Cincinnati Bearcats -3.5 at Indiana Hoosiers
It’s strange to see a Big Ten team as a home underdog to a team outside of the power five. That’s the case as the Bearcats head to Indiana to take on the Hoosiers.
Hoosier QB Michael Penix Jr. has struggled since returning from his torn ACL of 2020. A tough first contest against Iowa led to three picks and an embarrassing open to the Big Ten schedule, that was followed by a dominant effort against Idaho, in that game Penix threw for just 56 yards before getting pulled due to the lopsided score. The Hoosiers will now have to face a veteran defense that has completely dominated the opposing offense and is coming into this matchup with a lot of confidence.
The Bearcats have been running the ball consistently behind Jerome Ford who scored three times against Murray State. Cincinnati’s QB Desmond Ridder has controlled the ball in their first two games throwing for six touchdowns. The Cincinnati defense forced three picks last week and will put a lot of pressure on Penix Jr which will lead to turnovers and the Hoosier defense will have no answers for the combination of Ridder and Ford.
This game will be the first test for the top ten ranked Bearcats, the road crowd will get Indians hyped but this is a talent mismatch. Cincinnati is led by multiple veterans that will be able to handle the energy of the crowd.
Pick: Cincinnati Bearcats -3.5
Colorado State Rams at Toledo Rockets -14
The last time the Toledo Rockets were on the field they nearly shocked the football world by giving the Notre Dame Fighting Irish all they could handle. Rockets QB Carter Bradley lead the way going 17/27 for 213 yards, most notably he took care of the ball with zero picks while throwing downfield. The Rockets have a strong running game led by Bryant Koback who finished last week with 122 yards on just 22 carries. Koback has over 30 career college touchdowns and was on pace for double digits last season if it was played in full.
Colorado State has had a horrible start to 2021 losing their first two games, one to South Dakota State and the other blowing a lead against SEC bottom dweller Vanderbilt last week. The Rams gave up an average of 175 yards on the ground and they will have a big problem coming their way with the Rockets run game.
The Rams have not shown the ability to hold a lead on the defensive end while the Rockets have shown the ability to move the ball at will against any level of competition. Against South Dakota State the Rams were dominated by Jack Rabbit’s RB Pierre Strong Jr, going for 138 yards and two touchdowns. The Rockets will use the run game to control the ball and grind out points. The Rams will not have an answer on the defensive end which will force them to make mistakes on the offensive end.
Pick: Toledo Rockets -14
Coastal Carolina Chanticleers at Buffalo Bulls Total 58
Everyone’s favorite underdogs the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers will hit the road against the MAC’s Buffalo Bulls for an exciting mid major match up. Coastal Carolina is coming off of a thrilling 27 point cover over Kansas while the Bulls are coming off of a disappointing effort against the Nebraska Cornhuskers. This game opened with Coastal Carolina as a 10 point favorite, which ballooned to 13.5 points.
The Chanticleers come out flat against Kansas in their season opener. Kansas QB Justin Bean was able to move the ball at will in the first half. Bean did it on his feet while Buffalo QB Kyle Vantrease will look to do it with his arm. Vantrease will be backed up by RB Kevin Marks and Ron Cook Jr. The Bulls play at an upbeat pace which should cause trouble for the Chanticleers defense.
Grayson McCall and company will do what they always do and move the ball through the air and on the ground with an assortment of pieces on the offensive end. Tight End Isaiah Likely is an NFL talent while WR Javion Heiligh has scored two tuddys on the season, both will be matchup problems for the Buffalo Bulls.
This is simple. We know the Chanticleers will score, Buffalo has a history of scoring. The Bulls were stopped by Nebraska last week but I think they will bounce back against a Coastal Carolina team that has not shown the ability to shut down any offense.
Pick Over 58