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College Capper: Picking Games Week 2

Greg Vara

Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the 2013 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year. In addition to producing the weekly preview and the bulk of the draft kit content, Vara participates in Yahoo!'s "Experts Picks" where he routinely dominates. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.

Week 1 is in the books, and wouldn't you know it, the focus was again on Johnny Manziel. I could pile on, but I'm guessing that the masses are beginning to grow tired of this subject, so I'll move on to more important matters.

As is the case during every college football season, there are certain things you should take away from each week. Week 1 is especially important because it sets the bar for weeks.

Not only does our perception of the teams change after just one game, but the oddsmakers also begin the process of adjusting. It's important to get ahead of the oddsmakers at this point in the season and spot trends before they happen. This may be the only time all year that you'll find errors in mass from the oddsmakers.

Upon first glance at the lines for Week 2, a few things look askew. If all goes well, I'll be on the right side of these perceived errors and we can all cash in. If not, well, then we need to learn where and why we went wrong and ask ourselves if what happened in Week 2 is the mirage or the trend. Remember, the most current week is always going to weigh heavily on your perception, but that doesn't mean it's any more important than what happened two weeks ago, or three weeks. You get the point.


Cream of the Crop
(Week: 2-0/Season: 2-0)


FAU at East Carolina:
We learned last week that East Carolina did not fix its defensive issues this offseason. The Pirates surrendered 38 to Old Dominion, and it wasn't a case of a bunch of garbage-time scores either; Old Dominion kept pace with ECU for nearly the entire game. Although FAU is a FBS team, its offense isn't probably as adept as Old Dominion's. FAU only managed six points last week, but that was against a respectable Miami Hurricanes defense. I can't imagine ECU putting up less than 30-40 points in this game, and FAU should put in a couple scores as well. This game should go over with little problem.

Total: Over 55.5


South Florida at Michigan State:
The Spartans weren't exactly impressive in their 26-13 victory over Western Michigan last week, but some of that can be attributed to the awful weather conditions. It was so bad that there was a long delay, which is never good when you are simply trying to find a rhythm on offense. That result works in our favor this week, though, as the line has been kept in check, and the Spartans will probably find it easier to dispatch their opponent this week, which has a recognizable name, but is a former shell of what it used to be.

Side: MSU -23.5

Best of the Rest
(Week: 3-2/Season: 3-2)


FIU is going to be in the running for the worst FBS team all year. FIU struggled mightily last season and returned only three starters on each side of the ball this year. The result last week was a lopsided loss against Maryland, which isn't supposed to be a power house this season. UCF is a team on the rise and the Knights should have little problem dispatching their opponent this week. The public obviously thinks Vegas made a mistake here as the line, which opened at UCF -23, is now up to UCF -26.

Side: UCF -26


South Carolina at Georgia:
Georgia suffered a tough loss last week, but I don't think we should devalue the Dogs for losing on the road to a top-10 team. It was tough to garner anything from South Carolina's game last week as North Carolina wasn't much of a challenge. This game should come down to home-field advantage and desperation. Georgia has both on its side this week.

Side: Georgia -3

San Diego State at Ohio State:
The Buckeyes last week didn't appear to be the juggernaut as advertised, as they stumbled to a 40-20 win over lowly Buffalo. But again, that works to our advantage this week as the line in this game has been held in check. The opponent this week would appear to be a tougher task than Buffalo, but considering the Aztecs were thumped by Eastern Illinois last week, I don't think that's the case. Expect OSU to assert itself and get the blowout win everyone expected last week, this week.

Side: OSU -29.5

Utah State at Air Force:
I have to be honest; this line looks out of whack. Yes, I know that Utah State is actually a pretty strong team - heck I liked them last week at Utah - but this seems like an awfully big number to lay on the road against a decent Air Force team. That's all there is to it. Air Force can still run the ball and the Falcons should be able to stay within this number.

Side: Air Force +10

Navy at Indiana:
This is going to be my first pick based on principle this season. If you checked the ESPN ticker at all last week, you no doubt were taken aback by the 73 points the Hoosiers posted, but let's not forget the opposition - Indiana State. Yes, apparently, Indiana State has a football program. Whether it is in fact a club squad has yet to be determined. Anyhow, this line has no doubt been inflated because of that result, and I think it's a mistake. Navy should be able to keep this game within reach the entire way.

Side: Navy +12.5

PASSing Thoughts
(Week: 2-3/Season: 2-3)


Wake Forest at Boston College:
I hate going under a total in the 40s, but I'll make an exception here as BC has no offense to speak of and Wake's offense is still a work in progress. A somewhat normal game, special teams-wise, should seal the deal as neither offense is potent enough to put up points in a hurry.

Total: Under 48


Florida at Miami:
After a humiliating bowl loss to end the 2012 season, I expected to see the Gators come out on fire this season, but that didn't quite happen as the they could only muster a 24-6 win over Toledo. Some of that could be attributed to the look-ahead factor, but they have to step it up in the big way this week, and I'm not sure they're ready for the challenge. Miami seems to be getting a better, and I expect the Canes to put forth a great effort.

Side: Miami +3.5

Oregon at Virginia:
Virginia got off to a strong start last week with yet another low-scoring defensive struggle. It looks like the Cavaliers will again have a strong defense; the question is - can they slow the Ducks? It's hard to tell if the Ducks are indeed the Ducks again this season as their first-week opponent didn't offer much of a fight. While any game involving the Ducks has the potential to get out of hand, I think the Cavalier defense can slow them enough to stay within the number.

Side: Virginia +24

Notre Dame at Michigan:
Tough call here. Both teams looked impressive in Week 2, but Michigan was a little more impressive. That along with the home-field advantage and a relatively untested Notre Dame QB on the road leads me to believe Michigan can win this one by a TD.

Side: Michigan -4.5

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