I don’t bet college football games. At least with money, I don’t. But I do like to put up a lot of mental capital each week, study the lines and make picks just for the fun of it.
Here are three lines that seem a little wonky to me, plus a read on Nebraska-Arkansas State.
Tennessee (-3) vs. Georgia Tech: Two new quarterbacks in this game between a pair of 9-4 teams a year ago. Tennessee returns a decent amount of experience overall, but is replacing some high-profile players. I’m a little surprised the Vols are favored in this neutral-site (Atlanta), Labor Day matchup. It feels closer to a toss up to me, and might not be the prettiest game to watch as a conclusion to college football’s long opening weekend. Give me the Yellow Jackets.
Colorado St. vs. Colorado (-3.5): Another neutral site game, this one in Denver. The line opened here at Buffs -8, which is probably too much residual respect for what Colorado did last year and not enough current respect for how good Colorado State has the potential to be in 2017. Seeing that line drop all the way down to 3.5 hurts, but I think the Rams are good enough to win outright, so that’s where I’m going.
UMass (-2.5) at Coastal Carolina: Ah, yes, the game everyone has been waiting for — Minutemen v. Chanticleers on the teal turf. This is Coastal’s first FBS game, its head coach, Joe Moglia, is out for the season and UMass actually didn’t play too poorly against a Hawaii team coming half-way across the world last week. But I’m still surprised Massachusetts is favored. This will be a big night for Coastal, fun atmosphere, maybe rainy and I just don’t think UMass is better.
Arkansas State at Nebraska (-14.5): This line keeps dropping. After sitting at Nebraska -16.5 most of the week, it’s down to -14.5 today. Given the mystery surrounding the Huskers, this is a tough one to predict with a wide range of potential outcomes. I don’t think it’s coming in at the number, however. If Nebraska’s defense is making the young Red Wolves line look like a young Red Wolves line and the Huskers are able to run the ball, Nebraska comfortably covers. But if Nebraska’s defense looks like it’s still learning, the run game is average and the Huskers have to spend a lot of time dropping back it becomes, in my mind, a game decided by 10 points or less. I don’t have the Huskers losing in any scenario — though nothing is out of the question — but the safest line play here is probably to take the Red Wolves, even at +14.5.
The Grab Bag
- ESPN has decided to pull the plug on a planned documentary about the mid-1990s Huskers.
- Lane Kiffin has two pair of Yeezys in his office. "I'm not a giant shoe person," he said. "I just know kids like 'em, and I'm not supposed to get 'em dirty."
- Which schools have the biggest home-field advantages? Nebraska ranks 38th nationally.
- ICYMI: Here are Mike Riley's post-practice comments from Thursday.
Today's Song of Today
Brandon is the Managing Editor for Hail Varsity and has covered Nebraska athletics for the magazine and web since 2012, Hail Varsity’s first season on the scene. His sports writing has also been featured by Fox Sports, The Guardian and CBS Sports.