It’s Alabama, then everyone else
October 17, 2018 3:00 AM
by Joe D'Amico
We have officially put the first half of the college football regular season in our rear-view mirror.
Georgia’s loss to LSU last week has bounced the Bulldogs from an undefeated, No. 2 team, to a 6-1 No. 8 team. Only two teams in the Top-20 have maintained their positions in the polls from a week ago – No. 1. Alabama and No.10 Central Florida. In the Top-25, only South Florida (6-0), Cincinnati (6-0), North Carolina State (5-0), Notre Dame (7-0), Clemson (7-0), Ohio State (7-0), and Alabama (7-0) own unblemished records.
Make no mistake about it, there is no team in the nation as stacked or playing on the same level as the Crimson Tide. I have heard critics comment that Nick Saban’s boys could beat certain pro football teams. That’s just ridiculous. But, on the collegiate level, Alabama is the most-feared team in the nation. Even if, by some miracle, they drop a game, they will still be in the playoffs and vie for the National Championship.
Central Florida (-21) at East Carolina: I must side with a UCF team that had a scare last week in their one-point win over Memphis. The Knights who have outscored the Pirates, 110-50 the last two years, will start fast and keep their foot on the gas, not allowing the Pirates to catch up.
ECU can pass the ball, but must face one of the toughest pass defenses in the nation. CENTRAL FLORIDA
Virginia (+7.5) at Duke: Wouldn’t it be great if this was a college basketball matchup? LOL. Giving a Virginia team, which has won and covered better than a TD here, is a gift. Duke QB Daniel Jones has had nothing but problems facing the UVA defense, tossing seven INT’s the last two meetings. The Cavaliers are getting the bettors paid, riding a 5-1 ATS run. VIRGINIA
Florida Atlantic (-2.5) at Marshall: There’s going to be a lot of eyes in the gambling world watching this particular contest. If you recall, Lane Kiffin took a last-second safety, which allowed Marshall to cover last season’s meeting. The Owls don’t have much defensively, but can score points and offer solid value against the spread, going 4-0 ATS the last four games played in the month of October and 8-3 ATS the last 11 games vs. conference opponents. The Thundering Herd aren’t so “thundering” when it comes to covering, as they are 0-6 ATS the last six games played at home and 1-4 ATS the last five games played overall. FLORIDA ATLANTIC
Army (-8) vs. Miami, Ohio: Over the last few days, I have read about the Miami defense against the run. But what great rushing team have they actually faced? Facing the triple-option is a whole different monster.
Army and its No. 2-ranked ground attack keeps defenses on the field. And by the second half, they’re gasping out of their mouths.
The Black Knights were good enough to keep the Oklahoma game tight, so I feel they will steamroll a Redhawks team that is 0-7 ATS the last seven vs. non-conference foes and 1-5 ATS the last six vs. teams with a winning record. ARMY
Alabama (-29) at Tennessee: Tennessee beat a struggling Auburn squad last week, and is due for a major letdown here. Prior to that surprise victory, the Vols folded against Florida and Georgia. Look for Alabama to fine tune their squad before next week’s LSU matchup. The Crimson Tide is 7-1 ATS the last eight games played at the Volunteers and 10-3-1 ATS the last 14 overall games played vs. the Vols. ALABAMA
Oklahoma (-7.5) at Texas Christian: Expect a major “bounce back” for Oklahoma here, after suffering their first loss of the season. TCU has a good defense on paper, but to be honest, they have faced some very poor offensive units. When they went up against Oklahoma State and Texas, they got shellacked for a combined 71 points. OKLAHOMA
Memphis (+10) at Missouri: This is a mistake made by the oddsmakers as I feel the line should be closer to a 5.5 or 6. Yes, Missouri just faced three SEC teams and technically, steps down in class here. But the dynamic QB/RB duo of White and Henderson will keep the Mizzou defense on the field and their offense off the scoreboard. MEMPHIS
Last week: 2-6