A quick recap of my personal “good, bad and ugly” from the opening weekend of action before we look at Week 2.
Best call in the Week 1 version of this column: Calling Michigan State to run all over UAB. The Spartans opened with five runs in five plays, scored with ease, and never slowed down against the overmatched Blazers.
Worst bet made in Week 1: Taking Central Michigan with the points in Kansas. One Jayhawks 52-7 trouncing later and I rescinded my status as the charter Canadian member of the Dan LeFevour fan club.
Ugliest reaction in the Covers.com newsroom on Saturday: I threw a half-drained bourbon bottle at Ryan Stetson when Ole Miss coughed up a last-minute touchdown to prevent a Rebs payday in Memphis. Luckily I missed Stets, just like the Tigers missed the two-point conversion.
On to stuff that actually matters for bettors.
Best big game somehow flying under the radar: The BYU Cougars invade the Rose Bowl to face the UCLA Bruins this Saturday, looking to strike another blow to the Pac-10. BYU ended last season with a 38-8 win over Oregon in the Las Vegas Bowl and opened 2007 with a 20-7 win over Arizona.
UCLA lost only once at home last year and racked up 625 yards of offense in its opening game at Stanford.
UNLV has covered the spread as an underdog in its last three home games, perhaps a reason why head coach Bret Bielema is banning the Badgers from casinos and nightclubs on Friday night.
Wazzu is 3-1 at Qwest but hasn’t covered the spread in any of the three games with a line, including last year’s 17-15 squeaker over Baylor when the Cougars had been 13-point favorites.
Best game in a stadium that sits fewer than 35,000 fans: The Wake Forest Demon Deacons welcome the Nebraska Cornhuskers to Groves Stadium, where the Deacs have won six of their last dozen games as a home underdog.
Nebraska won the last head-to-head meeting 31-3 in Lincoln two years ago, but can’t afford to look ahead to next week’s game against USC with the defending ACC champs on tap on Saturday.
Worst start for a heavy Week 2 favorite: The Florida State Seminoles are favored by a whopping 34 ½ points in Week 2 despite losing their opener as a favorite and scoring only three first-half points in the process.
The Seminoles host the UAB Blazers, a team that allowed 298 rushing yards in its 37-point loss to Michigan State last week. Florida State’s O-line needs a boost to even come close to the Spartans’ production.
Ugliest picture for a would-be BCS crasher: The Utah Utes scheduled some monster programs this year in the hope that some upsets and a sweep of the Mountain West would make them the Boise State of 2007.
Now the Utes are playing with their second-string quarterback and tailback with a lot of key games remaining. Utah is a 7 ½-point home favorite over the Air Force Falcons this Saturday.
Texas Tech smoked the SMU Mustangs 49-9 on the road last week as 8 ½-point favorites. The Raiders are 24-point favorites for Saturday’s home opener despite beating UTEP by only three points in 2006.
Worst situation for a quarterback making his first start: The Notre Dame Fighting Irish hand the ball to highly-touted freshman Jimmy Clausen on Saturday in front of 107,000 white-clad fans at Beaver Stadium.
The Irish O-line allowed nine sacks to Georgia Tech last week and the Penn State Nittany Lions defense will be hungry to avenge last year’s 41-17 loss at Notre Dame Stadium.
Last year’s head-to-head meeting featured a pair of field goals as the only scoring in regulation time before Buffalo won in overtime and forced a push as 6-point home favorites.
Best chance for a high-scoring game: The Hawaii Warriors play their first 2007 game with a line and to nobody’s surprise, the Warriors game has the highest total of the week at 76 points.
They beat the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 61-17 in Honolulu last year, but the Bulldogs won 46-14 when the teams last met in Ruston, La., in 2005.
Best chance for a high-scoring game that’s actually close: The Indiana Hoosiers visit the Western Michigan Broncos with the total pegged at 60 points and the game sitting as a pick through Friday morning.
The Hoosiers scored 55 last week while the Broncos were allowing 62 in a big loss, though they faced highly varied opponents. Indiana won the head-to-head meeting in Bloomington last year 39-20.