The Otter Room’s Weekly Football Picks

Under .500 at 5-6-1 last week, which brings the season mark to 12-10-2.

Boise State (-15.5) vs. New Mexico

With the recent allegations against Bob Davie in regards to player mistreatment, one would have to assume the environment in the Lobo locker room must be a mess and a trip to the blue turf in Boise won’t be a panacea.

#22 USF vs. Illinois (+17.5)

I was all over the Bulls as a preseason dark horse, but they have looked far from invincible through two games. USF struggled against San Jose State and Stony Brook, while there game against UConn was cancelled last week due to Hurricane Irma. Despite games against lesser competition, the Illini are 2-0 in year two of Lovie Smith and defeated Western Kentucky last week at eight-point underdogs.

Memphis (+3) vs. #25 UCLA – O/U 73 – OVER

Both teams boast powerful offenses with suspect defenses, so expect a shootout and never bet on a west coast team flying east for an early kickoff. Memphis jumps all over UCLA early and there is no miracle comeback to save the Bruins this time.

#24 Florida vs. #23 Tennessee (+4.5)

Although Florida has had Tennessee’s number for most of the past decade, until the Gators show any signs of offense, you can’t bet on them, even in the swamp. The Vols found a way to win against Georgia Tech in the opener and haven’t won a game in Gainesville since 2003, but they got off the schneid against the Gators a year ago and that confidence will lead them to the upset this week.

Boston College vs. Notre Dame (-13.5)

How the Irish come out of the gates at Boston College this week will be a large indicator on Brian Kelly. Notre Dame has struggled in road games against all kinds of competition and ff they come out fast and put an inferior opponent away early, the Irish will have put the UGA loss behind them. However, if they allow BC to hand around and make this a second half game, the temperature will increase on Kelly’s hot seat. BC’s defense is a strong point, but not on the same level at UGA’s. The Eagles always play ND tough, but the Irish offense will get back on track and ND’s defense will continue their strong play against a porous offense.

#8 Ohio State vs. Army – O/U 53 – OVER

Ohio State may still feel the effects from the Oklahoma loss, so a slow start from the Buckeyes should be no surprise. However, the talent disparity will manifest itself as the game goes on and OSU may hit the over on their side of the scoreboard alone.

#2 Oklahoma vs. Tulane (+35)

Like the Buckeyes, Oklahoma will have to deal with the hangover of last week’s emotional game. The Green Wave gave Navy all they could handle last week and have the defensive capabilities to keep this game within reason.

Mississippi State (+7) vs. #12 LSU

Behind quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, the Bulldogs offense has looked strong through two games. However, the junior will take a step up in competition this week vs. LSU. The Tigers defense is as good as any in the country, but Fitzgerald and the Bulldog offensive attack will be the best LSU has faced. Seven points in a lot to give on the road, so LSU will win the game, but it will be tight with the outcome in doubt late.

Wyoming (+14.5) vs. Oregon

The Cowboys failed in their first test against a Power 5 team as Wyoming lost decisively to Iowa in week one. The Cowboys will have more success against Oregon who will have to fight against a letdown effect after beating Nebraska last week.

South Carolina (-6.5) vs. Kentucky

South Carolina has looked like the most impressive team in the SEC East thus far. Jake Bentley may very well be the best quarterback in the SEC and William Brice will be rocking in for the Gamecocks home opener. While Kentucky is 2-0, the Wildcats have not looked impressive in those wins.

Vanderbilt vs. #18 Kansas State – O/U – 50 – UNDER

This may be the most underrated game of the week. Both teams have started 2-0 and the winner will have a ton of momentum heading into conference play. I, along with many, had Kansas State pegged as surprise team, but they have not looked great against inferior teams (Charlotte and Central Arkansas). Both teams are defensive minded and expect the Wildcats to struggle in their first road game. Vandy keeps it close into the fourth quarter of this slug-fest.

#4 USC vs. Texas – O/U 67.5 – OVER

In the preseason, I thought Texas had a chance to upset USC. However, the UT defense does is not capable of keeping an elite offense under 40 points. The Longhorns will score some points against USC and keep the game close for a half, but the firepower of the Trojan offense will separate themselves in the second half.

Cal (+3.5) vs. Ole Miss

After an impressive win at North Carolina in week one, the Bears looked shaky last week as they trailed Weber State in the fourth quarter. Ole Miss is not used to traveling this far for a road game and had their struggles against FCS opponent Tennessee-Martin last week. These teams seem to be even matched, so go with the home underdog.

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