Mountain West impresses in NCAAF

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Last weekend provided some eyebrow raising results in college football. But two things really stood out to me after last week’s action.

One, there were some stunning losses for SEC squads as we witnessed South Carolina, Tennessee and Missouri all losing outright as double-digit favorites. Ole Miss looked very poor in a loss as well against Memphis.

We know there are some real powerhouse teams in this conference like Alabama, LSU, Auburn, Georgia and Florida. But perhaps the bottom part of the conference simply doesn’t have the quality depth that many people thought.

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The other thing that caught my attention was the very impressive showing from a conference that doesn’t generate a whole lot of hype or attention. The Mountain West squads put a very solid foot forward with Boise State winning outright as underdogs on the road at Florida State, Wyoming knocking off Missouri as double-digit underdogs, Nevada rallying back to beat Purdue.

And let’s not forget Hawaii, which beat Pac-12 Arizona outright as double-digit underdogs two weeks ago.

It is always unwise to overreact to one week of results. But these two conferences are worth monitoring in non-conference action in terms of whether the Mountain West success can continue and if the struggles of the middle to lower tier SEC teams continues.

Friday

Marshall +11 at Boise State: I like the spot here for Marshall to take advantage of a Boise State squad coming off a massive win on the road at Florida State. Now the Broncos must travel back from Tallahassee to Boise for this game in what could be a letdown situation for the home team.

Marshall’s offense should take a step forward with Isaiah Green returning at QB and a solid skill position group. They bring back a really good defense this season which returns six of their top eight defensive linemen from a unit that was a Top 25 defense last season allowing 22.3 points per game.

There is no denying how impressive freshman QB Hank Bachmeier was in his Boise State debut last week in the victory against the Seminoles but the Thundering Herd have the defense capable of matching up in the trenches here.

It’s worth noting Boise State’s dismal recent track record on the blue turf going 7-16 ATS in their last 23 games on this field. MARSHALL

Saturday

Rutgers (+19) at Iowa: The Scarlet Knights and Hawkeyes square off in a Big Ten conference matchup in Iowa City. Rutgers shook off a very slow start against UMass last week and ended up rolling to a 48-21 win against the Minutemen.

I like the improved QB play we saw last week for Rutgers with Texas Tech transfer McLane Carter winning the starting job in fall camp. The Scarlet Knights’ offense has the look of being a bit more potent and explosive this season.

Iowa also started off slowly last week in their home win against Miami (OH) but eventually got the 38-14 win although the Hawkeyes failed to cover as 25-point favorites. Iowa is still an offense that I have trouble spotting this many points with considering how methodical and conservative they tend to be. 

Rutgers ended the season on a perfect 5-0 ATS streak in the role of double digit underdogs and all of those games were in Big Ten conference play. RUTGERS

Tulane +18 at Auburn: The Green Wave dominated Florida International last week in a 42-14 blowout win while the Tigers erased a second-half deficit against Oregon to come from behind and snatch a 27-21 victory, punching in a late TD in the final seconds.

It was a fantastic comeback for Auburn but I believe it leaves them vulnerable a bit in this spot to have to re-focus quickly for a very underrated and dangerous Tulane squad. Auburn QB Bo Nix was mediocre in his first start despite the win. He only completed 13-of-31 passes for 177 yards with 2 TD’s and 2 INT’s.

Tulane’s offense is improved as well with a new scheme on offense but QB Justin McMillan looked comfortable running it. Tulane is 11-5 ATS in their last 16 non-conference games. Auburn is just 1-7 ATS in its last eight games off a win and they’ve had a shaky track record laying points in non-conference home games. TULANE

Last week: 0-3

Season: 3-3

 

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