You may be familiar with our weekly underdog article. Well, last year we decided we needed to show some love on the other side by also sharing our two college football favorites that we share weekly on the “Big Bets on Campus” podcast..
We affectionately refer to them as “excesses,” thanks to one of our beloved callers. After a split in Week 1, we swept last week with Liberty and Wake Forest avoiding the dreaded backdoor coverage late.
This week, we face two heavy favorites in the 3:30 pm ET kickoff window: a perennial dynasty and one of the worst offenses in college football in recent years.
Stuckey: Iowa -28.5 vs. Western Michigan
How about we start with a favorite with four touchdowns in a game with a total of 43? If this seems crazy to you, it’s because we haven’t seen that happen among FBS teams in 15 years.
I’ve probably lost my mind (again), but I actually like the Hawkeyes favorite here. Hopefully, it won’t take as long as the seven hours (due to multiple weather delays) the Hawkeyes needed to barely cover as 24-point favorites for us against Nevada last season.
In that particular game, Nevada had no chance to really score, averaging 2.9 and 1.9 yards per pass and rush, respectively. When the final whistle sounded, Iowa’s defense had allowed a meager 151 total yards.
I expect a similar result for an equally inept Western Michigan offense.
The Broncos lost all of their best skill position players in the offseason and still haven’t even identified a starting quarterback and all three are expected to play in snaps Saturday, which could spell doom against the secondary. from Iowa that sells balls.
Last week, the Broncos lost to Syracuse, 48-7, but that could have been much worse if the Orange hadn’t managed to rally after leading 45-7 at the half.
Sure, Iowa’s offense still has its limitations, but Cade McNamara, now looking fully healthy, gives the Hawkeyes the highest ceiling at quarterback they’ve had in quite some time.
In a game where WMU could easily get shut out, I’ll trust this Iowa offense to open up a little more to at least reach the 30 against a bad MAC defense.
Additionally, with the Big Ten roster starting next week, offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz could really use an offensive explosion for the scoring-based incentives in his contract.
Lastly, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Iowa score on defense or even special teams, where they will have a big advantage. The Hawkeyes won, 59-3, the last time these teams met in 2013; Don’t be surprised by a similar result this weekend at Kinnick.
Wilson: Alabama -33 vs. USF
I’m looking for a big bounce-back performance from Alabama after the Tide fell to a rare non-conference home loss to Texas in Tuscaloosa last week.
If you thought that was weird, Alabama going on the road to play a Group of Five team is even weirder, since that hasn’t happened since 2003 against Hawaii.
While this is a road game, I don’t expect much home field advantage for South Florida. Plus, it might be good for this Alabama team to hit the road to refocus after last week’s loss.
For what it’s worth, Saban has beaten non-Power 5 teams like a drum in recent years, including a cover earlier this season against Middle Tennessee. Since 2021, Alabama has outscored seven non-Power 5 teams by a score of 375-45, an average of 54-6.5.
The lack of talent on the field Saturday could lead to a similar result, especially if Alabama comes out with a vengeance like I expect.
It’s just hard to imagine South Florida doing much on offense. Alex Golesh will eventually get the passing game going, but it’s currently a work in progress, especially with projected starting quarterback Gerry Bohanon still out with an injury.
Even against Florida A&M last week, USF was able to muster just 4.1 yards per pass attempt, while half of its rushing attempts were thwarted, in a game that advanced statistics suggest the Bulls actually should have lost.
Meanwhile, the defense, which was one of the worst in the country last year, still can’t buy a stop. Even the aforementioned FAMU Rattlers recorded 10 passes of 15 yards and seven of 20.
There’s no reason why Alabama shouldn’t get whatever it wants on offense. Plus, I’m sure Saban wants to see Jalen Milroe do well in the passing game after his struggles last week. He probably also wants to see his backup before the start of SEC play.
So, Saban and Co. may not take a big lead in the second half like they have at times in the past.
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