After last week’s college football stability mismatches produced a record of 5-4 ATS, I’m here to unveil the Week 2 plays that qualify for my long-running system that quantifies the stability level of FBS teams entering the season.
If you missed the explanation and other details about this method or are new to VSiN, I encourage you to go back to last week’s edition of Point Spread Weekly (Season 5, Issue 2) and download the report.
For a short explanation, this stability system, which I’ve employed for 10 seasons without a losing campaign, measures one team’s stability against another’s. Using a time-tested point-assigning process for coaches, quarterbacks and returning starters, I come up with a stability score for each team. When these scores differ by eight points or more, I consider it a stability mismatch.
The stability-score difference between the teams has nothing to do with the point spread. I am simply assuming that oddsmakers have not given enough credence to the stability difference and that their lines are off because of it.
Here is a list of the top stability mismatches for Week 2. I typically believe that after two or three games, oddsmakers catch up and fully adjust for teams’ changes. You should feel comfortable employing this strategy for the first few weeks.
(301) KANSAS at (302) COASTAL CAROLINA (-25.5)
Stability advantage: Coastal Carolina by 10
Analysis: Last year it was a pretty big deal when Coastal Carolina went to Lawrence and upended the Jayhawks 38-23 as nearly a TD underdog. That was the first of the Chanticleers’ 11 straight wins. The rematch is expected to be completely different, with host Coastal installed as a 25.5-point favorite. The Chanticleers are deemed the more talented team by oddsmakers and the far more stable team by my system, with a score of 18 compared with the Jayhawks’ 8. Kansas comes off a rare win last week, beating FCS foe South Dakota, in its first game under Lance Leipold. Even so, the offense mustered only 17 points and will need far more to compete with QB Grayson McCall & Co.
(305) ILLINOIS at (306) VIRGINIA (-10)
Stability advantage: Virginia by 9
Analysis: For the third straight week, Illinois and new coach Bret Bielema are on the short end of my stability mismatch system. Bettors are 1-1 thus far if following the concept with Illinois. This is the first time the rebuilt Illini will hit the road and face their toughest test to date playing as 10-point dogs at Virginia. Bielema’s club was even more unstable than in Week 0 in its loss to UTSA on Saturday as it played without QB Brandon Peters, who missed the game with a shoulder injury. He is shown as questionable for this contest. The Cavaliers are off an impressive 43-0 win over FCS William & Mary. Coach Bronco Mendenhall’s sixth year at Virginia finds 14 starters back, including sophomore QB Brennan Armstrong.
(315) PITTSBURGH (-3) at (316) TENNESSEE
Stability advantage: Pittsburgh by 15
Analysis: Tennessee was one of the winning plays on the stability system last weekend as the Vols, in their first game under new coach Josh Heupel, failed to cover the 35-point line against Bowling Green in a 38-6 win. The score doesn’t do justice to how poorly UT played. Though the numbers look solid, BGSU hung around way longer than anyone thought it should. This game is a huge test for the Vols as they face a Pitt team that many experts think has the talent to contend for the ACC crown. The Panthers are led by QB Kenny Pickett and come off a 51-7 rout of UMass. With a difference of 15, this is one of the bigger stability-score margins you’ll find this season.
(317) SOUTH CAROLINA at (318) EAST CAROLINA (-2)
Stability advantage: East Carolina by 16
Analysis: East Carolina was a disappointing loss on the system last week, dropping a difficult contest at Appalachian State. By stability standards, App State is in a far better position in 2021 than this week’s opponent, South Carolina. The Gamecocks are beginning a new era under rookie coach Shane Beamer. They won their opener easily, whipping Eastern Illinois 45-0, as erstwhile graduate assistant coach Zeb Noland stepped in as the starting QB for the injured Luke Doty. Talk about unstable! This week’s test for East Carolina and QB Holton Ahlers will be far tougher, if by no other evidence than the point spread, which had SC favored at the outset but has since flipped to ECU -2.
(333) TOLEDO (+ 16.5) at (334) NOTRE DAME
Stability advantage: Toledo by 11
Analysis: With only nine starters back, Notre Dame is one of just a handful of teams that returned fewer than 10. The Irish had moments of greatness and moments of instability in their Week 1 win at Florida State, as was expected. In the end, the 41-38 overtime decision was a victory for the stability system and in essence a prototypical example of why the logic is successful. For this week, the unstable Irish face a Toledo team that has 21 starters back and will certainly be hungry to make a statement in South Bend. It would be wise for Brian Kelly’s team to not look past this contest with a pair of Big Ten tilts next up.
(347) BUFFALO at (348) NEBRASKA (-13.5)
Stability advantage: Nebraska by 11
Analysis: It seems as if oddsmakers and bettors alike have jumped on the stability train for this contest in Lincoln. The Cornhuskers, with a stability edge of 11 on my scale, were installed as 11-point favorites out of the gate before the line quickly ballooned to 13.5. This happened despite Buffalo’s dominant 69-7 Week 1 win over Wagner. The Bulls seemed to quickly dismiss rumors of their 2021 demise after the departures of coach Lance Leipold and stud RB Jaret Patterson. Nebraska posted its own impressive FCS win last week, clubbing Fordham 52-7. Sitting at 1-1, this turns out to be a significant game for coach Scott Frost’s team, with tough road trips coming the next two weeks.
(371) TEXAS at (372) ARKANSAS (+ 6.5)
Stability advantage: Arkansas by 11
Analysis: Another team that held off critics for at least a week in terms of potential instability was Texas, which posted an impressive 38-18 win over a dangerous Louisiana team in the opener. This week’s game figures to be even tougher, with Arkansas looking for its second straight home win. Quarterback KJ Jefferson had a big day, accounting for three touchdowns in a 38-17 win over Rice and showing the dual-threat capability that has Razorbacks fans excited. After the strong opener for the Longhorns, they are installed as uncomfortable 6.5-point road favorites.
(377) WASHINGTON (+ 6) at (378) MICHIGAN
Stability advantage: Washington by 8
Analysis: After Washington’s home loss to Montana last week, it’s hard to describe anything about the program as stable right now. But the facts are that its stability score is eight points higher than Michigan’s heading into an intriguing nonconference tilt at the Big House. The Wolverines looked like the far better team last weekend as they clobbered in-state foe Western Michigan 47-14. As was to be expected, bettors have shown a massive reaction — and perhaps overreaction — to last week’s results, moving Michigan from a 1-point favorite to a 6-point choice.
(381) SAN DIEGO STATE (+ 0) at (382) ARIZONA
Stability advantage: San Diego State by 11
Analysis: This matchup might pit a Group of 5 team against a Power 5 team, but in the minds of most fans, San Diego State is the better team. The Aztecs won their opener 28-10 over a weak New Mexico State squad but failed to cover the 31-point line. Arizona came up short, falling to BYU 24-16 in new coach Jedd Fisch’s first game. It was the program’s 13th straight loss. However, oddsmakers are showing this contest as a pick-’em, despite the long losing streak and even though coach Brady Hoke’s SDSU team is far more stable. On paper, the pick-’em point spread gives Arizona its best chance at a win in 10 games.