Friday forecasts for Saturday college football games
Since sports gambling eventually will make its way to Kansas, I’m going to try my hand at picking three college football games vs. the spread for the rest of the Fridays throughout the season. I’ll track my record to see whether I should trust myself to suggest actual wagers once gambling comes to Kansas.
Friday forecasts for Saturday games, listed in order of my confidence in the picks, using odds that appear on vegasinsider.com:
1 (Best bet) - Army (+31) at Oklahoma: Sooners quarterback Kyler Murray has thrown 11 touchdowns and one interception in two seasons with OU, is one of the fastest players college football and was the ninth overall selection in the June baseball draft. He already has established himself as a bona fide Heisman Trophy candidate, but the service academies don’t get blown out very often because they frustrate defenses unaccustomed to facing triple-option offenses and keep the scoreboard from getting too lopsided because they eat so much clock by constantly running.
Army quarterback Kelvin Hopkins Jr. rushed for 110 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s 28-21 victory over a decent Hawaii team.
Predicted score: Oklahoma 44, Army 20
Pick vs. spread: Army
2 - Washington State (+4.5) at Southern Cal: WSU coach Mike Leach is a brilliant man and part of his brilliance lies in knowing what he doesn’t know, which is defense. He hired former Minnesota defensive coordinator and head coach Tracy Claeys, a native of Clay Center, to run his defense.
The Cougars haven’t played anybody yet, so it’s tough to draw too many conclusions, but their defense is ranked 18th in the nation, allowing 14.3 points per game, which can’t be a bad thing.
Meanwhile, Leach’s Air Raid offense is averaging 421 passing yards per game, second nationally to his old school, Texas Tech.
USC is ranked 113th nationally with 20 points a game.
Predicted score: Washington State 34, USC 27
Pick vs. spread: Washington State
3 - Tulane (+37) at Ohio State: Here’s why you never should use comparative scores to guide in predicting games: Nicholls State beat Kansas by three. Tulane beat Nicholls by 25, which makes Tulane 28 points better than Kansas, which beat Rutgers by 41 points, meaning Tulane is 69 points better than Rutgers, which lost to Ohio State by 49 points. Therefore, Tulane is 20 points better than Ohio State.
That’s absurd, of course, but there is a valid reason to believe Tulane will lose by fewer than 37 points.
No, it’s not that Urban Meyer in his return to coaching will be so mindful of being perceived as a sensitive guy that he won’t run up the score. Clearly, Meyer does not care about being perceived as a kind and caring individual.
Both teams run the ball more than they pass it, keeping the clock moving and shortening the game, and 37 points is a big margin for a short game.
Fritz’s teams tend to get better and this is his third season at Tulane.
Predicted score: Ohio State 48, Tulane 20.
Pick vs. spread: Tulane.
Best guess as to what Urban Meyer is saying in above photo: "Nick Saban only comes up to here on me."