Huge action on the gridiron on Saturday, and our College Football Experts have plenty of free picks for your pleasure. Here are a couple of the featured matchups, and you can find even more at our free picks page.
Missouri was a team that last year that most remember for having a lot of distractions. Now they have a new head coach in Barry Odom and new offensive coordinator Josh Heupel. I have Missouri has a sleeper especially in the SEC East where about anything can as we saw Tennessee almost gave one away.
Missouri struggled on offense big time last year but now Sopmore Drew Lock returns as the starter and I expect him to play a lot better with the new coaches in place here. People are forgetting how good the Tigers were on defense last year ranking 6th in total defense in the country and return 8 starters back. That is huge and why this line is to high.
West Virginia has a respectable year going 8-5. Their offense is very good but as I have mentioned Missouri has the defense to hold Skyler Howard in check. West Virginia wasn’t very good on defense last year either and they only return 3 starters from that crew. Missouri shouldn’t have troubles putting some points on the board and with that solid defense I see them hanging in there and possible pulling off the upset.
I’m backing Southern Miss plus the points over Kentucky on Saturday, September 3. The Wildcats scored less than 28 points in nine of 12 games last season, topping that number only against Charlotte, Eastern Kentucky, and UL-Lafayette.
Plenty of familiar faces return to the Kentucky offense in 2016 and Drew Barker will be behind center. The book is still out on the sophomore and the last time we saw Barker, he was completing just 6 of 22 passes in a loss to Louisville to close the season.
The defense allowed at least 27 points on seven occasions and will have to replace seven key tacklers. Southern Miss is flying under the public radar in a dead-heat with Western Kentucky to win the C-USA according to our power ratings.
New HC Jay Hopson takes over for Todd Monken who left for the NFL, but QB Nick Mullens is back and leads the best offensive backfield in the conference. Hopson will focus on the defense, which does lose three top players. The advantage: So Miss averaged nearly 7 yards per play and almost 40 ppg last season.
Even with a few new faces, including a pair of new starters at OT, we believe the offense will be too strong for a vulnerable Kentucky defense.
I’m backing Southern Miss plus the points over Kentucky. Thanks & GL! Scott Spreitzer.
Hawaii vs. Michigan
By Jesse Schule
The public loves Michigan this year, and it’s easy to see why. The Wolverines completely turned things around winning 10 games last season, after going just 5-7 in 2014. While Jim Harbaugh’s first year as Michigan’s head coach has come with plenty of fan fair, I believe this team is way overrated. It’s important to keep in mind that all 10 of last year’s wins came against teams that finished the season unranked. They lost at Utah, at home to Michigan State, and they were blown out at Ohio State.
The Wolverines will host the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors in their season opener, and they are asked to cover an enormous number here. Despite the fact that they played their fair share of cupcakes last season, they didn’t win any games by as much as 40 points. Hawaii was brutal last year, losing 10 of 13 games. Many of those losses were blowouts, but even against the likes of Ohio State and Wisconsin, the margin of defeat was less than 40 points.
They lost 38-0 at Ohio State in Week 2, and it’s worth noting that Michigan didn’t fair much better losing 42-13 when they traveled to Columbus. Hawaii has plenty of talent returning from last season, and this team might just be more competitive than it was a year ago.
The Warriors will get a chance to work out the kinks a week earlier when they play California in Australia. The Wolverines will not have that luxury, with a new quarterback under center in their first game of the season. Even if everything goes smoothly for Michigan, and they somehow manage to build a big early lead, expect Harbaugh to pull the starters which would likely allow Hawaii to get a back door cover.
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