Last week did not go so well. But only losers call it quits when they fall behind. Winners chase — and usually rebound. That’s why there’s no big, expensive casinos in Vegas.
Last week: 1-4. Sad.
2017 record: 2-4. Slightly less sad.
PURDUE (-4) over Ohio: The Boilermakers looked like a rejuvenated program in Jeff Brohm’s debut. They were able to keep the high-flying Louisville offense to 35 points — a moral victory if nothing else. The defensive unit was opportunistic in creating three turnovers. Purdue must improve the rushing game (51 yards on 21 carries) and stop the Bobcats’ balanced attack. Bank on the return of optimism to West Lafayette to carry the day. Prediction: Purdue 34, Ohio 27.
Nebraska at OREGON (OVER 68): The Ducks put up 77 points and 703 total yards against Southern Utah, which should be taken with a grain of salt. But the balance of run and pass was impressive and portends good things. Nebraska’s offense looked dynamic as well against Arkansas State in a 43-36 shootout. Expect an uptempo, back-and-forth affair full of big plays. Prediction: Oregon 49, Nebraska 35.
MICHIGAN STATE (-7) over Western Michigan: This line reeks. The Broncos took the Trojans to the brink last week in Southern California. The boat continued its steady pace despite the loss of P.J. Fleck, amassing 263 yards on the ground with a versatile attack. Michigan State, though impressive against Bowling Green, is suspect. One thing the Spartans should be able to do is establish a rushing attack. Quarterback Brian Lewerke showed the ability to scramble and LJ Scott is a beast. Western hasn’t won in East Lansing since 1919. This may be their best chance, but I believe MSU’s not the abomination of last year. Hope I’m not wrong. Prediction: MSU 31, Western Michigan 23.
Buffalo at ARMY (OVER 49): The Black Knights failed to complete a pass against Fordham yet still hung a 64 on the scoreboard thanks to 513 rushing yards. Ahmad Bradshaw is a savvy, explosive veteran. The triple option is difficult to gameplan for in-season. While Buffalo stymied Minnesota’s offense, they face a tall task in West Point. If the old-fashioned offense has a drawback, it’s the risk of turnovers, which can result in a short field. Prediction: Army 34, Buffalo 26.
CLEMSON (-5) over Auburn: Kelly Bryant was competent replacing Deshaun Watson as the Tigers purred to a 53-point win over Kent State. Three-hundred fifty-three rushing yards helped. Dabo Swinney’s defense allowed only 120 total yards. In many ways, Auburn’s laugher over Georgia Southern was a mirror image. Do we really trust Jarrett Stidham in Death Valley at night. Feels like a scary proposition. Prediction: Clemson 27, Auburn 17.