Making college football picks against the spread is always a difficult proposition, particularly this early on in the season, but it’s time to take our best crack at this in Week 2.
After a wild Week 1 that featured numerous stunning upsets, and surprisingly close calls for several top teams, one certainty is that Alabama is still the team to beat, thanks largely to the play of new Heisman Trophy front-running quarterback Bryce Young.
But let’s look ahead to our college football picks for Week 2, with game lines courtesy of DraftKings.
|Friday, September 10||Time (ET)||TV|
|Kansas @ No. 17 Coastal Carolina (-26.5)||7:30 PM||ESPN 2|
|Saturday, September 11||Time (ET)||TV|
|No. 13 Florida (-29) @ South Florida||12:00 PM||ABC|
|No. 12 Oregon @ No. 3 Ohio State (-14.5)||12:00 PM||FOX|
|Alabama State @ No. 25 Auburn (off)||12:00 PM||SEC Network|
|Middle Tennessee @ No. 19 Virginia Tech (-20.5)||2:00 PM||ACCNX|
|Toledo @ No. 8 Notre Dame (-17)||2:30 PM||NBC|
|UAB @ No. 2 Georgia (-24.5)||3:30 PM||ESPN 2|
|No. 5 Texas A&M vs. Colorado (+17) — in Denver||3:30 PM||FOX|
|Ball State (+23) @ No. 11 Penn State||3:30 PM||FS1|
|Murray State @ No. 7 Cincinnati (off)||3:30 PM||ESPN+|
|Mercer @ (1) Alabama (-53.5)||4:00 PM||SEC Network|
|No. 10 Iowa (+4.5) @ No. 9 Iowa State||4:30 PM||ABC|
|South Carolina State @ No. 6 Clemson (off)||5:00 PM||ACC Network|
|Western Carolina (+46.5) @ No. 4 Oklahoma||7:00 PM||LOCAL|
|No. 15 Texas (-7) @ Arkansas||7:00 PM||ESPN|
|Eastern Michigan @ No. 18 Wisconsin (-26)||7:00 PM||FS1|
|Appalachian State @ No. 22 Miami FL (-9)||7:00 PM||LOCAL|
|Austin Peay @ (20) Ole Miss (off)||7:30 PM||SEC Network/ESPN+|
|Georgia State @ (24) No. 24 North Carolina (-25.5)||7:30 PM||ESPN 3|
|No. 21 Utah @ BYU (+7)||10:15 PM||ESPN|
|Stanford @ No. 14 USC (-17)||10:30 PM||FOX|
|UNLV (+34.5) @ No. 23 Arizona State||10:30 PM||ESPN 2|
College football picks against the spread: Best Week 2 bets for Top 25 matchups
Ohio State (-14.5) over Oregon
C.J. Stroud may have been projecting a calm exterior, but he was internally shook in his starting debut as Ohio State’s QB1. To his credit, though, Buckeyes coach Ryan Day implored Stroud to keep firing, and that he did.
Stroud wound up tossing four touchdowns in Week 1’s 45-31 road victory over Minnesota, proving himself as a worthy heir to Justin Fields for now. It helps to have so many explosive playmakers flanking him, yet Stroud deserves some credit for maintaining his composure.
Another ranked team who had a closer call than expected in its season opener was Oregon. Even in Eugene, Fresno State gave the Ducks all they could handle. However, the most notable storyline was the injury suffered by star Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux.
Seen in a walking boot after the halftime break in Week 1, Thibodeaux’s chances seem slim to play, or at least to make his typical impact. He’s a legitimate top-five NFL Draft prospect, so he has his pro future to take into consideration.
Because of the uncertainty surrounding Thibodeaux, Ohio State’s wide receiver duo of Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, and the fact that the Buckeyes are at home, there just seems to be too much stacked against the Ducks to pull off a road upset.
- College football Week 2 prediction: Ohio State 42, Oregon 24
Iowa (+4.5) over Iowa State
There were a lot of takeaways from Week 1, but in anticipation of Saturday’s most evenly-matched ranked duel, this author held off judgment before declaring who the clear-cut best NCAA gridiron team is in the state of Iowa.
That’s because the Iowa Hawkeyes and Iowa State Cyclones will decide that on the field this weekend. If their respective first impressions for 2021 are anything to go by, though, even the friendly confines of Jack Trice Stadium won’t be enough to even keep the Cyclones competitive.
Iowa absolutely rolled an overwhelmed Indiana team 34-6 last Saturday, led by Riley Moss’ two pick-sixes, whereas Iowa State barely squeaked past Northern Iowa by a score of 16-10. That doesn’t bode well for Week 2’s hosts for this latest rivalry clash.
The battle for the Cy-Hawk Trophy seems slanted in favor of the Hawkeyes. Their defense is bound to force Cyclones QB Brock Purdy into critical errors, and their physicality at the line of scrimmage is something Iowa State will struggle to match.
Acknowledging the possibility that this could be a classic Week 1 overreaction, Purdy is unspectacular enough as a fourth-year starter to sign off on Iowa pulling this one out.
- College football Week 2 prediction: Iowa 20, Iowa State 17
Texas (-7) over Arkansas
Steve Sarkisian didn’t have an easy start to his tenure at Texas, but his Longhorns were ready to rock in Austin as they crushed UL Lafayette 38-18 this past Saturday. Talk about making an early statement.
New QB Hudson Card looked the part, running Sarkisian’s offense without any real hiccups. Heisman dark-horse running back Bijan Robinson also racked up 103 yards and a touchdown on the ground, so it was a balanced effort from Texas’ offensive attack.
Arkansas pulled away late from Rice to win 38-17, but were trailing 17-7 in the third quarter of that contest. Even though the Razorbacks seem headed in the right direction under second-year coach Sam Pittman, they’re a far cry from legitimately competing in the SEC — or against top-25 competition.
It’s difficult to envision the Longhorns not winning this game by more than one possession. Arkansas was just getting booed by its own fans for letting Rice hang around.
Unless Texas has a huge emotional letdown from its dismantling of the Ragin’ Cajuns, they seems like one of the best favorites to ride in Week 2’s college football picks against the spread.
- College football Week 2 prediction: Texas 48, Arkansas 21