I didn’t love the Week 8 slate, and it didn’t love me back. Our under-the-radar plays went 0-2 last week, with Cincinnati and Boston College letting us down big time. A note for the Bearcats: putting up only 27 points and beating Navy by seven isn’t the best message to send to the College Football Playoff committee.
Luckily, Week 9 presents some better opportunities. So let’s get back in the win column.
In case you haven’t paid much attention to the Sun Belt this season, meet the Arkansas State Red Wolves, who can’t defend a nosebleed. Arkansas State ranks dead last in the country in points allowed per game (44) and rushing yards allowed per game (290.6). Oh, against the pass their only 123rd, allowing 288 yards per game through the air.
Now, the Red Wolves can move the ball through the air and rank 7th in the country, averaging 350 passing yards per game. But this one-dimensional offense could struggle against a respectable South Alabama defense that’s giving up just 204.6 passing yards per game.
The Jaguars’ offense isn’t prolific, but it ranks inside the top 40 in passing offense, which is more than enough against Arkansas State. So give me the home favorite in this battle between two Sun Belt cellar dwellers.
Boise State has stumbled to a 3-4 record this season, and the primary culprit for its struggles has been a porous run defense. The Broncos are allowing just short of 200 rushing yards per game. That plays right into the hands of a Colorado State team that runs the ball at the 23rd-highest clip in the nation. The Rams haven’t been overly efficient on the ground, averaging 3.77 yards per rush. But they should have plenty of success against Boise State.
Offensively, Boise State is one-dimensional. The Broncos rank second-to-last in the country in rushing offense but 23rd in passing. However, the Rams have answers in the secondary, as they rank 26th in pass defense.
Colorado State should successfully neutralize Boise’s biggest strength, and the Rams should have no issues on the ground on either side of the ball. So take the short home underdog in this Mountain West showdown.
Pick: Colorado State -2.5
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