By Todd Fuhrman
One week is in the books and everyone across the country is ready to hit the panic button regarding their favorite team. Whether you’re a fan of Florida, Texas, Georgia, Washington, USC, or Florida State there was something that unfolded during the opening weekend that didn’t leave you feeling warm and tingly regarding the season outlook.
South Carolina and Tennessee fans might be riding high after opening week victories against ACC opponents, but let’s pump the brakes on national title aspirations in Knoxville or Columbia. Considering both SEC east programs were outgained by 250+ yards (just the 7th and 8thteams in the last decade to win games despite crazy yardage deficits) we’re going to suggest all that goes up must come down – and probably soon. Fans have the luxury of over reacting to wins and losses; professional bettors don’t!
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7) Penn state
5) Florida State
2) Ohio State
UNDERRATED: Florida St (AP 10, Coaches 9)
We know everyone wants to leave Florida State for dead after their 24-7 loss to Alabama coupled with the season-ending injury to starting signal caller DeAndre Francois. However, all is not lost in Tallahassee behind a defense that more than held it’s own against a powerful Alabama offense which was held to 4.48 yards per play, the fewest since 2014 when LSU held the Tide to 4.5 yards per play. Had it not been for special teams blunders and 290 hidden yards of field position for Alabama, the ‘Noles would’ve had a chance to win that game outright. Starting the season 0-1 is never good, but unlike some programs that couldn’t recover from losing a key contributor Jimbo Fisher has an abundance of options, even at QB. Don’t sleep on the Seminoles; they may be down but they’re definitely not out and could offer betting value going forward.
OVERRATED: Tennessee (AP 25, Coaches 21)
Don’t be fooled by the improbable result the ‘Vols mustered Monday in Atlanta at the expense of Georgia Tech. The final score read 42-41, yet the stat sheet told a very different story. Tennessee was outgained 655-369, out first downed 33-18, and held the ball for 23 less minutes. All wins aren’t created equally and if the Tennessee defensive line performs at this level all season they’ll be staring down the barrel of a losing record in conference by the time we hit November. Final scores lie from time to time but numbers never do; Tennessee is anything but deserving of inclusion in either iteration of this week’s popularity polls.
LIVE DOG ALERT (1-0 ATS, 0-1 SU): Tulane +13.5 @ Navy
(Each week we’ll identify one double digit dog we feel has an outstanding chance to win outright)
No, Shaun King of the undefeated Green Wave fame won’t be walking through the tunnel come Saturday in Annapolis (probably a good thing for Mr. Travis). Instead, a QB by the name of Jonathan Banks will be and he’s a dynamic fit leading Willie Fritz’ triple option. Tulane returns 16 starters from last year’s 4-8 campaign and is poised to take the next step towards bowl eligibility under their second year head coach. Last season these two teams played a 21-14 barnburner with the Middies grabbing the cash as modest 6-point chalk. I never like to sell short what Ken Niumatalolo does at Navy’s helm since he seems to reload, albeit in a different manner than some of the more prestigious blue blood programs around the country. QB Zach Abey was electric in the season opener against FAU accounting for 345 yards of total offense. I won’t diminish his performance in the 42-19 victory even though the Owls looked as disciplined in stopping the option as Lane Kiffin would at a sorority party. While not mirror images of each other, the familiarity with one another’s offenses should lend itself to quite the rock fight. While we love ourselves a 1st Half Under in this spot, Tulane is a plenty capable live-dog in what would become a defining win for Coach Fritz in only his 14th game leading the program.