This week’s slate of college football predictions features opinions on Texas’ revival, Nebraska’s dangerous trip into the Rocky Mountains, and Texas A&M’s trip to death valley. After a predictably unpredictable week one, the appetite for exciting football ramps up, and as does the caliber of games. Clemson hosts A&M, LSU travels to Longhorn country, and the huskers prepare for a mile-high bout with the Buffaloes.
LSU at TEXAS (+6.5)
Do you trust Texas? Have you trusted an LSU quarterback on the road since the Carter administration? On one hand, you’ve watched Texas lose to Maryland in more ways than Kevin McAlister tortured the wet bandits in Home Alone. But, Zach Mettenberger is LSU’s best quarterback of the past 12 seasons. So a Texas team riddled with inconsistency hosts a typical LSU side–strong ground game, hapless quarterback, defense lined with future Pro-Bowlers–and the spread is six and a half points? The Longhorns are laying nearly a touchdown at home with the best passer they’ve had in years while both teams are ranked in the top ten of the AP Poll?
When I read the lines every week ahead of the weekend’s slate of games, I look for numbers that jump out immediately. If a line is so out of whack that it tore my attention away from the Spain/Italy FIBA World Cup Game (as this one did this morning during Linguistics class), you know the oddsmakers made an error. If Texas is actually the ninth-best team in college football and LSU is sixth (like the poll says!), the spread should be around three to seven points in Texas’ favor.
SO, here’s my theory: the media overrates Texas every single year. Until dismantlement at the hands of that state college I mentioned a minute ago–whose mascot is a mutant tortoise–UT is one of many Clinton’s in the LMZ: Lewinsky Media Zone. (Means exactly what you think it does: teams that receive the Lewinsky treatment from the media). Looking back at their successful 2018-19 campaign compared to the rest of the decade of Longhorn football, it was an outlier! Yes! Texas over the 2010s SUCKED! So one 10-4 season completely flips the direction of the program and re-welcomes Texas into the elites of the sport? According to Vegas, not so much. And Vegas is honest. Brutally honest. They’re my one honest friend in sports coverage. I climb the trust the tree with Vegas. Vegas wants to take your money–and they do that by setting the line they think will split bettors 50/50. Maybe they’re trying to goad me into taking Texas when they know LSU is gonna kick the shit out of them. Whatever, I’m taking Texas. Two Reasons.
- Tom Herman is an underdog rainmaker. My man is 8-2-1 against the spread at Texas and has won 10 games outright as an underdog over the entirety of his career. If we were ever going to name a president of the “Nobody Believes In Us” club, Herman is the clear candidate. He’s begging you to count him out.
- Home field advantage. I’ll reiterate my earlier point: in a matchup of two seemingly even teams, take the home side. Texas is at home in a College Gameday bout between two top-ten squads…and they are 6.5 point underdogs. Take ’em. Stats and history are on your side.
TEXAS A&M (+16.5) at CLEMSON
A year ago, Jimbo Fisher nearly stole one over eventual 15-0 national champion Clemson. That record and their trouncing of Alabama rightfully earned them a unanimous number one ranking across the college football polls and finally put them on a two-team top dog pedestal with Alabama. I know Clemson went to four straight College Football Playoff’s and won two over ‘Bama, but the coronation of the Tigers as the co-zenith of NCAA Football wasn’t complete until their second championship triumph over Alabama. So, they are here. They are Alabama in terms of level of play, respect, and media consideration. A&M gets a shot at Clemson once again and I like them to keep it close.
Wait, but why? Didn’t I just explain how Clemson is the peak of amateur football and they are a steamrolling purple and orange juggernaut? Well, they are. I’m not predicting the Aggies to come out and beat Clemson. LOL, absolutely not. I’m saying there is a chance. But really, this game is going to be close. Jimbo and Dabo go way back (advantage Jimbo), A&M has the best defense Clemson will face until they meet Alabama in January, and Clemson is beatable. As I mentioned, last season’s game vs. Texas A&M ended in a one-point victory and the Tigers struggled mightily with Syracuse at home before pulling away late.
I just like the Aggies identity. Now, they have a veteran quarterback, second-year coach, playmakers on the defense. I like ’em to make it a game with Clemson. If not them then who?
NEBRASKA at COLORADO (-4)
LOCK OF THE WEEK. HEY MONN, DO YOU WANT TO FLAT OUT STEAL MONEY FROM YOUR JAMAICAN BOOKIE?
Just like with Texas, Nebraska is a crucial member of the Lewinsky crew. And they suck! Nebraska stinks! Their last Bowl victory came in the 2015 Foster Farms Bowl over UCLA. Foster freaking Farms? Oh, and they didn’t even win six games that year. The committee snuck the Huskers into the postseason just like Slick Willy snuck Monica into the White House. She probably could have started at fullback for half of the past decade of Nebraska teams.
I don’t know why I’m supposed to believe Nebraska is a good football team? Is it because they needed several non-offensive touchdowns to prevail over South Alabama? Maybe…because they won four games in 2018? Those are some strong points but I’m going to take Colorado. I know, perhaps the only place more depressing than underneath Clinton’s desk is the Pac-12. However, the Buffaloes have one perennial advantage when at home: the god damned altitude. You remember Wyoming beating Missouri last week. Colorado, Wyoming, those western states with really high altitude and thin air baffle visitors. Nebraska, a totally unproven top-25 team with a below-average quarterback hits the road to play a decent Colorado team? I’m taking Colorado to WIN–and cover of course. This game repeats itself in different forms every year and people always forget about the altitude.
(I know you don’t trust my opinion so here’s ESPN’s: Colorado has a 51.2% chance to win according to their FPI.)
Only three picks this week on the NCAA side. If you want to check out my NFL picks (that are already 0-1!), CLICK HERE. Otherwise, enjoy the weekend and reach out to me with any trash talk or theories of your own on twitter @alexhweber or email me at [email protected]