MAACO Bowl Las Vegas: Oregon State Beavers vs BYU Cougars

BYU started with one hell of a bang, beating Top 5 Oklahoma when Sam Bradford went down. After that, they were everybody’s small college darling that could get a chance at the National Title – but then the rest of the season came, and despite going for 10 wins and just 2 losses, the now 14th ranked Cougars got smacked around a couple times when they could have proven themselves. Florida State, of all teams, smacked the Cougars for their first loss, 54-28. And after three straight wins to bounce back from that, the TCU Horned Frogs (one of the best teams in the Nation, mind you) embarrassed the Cougars at home, 38-7.

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It’s very possible that the best win BYU put on the board was a week 1 win over a team that lost thier Heisman quarterback, were playing with a brand new offensive line, and were definitely a bit overrated going into the season. After that, their best win likely came at home against Utah, or at home against Air Force. In both games, the Cougars were favored by more than a touchdown.

Oregon State, on the other hand, is one of the Top 10 teams in the Nation – or so I think. Luckily, I could give a piss about rankings, the same rankings that have BYU ranked above Oregon State because they have 10 wins to OSU’s 8. Well, I’ll take OSU’s losses over most of BYU’s wins, and I know a certain couple of Rodgers brothers will be ready to show their twin magic this Tuesday on ESPN. I’ll be watching.

The Beavers should win by a couple scores.

Oregon State Beavers (-2) vs. BYU Cougars:

Free College Football Picks: NCAA Week 2

After a tough week, I look to get back on track with my free college football picks. Everybody has their ups and downs, and while I’m not saying I’m the best capper in the world, I am saying that I consistently win more than I lose. That, at the very least, deserves a little credit. Hopefully I can turn it around and pull at least 7 wins this week. Here’s my set of wagers…

Clemson Tigers (+5.5) @ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: Clemson’s offensive and defensive lines are so very much underrated. The D-line is straight up fitly, and ranked 5th in the nation last season against the run. The offensive line is also tough, probably a top 15 group in the country. They may have a freshman quarterback, but they also have a very talented run game to give him a helping hand. They are a nice dog going into Georgia Tech on Thursday. Tech can really run the ball, and Nesbitt has shown the ability to make the big play through the air, but I like Clemson keeping it close. C.J. Spiller is one of the most dynamic players in college football, and is a real true threat to score the ball every time he touches it. The underdog struggled on Thursday night last season, as home teams dominated the time slot. I think that changes in this one as Clemson gets close to pulling the upset.

Central Michigan Chippewas (+14.5) @ Michigan State Spartans: I know, I’m nuts, but I like the Chipps to get awfully close to pulling off this upset. I like a lot of what Central Michigan has. I love their QB, the kid is a winner. Central Michigan has either won, or lost by less than 14 points in 19 of their last 20 games. I know the Spartans are solid, but the only team that beat the Chipps by more than two touchdowns last season was Georgia. State isn’t that kind of good. Thunder Dan and his Chipps took a 19-6 loss on the chin against Arizona in Week 1, they’ll show up to play against their instate competition.

North Carolina (-4) @ Connecticut Huskies: UConn’s new starting QB, Zach Frazer, threw 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions against Ohio last week in UConn’s easy win. Last year he completed just over half his passes while throwing just 2 TDs and 6 interceptions in 83 attempts. That’s 8 interception in about 100 throws. Carolina’s defense is not softy, and they’ll put enough pressure on Zach to up those INT numbers into double digits. And UNC can take advantage of those picks. I know the Tar Heels are heavily favored with the public (72%) but every once in a while the public gets one right. This is one of those times.

Stanford Cardinal @ Wake Forrest Demon Deacons (-3): The Cardinal really struggled on the road last season, tallying their only road win at Washington (and the Huskies didn’t even win one single game). I think that trend continues. I also think the Deacons came out slow last week, and while a late push made that game a game, the couldn’t quite pull it out. One of the sharpest tossers in the game, Riley Skinner, threw three picks last week. He won’t throw one this Saturday, and that should be enough to get Wake Forrest in the win column.

