One of the most hyped teams entering the 2019 college football season was Nebraska.
The Cornhuskers, who finished the season strong last year and were expected to take a big step forward in Year 2 under head coach Scott Frost, much like how Central Florida, Frost’s former team, made a quantum leap in his second season as head coach there.
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That up-tick in improvement has not happened so far this season in Lincoln. Nebraska is 3-2 SU but all three wins came against weaker competition (South Alabama, Northern Illinois and Illinois) while the two losses came in both of the Cornhuskers’ step up in class games against Colorado and last week’s embarrassing blowout home loss to Ohio State.
They are just 1-4 ATS in five games this season proving to be an overvalued commodity in the betting markets. Nebraska’s schedule does them no favors either as they host a feisty Northwestern team this week followed by a tough road game at an improved Minnesota squad.
Following that are games against Indiana, at Purdue, vs. Wisconsin, at Maryland and vs. Iowa. The ceiling for this team could be seven or eight wins this season based on that schedule the rest of the way.
The offense hasn’t been as potent as expected with QB Adrian Martinez making bad mistakes that a senior QB shouldn’t. In general, turnovers have plagued this Nebraska offense all season.
Nebraska’s mentality will be put to the test on Saturday hosting Northwestern who battled Wisconsin very tough last week in a wire-to-wire cover as road underdogs.
Here are this week’s picks:
Tulsa at SMU -13: SMU is one of only a few teams in the country that still has a perfect SU and ATS record this season at 5-0 SU and ATS. The Mustangs are a much improved team on both sides of the football with the offense averaging 44.4 points per game behind the efforts of Texas transfer Shane Buechele at QB who already has nearly 1,400 passing yards, a 69.4 percent completion rate and 10 TD’s on the season.
SMU has rarely been known as a program with a solid defense but this year they are allowing just 363 total yards per game and a respectable 26.6 points per game. Tulsa was outgained badly in their two toughest games of the season against Oklahoma State and Michigan State by a combined 333 total yards losing by 19+ points.
SMU is a team worth riding until the betting markets catch up to their improvement. So far, they have yet to do so. SMU
Western Michigan +2.5 at Toledo: Toledo enjoyed a miraculous comeback win last week at home against BYU rallying from a 21-14 deficit to win 28-21. The Rockets were outgained by a significant margin of 154 total yards in their last two games.
Western Michigan has a great offense with QB Jon Wassink, an awesome RB in LeVante Bellamy and a massive offensive line that has opened up both the running attack and the passing game. The Broncos’ only two losses came against Michigan State and Syracuse.
Toledo has worse defensive stats than Western Michigan and I don’t like the spot here for Toledo having to refocus quickly after a comeback win last week to beat BYU. I like WMU to win this game outright on the road. WESTERN MICHIGAN
Utah State at LSU, Total 71.5: The Tigers’ new-look offense has provided the results everyone was hoping for. LSU QB Joe Burrow and the uptempo RPO offense has been electrifying in their first four games averaging 563 total yards and 57.8 points per game which are absolutely insane numbers which is why LSU is a perfect 4-0 to the Over this season in their games and each of their last three games have gotten at least to 79 total points scored.
I don’t expect Utah State’s defense to have much success slowing down this LSU offensive freight train. However, Utah State still has a solid offense of their own that is fully capable of putting up some points here in this game as well. The Utes have an experienced, dual threat senior QB in Jordan Love who has found ways to move the football and put up points.
LSU has battled some injuries on defense in recent games and in they allowed 38 points to Vanderbilt. Both teams play at a very fast pace and I expect plenty of points. OVER
Last week: 1-2