College football picks and predictions against the spread for Week 2

There is a tasty slate of games when you know how to look for it in our Week 2 college football picks and predictions. After a successful debut a week ago, we’re back with more picks and predictions for the Week 2 slate of action.

Headlined by a matchup of top-10 teams in Iowa vs. Iowa State, the Week 2 lineup of games is an interesting one. Here are our picks for the weekend.

College football picks and predictions | Week 2

Week 2 is a tough slate outside of a few top-notch matchups. As it always does, Week 2 is set to separate the casual fans from the hardcore college football fans. Here are some of the most intriguing matchups and their spreads, all up to date via DraftKings Sportsbook as of Thursday at 10 AM ET.

Illinois @ Virginia (-10)
Western Kentucky @ Army (-7)
Oregon @ Ohio State (-14.5)
Pittsburgh @ Tennessee (+3)
South Carolina @ East Carolina (+1)
Wyoming @ Northern Illinois (+7)
Rutgers @ Syracuse (+2.5)
Cal @ TCU (-11.5)

 

Air Force @ Navy (+5.5)
Iowa @ Iowa State (-4.5)
Texas @ Arkansas (+7)
NC State @ Mississippi State (+2.5)
Missouri @ Kentucky (-5)
Washington @ Michigan (-7)
Utah @ BYU (+7)
Stanford @ USC (-17)

Last week’s slate finished at 7-3, with a very specific conference dominating the loss column. We had 7 victories against the spread and 3 losses, all from Big Ten games.

The wins:

Stanford @ Kansas State (-3)
Fresno State (+20.5) @ Oregon
Marshall (-2.5) @ Navy
Texas Tech (-2.5) @ Houston
Syracuse (-2) @ Ohio
Georgia (+3) @ Clemson
Southern Miss @ South Alabama (-1)

The losses:

Penn State @ Wisconsin (-5.5)
Indiana (+3.5) @ Iowa
West Virginia (-3) @ Maryland

Saturday’s college football picks and predictions against the spread

Here are some of the most intriguing matchups based on the current lines during Week 2 of the college football slate.

Florida (-29) @ USF

Time and Channel: 1:00 PM ET, ABC

It’s not usually best practice to take a line this big, but with how things are going for USF, this line almost seems too generous to the Bulls. USF is coming off a disappointing season debut against NC State in which they lost 45-0. It wasn’t just the final score that was disconcerting — it’s the way that USF lost.

New starting QB Cade Fortin looked lost on offense, and the remaining skill players seemed sluggish. The defense looked even worse, allowing Ricky Person Jr. to score multiple touchdowns on the ground and through the air. All of this to not even mention the potential two-headed monster that is Emory Jones and Anthony Richardson, who combined for 234 yards on the ground. Both quarterbacks can score with their legs, and this one can get out of hand in garbage time.

Rutgers (-2) @ Syracuse

Time and Channel: 2:00 PM ET, ACC Network

Rutgers v2.0 under Greg Schiano looks like it could be even better than the first version. With an influx of transfer talent taking hold, the Scarlet Knights are quickly moving on from being a laughing stock in the Big Ten to a legitimate contender in the next few years.

The general box score doesn’t quite tell the story of Rutgers’ dominant victory over Temple in Week 1. They had scoring drives of 2, 22, 26, and 28 yards, as well as a safety in the first half, jumping out to a quick 26-0 lead. The defense played well enough to beat any team, not just a Temple team in rebuild mode. The Orange need playmakers to step up outside if they want to keep this one close with one of the nation’s best-emerging defenses.

Toledo @ Notre Dame (-17)

Time and Channel: 2:30 PM ET, Peacock TV

The Fighting Irish escaped Tallahassee with an overtime victory in a game that saw them outplay the Seminoles for most of the four quarters. Jack Coan proved to be a formidable threat in the Notre Dame offense with some downfield passes that we’ve not seen from him. There is still more to prove, but unlike Brian Kelly, we’re not ready to execute this Notre Dame team.

Toledo’s rushing attack looked terrific against Norfolk State, but Notre Dame is a far cry from the Spartans. Outside of a long run by FSU, Notre Dame stymied the Seminoles’ rushing attack that should be considered much better than the Rockets. Notre Dame was up by 18 at one point against FSU. Expect a similar lead to be built but kept in this one.

Georgia Southern (-7) @ Florida Atlantic

Time and Channel: 3:30 PM ET, check local listings

The Eagles are starting a transfer running back at quarterback with Amare Jones taking the field on Saturday. Though he’ll likely share the backfield with Cam Ransom and Sam Kenerson for passing downs, Jones should be able to run the Georgia Southern rushing attack brilliantly. Jones ran for 98 yards while the Eagles rushed for 365 yards against Gardner Webb in their debut.

