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College Football Picks: CFB Week 2

Line movements are making this column a bit of a challenge, as I'd be more confident in some of these picks if we're locking in Sunday or Monday rather than Thursday, but I'm going to trust my leans and roll!

Arkansas -8 vs. South Carolina

I do a lot of picking Sunday afternoon/evening when lines come out, hopefully getting on some mistakes in the process. More on that later, but this line stood out initially. Arkansas allowed plays against Cincinnati, but still held on to beat a quality opponent. South Carolina meanwhile needed two blocked punts to result in scores for them to put away Georgia State. But now we see the Razorbacks' secondary could be minus two starters. That's cause for pretty great concern, but I'm going to trust Arkansas to put up points here and/or USC to not have enough weapons to exploit Arkansas' lack of pass defenders.

Pittsburgh +6.5 vs. Tennessee

Line shop and hope you can still find this at seven or more points. This is a rare spot where an SEC team doesn't have a clear advantage on either line. Pittsburgh continues to develop elite defensive linemen, and I think that's going to limit Tennessee on the ground, and also force QB Hendon Hooker into mistakes. I don't love what I saw from Pittsburgh offensively last week, and I'm worried the crowd won't be there like they were for last week's evening kickoff in the Backyard Brawl. But getting points at home in what should be a four-quarter contest feels sound.

Alabama -19.5 at Texas

I just find this line to be a bit of a gift. Alabama is built for games like this. They were so efficient in Week 1 against Utah State, a game I expected them to overlook and labor to a lower-scoring win than expected. Bryce Young gives the Tide a huge edge under center, and he appears to have new weapons emerging already in Kobe Prentice and Traeshon Holden. And we know the 'Tide defense will be ready to key on Bijan Robinson and force Quinn Ewers to beat them. He's not ready for that yet. I do like the over a bit here too, as Texas won't completely roll over, but I'm expecting Alabama to take the sole of another Power 5 school as they've done so often before.

Syracuse -22.5 at Connecticut

I don't enjoy shifting so dramatically week to week, as Syracuse fooled me and whipped Louisville last week when I thought the opposite would happen. But seeing UConn at anything near just a three-touchdown dog intrigues me enough to bite. For as much credit as I want to give new OC Robert Anae, it was the Orange's defense that impressed last week, limiting the Cardinals to just seven points. I don't expect they'll be as motivated here, but less than 100 percent is likely good enough against the lowly Huskies. Scoring shouldn't be a problem either, so if they can get into the 40s, they'll have some wiggle room to still cover.

Wake Forest -11.5 at Vanderbilt

This line is jumping all over the place. It opened in the (-6.5) range, I locked in at (-8) after identifying it as a huge opportunity, and it's gone as high as (-13) before seemingly settling. I honestly don't understand the settle either if Sam Hartman is going to play for the Deamon Deacons. Wake Forest has averaged 41.0, 36.0 and 31.8 ppg over the last three years. That's not just Hartman, it's the system/coaching. Vanderbilt has averaged 15.8, 14.8 and 16.5 points per game in that same span. Vanderbilt's offensive statistics look terrific, but it couldn't have come against worse opponents. Regression is overdue, and Wake will score in bunches to boot.

Ohio State -44.5 vs Arkansas State

Poor Arkansas State. The Red Wolves are walking into a terrible spot this week as Ohio State had little go right this past week, yet still managed to win. It's a bad spot because the Buckeyes are likely to have a hellish week of practice after playing Notre Dame so close, and they'll be ready to take it out on their opponent. Let's be real here as well, Notre Dame is no slouch, this game for the Buckeyes will be like running with ankle weights one week, them freeing themselves of the weights the next week. Arkansas State meanwhile got ready for this game by facing Grambling. This one is going to get ugly very early and the only question is, will OSU need points in the 2nd half to cover this number?

Duke +10 at Northwestern

I'll start by stating that I have not seen Duke play yet, but I have seen Northwestern play. Northwestern looked nothing like the team that played well below expectations this past season and I expect the Wildcats to have a good season. Now, as for Duke, the Blue Devils are not expected to do much of anything this season outside of showing up to play. With that said, the Blue Devils pitched a shutout this past week against Temple while allowing less than 200 yards of offense. Yes, I realize it was Temple, but how often does an FBS team pitch a shutout against another FBS team? I don't think they'll win this game, but with an obviously improved defense, they should be able to give what might be an overconfident Wildcat team a decent fight.

Missouri +7.5 at Kansas State

You know how sometimes you look through the lines really quickly and certain games just pop? This was one for me as it just seemed too high. I'm not the only one that thought that either as this line has been bet down from 9.5 all the way down to where it is now at 7.5. It's not likely to move much further though as the magic number seven is tough to cross over. Kansas State played well this past week as the Wildcats shoutout South Dakota, which is not an FBS team, but still, a shutout is still impressive. The problem is, they've got a huge step up in class this week as an SEC team is coming to visit. Missouri is not an SEC powerhouse, but the Tigers have played pretty well since joining the conference and they'll no doubt be perturbed at being such a big underdog to a middle-of-the-pack Big 12 team.

Over 65.5 Alabama at Texas

It's unfortunate I couldn't have grabbed this when it opened at 61.5, but I still think we are safe at this number. Considering it's already moved four points, I don't think it will go much higher if at all. This number is based on Alabama's offense and the recent history of Texas putting up no resistance on defense. We've all heard rumors about how Texas is going to be much better this season, but I think we all know it's better to take a wait-and-see approach with the Longhorns. Improved or not, nobody is slowing down this 'Bama offense, at least not early in the season, so you can pencil them in for 40+ points. If Texas can contribute just a bit, this game should go over the total. If it can't, perhaps 'Bama can get there by itself.

Under 41.5 Iowa State at Iowa

I hope recency bias isn't coming into play here as Iowa played to a total of 10 points this past week, but lost in the Hawkeyes' inability to score a touchdown this past week was their defense, which held a decent offense to just three points. Now, I'm not expecting another 7-3 game this week, but I do see both teams struggling to score and neither offense moving with much pace, so why not something like 21-10? Iowa will score a touchdown this week, but I don't think the floodgates open. As for the Cyclones, it's going to be tough sledding all day on offense.

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