The early part of the season is the most difficult to handicap, and that's evident through the first two weeks of The Six Pack. After going 3-3 last week, I'm a decent 5-5 on the season, but thankfully one of last week's wins was the Upset of the Week (Florida over Utah). That made it a profitable week overall.
This week will be interesting for a couple of different reasons. The first is that ... you know ... we've now seen everybody play at least once. That's an integral part of learning about a team! The additional information helps. However, we must also be aware of overreactions to what we see.
Does Oregon's 46-point loss to Georgia mean it's no longer one of the best 25 teams in the country like the AP Poll suggests, or is it just an indication of how good Georgia is? Also, even though we picked the upset, are we sure Florida is the 12th-best team in the country after a close win at home against Utah?
We have to separate the signal from the noise, and I've found some spots we can do that. All odds are via Caesars Sportsbook.
Games of the Week
No. 1 Alabama at Texas: It's the biggest game of the week in the eyes of many, but will it be one of the best? While I'm working hard to erase the narrative about Nick Saban dominating former assistants by telling everybody that he has lost two of his last three against them, something tells me Steve Sarkisian won't make it three of four. Texas has continuously been one of the most overrated teams in the betting market over the last few years, particularly early in the season. Nothing about last week's 52-10 win over ULM quiets my concerns about the Longhorns.
Texas is going to score points, however. Sarkisian is an excellent play caller, and the Horns have a lot of offensive talent. However, that defense was so bad last season, and I'm not ready to trust it to stop an Alabama offense that looked dominant against Utah State last week. The Crimson Tide put up 55 points and 559 yards ... and still took the final 25 minutes of the game off. Seriously, it was 55-0 with 10 minutes left in the third quarter against a team that won the Mountain West last year. I won't be surprised to see Texas have offensive success here, but you can't count on it to stop Alabama. Alabama 45, Texas 20 | Alabama -20
No. 9 Baylor at No. 21 BYU: The total looks too low! It's not giving nearly enough respect to what should be a good battle of quarterbacks in BYU's Jaren Hall and Baylor's Blake Shapen. Now, I have some concerns about potential absences on offense for BYU, and we all know Dave Aranda's Baylor defense is salty, but the line still seems off. These teams played in Waco last season, with Baylor winning 38-24.
I don't know how this game can be lower scoring in Provo considering the Bears' upgrade at QB (sorry, Gerry Bohanon, nothing personal). In last year's game, Baylor did a great job of slowing the BYU run game, but Hall threw for 342 yards on the Bears. On the other side, Baylor ran all over BYU, with Abram Smith going for 188 yards and Trestan Ebner going for 95. Both are gone this year, but Baylor spread the carries around last week and appears to have good options available. Meanwhile, BYU blew USF's defense out of the water, but the Bulls offense found room to work. This one might hit the over before the end of the third quarter. BYU 31, Baylor 28 | Over 53.5
Lock of the Week
Kansas at West Virginia: What a terrifying place to be. The Lock of the Week is off to an 0-2 start on the season, and I'm turning to the Kansas Jayhawks to get my first win. Reminder: these are the same Kansas Jayhawks that are 15-79 in the College Football Playoff era (since 2014) and only 36-56-2 ATS in that time. But you know what? The market is sleeping on Rock Chalk this weekend. The market does not yet realize the burgeoning power being built by Lance Leipold in Lawrence.
OK, burgeoning power is a bit much, but Kansas is improving. While the results haven't shown up as well, the underlying metrics I use to rate teams have been improving since Leipold took over last season. Kansas isn't good enough to reach a bowl game, but it is good enough to sneak up on some teams. The key to it all is its rushing attack. Like Leipold's teams at Buffalo, Kansas is great at finding explosive rushing plays. That was on full display last week against Tennessee Tech, but while I don't put too much stock in that -- it's Tennessee Tech, after all -- West Virginia's rush defense and overall tackling looked suspect against Pitt last week. Kansas is going to keep this one closer than you think. West Virginia 34, Kansas 27 | Kansas +13.5
Under of the Week
Duke at Northwestern: What has the world come to that oddsmakers are posting totals near 60 in games involving Northwestern? I mean ... what? Because the Wildcats had a pulse offensively against Nebraska in Ireland, we're all supposed to believe that they have merged into an Air Raid team? Hey, maybe they have. Maybe Northwestern will be flinging the ball all over the Big Ten this season. I'm not buying it yet, though, not against a Duke team with a new head coach who made his career on the defensive side of the ball.
Duke shut Temple out last week and held the Owls to only 179 yards. Temple is not good, but we were still able to get an idea of how Duke wants to play this year. The Blue Devils won't be in a hurry to snap the ball, and Northwestern will likely be more than happy to play along. Northwestern 23, Duke 17 | Under 58
Hottest Seat of the Week
Louisville at UCF (Friday): If Louisville coach Scott Satterfield wasn't on the hot seat already, he is now following a 31-7 loss at Syracuse last week. It's not so much that the Cardinals lost -- a road conference game to open the season isn't easy -- it's how overmatched they looked against a Syracuse team nobody expects much from this season. Now, it's possible the Orange could have a breakout season like they did in 2018, but something tells me Cardinals fans won't care.
So now Satterfield is staring down an 0-2 start on the road against a good UCF team, and history suggests it won't go well. As Ralph Michaels pointed out on Twitter, teams that lose as road favorites in Week 1 and then play on the road again in Week 2 have gone 1-12-1 ATS in the second game. It's not a large sample size, but it's still an alarming trend. And after watching Syracuse's offense carve that Louisville defense to shreds, I fear what UCF could do. UCF 37, Louisville 27 | UCF -5.5
Upset of the Week
Boston College at Virginia Tech: Both of these teams were upset last week, but Boston College is the one I'm the least worried about. I'm not saying losing at home to Rutgers isn't concerning, but the Eagles were in control for most of the game before things fell apart late and three turnovers killed them. At no point did I feel like the Hokies were in control during their 20-17 loss at Old Dominion.
I'd be more willing to write off Grant Wells' four interceptions if we haven't seen examples of poor decision-making from him before, and 14 penalties is a significant concern, too. So as we head into Week 2 with both teams facing an 0-2 start to the season, I'm going with the team with the QB I can trust more. Phil Jurkovec is better than the player we saw against Rutgers last week, and he'll bounce back against the Hokies, leading the Eagles to a road upset. Boston College 27, Virginia Tech 24 | Boston College (+115)
Games of the Week
Lock of the Week
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