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By Alex Lauzon from the “Course of Life” podcast
Week 2 is here, and it’s time for many big dogs to get their first test.
WEEK TWO – PICK UP THE PIECES
The Labor Day buffet of week 1 college football brought us some laughs, some screams, and a few close calls but no truly shocking results – until Brian Kelly’s LSU debut ended with a nightmare-ish blocked the extra point to force overtime against Florida State. Outside of that stunner of a finish, no big-name powerhouses fell (sorry Utah), and we’re still waiting on our first season-defining moments of this young CFB season.
As week two approaches, a lot of the blue-chip programs are following up their week 1 “tune up and get right” performances with their first true tests against conference foes or just far superior opponents from what they last saw. It’s time to take another step up in competition. Let’s get to the lines, takes, and tidbits for week 2.
TUNE-IN GAME OF THE WEEK
I just have to drive a few minutes down I-35 for the tune-in game of the week here in Austin, where the #1 Alabama Crimson Tide (-19) make their long-anticipated visit to Texas to play the unranked Longhorns. This home-and-home series between two titans of college football is over a decade in the making and brings back some not-so-lovely memories of the 2009 National Championship game for Longhorn fans. The scene looks entirely different now as a Steve Sarkisian-led, Quinn Ewers quarterbacked squad has their hands full with an Alabama team in mid-season form. Defending Heisman Winner Bryce Young is back and seemingly better than ever.
THE NIGHTCAP GET-IT-BACK GAME
As the sun will go down on week 2 this Saturday, there’s a super intriguing matchup of schools that rarely go against one another as Mississippi State plays Arizona in Tucson for the night capper. It’s a classic trap game setup where a favored SEC program goes to a very unfamiliar location to play late at night against an upstart Wildcat squad. This is one of those games that could go to the wire, or the bigger, badder Bulldogs could slow bleed this game away from Arizona by halftime, and it could very well be a snoozer to cap things off.
WEIRD VIBE PREDICTION OF THE WEEK
As disastrous as last week’s picks may have been, this season’s shining light has been the weird vibe thought each week. I’m 2 for 2 in this category, as last week’s in-state tussle between NC State and ECU was down to the wire, and ECU covered +12 easily. This week, the weird vibes are taking us to Pittsburgh, where the Tennessee Volunteers are a 7-point favorite, and it creeps me out. They’re on the road, Pitt seemed to find some good offensive vibes with Keenan Slovis, and this reeks of a nail-biter game.
WEEK 1 RECAP – TRAGEDY
The birthday under-pick in Oklahoma State/CMU was indeed a sign of things to come last weekend. Although the weird vibe ECU pick was spot on, the spreads bit us HARD. Georgia/Oregon’s point total stayed under by 1 point, Houston won by 2 but failed to over -3.5, and Ohio State labored their way to an 11-point victory that failed to cover -17.
Week One: 1-4 ATS, Season Overall: 4-6 ATS
EARLY WEEK 2 PLAYS FOR ALEX
For starters, I’m an Austinite but not a Longhorn. That’s still enough peer pressure to make me fall into the trap of betting Texas +20 (it could be more by Saturday). While I like the Tide to roll when push comes to shove, Quinn Ewers has enough in the chamber to get the Horns in the end zone a few times and keep UT relevant in an early start time.
Vanderbilt’s 2-0 record is as fraudulent as it gets, with wins over lowly Hawaii and Elon to start the season. They’ll run into a much fiercer competition in the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, and it will be a rude awakening. Wake Forest -8
Let’s go back to the well on Houston, who did everything but cover in their thrilling win last week. They’ve got firepower, and so does Texas Tech, so this will be a shootout and go Over 65 points.
Oklahoma State should not be favored by 11 points this week. They looked pretty suspect on defense against Central Michigan, So I’ll take Arizona State +11 to keep things tight in Stillwater.
Baylor has an incredibly tough spot in the nightcap top 25 matchup, and I’m obliged to take BYU -3 in front of their home Provo crowd.
Here are some other diamonds I’m leaning on early this week:
Boise State/New Mexico Over 44, Georgia Southern +21.5, Oregon State/Fresno State Over 60, Pitt + 7.
EATS AND DEETS
The teleport game: Let’s teleport to Provo (I know, wild). Just for the game – BYU has a raucous home crowd, and they host a dynamic Baylor squad in the only top 25 matchup of the week 2 slate.
Goofiest line: Michigan -51 hosting my beloved Hawaii Rainbow Warriors. Not a great start to the Timmy Chang era.
Simultaneous screen count: Just 2 screens plus your phone for game tracker. While it’s a full slate, it could be more impressive in top-tier matchups.
Tailgate pick of the week: In honor of the pregame shows visiting Austin this week, let’s go with brisket sandwiches for the tailgate.