College Football Pick'em Week 2: Texas is back. Right?
As usual, I continue to do well straight up, but against the spread gives me some trouble. No excuses, it will get better. It might be Week 2, but it's Week 1 for many teams. Which means we'll see more sloppy play and surprising results. The ACC and Big 12 get started this week, and there are plenty of intriguing matchups to watch. Those of you who voted on the Sixth Year Sports Twitter polls came together nicely to post six correct predictions straight up. Will you be able to repeat that task? We shall see.
LAST WEEK (AND FOR THE SEASON)
JB- Straight up: 5-1 Against the spread: 2-4
Fans- Straight up: 6-0
Check out my college football podcast here! In depth breakdowns, quick 2-minute game previews, and more!
Syracuse (+23) at North Carolina
Yes, the Orange are big underdogs here, but don't let that fool you. Syracuse can play, as they've shown with their competitive games against Clemson. Now, we're not guaranteeing that they'll do it again, but they've faced tougher than North Carolina. Then again, they had more talent than this team possesses. It doesn't help that a handful of players opted out for the year, but there's still enough to field a solid team. Stopping North Carolina's explosive offense falls on the shoulders of the secondary for the most part, but it's one of the key matchups to watch for the week.
Andre Cisco, Ifeatu Melifonwu, and Trill Williams not only have great names, but they give the Orange one of the best secondaries in the country. They'll need that talent when they face the Tar Heels passing attack. Dazz Newsome, Dyami Brown and Beau Corrales team up with Sam Howell to move the ball down the field via the air for North Carolina, and that's a tough combination to stop. Even if Syracuse finds a way to shut down those three, running backs Michael Carter and Javonte Williams should have monster games. It just doesn't seem like Syracuse has enough to keep up.
NORTH CAROLINA 55 SYRACUSE 21
Louisiana (+11.5) at Iowa State
If you don't know the name Levi Lewis, you should get to know it quickly. However, if you don't know the name Brock Purdy, you need to step your game up. Both quarterbacks lead talented offenses for their respective teams, and they'll face off this weekend. Lewis threw 26 touchdowns to just four interceptions last year, and he's a big reason why the Ragin' Cajuns will compete for the Sun Belt title. They travel to Ames for the first ever matchup between the two teams, and are hoping to leave Jack Trice Stadium with an upset.
Iowa State's normally the underdog, but they'll have to embrace a new role in 2020. the Big 12's as wide open as it's ever been, and the Cyclones return a talent level that should put them in the title conversation. Can they embrace the role as one of the favorites? Or will they crumble under the pressure? With Purdy running the offense, they should be fine. After all, he nearly threw for 4,000 yards last year. How Mike Rose and the defense play might determine the game, but I have a feeling this team will pick up momentum as the season progresses.
IOWA STATE 28 LOUISIANA 21
Duke (+20) at Notre Dame
Clemson transfer Chase Brice leads his new team into the 2020 season against the rental team. Notre Dame will compete for the ACC title this year before switching back to independent next year, but are looking to prove they can compete anywhere. Brice's heroics in 2018 when Trevor Lawrence went down against Syracuse will be a topic of conversation, but does his team have enough juice to stay with the Irish? Brice already has to replace center Jach Wohlabaugh due to a knee injury, and the Blue Devils must find a way to move the football against the Notre Dame defense.
If you watch one matchup this weekend, it's in this game. "Really? In a game that should be a blowout?" Yes, and here's why. Duke has two stellar defensive linemen in Chris Rumph II and Victor Dimukeje that will test Notre Dame's star tackles in Liam Eichenberg and Robert Hainsey. All four will play on Sundays at some point, but for now they'll try to figure out how to get the upper hand. Oh, and the Irish return the other three starters on the line and quarterback Ian Book. Book just needs to find playmakers at the skill positions. If that takes time and Duke can stay in the game, an upset might happen. Unfortunately for the Blue Devils, Notre Dame's too deep and talented for that to occur.
NOTRE DAME 40 DUKE 17
Georgia Tech (+12.5) at Florida State
Former AAC coaches collide in an ACC matchup. Geoff Collins (Temple) leads Georgia Tech into Tallahassee to face Mike Norvell's (Memphis) Florida State Seminoles. It's been an interesting offseason for Norvell in his first year, and Collins is in Year 2 of moving on from the triple option. Discipline will be the key for the Yellow Jackets. They don't have the same talent you'll find on Florida State's roster, which is why doing proper assignments and playing with sound technique will do wonders for them. But even that might not be enough.
Norvell inherits a team with more talent then he had at Memphis, and that combination is scary. His Tigers offenses were some of the best in all of college football, and now he gets to work with guys that just need direction. Quarterback James Blackman could thrive in Norvell's system, but he needs to stay upright. Protecting the quarterback has been a concern for the last few years, and that will play the biggest role on either side of the ball. Honestly, the ACC should be terrified if Norvell and Florida State can figure out how to move the ball, because it's only a matter of time before they're lighting up scoreboards. It's just a matter of when that happens, even if it doesn't right away.
FLORIDA STATE 33 GEORGIA TECH 23
Clemson (-33) at Wake Forest
It's been an offseason full of rumors and news for the Clemson Tigers. Running back Travis Etienne decided to come back for one more year, a global pandemic hit, Justyn Ross was lost for the season, and now Dabo Swinney's being tied to the Jacksonville Jaguars head coaching position. All the Tigers are trying to do is get back to the national championship. In their way is Wake Forest, who had their own fair share of things to deal with in the last few months.
First, quarterback Jamie Newman announced he would transfer to Georgia, leaving the job to Sam Hartman. Then, star wide receiver Sage Surratt said he'd opt out of the 2020 season, and it looks like he's headed towards the NFL. That leaves Hartman looking for new reliable weapons. All eyes now turn towards defensive end Carlos Basham, who should go head to head with Clemson tackle Jackson Carman this weekend. Will he also opt out and focus on the NFL draft? Some analysts have him projected as a first round pick, and no one would blame him for wanting to play it safe. He'll have his hands full as it is trying to stop Clemson's high powered offense.
CLEMSON 56 WAKE FOREST 7
UTEP (+43) at Texas
Texas is back, and that remains one of the best college football jokes every year. Are the Longhorns actually contenders? Right now, they're back to start the season, but it remains to be seen if they can win the Big 12. There's plenty of competition, and looking ahead wouldn't be wise. For now, they have their eyes on the UTEP Miners, who already have a win under their belts. That won't last long, but we'll get our first look at a Longhorns team that is hoping they can make a playoff run on top of that conference title.
Sam Ehlinger, to some, is the second best currently participating quarterback in college football behind Trevor Lawrence, and he will get one more season with his hometown team. New receivers are needed with Collin Johnson and Devin Duvernay gone, and the offense is expected to continue scoring a ton of points. With Ehlinger running the show, that shouldn't be a problem. Chris Ash takes over the defense, and that group (once again since Texas is still in the Big 12) plays the biggest role in the success of this team. UTEP shouldn't give them many issues, but the bigger question is will Texas cover?
TEXAS 63 UTEP 10