Conversely, FAU allowed the Gators to run for 400 yards and 4 touchdowns to open their season. Georgia Southern will continue to pound it and stretch the defense with their zone rushing scheme. They should be more than capable of opening up a big lead with a dominant performance at the point of attack.

Cal (+11.5) @ TCU

Time and Channel: 3:30 PM ET, ESPNU

I banged the drum for a Pac-12 team heading east across the country to lose big last week, but I’m firmly on the other end here. Cal head coach Justin Wilcox historically plays well both on the road in the East and in the second game of the season during his time at Cal. While their chances of winning are much slimmer, the chances of a cover are much greater.

The Cal defense is good enough to hang with the TCU offense that left a lot to be desired in Week 1. The only reason Cal lost to Nevada last week was a stellar downfield performance from Nevada QB Carson Strong. Unfortunately for TCU fans, Max Duggan is no Carson Strong and will have to beat Cal a different way. There are plenty of reasons to like Duggan and TCU to win, but not to cover.

Buffalo (+13.5) @ Nebraska

Time and Channel: 3:30 PM ET, Big Ten Network

Don’t look now, but the Bulls are such a well-built team with their carryover roster from former head coach Lance Leipold. They may not only cover against Nebraska, but they may win outright. Buffalo’s rushing attack is arguably the best in the nation, scoring 7 touchdowns on the ground in Week 1 against Wagner. Sure, it was against Wagner, but their scoring drives showcased a team who can score in a hurry and play keep away when necessary.

Nebraska got back on the right foot against Fordham, but there are still questions remaining for Adrian Martinez as a passer. If you can snag Buffalo at -14, that’s a must-get number for this out-of-conference bout.

Iowa (+4.5) @ Iowa State

Time and Channel: 4:30 PM ET, ABC

Sure, I missed on the Iowa Hawkeyes defense being this good, even if I did say they’d be the toughest test for Indiana and the Big Ten outside of Ohio State last week. The Iowa State receivers have shown year in and year out that they cannot separate. That, however, won’t have that much bearing on this game as Iowa plays a ton of off coverage.

Brock Purdy and Co. may have a recipe to win in this game, but with Riley Moss, Dane Belton, Matt Hankins, and Jack Koerner showing how quickly they can close space, Iowa’s secondary can do enough to keep it close. This will come down to which quarterback can elevate the players around him to a victory. My money’s on Purdy, but closer than 3.

Houston (-8) @ Rice

Time and Channel: 6:30 PM ET, CBS Sports Network

This Houston offense is not one to be reckoned with. Their offensive gameplan is a completely different machine. Sure, Clayton Tune threw 4 interceptions against a Texas Tech secondary, but they also held the ball for most of the first half. They proved they could score while playing keep away against a much more stout defense than Rice will trot out on Saturday.

Both of these programs fell off in the second half of their Week 1 performances, however, leaving too much on the table for victories. Still, Houston has the horses and defensive prowess to take care of their crosstown rivals. If Tune stays away from the turnover bug, this one isn’t even close.

Memphis (-5) @ Arkansas State

Time and Channel: 7:00 PM ET, ESPN+

The Memphis offense is not quite like the Mike Norvell days or even the Brady White days. Regardless, they’re a team that can win with a solid aerial assault. Historically, that is something that the Red Wolves have had their fair share of stopping.

Arkansas State will continually work with a 2-QB system even sans Blake Anderson as FSU transfer James Blackman shared duties with incumbent Layne Hatcher. Proving to still be one of the best in the nation when he’s on the field, Hatcher finished 12-of-12 for 150 yards and 4 touchdowns compared to Blackman’s 16-for-26 for 169 yards and 0 touchdowns.

If it’s Hatcher’s job full-time, you lean the other way. But with no telling of how long we’ll see him vs. Blackman, the gamble is worth it for Memphis to cover.

Texas (-6.5) @ Arkansas

Time and Channel: 7:00 PM ET, ESPN

At one point in their season opener, Arkansas was trailing Rice by two possessions. KJ Jefferson didn’t prove much in their victory over the Owls. Rather, it was the defense that showcased growth and star potential. Jalen Catalon provided a much-needed spark with 2 interceptions, and Bumper Pool was a tackling machine.

The Texas offense showcased a brand new weapon in Jordan Whittington, who was a yards-after-the-catch monster against Louisiana. Whittington would not go down on first contact after the reception and finished with 7 catches for 113 yards and 1 touchdown. When the two redshirt sophomores matchup against one another, Whittington vs. Catalon is must-watch television.

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