Last Updated: 2017-08-30
The College Football Extra Points Series is back for another year with even more editions for 2017. Just as last year, this totals piece is primarily focused on the offensive and defensive schematics, as well as game flow for each matchup to backup our selections.
The first Saturday of games is being called “Week Zero” by some but I would like to look at this as a “Soft Opening” before the real storm starts on August 31st. While most of America will be obsessing over the Conor McGregor vs Floyd Mayweather fight, there are four division one college football games to watch and two plays that look very appealing to kick off our college football totals bets in style!
(All of these totals were taken from 5Dimes.eu on the morning of 8/18/16)
OREGON STATE @ COLORADO STATE (61): The Beavers are bringing back last year’s spread pistol offense that featured runningbacks Ryan Nall and Artavis Pierce. The difference in Gary Anderson’s team this year will be at quarterback with Idaho transfer Jake Luton who stands 6’7” 234 pounds getting the start. Oregon State is a QB-friendly offense that returns a terrific supporting cast around Luton, namely an offensive line that averages 316 pounds. The Rams will rotate between 4-3 and 3-4 looks but they aren’t a strong rushing defense and even though they have eight returning starters, they have allowed 200-plus rushing yards per game in each of the last two seasons.
Oregon State’s second year defensive coordinator Kevin Clune is going to have his hands full on the other side with a Rams offense that features first team all-conference wide receiver Michael Gallup and quarterback Nick Stevens. Gallup is a highly rated NFL Draft prospect entering this season and is poised for a big senior year. 2016 was a wild ride for Stevens after being demoted/benched but the Rams offense was sparked upon his return, scoring 42, 37, 46, 49, 63 and 50 points in their last six games of the season with Stevens under center.
Mike Bobo’s offenses at Athens and here in Fort Collins have always featured multiple sets and a ton of formation variety. From power pro sets, to unbalanced jumbo packages and even stacked spread formations. The Rams will line up in a little bit of everything against a Beavers defense that lost its third leading tackler in Devin Chappell and interceptions leader Treston Decoud. Oregon State runs an odd front in an attacking 3-4 defense that has a lot of linebacker talent, so look for Bright Ugwoegbu (5.5 sacks in 2016) to get involved chasing down Nick Stevens early.
This game has moved up 2.5 points from the opening 58½ to the current number of 61, so it is possible this total continues to hike up as Saturday afternoon approaches. Regardless of the closing line value, I have an expected result in the 44-35 area with the number being hit by the end of the third quarter here because these are two defenses that can’t stop the run against two super sized offensive lines that can take control of games.
THE PLAY: (OVER 61) OSU @ CSU *1 UNIT*
HAWAII @ MASSACHUSETTS (61½): The Minutemen are consistently being undervalued heading into the season. Sure they only won two games last year but they have a strong passing game with tight end Adam Breneman and quarterback Andrew Ford, who are high school teammates that possess great chemistry in Mark Whipple’s passing offense last year. Whipple calls his own plays and has had multiple stints in the NFL which is exactly why his offenses are generally pro style but with multiple formations. While they aren’t a strong running team and they don’t have a ton of variety in their pass play calls, they disguise what they do well and Whipple’s son Spencer is the co-offensive coordinator so they should have success against a Hawaii defense that allowed 35-plus points per game in each of their last two seasons.
UMass has a new defensive coordinator in Ed Pinkham, who was the DC at Western Michigan the last four years and he’ll have nine starters back on that side of the ball but the Minutemen have their work cut out for them with a Hawaii offense that scored 46 points and 52 points in their last two games of 2016. The Rainbow Warriors return eight starters on offense, including quarterback Dru Brown who makes this read option offense work. Nick Rolovich runs his offense out of the pistol and shotgun in spread formations but he relies heavily on the running game and returning starter Diocemy Saint Juste who rushed for 1,006 yards last season. More importantly, this will be Hawaii’s second year in the read option and they are one of those teams that definitely benefitted from the extra bowl game practices, consider they have 54 returning lettermen from that same team.
The last time these two schools met was the end of the 2016 regular season in a 46-40 thriller that sent the Warriors bowling and put UMass on an 11-hour flight home to contemplate their season, so the Minutemen will certainly have revenge on their minds here. This should be yet another boat race between two teams that simply can’t stop anybody from scoring. Surprisingly, this number has actually gone down from 64½ (in some places) to 61½, so take what you can get when you can get it here because this total should be surpassed early in the second half.
THE PLAY: (OVER 61½) HAW @ MASS *1 UNIT*
Thanks so much for reading! Please feel free to hit me up with any questions, comments or feedback that you might have on twitter (@JoeWEverett).
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