Tentative Predictions. They’re kind of like “Fearless” predictions, except we’d never advocate laying real money down — tisk, tisk: gambling is likely illegal in your great State, Frumpster — and we actually provide our readers with some ways to rationalize failure should these picks not come through.
College Football’s opening weekend saw Frump go a disappointing 3-3 ATS. We didn’t blog our picks beforehand — like we are this week — but we tweeted about it quite a bit, so don’t accuse us of making that stellar record up, okay?
Virginia Tech +1.5, Louisiana-Lafayette +29.5, and LSU -9.5 cost us, and keep us at .500 for the season, but this week we’ve got another 6 games that should push us into the green. If not, well, feel free to use one or more of the Cowardly Cop-Outs provided below.
So, if you need some rationale to make some picks yourself this weekend — or just want to make fun of someone else’s, even ours — make the jump for some angles on East Carolina -13, Georgia Tech -12.5, Rutgers -16.5, Georgia-South Carolina Under 46.5, Hawaii-Army Over 51.5, and N.C. State-Central Florida Over 51.5.
Memphis @ East Carolina -13
Did you catch that ECU-Tulsa game last week? Pretty dang exciting, huh? Great start to the Ruffin McNeil era in Greenville, and over a Golden Hurricane team that many have touted as one of the best teams in C-USA this year.
The Pirates have lost a lot from their 2008 and 2009, back-to-back, C-USA Champion teams, but they displayed a lot of heart and determination in this year’s opener by winning SU despite being a 7 point dog. I was impressed.
Sure, they may have given up 49 points at home, but they’re not playing Tulsa this week. No, this week the Pirates host Memphis, and the Tigers should be a much more accommodating guest.
ECU is 12-3 ATS versus Memphis since 1992, and 6-1 ATS at home over the same period. The past four meetings between the two teams have seen the Pirates win SU by an average of 17.5 points, and I fully expect Dominique Davis to lead ECU to another three-score-or-more win this Saturday.
Cowardly Cop-Out: “Well, this was a prime setup for a classic ‘let down’ game after a thrilling, yet draining, upset win over Tulsa last week.”
Georgia Tech -12.5 @ Kansas
I’ll be honest with you: If you can still get in on this one at Tech -12.5, I’d be shocked. Nevertheless, Frump did — hypothetically, of course — when the line first came out. Trust Frump’s magic eye here, even at 14+, or so, this one is still worth a play.
There’s really only three things you need to think about here: 1. Georgia Tech is 9-2 ATS on the road the last three years; B. Georgia Tech is 15-4 ATS whenever they’ve played on a Saturday during that same period; and III — and this is by far the most important of the three — Kansas lost 6-3, at home, to North Dakota State last week.
I’m gonna repeat roman numeral three in a separate paragraph. You know, just to drive it home.
The Kansas Jayhawks lost 6-3, at home, last week to the North Dakota State Bison. Kansas scored 3 points. North Dakota State scored 6 points. The game was played in the state of Kansas. At a stadium in which the Jayhawks typically host visiting opponents. Before a crowd predominantly made up of Jayhawk fans. That is all.
Cowardly Cop-Out: “Pffft! I knew this one was just too good to be true…Vegas always knows best!”
Rutgers -16.5 @ Florida International
Slotting what I feel is Frump’s shakiest pick in the middle of the pack today, let’s gamble on Rutgers. Now, on paper, the Scarlet Knights should whip out a big ole load of hurt all over the FIU Panthers. They should have done this last year, as well — when they were a 51.5 point favorite, yet only won 23-15 (at home).
Still, Rutgers is a surprisingly solid team (on paper), and I just have to think the chances of lightning striking twice in a game like this is quite low. Besides, we’re getting an extra 35 points to work with from just a year ago, and Rutgers returns a threatening trio of offensive skill players in QB Tom Savage, RB Joe Martinek, and WR Mohamed Sanu, not to mention Juniors and Seniors across the offensive line.
As this is FIU’s opener (Rutgers beat Norfolk St. 31-0 last week), here’s to hoping that the Panthers will be working out some first game kinks and jitters…and Rutgers can post a 20+ point win –they are 8-2 ATS on the road over the last three years, after all.
Cowardly Cop-Out: “Rutgers looked awful in the first half of their opener, and FIU gave them loads of trouble last year in New Jersey. Heck, FIU’s coach is even a former Greg Schiano assistant — no wonder they’ve got their number!”
