Week 2 college football picks and predictions from Adam Burke

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com Managing Editor) 

September 7, 2023 05:54 PM

Week 2 best bets for UCLA vs. San Diego State, Texas A&M vs. Miami (FL)

The college football schedule for Week 2 is lacking games with extreme punch, but there are a lot of games that are catching my eye for a variety of reasons. Overreactions are definitely present in the betting markets, but there are also some situational spots that are worth considering in the handicapping process.

My College Football Power Ratings for Week 2 have also continued to serve as a guide, as we’ve seen sporadic line movement, but not a ton as the week has gone along. All in all, there are a few plays that I like for Week 2 in hopes of faring better after going 1-2 in this article last week, though Nebraska was a Thursday night winner in a separate feature.

Keep in mind that I’ll be previewing the weeknight games separately, including this Illinois vs. Kansas preview for Friday.

College Football Odds | College Football Betting Splits | College Football Week 2 Hub

Here are my favorite picks for Week 2:

(odds as of September 7, 4:00 p.m. PT)

UCLA Bruins (-14.5, 48.5) at San Diego State Aztecs

There are only five 2-0 teams right now and San Diego State is one of them. But, I don’t think the Aztecs deserve to be. A healthy Kurtis Rourke would have made all the difference for Ohio in Week 0. Even not healthy, if he comes back into that game, the Bobcats are very likely to win.

In Week 1, San Diego State won 36-28 over an Idaho State team that has two wins TOTAL over the last two seasons. San Diego State ran the ball very effectively in that game with 6.5 yards per carry, but only had 85 passing yards on 20 attempts and turned the ball over three times. SDSU also had 14 penalties accounting for 138 yards against Idaho State. A better team probably beats them in that one as well.

We only have one data point for UCLA and it was a bit messy at times, but Dante Moore showed flashes of being a dude and the Bruins had nearly seven yards per play while looking a little bit disjointed. I think this San Diego State team is bad and should be exposed in this one. My line is -17, so we’re not talking about a lot of great line equity when you get up into this kind of range, but I find this to be a talent mismatch.

Pick: UCLA -14.5 (would play to -15.5)

Texas A&M Aggies (-3.5, 51) at Miami (FL) Hurricanes

Most of the market is 4, though DraftKings is sitting 3.5 with a touch of extra juice here as the Aggies head down to Coral Gables to take on the Hurricanes. This is a bit of a power ratings play, as I have it Texas A&M -5.5, but this is just a play where I believe there is a big difference between the two teams.

Neither team got tested last week, as Texas A&M rolled over New Mexico State and the Hurricanes suffocated the “other” Miami with a lopsided 38-3 win. Both programs had disappointing 5-7 showings last season, but the SEC is way better than the ACC and Miami lost to any decent opponent that they faced. Texas A&M was terrible in the head-to-head meeting with Miami in a 17-9 win with 264 yards of total offense, but took advantage of the Hurricanes’ self-inflicted wounds.

Conner Weigman is the guy for Texas A&M. He was the No. 3 QB in the 2022 class behind Drew Allar and Cade Klubnik and this is officially his offense now. I think Tyler Van Dyke, who has battled injuries, showed some signs of regression at times last season coming off of a really good 2021 season. The Aggies will get pressure and have a lot of top-notch athletes.

To me, A&M is just a better team and the number is tolerable here.

Pick: Texas A&M -3.5 (would play up to -4)

Temple Owls at Rutgers Scarlet Knights (-9, 44.5)

One team started strong and one team finished strong last week and that is one of many reasons why I think this line is too high. Both Temple and Rutgers had some pretty weak opening opponents, as the Owls beat Akron 24-21 and the Scarlet Knights beat the Wildcats 24-7.

Temple gave up a 77-yard touchdown toss on Akron’s first drive, but held the Zips to 202 total yards the rest of the way. The Owls left some points on the field on offense, as they missed a chip shot field goal and settled for a short field goal before halftime. They also missed a two-point conversion attempt. While it wasn’t the most impressive of performances, they did pitch a second-half shutout and held Akron to four punts and ended the game with an interception.

Rutgers had 285 yards of offense against Northwestern, but had 155 of those yards on two 16-play touchdown drives to open the game. They had another 31 yards on a field goal drive right after that. They only managed 87 yards of offense in the second half. That is not the profile of a team that you want to bet on to win a game by double digits.

Northwestern had no offense to speak of and EJ Warner is a solid QB who has shown a lot of poise at the position since taking over as the starter last season. I expect Temple to keep this close. My line is only 4.5 here after adjusting Temple up a bit from last week.

Pick: Temple +9 (would play to +8)

Southern Miss Golden Eagles at Florida State Seminoles (-31, 53)

One of the more underrated situational angles to look at early in the season comes in the form of coaching connections. Southern Miss heads to Florida State this week with third-year head coach Will Hall up against fourth-year head coach Mike Norvell. Norvell was the head coach at Memphis from 2016-19, where Hall was the associate head coach and tight ends coach.

I don’t think Norvell will want to run it up on a former member of his coaching staff. Hall got the opportunity to be the OC at Tulane in 2019 and Norvell moved to Tallahassee in 2020.

That’s not the only reason I like Southern Miss here. Clemson transfer Billy Wiles looked good, albeit against Alcorn State, in his first collegiate start. Southern Miss won easily over the Braves, which kept Frank Gore Jr. from getting hit too much. Gore ran for 1,382 yards last season and also had four passing touchdowns while playing quarterback a bit. This is a solid roster, but they needed a QB. They’ve gotten one in Wiles.

The Seminoles are on a short week coming off of that monumental win over LSU on Sunday night. They go on the road to Boston College and Clemson over the next two weeks, so ACC play begins in a hurry. I think Southern Miss has the goods to keep this close and maybe it’ll help a little that Norvell probably won’t be interested in embarrassing Hall and his team.

Pick: Southern Miss +31 (would play to +28.5)

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