Syracuse Orange @ Penn State Nittany Lions (-28.5): Greg Paulus was re-introduced to football last week, and he played well. But that was Minnesota, this is a whole different beast. The Nittany Lions didn’t lose at home last season. Not only did they not lose, but they absolutely throttled the competition. They have lots of talent on that team, stuff that will make Syracuse coaches cringe in the film room. Despite the poor value at 28.5, I still think this is a pretty good bet. With that extra half point, the books are really trying to get action on Syracuse – can’t trick me….

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-3) @ Michigan Wolverines: I don’t think ND is that good, I just think they are barely better than the Wolverines. I’m sure Michigan has loads of young talent on that team, they have a coach that knows how to recruit and a program that draws big names. However, they also have a group of players that don’t like how much time they are putting in, likely have 10 freshmen starting, and even more getting minutes, and all this against a pretty mature Irish squad. I think this one is close, but 7-10 points in ND’s favor.

East Carolina Pirates (+6.5) @ West Virginia Mountaineers: The public is loving the Mountaineers in this one. But I see a lot to like about ECU. Despite the big names and elite speed playing for West Virginia, they didn’t look that impressive to me last week. The Pirates barely got by sub-division opponent Appalachian State, but that is a tough team no matter what division they are in, and in reality the Pirates were up 29-7 going into the 4th quarter of that contest. West Virginia struggled against Liberty. Yep, Liberty. ECU got a lot out of their running game, and I’m willing to bet that continues. It would not surprise me if the Pirates pulled an upset here, thus I’ll be happy to take the 6.5 points.

BYU Cougars (-17.5) @ Tulane Green Wave: I don’t like that over 75% of the bets are taking BYU. I don’t like that BYU pulled a huge upset over #3 Oklahoma last weekend. I don’t like a lot of things about this. But one of the most important don’t likes just happens to be how I feel about the Tulane Green Wave football team. I’m not sure if BYU will have their stud RB Unga back, but they should find running the ball a lot easier this week. They win cover this game by 3 touchdowns or more. That’s a cover.

Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (-2) @ Washington State Cougars: Fade east of the mountains in Washington State. What can I say, after the passion the Huskies played with last week, I can’t say, fade Washington State teams anymore, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t fade THE Washington State team. The Cougars just keep getting wore. After cutting more than a couple starters last season, because they were clowns off the field, a few new players are in trouble already. Hawaii has to come a long way, and from Paradise to Pullman has to be tough on the Rainbow Warriors, but as far as plane rides go, this one isn’t a bad one for Hawaii. They aren’t great, but better than Wazzu is all you have to be to cover here.

Oregon State Beavers (-7) @ UNLV Running Rebels: The Beavers are one of the better teams in the Pac 10. The Rodgers brothers are beasts. Jacquizz is one of the more special talents in all of college football. He runs big. He’s really fast, and he’s sneaky good at this game. He’ll cover this spread. The Rebels have talent, but I think that OSU rushing attack will be too much.
Get them winners! Good luck this weekend!

Free NCAA Football Picks: Week 2

After busting through the opening weekend by picking a few great upsets and getting slapped around a little by some teams I respected, Week 2 shouldn’t be quite as exciting right? Wrong – I’m out to win them all. Not as many games as last week, but check out my DirecTV ESPN GamePlan picks if you want some more action. All my games are on Saturday this time around, so no mid-week dancing for me. Enjoy all 7 of my picks! I’m feeling pretty good about these ones.

Saturday’s Games

Connecticut Huskies (-6) @ Temple Owls: (12:00pm EST, 9-6-2008)

The Huskies learned how to win last season. Temple is improved, but they are still Temple. LIke a lot of teams, UCONN’s win last weak wasn’t indicative of how their season will play out. Sure, they won easily (against Hofstra) but they didn’t look good in all aspects of the game. They got a little taste of reality, and I like that. I like that they dealt with it, had a really down game, and still won 35-3. They play stout defense that will slap the Owls in the face at their hyped home opener. I like UCONN to dominate this game on both sides of the ball.

