The college football season will kick it up a notch this weekend. The Big Ten’s return to football will get a lot of attention, and rightly so. The other conferences’ mid-tier games might slide under the radar, and here are three such contests for you to consider:
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Boston College Eagles
Odds: Boston College -3.5
While Georgia Tech started the year in impressive fashion with a win over Florida State, the Yellow Jackets have been on a steady downward trajectory ever since. Their offense has not developed. Turnovers and a lack of precision in the passing game have marked the Jackets’ last few games. In a weird season defined by a lack of adequate and normal preseason preparation, everyone had to be prepared to expect that Week 1 results for various teams would not represent how they would develop over the course of the full season. That Georgia Tech-Florida State game is a case in point; the two teams are very different from how they were a month ago.
Georgia Tech is struggling. Meanwhile, Boston College – though a flawed team – has quarterback Phil Jurkovec, who has boosted the Eagles’ offense. Jurkovec has already thrown for over 1,500 yards with 10 touchdowns. Boston College has a much better passing attack than anything Georgia Tech can offer. That should be the difference for the Eagles.
Pick: Boston College -3.5
Florida State Seminoles at Louisville Cardinals
Odds: Louisville -5.5
The ACC is an unpredictable conference. Before the season began, Louisville was expected to be a solid team, but the Cardinals are 0-4 in conference play, one of the year’s bigger disappointments. Yet the Cardinals are favored by nearly a touchdown over a Florida State team that just defeated North Carolina. Florida State was a home underdog to the Tar Heels, who entered this past Saturday’s game ranked No. 5 in the nation. Yet Florida State bolted out to a 31-7 lead before hanging on to win 31-28.
Vegas’ decision to make Louisville a favorite is based on a belief that Florida State is physically and emotionally drained after the win over North Carolina, and that they won’t have much in the tank for Louisville. That is a reasonable line of argument. However, Florida State just played its best game of the year and will be confident heading into this week. Louisville, on the other hand, is struggling and failing to find any spark on offense. The Cardinals have averaged just 18 points in their last three games. Louisville might win, but Florida State will cover.
Pick: Florida State +5.5
Houston Cougars at Navy Midshipmen
Odds: Houston -14
The Houston Cougars almost beat undefeated BYU this past week. Navy struggled with a not-very-good East Carolina team this past weekend, so the thought process is that Houston has way too much firepower and physical strength for Navy. In terms of a straight-up analysis, that’s true, but Houston will have work to do if it wants to cover the spread. Houston has been an up-and-down team in recent years, and the frustration of blowing a 12-point lead to BYU might carry over into this game. Houston wins, but Navy covers.
Pick: Navy +14
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