The Cowboys won their opener against Northern Illinois 40-34 in triple overtime. After having one of the worst rushing defenses in the country last year, the Cowboys only allowed 133 yards on the ground to the Huskies last week.
Wyoming will need another stout performance for their rush defense again, as Nebraska ran for 292 yards on 51 carries in the 43-10 victory over Fresno State last week. The Cornhuskers needed Tommy Armstrong Jr. to do very little, as the quarterback only threw 10 passes in the victory.
Bohl has struggled in his first two years with Wyoming, and while his team won’t win on Saturday, I could see them putting together a very competitive effort. Nebraska may win by three touchdowns but I don’t think they win by any more than that.
Nebraska 44, Wyoming 21
Akron v. No. 10 Wisconsin (-24) - 3:30 PM EST - Big Ten Network
What a start to the season for Wisconsin. The Badgers were able to upset LSU and end the Tigers streak of 52 straight wins against non-conference opponents. The big story of the upset was just how good Wisconsin’s defense was against Leonard Fournette and the rest of the Tigers offense.
Now the Badgers might have their hands full since they’ll be taking on a team that can actually pass the football. Tommy Woodson threw for 407 yards and six touchdowns in the Zips 47-24 win over VMI last week. Akron also saw former Buckeye Warren Ball rush for 110 yards and a touchdown.
This has the feeling of a classic letdown game for Wisconsin. Terry Bowden has had Akron playing better the last couple years, so I could see them at least keeping things respectable in Madison.
Wisconsin 33, Akron 17
Ball State v. Indiana (-16) - 4:00 PM EST - ESPNews
Indiana did their best to Indiana things against Florida International last week, until they got their act together in the fourth quarter and scored 21 unanswered points on their way to a 34-13 win. The Hoosiers did at least show a little bit of defense in the win, creating three turnovers, with two of those being interception returns for touchdowns.
Ball State had their rushing attack working against Georgia State last week, rushing for 325 yards in the victory. The Cardinals will be looking to repeat what they did in 2012, when they took down Indiana 41-39.
I keep trying to find reasons to take Ball State in this one, but for some reason I think Indiana puts together a more complete performance and ends up winning by at least three touchdowns. I know, I’m probably going to regret this.
Indiana 45, Ball State 21
Iowa State v. No. 16 Iowa (-15.5) - 7:30 PM EST - Big Ten Network
College football doesn’t get much better than El Assico. What other rivalry game will you see the road team win the last four meetings? Most years this game is truly unpredictable. Iowa State has won three of the last five games against Iowa. I don’t think Iowa State has three wins in all their other games over the last five years.
Well most years this game is unpredictable, I don’t think that will be the case this year. The Cyclones just lost to Northern Iowa 25-20, and Matt Campbell has quite a lot of work ahead of him in Ames. At least he does have Allen Lazard, who caught six passes for 129 yards and a touchdown in the loss, at his disposal as a wide receiver.
Iowa had little trouble in disposing of Miami (OH) last week, extending their regular season win streak to 13 games. The point spread here is a little higher than I’m usually comfortable with, but it’s hard to see this being anything aside from an Iowa blowout. Of course, it’s El Assico so anything can truly happen.
Iowa 37, Iowa State 14
North Carolina (-7.5) v. Illinois - 7:30 PM EST - Big Ten Network
For the third time in the last four seasons North Carolina opened up the season with a loss. Larry Fedora must have forgotten he had Elijah Hood at running back, as the talented junior only got 10 carries in the 33-24 loss to Georgia. The Tar Heels had the Bulldogs on the ropes, but couldn’t stop Nick Chubb and the Georgia rushing attack, which gained 289 yards.
The Lovie Smith era got off to a strong start with a 52-3 win over Murray State last week. Then again, there probably wasn’t a lot of doubt the Fighting Illini would handle a FBS team. This week sees them take on a lot tougher challenge.
Last year the Tar Heels had little problem taking care of Illinois, beating down the Fighting Illini 48-14. This year could be a little different story in Champaign. Illinois does have some experience at quarterback with Wes Lunt, who is entering his 47th straight year as Illinois starting quarterback. Lovie Smith has his team up to play, and while they don’t win, they give Illinois fans some hope for the future.
North Carolina 38, Illinois 34
Tulsa v. No.4 Ohio State (-29.5) - 3:30 PM EST - ABC
Ol’ me of little faith. Last week I thought Bowling Green would at least avoid getting completely pasted by the Buckeyes, and we all saw how that worked out. This week’s game is even tougher to call, since the Golden Hurricanes have an offense that is even more effective than Bowling Green’s. The big difference is Tulsa didn’t lose their starting quarterback from last year, and have a couple of very strong wide receivers returning. Last year Dane Evans passed for over 4,000 yards, making him the third Tulsa quarterback to accomplish that.
For all of the questions surrounding the wide receivers coming into the season opener, Urban Meyer has to be happy with the production he got against Bowling Green. Curtis Samuel was a monster, racking up 177 yards receiving. Mike Weber was able to find some holes in his first game for Ohio State, becoming the third freshman at Ohio State under Urban Meyer to rush for over 100 yards in a game.
What really stood out for Ohio State on Saturday against Bowling Green was the performance of the secondary. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them regress just a little bit against Tulsa, mostly because it’s hard to imagine since a young group performing at such a high level every week. Plus, it’s nothing to be ashamed of if the Ohio State has some problems corralling wide receivers Josh Atkinson and Keevan Lucas. I say the final score lands very close to the number, but it ends up being a Tulsa cover.
Ohio State 52, Tulsa 24