BYU Cougars (-9) @ Washington Huskies: (3:00pm EST, 9-6-2008)

The Huskies are a solid 1st half team – they are just brutal in the 2nd half of just about every game. Oregon was better than many people thought they were going to be, but they weren’t that good. The Huskies are a one-man attack (QB stud Jake Locker), and that doesn’t bode well for their chances against a good Cougar team. The Cougars come in winners of their last 10 games, and believe me, they’ve played tougher road games than they’ll play on Saturday. It wouldn’t stun me if the Cougars took this game by three touchdowns.

Akron Zips (+5) @ Syracuse Orange: (3:30pm EST, 9-6-2008)

Syracuse has some talent, but the Zips can play the game. Akron can throw the all around pretty well with Chris Jacquemain at quarterback. They struggled a bit in the 2nd half against Wisconsin, but the Badgers are a very talented team. I think Akron will find plenty of open places in that Syracuse secondary. The Orange don’t have a rushing attack like Wisconsin does, so they won’t be able to bully the Zips like the Badgers did.

Central Michigan Chippewas @ Georgia Bulldogs (-23.5): (3:30pm EST, 9-6-2008)

The Bulldogs are 4 scores better than the Chippewas. They gave up 21 points last week, and I’m willing to bet they don’t give up half that many this week against Central Michigan. Mathew Stafford looked solid against Georgia Southern, but everyone expected that. The Bulldogs basically did whatever they wanted including take it easy late against their instate opponent. They will obliterated Central Michigan. The Bulldogs were up 38-7 to start the 4th quarter, but Southern scored two 4th quarter touchdowns to bring the game within 24 points. Because of that the Bulldogs lost a few points in the polls as USC went ballistic against Virginia, beating them 52-7, and took the #1 spot this week.  I’m guessing the Bulldogs do some scoring in this one and try to get that top spot back in USC’s bye.

Oregon State Beavers (+17) @ Penn State Nittany Lions (3:30pm EST, 8-30-2008)

OSU sure didn’t look very good in their opening game of the season, but they are a better team than that so I’ll take them again. A glutton for punnishment? Maybe, but I like to believe in what I see, and I see a solid team in Beaverville. Offensively they have a lot of playmakers and a quarterback that can deliver the ball. I will take that and 17 points over any Penn State team. The Nittany Lions are overrated, and the Beavers are a good enough team to show everyone exactly that. An upset here wouldn’t stun me.

West Virginia Moutaineers (-7.5) @ East Carolina Pirates: (10:00pm EST, 8-30-2008)

West Virginia allowed 21 points last week to college football’s version of nobody, while the East Carolina Pirates played some damn good football against the likes of the Hokies. East Carolina upset #17 Virginia Tech last week at home, and they’re looking to go 2-0 after facing two ranked teams back to back. Not gonna happen. The Pirates are a good club, don’t get me wrong, but VaTech was the most overrated team in the Top 25. The Mountaineers have something East Carolina has yet to see, an offense that can score on any defense in the nation. East Carolina won’t win a track meet with WV, and that’s what they’ll have to do to win. Remember, West Virginia held Villanova to one score through three quarters last week. Those 2 touchdowns brought this line down from double digits, I’d bet. I’ll take Pat White and his boys.

Maryland Terrapins (-12.5) @ Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders: The Terrapins had a really tough week and their starting quarterback didn’t play well. It won’t always be like that for a very good Maryland team. Luckily for you, and me, that first game is lodged in the minds of bettors and oddsmakers everywhere. Yhatzee for us! Maryland has great talent at receiver, a very tough defense, and a quarterback in Jordan Steffy that’s made a name for himself through his perseverance. I really like their chances against a very mediocre Blue Raider group.

These picks are good ones. Roll with them. Bet ’em. And reap those benefits.