CFB Week 2 Picks: NC State, Miami headline top expert picks


Week 2 of the college football season is for the diehards.

Outside of the two Top 25 matchups, the schedule is a mess.

The interesting matchups will likely develop on the fly because, let’s be honest, there is no such thing as a boring college football Saturday.

It may just take longer for some of the storylines to develop since they won’t be right in front of our faces from the jump.

Both of us are off to strong starts from Weeks 0 and 1.

Let’s keep the momentum rolling into Week 2!

Joe Tansey (Season Record: 6-2)

Kansas at Coastal Carolina (Over 52) (Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

Here’s how I handicap this game.

Coastal Carolina has very few chances to play Power Five teams, even if it is only Kansas, and it can use the national stage to reinforce that last season’s success was not a fluke.

Motivation should be as abundant in the Coastal locker room as there are “South of the Border” signs on the road into Myrtle Beach on I-95.

The Chanticleers put up 52 points on their own last week against The Citadel. No one will question you if you say The Citadel and Kansas are on the same level because no one cares enough to debate it.

Kansas is awful and it may contribute a touchdown or two, but that will be significant for the over to clear.

Tulsa at Oklahoma State (-12.5) (Saturday, Noon ET, FS1)

Tulsa and Oklahoma State both had forgettable Week 1 games, but at least the Pokes came away with a win.

Mike Gundy’s team eked out a 23-16 win over Missouri State in which it did not have quarterback Spencer Sanders available.

Sanders is out of COVID-19 protocol and should play against Tulsa, who is coming off a brutal home loss to FCS side UC Davis.

Tulsa gave up 399 total yards last week and I expect a similar output from the Sanders-led Cowboys.

Look for Oklahoma State to get back on track offensively in a blowout against its in-state foe.

Rutgers (-1.5) at Syracuse (Saturday. 2 p.m. ET, ACC Network)

One of my top rules about betting CFB games is I need to be able to watch the game.

I don’t get ACC Network at home, but I assume one of the sportsbooks I will visit in Atlantic City this week will. Plus it’s Rutgers. Who wouldn’t want to cater to the locals?!?!?

Rutgers’ offense looked unstoppable against Temple. Yes, I know, it’s Temple, but it’s still significant that the Scarlet Knights demolished a much weaker team.

Syracuse was picked to be near the bottom of the ACC. That expectation did not change after a Week 1 win over Ohio.

Rutgers has more offensive playmakers and it should do enough to win comfortably in a game that has become closer to a Pick ‘Em.

California at TCU (-11.5) (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU)

There is so much garbage on the schedule that we could talk on Sunday about TCU earning one of the more impressive wins of the weekend.

On a regular weekend, we would push this game to the side, but it will gain attention because two Power Five teams are facing off.

TCU looked strong in its 45-3 win over Duquense, while Cal lost at home to Nevada. The road trip to Fort Worth will not make things easier for the Golden Bears.

The Horned Frogs put up 431 total yards on offense and held Duquense to 137 total yards. If they post a similar gap in totals on Saturday, they could cruise to a two-possession home victory.

Appalachian State at Miami (-8.5) (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET, ESPNU)

Miami needs a win more than most teams in the FBS in Week 2.

The Hurricanes were smashed by Alabama in Week 1 and they need a bounce-back performance to boost their confidence going into the ACC slate.

As we all know, Appalachian State is no pushover, but the Canes have more athletes at their disposal. I also think D’Eriq King will be much more comfortable as a playmaker after he played one week on the ACL he tore at the end of last season.

App State’s quarterback Chase Brice spent time in the ACC at Clemson and Duke. Miami has experience against him from his time at Duke and that should help with breaking down his tendencies in the pocket.

If Miami crowds the box to limit Camerun Peoples’ output and forces Brice to beat it, it should feel strong about its chances to earn the first victory of the campaign.

NC State (-1.5) at Mississippi State (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

NC State was the ACC’s best team in Week 1.

The Wolfpack manhandled South Florida at home. They are only favored by a slight margin for their trip to Mississippi State, but they should be trusted to win.

