======= ======= ====== ====== ====== ===== ==== ====== ====== ===== ==== ======= ======= ====== ====== ====== ===== ==== ====== ====== ===== ====
I’ve already noted that offshore books can be funding your welcome week debauchery with that outrageous LSU line against the Fighting Jared Borislows, but here are four more wagers that give you a good shot at financing a long weekend on the slopes:
Georgia v UNC
Line: Georgia -3
The Dawgs are stacked this year. This was essentially always the case under now departed Coach Mark Richt, but this time they have a quarterback and a defensive mastermind on their sidelines. UNC loses more starters from its surprisingly successful 2015 team than 23 of the top 25 ranked teams, including gaping holes at quarterback and both lines.
Over the last three seasons of Larry Fedora’s Tar Heel tenure, the one-time defensive coordinator has orchestrated a defense ranked in the bottom three of the largely hapless ACC conference. This should be a perfect week one “marquee” matchup for freshman UGA super recruit Jacob Eason to begin his storied career of handing the ball off to Nick Chubb. The Dawgs are one of the most talented and experienced teams in the nation, with what should be a balanced pro-style attack. If Coach Smart can get any sort of consistency out of his 5 star single caller, the rout may be on in Chapel Hill.
Score: UGA 31 UNC 13
Ohio State v Bowling Green
Line: Ohio State -27
Pick: Ohio State
Oh, how quickly people forget who is on the sidelines in Columbus. Yes, the Buckeyes lost more talent to the 2016 NFL Draft than most teams recruit in a decade. I’m well aware of that. I also know Meyer has signed more 5-star recruits in his last two full classes than the rest of the Big 10 has combined to reel in since 2010. Sorry, Coach Harbaugh, the Boogeyman in scarlet and gray is only getting stronger.
With the departure of Cardale Jones an actual positive for the buckeye attack, allowing JT Barrett, a far better fit for Meyer’s offense, to resume his full-time role as starter, I expect Ohio State to actually improve on their nearly five touchdowns per game 2015 juggernaut of an offense. Conversely, BGSU loses both the greatest quarterback in school history and Coach Dino Babers, and travels to the Horseshoe, where MAC teams have averaged a 44 point loss per game since 2010.
Meyer understands style points. The Buckeyes win huge.
Score: OSU 56 BGSU 13
South Carolina v Vanderbilt
Line: Vandy -4
The Head Ball Coach is still less than a year removed from the sidelines, yet the Cocks open as underdogs against the Commodores for the first time since Lou Holtz lisped his way to Columbia, South Carolina. Muschamp takes over after an awful 2015 that saw the Gamecocks miss a bowl game and The Visor stroll off onto a golf course somewhere mid-season. It was actually that bad.
But with a new season and coach comes a renewed sense of hope. On paper, the Cocks are far more talented than Vandy, having out-recruited their SEC East foe in each of the previous five cycles. Muschamp, for all his struggles at Florida, is a defensive genius, walking into a locker room stocked with SEC-level talent and a strong freshman class of “his guys.” The Cocks, like our own, will not be great, but with a football budget almost double that of Vanderbilt and a depth of superior talent, Muschamp narrowly escapes Nashville a winner.
Score: USC 27 Vanderbilt 23
Tennessee v App State
Line: Tennessee -20.5
Ok, Vols fans, you’ve mirrored your very own Coach Butch Jones by spouting “next year!” three years in a row without any actual results. So this has to be the year, right? While I agree this is the best version of college football’s favorite “one year away” program, outside of Knoxville, I don’t think anyone sees the hardware ending up in a Peyton Manning Pass parade.
However, this is, without doubt, a talented roster, and the start of the most anticipated Tennessee football season in over a decade. Neyland Stadium will be rocking with over 100,000 delusional fans, Josh Dobbs is a supposed star, and the Volunteers might have the deepest and most versatile weapons in a stacked SEC, headlined by running back Jalen Herd.
I realize the Mountaineers are giant killers and have damned Michigan football to a decade of Rich Rod and Brady Hoke hopelessness in the past, but as one of the newest entrants to major college football, App State has struggled to replicate their past successes, and will be overmatched at every position on the field this Saturday. Tennessee signed more 4-star recruits in 2015 than App State has secured in the history of its program. If this really is the year the Volunteers finally match their noise off the field on it, championship-caliber teams win matchups like this handily.
Put up or shut up, Vols.
Score: Tennessee 48 ASU 13.
Image via YouTube