Welcome to Week 2! A huge week with juicy non-conference matchups across the board. Let’s see if we can find some winners.
Utah Utes at Baylor Bears
Saturday, September 9th at Noon ET
Utah -7.5, Total: 47.5 (Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook)
This will be the theme of this week, teams bouncing back from bad Week 1 performances. Baylor had the most embarrassing loss of Week 1 for any Power 5 losing at home by double digits to Texas State. I was shocked at how unprepared Baylor looked against the Bobcats’ high-flying offensive attack. I expect the Bears’ defense to be much better prepared for a Utes squad that is coming off of a win against Florida last week. The Baylor offense will be without Blake Shapen who suffered an MCL injury in the loss to Texas State will be led by Sawyer Robertson who was uninspiring in his action last week. On top of needing better play from Robertson, the physicality of Baylor will need to be much better than it was a week ago. The Utes last week weren’t great but had more than enough to handle the Gators in Salt Lake City. Cameron Rising is not expected back yet and Bryson Barnes will start again after being put on scholarship. Utah last year went on the road to Gainesville and lost to Florida. In that game, the Utes struggled with the heat and humidity of Central Florida. I expect Utah to struggle in the heat in Waco, where it will be 95 degrees at kickoff. I’m not sure if Baylor has enough offensively without Shapen to win outright but the defense will be better and keep the Bears in the game. Give me the points with Baylor.
PICK: BAYLOR +7.5
Oregon Ducks at Texas Tech Red Raiders
Saturday, September 9th at 7 pm ET
Oregon -6.5, Total: 68.5 (Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook)
What an absolute disaster Week 1 was for the Red Raiders. They got out to a 17-0 lead on Wyoming and it looked like Tech was going to cruise through the tough spot in Laramie. Instead, Texas Tech became the second Power Five team to go to Wyoming to open the season and lose outright as a double-digit favorite in the last five seasons. There were no adjustments on offense for the Red Raiders as they could only muster three points in the final three quarters of regulation and the defense failed in the big moments against the Cowboys. Oregon on the other hand put up a record 81 points on Portland State last week. Now I can’t take much from the Ducks beating up on an FCS opponent like that but it did prove their offense can be explosive. Bo Nix was great last week and has seemed to benefit from not playing in the SEC anymore. I expect Texas Tech to come out angry for this game after the embarrassing loss in Laramie last week. A little more consistency from Tyler Shough and the offense will lead to the Red Raiders playing the Ducks tight and it would not shock me one bit if Tech pulls the outright upset in Lubbock.
Pick: TEXAS TECH +6.5
Texas Longhorns at Alabama Crimson Tide
Saturday, September 9th at 7 pm ET
Alabama -7.5, Total: 54.5 (Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook)
The biggest matchup of Week 2 comes in a rematch of a closely contested game of a year ago. Alabama survived their trip to Austin last season behind the clutch play of Bryce Young and the injury to Quinn Ewers. I firmly believe that the Longhorns would’ve won the game outright if Ewers stayed healthy but nonetheless, Texas was able to go punch for punch with the Tide. Last week the Horns got off to a slow start but finished strong in a 37-10 win over Rice. Ewers looked composed and had good decision-making in his start of 2023. The defense was more than good enough against an overwhelmed Rice squad. Alabama absolutely pummeled Middle Tennessee State behind a dominant performance on both sides of the ball. Jalen Milroe impressed in the season-opening start as Nick Saban and his staff made the correct decision to have the versatile Milroe be their top Quarterback. For Texas to stay in the game they will need their defense to be up to the task of slowing down Milroe’s legs and star running back Jase McClellan. I expect Ewers and the offense to move the ball like they did a year ago in Austin before his injury. I think the defense will be up to the task and this will be a one-score game in either direction. Give me the points with Texas.
Pick: TEXAS +7.5
Oklahoma State Cowboys at Arizona State Sun Devils
Saturday, September 9th at 10:30 pm ET
Oklahoma State -3.5, Total: 56.5
One last play for you all for Week 2. Let’s go to the Arizona desert for the nightcap of the week. Neither of these teams were overly impressive in Week 1 victories over FCS teams. The Pokes defeated Central Arkansas by two touchdowns but the Bears averaged six yards a play (which was better than the Pokes 5.7 yards a play) and Oklahoma State’s Quarterback play was shaky. Mike Gundy used three different quarterbacks in Week 1 with his son Gunnar being the most successful. Expect another game of QB roulette from the Cowboys on Saturday Night. Arizona State had a lackluster three point win over Southern Utah. Motivation will be a question as the season goes along for the Sun Devils as they have taken a bowl ban for this season for infractions that took place in the Herman Edwards Era. New coach Kenny Dillingham is one of the youngest in FBS and I expect the Sun Devils will have success when they come to the Big 12 next season. Freshman Quarterback Jaden Rashada will start for the second straight week as Drew Pyne works his way back from injury. Both of these teams feel like 6-6 teams based off of their Week One performances and with both teams having quarterback questions I expect a close game. I’ll take my fourth underdog of Week 2, we’ll ride with the Sun Devils.
PICK: ARIZONA STATE +3.5
Before we go here are a few bonus plays for Week 2.
NC State +7.5 v. Notre Dame
East Carolina +3 v Marshall
Miami FL +4.5 v Texas A&M
Big 12 Bets: 1-2
Bonus Bets: 1-2