09/16/2011 05:17 AM
Boise State Broncos at Toledo Rockets (+19.5, 58.5)
Why Boise State will cover: Boise State already went into the heart of Georgia and beat the Bulldogs. The Broncos beat the Rockets by 43 last year and have most of their starters back from 2010.
Why Toledo will cover: The Rockets hung at Ohio State until the very end, falling 27-22. It’s as marquee a home game as Toledo is going to get, and the MAC favorites won’t hold anything back.
Points: Boise State scored at least 42 points nine times in 2010. Toledo has the tools to keep up, at least for a while.
Oklahoma Sooners at Florida State Seminoles (+3, 54.5)
Why Oklahoma will cover: The Sooners hammered the Seminoles 47-17 last year. While FSU is improved, OU’s depth is still superior. Eventually, the Seminoles will wear down.
Why Florida State will cover: This year’s Seminoles are more talented than last year’s. Oklahoma’s defense showed flaws in its opener, allowing 400 yards to Tulsa.
Points: Two of the nation’s best offenses under perfect weather conditions could make for an entertaining game.
North Texas Mean Green at Alabama Crimson Tide (-45.5, 53)
Why North Texas will cover: That’s a huge pointspread.
Why Alabama will cover: The Mean Green stands little chance of slowing down the Crimson Tide. And judging by the way Alabama’s defense dominated Penn, this game could get ugly in a hurry.
Points: Alabama may have to reach the over by itself, but North Texas has already been blown out by worse teams.
Stanford Cardinal at Arizona Wildcats (+9.5, 53.5)
Why Stanford will cover: The Cardinal have already covered spreads of 20 and 30 points. The goal is a national title, and a slip up in a Pac-12 opener seems unlikely. Stanford, which beat Arizona 42-17 last year, doesn’t let up.
Why Arizona will cover: The Wildcats are never out of a game with the passing attack they bring. Being at home, at night, doesn’t hurt.
Points: Arizona can score, but its defense was exposed in a 37-14 loss to Oklahoma State. Andrew Luck and Co. will be licking their chops.
Oklahoma State Cowboys at Tulsa Golden Hurricane (+13.5, 68.5)
Why Oklahoma State will cover: The Cowboys look like the real deal after blowing out Arizona. A young defense should continue to improve.
Why Tulsa will cover: Tulsa showed offensive promise in a loss to mighty Oklahoma, so the Hurricane could stay close enough until the end.
Points: Both teams can score in bunches, especially OSU.
Wisconsin Badgers vs. Northern Illinois Huskies (+16.5, 63.5)
Why Wisconsin will cover: Wisconsin is averaging 223 yards passing and 224 yards rushing per game. It doesn’t get more balanced than that. But the strength is still on the ground, and Northern Illinois is 117th against the run so far. Wisconsin is 8-0-1 ATS in its last nine games.
Why Northern Illinois will cover: The Huskies are averaging 47 points per game, against Kansas and Army. Even if NIU only puts up 35, that forces Wisconsin to score more than 50.
Points: Both teams have shown the ability to light up the scoreboard. Can NIU keep it up against a tougher opponent?
Idaho Vandals at Texas A&M Aggies (-35.5, 56.5)
Why Idaho will cover: Maybe Texas A&M comes out a little rusty after a week off and Idaho catches it by surprise. All it takes is a little competitiveness to cover a spread of that size.
Why Texas A&M will cover: The Aggies shut down the run-and-shoot style of SMU in a 46-14 win. What’s Idaho going to do? Meanwhile, with nine starters back on offense, Texas A&M should pour it on all day.
Points: Idaho’s offense has struggled this season, and that’s not likely to change here.
Washington Huskies at Nebraska Cornhuskers (-17, 54)
Why Washington will cover: Washington has scored 40 and 30 points in games so far. The Huskers haven’t been as impressive as expected, 0-2 ATS, and their defense allowed 29 points to a decimated Fresno State squad.
Why Nebraska will cover: The Huskers have a potent offense led by dynamic dual-threat QB Tyler Martinez. Washington has struggled to slow down the likes of Eastern Washington and Hawaii so far. The Huskies could be in for a rude awakening.
Points: Both offenses have looked good in the young season, while both defenses have been suspect.
Navy Midshipmen at South Carolina Gamecocks (-17.5, 55.5)
Why Navy will cover: Those not ready for the Midshipmen’s style can get sunk in a hurry. Often, it takes squads used to getting by on superior talent to settle down. By then, it may be too late to cover.
Why South Carolina will cover: The Gamecocks have figured out how to get it done in wins over East Carolina and Georgia. Navy’s defense simply doesn’t have the personnel to stay with the ultra-athleticism of the Gamecocks.
Points: USC averages 55.1 points per game, Navy averages 40.0, albeit against pedestrian competition.
Troy Trojans at Arkansas Razorbacks (-22.5, 62)
Why Troy will cover: Troy’s wide-open offense could give initial troubles to an Arkansas team that’s played subpar competition. Its defensive backfield is considered one of its strengths, which is good against the high-powered Razorbacks.
Why Arkansas will cover: Despite being favored by 41.5 and 37.5 in its games so far, Arkansas has covered just fine. Troy steps up the level of competition for the Hogs, but not enough to think the Trojans can hang.
Points: The over is 9-0 in Troy’s last nine games against the SEC. Arkansas will hold up its bargain to make it 10-0.