Georgia @ South Carolina – Under 46.5
No, we’re not gonna talk about the absence of A.J. Green, or the distraction of the ongoing investigation in Columbia at right now. We’re not even gonna highlight that Georgia’s QB, Redshirt Fresham Aaron Murray, has only one college game under his belt — at home against Louisiana-Lafayette. We are, however, going to talk about the alarming number of Unders in this series over the years. Seriously, it’s…well, alarming.
The Under has prevailed the last seven times this game has been played in Columbia, and — overall — has hit in 12 of the past 15 games in which there’s been any action on the Total at all.
As if you needed more than that, consider this: Georgia and South Carolina have played each other every year since 1992. That’s 18 games. How many times during that span has this rivalry game’s total score eclipsed 46.5 points, you ask? Only twice. I’ll take those odds.
Cowardly Cop-Out: “Well, 16 out of 18 being Under 46.5 is great, but last year’s game was a 41-37 Georgia win. Should have known better…”
Hawaii @ Army – Over 51.5
Here’s all you need to know about this one: 1. Hawaii can’t stop anyone, especially on the ground, but they can throw the ball on just about anyone (except Georgia in New Orleans, but that’s neither here nor there); 2. Army can’t stop anyone — by land, air, or sea — but their option attack has the potential to give even a good defense fits in spells (And Hawaii doesn’t have a good defense).
Hawaii gave up 246 yards on the ground to USC last week in a 49-36 loss at home. The Warriors also happened to throw for 459 yards against the Trojans’ D, and actually had a TD called back on a bad call (Hawaii also rushed for 129 yards –I’m not even kidding).
Last week Army beat Eastern Michigan 31-27. The Black Knights rushed the ball a whopping 55 times for 309 yards, and completed 5 passes for 65 yards. With that kind of ground game, how on earth did Army not dominate this game, right? Well, Eastern Michigan rushed 51 times for 285 yards. That probably had something to do with it.
Believe it or not, the Army-Eastern Michigan game was not played in 1944. Now, it may have been difficult for last week’s spectators to come to terms with that reality — that it was still 2010, and they hadn’t wormholed their way to some cruel, parallel universe in which anachronistic offenses reign supreme — but that won’t be a problem when Hawaii makes the trek across the Pacific to West Point in Week 2.
Bottom line: Neither team will be able to keep the other’s offense off the field, and that should obviously give us beaucoups of points. If these two can’t at least manage 28-24, well, see the Cowardly Cop-Out immediately below.
Cowardly Cop-Out: “I should’ve known better…just who the hell bets on Hawaai-Army anyway?”
N.C. State @ Central Florida – Over 51.5
Finally, Frump rounds out the card with a little local flavor. A lot of folks in Raleigh are expecting really big things out of the Wolfpack’s offense this year, and I don’t necessarily disagree.
QB Russell Wilson might very well be the most underrated signal caller in the nation, and he’s got some pretty solid weapons that you’ve probably never heard of either (See Owen Spencer, T.J. Graham, Jarvis Williams, et. al.).
Of course, a potent offense only does you so much good if you can’t seem to keep your opponent’s offense from looking as good as yours, and this quandary has plagued the Wolfpack throughout Tom O’Brien’s tenure.
In the 33 games played against FBS opponents over the past three years, N.C. State has allowed 30 points per contest. The situation isn’t necessarily improving either, as the Pack has given up a startling 38.4 points a game in its last 9 games against FBS opponents.
Again, however, the good news for NCSU is that they typically don’t have problems putting points on the board. In those same 9 games mentioned above, State’s offense managed to put up nearly 28 points a game. So, assuming this trend continues against UCF, we might hit the Over prior to the start of the 4th quarter.
All that said, I suppose it’s not surprising that N.C. State is on a 14-2 Over run (on Saturdays) over the last three seasons. And given that the Golden Knights aren’t exactly shy around points themselves — they averaged 24 PF and 20 PA against FBS oppoents in 2009 — Frump thinks the Over is a solid play here.
Cowardly Cop-Out: “I knew N.C. State’s defense would be MUCH improved this year. Getting Nate (Irving) back probably equals three or four W’s that were L’s last year. Should’ve known there wouldn’t be nearly as many shootouts as 2009…”