In last week’s segment, I went an abysmal 2-4 on picks. Yes, I feel that putting the Iowa State game as the game to avoid should be considered a win. They hardly competed with Louisiana-Lafayette in the second half, which is what I hinted might happen. Furthermore, the only reason Clemson didn’t cover is that they decided to take their foot off the gas in the fourth quarter. I will admit, however, that Sam Ehlinger and the Texas offense proved me wrong. I did not expect them to score 43 points, let alone cover.
But, this week is a new week, with new picks. Week 3 in College Football will see most of the same teams in action as Week 2. Teams such as Tulsa, Oklahoma State, and Boston College will all be making their 2020 debuts. The Miami and Louisville game headlines the week’s schedule. I did not include that game in this preview, but if you follow any of my articles, you know who I’ll be taking. I think the game will be close, but give me Louisville by at least 2.5. Now, let’s get to the rest of my picks.
Picks to Make
Pittsburgh (-21.5) over Syracuse
Pittsburgh started their season strong last weekend with a blowout win over Austin Peay. I think their defense will be one of the best in the country, even without Jaylen Twyman. Moreover, Kenny Pickett and the Pitt offense looked good on Saturday. Meanwhile, Syracuse struggled just to put up six points on UNC last weekend. The Tar Heels struggled all game on offense, but still, put up 31 points on Syracuse. Pitt should play better than UNC did last weekend, so give me Pitt +21.5 en route to a 2-0 start for the Panthers.
App State (-4.5) over Marshall
App State vs. Marshall should be a pretty good game, as Marshall looks like they can compete this season. Grant Wells was dominant in his college debut in Week 1, throwing for four touchdowns. Also, Branden Knox, the reigning C-USA Player of the Year, is one of the best running backs in the country in terms of yards gained. The hype surrounding the Thundering Herd has been pretty steep to start the season, that a lot of people are taking them here to defeat Appalachian State.
While I think Marshall is talented, I believe that the Mountaineers are very undervalued here. Zack Thomas is a very talented quarterback, they have many returners on the offensive line, and they have some reliable members on the defense. I think Shaun Jolly is one of the best zone cornerbacks in the nation. Marshall will keep it close, but I don’t see App St. getting upset here. The Mountaineers by five should be one of the safer picks this week.
Wake Forest (+1.5) over NC State
For my upset of the week, I’m taking a team who had to start their season against Clemson. The Demon Deacons lost handily, but they did not lose by as much as I thought. They outscored Clemson 13-10 in the second half. NC State will have a challenging task in its season opener. I would favor Wake Forest in this game because they already have game experience, unlike the Wolfpack. Their offensive and defensive schemes will be completely different from last season’s. The Wolfpack finished 4-8 last season and lost this matchup by 34 points a year ago. I am surprised that NC State is even favored here, so pick the Demon Deacons as an upset with a ton of value.
Game to Avoid
Boston College vs. Duke (-5.5)
Boston College vs. Duke is this week’s game to steer clear from. I would avoid gambling with this ACC contest for a few reasons. The first being that we have no idea how Boston College will come out in their season opener. Saturday will be the first game in a new BC era, as head coach Jeff Hafley will be making his debut. They will also be starting a new quarterback, with Anthony Brown now playing for Oregon. For all we know, BC could lay a complete egg against a solid Duke defense. But, this young offense has so much upside, as they boast arguably the best offensive line in the conference.
Duke struggled defensively in Week 2 against Notre Dame, so it would not be out of the question to expect those struggles to continue. Chase Brice is still settling in as Duke’s starting quarterback, so do not expect perfection from him again in this one. There are too many uncertainties in this game to feel comfortable siding with either team in this ACC battle.