Michigan State Spartans at Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-4.5, 50.5)
Why Michigan State will cover: The Spartans will be Notre Dame’s toughest competition to date. Since the Irish are 0-2, MSU could definitely win outright.
Why Notre Dame will cover: Notre Dame is better on paper than its record. The Irish has faced South Florida and Michigan, while the Spartans have faced Youngstown State (didn’t cover) and Florida Atlantic (won 44-0). They’ll be ready for this high-level competition, will the Spartans?
Points: Expect more defense than offense, because that’s what it will likely take for the host Irish to get the job done.
Ohio State Buckeyes at Miami Hurricanes (-3, 47.5)
Why Ohio State will cover: It’s still tough to put points on OSU’s defense, and the offense is its usual mundane, successful self. It also gets back two players from suspension, starting tailback Jordan Hall and corner Travis Howard.
Why Miami will cover: The Hurricanes get nine players back from suspension, including star QB Jacory Harris for their home opener, which should make a world of difference. The Buckeyes struggled against Toledo, hanging on for a 27-22 win.
Points: The under is 8-2-1 in OSU’s last 11 road games, and is 6-2-1 in Miami’s last nine games anywhere. Don’t be surprised if a defensive slugfest breaks out.
Tennessee Volunteers at Florida Gators (-9.5, 50)
Why Tennessee will cover: The passing game has been surprisingly solid, averaging 358 yards through the air. If the Vols get behind, it won’t take long to get back in it. Plus, some experts are still waiting for a Florida slide. Tennessee’s easily the best opponent the Gators will have faced.
Why Florida will cover: The Gators were supposedly in for a transition year, but so far they’re 2-0 ATS, outscoring the opposition 80-3. UF can be overwhelming in The Swamp.
Points: The over is 0-2 in Florida games so far, and 2-0 in UT games. When undecided, follow the trend of the home team.
Arizona State Sun Devils at Illinois Fighting Illini (-1.5, 59)
Why Arizona State will cover: The Sun Devils are riding the momentum after finding a way to beat Missouri last week.
Why Illinois will cover: The Illini will go as sophomore QB Nathan Scheelhaase goes, and ASU’s passing defense ranked 101st last year and is 76th so far this year.
Points: The over is 7-1 in Illinois’ last eight games as a home favorite, and if Illinois is going to win this one, it’s likely going to take a lot of points.
Auburn Tigers at Clemson Tigers (-3, 59)
Why Auburn will cover: The Tigers haven’t looked great, 0-2 ATS, but they’ve found ways to win both games. With a manageable spread this time, the defending national champs find a way again and will likely cover, too.
Why Clemson will cover: Auburn’s defense has allowed 38 and 34 points to Utah State and Mississippi State, respectively. The Tigers’ offense, with eight returning starters, has been clicking, and there’s no indication that will change Saturday.
Points: The under is 8-0-1 in Auburn’s last nine games vs. ACC opponents, and it’s 7-2 in Clemson’s last nine vs. the SEC. That said, so far this season both teams have been piling on the points without stopping the foe with regularity.
West Virginia Mountaineers at Maryland Terrapins (-1, 54.5)
Why West Virginia will cover: The Mountaineers haven’t put a full game together yet for first-year coach Dana Holgorsen, and have manhandled the competition. A complete game will put away the Terps.
Why Maryland will cover: Maryland played with major emotion and took care of Miami in its opener. West Virginia is 0-2 ATS against poor competition, while the Terps are 7-1 ATS in its last eight games.
Points: The over is 6-1-1 in Maryland’s last eight games, and 9-2 in West Virginia’s last 11 as an underdog. We should see some points.
Texas Longhorns at UCLA Bruins (+3.5, 44)
Why Texas will cover: While the Longhorns’ offense has been mediocre, the defense has been tough, shutting down Rice and BYU in wins (1-1 ATS). With a new QB, maybe Texas’ offense breaks out and wins going away.
Why UCLA will cover: Texas is going with a new QB in unproven sophomore Case McCoy, which may help an aggressive defense.
Points: The under is 8-3 in UT’s last 11 games as a favorite, and 15-7 in UCLA’s last 22 as an underdog. And both offenses are still finding their way.
Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks at TCU Horned Frogs (-28.5, 51.5)
Why ULM will cover: ULM gained confidence by beating down Grambling 35-7. TCU’s defense is still questionable, leaving the chance the Warhawks can at least lose by less than four touchdowns.
Why TCU will cover: After scoring 48 in a loss at Baylor, the Horned Frogs found their way and hammered Air Force. ULM is overmatched from one end to the other.
Points: ULM lost to Florida State 35-0 in its opener. A similar score isn’t out of the question.
Arkansas State Red Wolves at Virginia Tech Hokies (-24, 53)
Why Arkansas St. will cover: Arkansas State hung with Illinois for a half and dominated Memphis, going 2-0 ATS. The Red Wolves have the skill players to hang, leading one of the nation’s top pass offenses.
Why Virginia Tech: As usual, it’s tough to score on the Hokies, especially for teams not used to that level of talent and intensity. Virginia Tech will wear down Arkansas State just like Illinois did, and pull away in the second half.
Points: The under is 7-2 in the Hokies’ last nine games and 19-6-1 in the Red Wolves’ last 26 on the road.