College football week 2 picks

Movie quote of the post:

“Sorry I’m not better looking”

– Henry Roth, “50 First Dates” (2004)

After such an exciting week one slate of games, there’s not much to be excited about for week two, but here are my picks for the intriguing matchups in week two:

Week one record: 8-4 (63.6 percent)
2016 record: 8-4 (63.6 percent)
All-time record: 120-63 (65.6 percent)

Saturday:

Pitt RB James Conner.
Pitt RB James Conner.

Penn State (1-0) at Pitt (1-0)
Heinz Field
Pittsburgh
Line: Pitt -4.5

This was once a big in-state rivalry, but these teams haven’t played each other since 2000. Penn State’s defense gave up 150 rushing yards on just 41 carries last week to Kent State. I think Pitt is a one-dimension offense, and the Nittany Lions will stack the box to slow down James Conner and dare Nathan Peterman to throw the ball. Penn State has more talent and Pitt won’t have a crowd to give them home-field advantage. There might be more Penn State fans at this game than Pitt fans. I think Penn State wins in a low-scoring game.

Prediction: Penn State 21, Pitt 16

Florida head coach Jim McElwain.
Florida head coach Jim McElwain.

Kentucky (0-1) at Florida (1-0)
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
Gainesville, Fla.
Line: FLA -16

Kentucky blew a 25-point lead last week to Southern Miss, and Florida struggled against UMass. I think the spread is a little too in Florida’s favor. The Gators have a mediocre offense, but their defense should keep Boom Williams and Kentucky’s offense in check. I don’t think Kentucky will be able to score enough points to win in a tough environment, but the Wildcats will keep it within the spread.

Prediction: Florida 23, Kentucky 10

South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp.
South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp.

South Carolina (1-0) at Mississippi State (0-1)
Davis Wade Stadium
Starkville, Miss.
Line: MSST -7

Will Muschamp was able to get a win in his debut as South Carolina’s head coach last week. I know that Mississippi State lost to South Alabama, but South Alabama is a better team that people think. I think Dan Mullen will have his squad ready to play this week, and the Gamecocks will struggle offensively.

Prediction: Mississippi State 23, South Carolina 17

TCU QB Kenny Hill.
TCU QB Kenny Hill.

Arkansas (1-0) at No. 15 TCU (1-0)
Amon G. Carter Stadium
Fort Worth, Texas
Line: TCU -7.5

Both of these teams weren’t impressive in their season openers as they both struggled against much lesser competition. Arkansas has the ability to keep TCU’s offense off the field and chew clock with its pro-style offense. At the end of the day, I don’t think the Razorbacks have what it takes to outscore the Horned Frogs.

Prediction: TCU 28, Arkansas 23

Iowa QB C. J. Beathard.
Iowa QB C. J. Beathard.

Iowa State (0-1) at No. 16 Iowa (1-0)
Kinnick Stadium
Iowa City, Iowa
Line: Iowa -15

Iowa State lost to Northern Iowa last week. While that’s an embarrassing loss, I have a feeling the Cyclones were looking ahead to this game because Iowa State always plays Iowa tough every year. Iowa is the much better team and I think the Hawkeyes pull away in the second half, but the Cyclones will keep it within the spread.

Prediction: Iowa 31, Iowa State 19

BYU QB Taysom Hill.
BYU QB Taysom Hill.

BYU (1-0) at Utah (1-0)
Rice-Eccles Stadium
Salt Lake City, Utah
Line: Utah -3

“The Holy War” – one of the more underrated in-state rivalries in college football. The two universities are less than a hour apart. Utah has won the last five meetings. BYU will find a way to make this an ugly, low-scoring game. That being said, Utah is a tough place to play and I think the uncertainty around BYU’s coaching staff will show in this game. It’ll be a close game, but I think Utah has the coaching edge and notches its sixth-consecutive win in this matchup.

Prediction: Utah 22, BYU 20

Illinois head coach Lovie Smith.
Illinois head coach Lovie Smith.

North Carolina (0-1) at Illinois (1-0)
Memorial Stadium
Champaign, Ill.
Line: UNC -7

The line for this game has slowly decreased the closer we get to Saturday. Las Vegas is trying to tell us that this will be a closer game than people think. I think North Carolina is well coached and has a ton of talent, but Illinois has some playmakers on its team as well. I think first-year head coach Lovie Smith will be prepared for this game. It’ll be a close game, but I think UNC’s talent will be too much for the Fighting Illini.

Prediction: North Carolina 26, Illinois 21

Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes.
Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes.

Texas Tech (1-0) at Arizona State (1-0)
Sun Devil Stadium
Tempe, Ariz.
Line: ASU -2.5

It’s hard to get a read on either of these teams. Both of them handled lesser competition last week and got easy wins. Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes is one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the country. Arizona State’s defense gave up more than 400 yards to Northern Arizona. Mahomes should be able to have his way against the Sun Devils’ defense. I like the Red Raiders in a shootout.

Prediction: Texas Tech 52, Arizona State 47

Washington State QB Luke Falk.
Washington State QB Luke Falk.

Washington State (0-1) at Boise State (1-0)
Albertsons Stadium
Boise, Idaho
Line: BSU -11

Washington State had one of the most disappointing debuts in the country. Many (including myself) thought that the Cougars might be able to contend for a Pac-12 title – but a loss to Eastern Washington in the season opener isn’t a good start. Boise State is a good team and has a tough defense. I think the Broncos will be able to slow down Luke Falk and the Cougars’ passing attack and get the win.

Prediction: Boise State 35, Washington State 30

San Diego State RB Donnel Humphrey.
San Diego State RB Donnel Humphrey.

Cal (1-0) at San Diego State (1-0)
Qualcomm Stadium
San Diego
Line: SDSU -7

Cal’s offense had an impressive showing in the season opener against Hawaii – scoring 51 points. However, I think Hawaii is one of the worst teams in the country. I predicted San Diego State to make a New Year’s Six bowl game before the season started. The Aztecs are good team and they have a stout defense with playmakers on offense. I don’t think Cal’s offense will be able to move the ball as well as it did against Hawaii. I think San Diego State gets the win.

Prediction: San Diego State 37, Cal 31

Oregon RB Royce Freeman.
Oregon RB Royce Freeman.

Virginia (0-1) at No. 24 Oregon (1-0)
Autzen Stadium
Eugene, Ore.
Line: ORE -24.5

The only reason I have this game in this post is because it’s a matchup between Power-Five opponents. That being said, I think this will be a very lopsided game. Virginia is a very below-average team with a new head coach – and the Cavaliers don’t have near the talent as Oregon. I think the Ducks win easily.

Prediction: Oregon 48, Virginia 21

Game of the week:

Tennessee QB Josh Dobbs.
Tennessee QB Josh Dobbs.

Virginia Tech (1-0) vs. No. 17 Tennessee (1-0)
Bristol Motor Speedway
Bristol, Tenn.
Line: Tenn -11.5

I’m not sure this will be a great game, but I’m really looking forward to this matchup. I’m interested to see how football looks inside Bristol Motor Speedway. It’s supposed to have the biggest crowd in college football history – over 150,000 fans are expected. Neither team looked impressive in their openers – particularly Tennessee. I think Butch Jones will use Tennessee’s performance last week as a kick in the pants to get this team back on track. Virginia Tech is in a transition with a first-year head coach and new coaching staff. That’s not a good recipe when trying to pull off an upset. I think the Volunteers will get it done.

Prediction: Tennessee 27, Virginia Tech 19

Thanks for reading

Shane Price
Follow me on Twitter – @priceisright53

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