First game is Friday at 10 pm EDT,. Saturday games start at 1 pm EDT.
ARIZONA STATE -33.5 over Sacramento State, Friday 10 pm EDT
Arizona State took it to Kent State in week 1 with a 30-7 win. While Kent State is a middling MAC team, they are far more talented than the Sacramento State team the Sun Devils are taking on this week. Not only is Sacramento State an FCS team, they are a bad FCS team. ASU star running back Eno Benjamin should take it to a weak Hornets defense and Jayden Daniels should lead the offense to a field day. The Sun Devils held Kent State to just 200 total yards. The only way Sacramento State gets past that number is if ASU empties their bench in the second half. I expect Arizona State to pound the Hornets early and the eager young guys will keep it going late. They should roll into their biggest matchup to date at Michigan State next week with a lot of confidence.
UTAH -22 over Northern Illinois, Saturday 1 pm EDT
Northern Illinois started the season with a less than convincing win over Illinois State, an FCS team. They return a lot of starters on both sides of the ball, but several key players are gone. They should be a middling team in the MAC this season. Groups with that profile generally do not fare well against teams with College Football Playoff aspirations. Utah showed the bite to go with their bark in a blowout against BYU in week 1. They have a strong defense and a powerful running game led by star back Zack Moss. They did not exhibit much ability to move the ball through the air last week, but I expect their defense and methodical offense to prove the difference in a blowout win for the Utes.
(More game picks below)
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COLORADO +3.5 over (25) Nebraska, Saturday 3:30 pm EDT
Nebraska is not back yet. They needed three non-offensive scores (two defense, one special teams) to get by a South Alabama team that is predicted to be in the lower half of the Sun Belt Conference. They can’t rely on that sort of turnover luck from week to week. It isn’t even that Colorado is a strong team, they aren’t, but Nebraska has not shown anything to back their preseason hype. Colorado replaces a lot of starters, but they have a grind-it-out offense that should keep Nebraska from winning the same way they did in week 1. I believe this game should be a pick-em with the Buffaloes at home, and I am taking Colorado getting points.
UCLA -7 over San Diego State, Saturday 4:15 pm EDT
The Bruins did not exude a sense of confidence in their week 1 loss to Cincinnati, although the Bearcats are a good team. Similarly, the Aztecs barely took a 6-0 win in a season opener against FCS power Weber State. Simply put, San Diego State has a terrible offense. Being extremely inefficient running AND passing the ball is not a recipe for beating a team with a lot of experience in their home opener. UCLA was equally woeful on offense, but they have the talent to bounce back. I expect that Dorian Thompson-Robinson will not have the ball slip out of hand twice again in week 2 and that they can get enough offense going to win by two scores or more.