NC State is the more consistent and better overall side. Devin Leary should tear up the Mississippi State defense that let up 435 total yards and 34 points to Louisiana Tech.

The Bulldogs were too inconsistent on offense versus Louisiana Tech to trust them against a Power Five foe. They had to fight back from a 34-14 deficit. NC State would bury Mississippi State if Saturday’s game reaches that point.

Liberty (-4.5) at Troy (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Liberty has the best player on the field in quarterback Malik Willis.

The Flames produced 537 total yards in their opener against Campbell. They face a tough test against a Troy defense that allowed 189 yards against Southern.

There is a big step up in quality from Southern’s offense to Liberty’s high-flying unit led by Willis.

If Liberty wins this game convincingly, it could be on the edge of the Top 25. The Flames received 57 votes in the Week 2 poll.

Missouri at Kentucky (-5.5) (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network)

Kentucky is so strong up front and that is where the advantage will come against Missouri.

Missouri allowed 174 rushing yards to Central Michigan in Week 1. Kentucky held UL-Monroe to 87 total yards.

If the Wildcats defense plays that well at home again, Mizzou will have trouble scoring any points.

Kentucky’s offensive key is quarterback Will Levis. If the Penn State transfer finds more comfort within the offense, the Wildcats could make a strong play to be the No. 3 team in the SEC East behind Georgia and Florida.

Jon Jansen (3-2)

Ball State (+22.5) at Penn State (Saturday, 3:30 p.m, ET, FS1)

Penn State is coming off of a big win against Wisconsin on the road. Sandwiched in between two tough games, Wisconsin and Auburn, is a home game against Ball State.

Ball State is returning 20 starters from its 7-1 team last season including quarterback Drew Plitt, who was excellent last season with 17 touchdowns and six interceptions. This is an offense that has averaged 34 points per game the last two seasons and should have no problem doing so again.

The Cardinals’ biggest improvement last season came on defense, as they held opponents to under 30 PPG for the first time since 2014! It's a solid defense that should hold its own, especially against a Penn State offense that leaves one too many plays on the field. Although Ball State lost its last seven games SU against Power 5 teams, it boasts a solid 6-1 ATS number.

App State at Miami (-9)

App State is one of those darling Group of 5 teams that will always get a look when taking on a Power 5 opponent, especially one that just got demolished the week before.

However, don't think things appear as they seem early on. Miami should bounce back with a much better offensive performance and D'Eriq King, plus the nine other returning starters from last season, should have no problems against this App State defense.

Plus, Chase Brice, who looked okay in his first start against ECU, doesn't have a great track record against ACC defenses. He threw 15 interceptions for the Duke Blue Devils. Don't trust him and there is a significant talent gap here.

NC State -(1.5) at Mississippi St.

If you don't know by now, I absolutely love the Wolfpack this season. Dave Doeren has his best team since he took over as head coach and they are the best team in the ACC outside of Clemson.

Devin Leary returned with great success against USF, a matchup the Wolfpack won 45-0. What is abundantly clear is the front-seven for NC State is stout and was as good as advertised Week 1.

Now this front gets to pick apart a not-so-good Mississippi St. offensive line. Mike Leach is in his second season and his offense is radically different from the previous regime. There will still be plenty of growing pains in year two, mostly because the talent on this roster doesn't quite yet fit Leach's aggressively pass-heavy version of the air raid offense. This likely won't be a very fun day for the Bulldogs offense.

Utah (-7) vs. BYU (Saturday, 10:15 p.m. ET, ESPN)

I might be a little crazy for taking the road favorite in a rivalry game, but this will be my first experiment against this BYU squad.

BYU was terrific last season with an 11-1 record, but most of that team is gone. The Cougars don't return their two biggest contributors on offense, including No. 2 overall NFL Draft pick Zach Wilson. They only returned four starters on defense as well.

This team has to replace FIVE NFL Draft picks. That's hard to do for a team like BYU. Replenishing talent like that is not easy for a program of its caliber. It has even been tough for a program like UNC to do that..

Add in that Utah has one of the best defenses in the country and finally answered the quarterback concern since Tyler Huntley's departure in Charlie Brewer, this Utah squad should dominate this matchup.


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