The first official week of college football was a little wild. Wisconsin stunk-up the joint, while Clemson’s highly-regarded young QB was completely ineffective against a stout Georgia defense. Ole Miss vs Louisville was about exactly what we expected it would be, and it took nearly four full quarters for Mike Norvell to realize he should’ve started McKenzie Milton at QB.
For the season, we’re off to an awesome 6-2 start. We got the margin of victory right on the nose in the Notre Dame game and came dangerously close to picking the exact score of the Ole Miss game. All things considered, we couldn’t have expected much of a better start to the season than this.
This week, we have four more games we like, as well another awesome DraftKings Promo where you can refer a friend and get up to a $100 free bet.
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We likely won’t have some of the same amazing headliner games, but there will be plenty of value out there for us under the radar. The only Top 25 matchup on the schedule this week is the Battle for the Cy-Hawk Trophy in Ames, Iowa this week between #10 Iowa and #9 Iowa State.
Aside from that, BYU vs #21 Utah, Navy vs Air Force, and #15 Texas at Arkansas are the only other closely projected, high-ranking games on the slate.
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook
#10 Iowa +4.5 at #9 Iowa State
For the most part, I’m very weary of rivalry games. This one is a little different for a few reasons. For one, Iowa State is carrying its highest ever ranking into this matchup. There has been a lot of hype around Iowa State coming into this season and very little pressure on the other side with the Hawkeyes.
The other thing I don’t like about this for the Cyclones is their performance in the opener. Northern Iowa has been a surprisingly good the past decade, but there’s no way they should’ve been close in a game in which they were 28-point dogs against Iowa State. Breece Hall, who is getting pumped as a potential NFL starting RB, had 23 carries for only 69 yards in the victory.
If you think that stagnant offense will suddenly emerge in a rivaly game against Iowa, you might want to reconsider. Last week, Iowa stomped #17 Indiana, 34-6. Sure, Indiana isn’t the same two-loss team from 2020, but a vast majority of starters returned for this season.
Expect Iowa’s defense to make the difference in this game. I like their rushing attack, and though there’s plenty of questions in the passing game, this Iowa State offense worries me more overall.
Iowa State 19 Iowa 16
Air Force -6 at Navy
I’ve been a big follower of Navy football over the last 17 years. I pay close attention to the team and I’m telling you now, this team is going to struggle offensively this season.
Last week, Marshall was a three point favorite at Navy and won 49-7. Navy isn’t awful all-around, but their lack of an ability to hold the ball and keep the defense fresh has put their own defense under the microscope.
Air Force has been a solid program for years now. Unlike Navy, they haven’t inexplicably dropped off the face of the earth in the last year and a half. Air Force runs a very similar offensive scheme to Navy, but Air Force is executing much better than Navy is at the moment.
Even with the familiarity of these two and the rivalry aspect, I expect Air Force to fly high on Saturday.
Air Force 31 Navy 14
Stanford at #14 USC -17
I would love to get on here and hype the return of both these teams as relevant on a national stage, but that would be a lie. Even if this isn’t the game it once was, USC has a very promising team this season, while Stanford might still be looking for the heir to the QB throne vacated by Davis Mills.
Last week, Stanford averaged just 1.8 YPC on 22 rushing attempts against Kansas State. Through the air, Stanford was unusually accurate, but completely ineffective, completing 77% of their passes for 194 yards. Stanford lost 24-7 and just couldn’t seem to cash-in on any of their drives.
USC is fresh off a 30-7 victory over San Jose State. Despite the scoreline, the Trojans only led 13-7 after three quarters. Though the Trojans overcame a slow start, thanks to their defense, it shouldn’t be overstated how decent San Jose State actually is (they won 45-14 over Southern Utah in Week 0).
USC is a defensive-focused team now. With how bad Stanford was on the ground last week, I feel like their young passing game faces some hurdles this week, as they’ll certainly have to lean on it more than they would have hoped. It’s too early for this Stanford team in this one. I think USC wins in a similar fashion to how they did last week (suffocating defense and efficient through the air).
USC 31 Stanford 10
#15 Texas -7 at Arkansas
Every season, it seems, we’re asking ourselves if Texas is back or not. Last week, Texas played a solid Louisiana Rajun Cajuns team and cruised to a 20-point victory. On the other side, Arkansas trailed most of the game against Rice, before scoring 31 unanswered en route to a 38-17 victory.
With momentum from the first win under new HC Steve Sarkisian, Texas appears to be the better team going into Saturday night’s game. It took Arkansas over a half to figure out Rice, so I expect Texas will be much more difficult for the Razorbacks to solve.
Arkansas wasn’t very good last season (3-7), and there’s actually little reason to suggest they’ll be improved this year. Their defense gave up an average of 34.9 PPG (99th out of 128 schools). Their passing attack is inefficient, and their run game is very inconsistent.
Meanwhile, Texas started a Freshman last week at QB (Hudson Card) and he looked surprisingly great. The backup even came in for a drive and easily led the offense down the field for a touchdown.
Texas looks to be a more complete team than the one we saw last season, while Arkansas looks like a team lacking talent who’s simply trying to find something that works on offense.
Texas should put on another solid offensive day, while Arkansas will likely struggle through the air but hang-in for a while with the legs of their QB extending drives. I suspect Texas will open-up a big lead in the third quarter and never look back. This is my pick of the week.
Texas 34 Arkansas 20