Starting this week and going through the rest of the season I’m going to give you 5 games “off the radar” where the favorite could go down if they don’t bring their A game. I’ll throw in the latest lines from Vegas but don’t blame me if you drop a boatload of cash and then have to eat at Taco Bell the rest of the month. Just saying…
Baylor Bears (-7) at Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks: Ok, listen I know everyone is on the Louisiana-Monroe bandwagon after they beat the Arkansas Razorbacks in OT and narrowly avoided making it two on a road last week versus the Auburn Tigers. They’ve got a good squad led by southpaw QB Kolton Browning and his incredible scramble against Arkansas on 4th down will go down as perhaps this season’s defining play. Saying that I’m just not as much a believer in them as I am a doubter in Baylor. Art Briles has rebuilt a program that was bordering irrelevance before the RG3 led rebirth. Problem is he’s playing for the Washington Redskins this season and while their defense returns 8 starters from a season ago it doesn’t have a chance at slowing down the Warhawks. They struggled in pass coverage against the SMU Mustangs with their QB Garrett Gilbert constantly missing open receivers and then last week against the Sam Houston State Bearkats they gave up 20 points in a half and had to have the offense bail them out late. I see this one coming down to the final possession ala last season’s “MACtion style” with Monroe notching another cinderella like moment. LA Monroe 31 – Baylor 27.
South Florida Bulls (-7) at Ball State Cardinals: The battle in Muncie should be a good one as an overrated South Florida team takes on a confident Ball State squad that just knocked off Big Ten Conference doormat the Indiana Hoosiers for a 3rd straight year. South Florida played one good team in the Nevada Wolfpack and had a thrilling comeback win but last week looked uninspired against Big East Conference foe the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. South Florida is so reliant on the big play I doubt they will find success by “dinking and dunking” their way down the field. Quarterback BJ Daniels makes a lot of simple mistakes with poor footwork and decision making. I think the Bulls squeak by but Ball State will shorten the game and keep it close with power back Jahwan Edwards putting up over 125 yards on the ground. South Florida 27 – Ball State 23.
Rutgers at Arkansas (-7 1/2): The wheels fell completely off for Arkansas last week with a 52-0 drubbing at the hands of SEC rival Alabama. Stud quarterback Tyler Wilson didn’t play and he may not go again Saturday. Let’s say he does go for our purposes. I STILL think Rutgers wins this game. When I was watched the replay of last week’s game it looked like Arkansas quit by the 2nd quarter. That’s hard for me to say frankly for a group of young men but they’ve given up on this year and specifically lame duck head man John L. Smith. Arkansas defense may have a Southeastern Conference patch on their jerseys but they play anything like one. Their technique against the run is horrible and expectations were low to start the season in the first place. Rutgers is extremely physical up front but they can go overboard commit quite a few dumb personal fouls a game. Nevertheless, Rutgers running back Jawan Jamison will have a huge day and it will be a moot point. Rutgers 21 – Arkansas 14.
Louisville Cardinals (-13 1/2) at Florida International Panthers: Louisville has started off the season hot with wins over the Kentucky Wildcats and North Carolina Tar Heels. Last week though they made it a heck of a lot closer then it needed to be barely escaping in the closing seconds. This Cardinals team is very young and at least 20 players are from the Miami area. That’s a major distraction waiting to happen. FIU’s offense will get back on track behind sophomore QB Jake Medlock after last week’s first half shutout but the young Cardinals will pull away in the final 5 minutes. Louisville 31 – FIU 21.
Nevada (-8) at Hawaii Warriors: The Wolfpack are on their way to becoming one of college football’s most overlooked teams yet again. Under Chris Ault‘s leadership they continue to knock off the big boys starting with the California Golden Bears in Week 1. Cody Fajardo is one of the best dual threat quarterbacks in the nation. If you need any reason to watch this game he is it. Hawaii has left the run and shoot we all got to love with June Jones at the helm. New head man Norm Chow has installed his pro style offense and they are running the ball efficiently. Add the notorious struggles we’ve seen from teams coming from the mainland and I think Nevada gets a legitimate test but they win late. Nevada 30 – Hawaii 27.