Maryland quarterback Josh Jackson reacts after throwing a touchdown pass to Tyler Mabry against Howard on Aug. 31 (Julio Cortez)
Maryland quarterback Josh Jackson reacts after throwing a touchdown pass to Tyler Mabry against Howard on Aug. 31 (Julio Cortez)|Associated Press

NCAA Football Week 2 - Mike Kern on Syracuse vs. Maryland, Nebraska vs. Colorado, Texas vs. LSU, Stanford vs. USC

Mike Kern

Mike Kern

It’s Week 2 of the college football season, so what do you say we get right to it.

I fear I like too many games this week, since that can sometimes be a bad sign. A good man has to know his limitations, right? From all those years when I had to pick 15 games each week for the Philadelphia Daily News (games which, by the way, I had selected), I can honestly say there were many times when I had little clue but still had to flip a coin or whatever. Now at least I’m free to pick and choose. I hope that’s a better way.

Let’s start with two games that jumped at me upon first glance. They would be Syracuse +1.5 at Maryland, and Nebraska -4 at Colorado. Syracuse won 10 times a year ago, and nearly beat Clemson, which they get next week. So maybe the Orange will be looking ahead. Maryland hasn’t been relevant in a while. Yet a bunch of people like Terps in this spot. Same with Nebraska, which has much higher expectations this year than anytime in recent memory, for a once-proud program. Colorado, meanwhile, doesn’t look like much. Yet I see where the computers have it as about a pick ’em. Who knows? I’ll take both Syracuse and Nebraska. Maybe just not for as much as my initial instincts would have warranted. Remember it’s still early. We haven’t really got a feel for a lot of this stuff yet. And both of those plays are playing on the road.

I also like Missouri -14, at home, to West Virginia. The Tigers got upset last week by Wyoming. I think they’ll come back big time against a Mountaineer club that might be one of the worst in FBS. At least I hope so. I expect Missou to put up some points.

For my SEC pick, I’m going with Texas +6.5 at home versus LSU, in probably the week’s best matchup. LSU is good, again, but always seems to finish like 9-3. There’s a lot of pressure on Texas this year, and most of it is self inflicted, after they declared themselves back following last season’s Sugar Bowl win over a Georgia team that didn’t want to be there. This is a huge statement game for the Longhorns, and I think they have a real shot at winning outright. You could also take them at +$200 on the money line, if you’re feeling lucky. I expect a close game either way. I just think UT is a live dog here.

I don’t really have much of an opinion on Penn State -30, in Happy Valley to Buffalo, which went 10-4 in 2018. I don’t think the Bulls can win, but 30 is a lot. For me it’s a no play, since the Nits did get 79 in the opener against Bucknell. And they do have Pitt next week. If anything you might want to try the Over 56. As long as the weather cooperates.

Wait, I have a few more.

The Over/Under on Stanford at USC has dropped to 43.5. But I would still lean to the Under. USC’s quarterback is out for the year, and Stanford scored 17 at home last week against Northwestern (but it did cover). So maybe this one turns into something like a 17-13 kind of game. I wouldn’t get too carried away, but you have to have something to root for from the left coast, don’t ya?

Last week, Tennessee got embarrassed at home by Georgia State, which of course can’t happen. But it did. Now the Vols (-3.5) get a decent BYU team at home. So like with Missouri, I will take Tennessee to bounce back. And I don’t think that’s asking too much, against a team that will be making a pretty long trip.

You didn’t think I’d let things pass without handing out a sucker or – excuse me − Teaser Bet. Well did ya? Here goes. UCLA lost at Cincy, and looked bad doing it. Now it gets San Diego State, which it has never lost to, and the Bruins are favored by nine. The line has gone up. I will knock that down to UCLA -3, and throw them in with Kansas -1, who I had last week when the Jayhawks beat Indiana State at home for new coach Les Miles. Now they’re laying 7 to FCS Coastal Carolina. I’ll move them down to the single point, and hope that both teams can do enough to get by. Maybe both will cover, in which case you should perhaps consider parlaying them too.

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