Welp, it appears we got the best of the
number, which is half the battle. These two teams met last year at
Wake, and ULM actually beat them SU as a +2.5 point underdog. So,
one would think Wake has revenge, but not on the road. ULM did lose
some in the off-season, but they gained a QB. Senior transfer (from
NC State) Pete Thomas, who went to ULM when Dave Doeren (new
Wolfpack coach) said that Jacoby Brissett would start the next two
years. Brissett is a Florida transfer. Thomas also played at
Colorado State for two years, so he's got something to prove. He's
not the be all, end all, or he'd still be in NC State, but he's a
far better QB than a true Freshman (John Wolford) starting his
first career game on the road. Dave Clawson comes from Bowling
Green to be the first year Deacons coach, so we've got a first year
coach and a true Freshman QB on the road. Yes, Wolford broke all
Tebow's High School Florida records. But, this is a quantum leap.
Wake brings back NONE of their starting backfield and only three
offensive lineman. Not good, IMO. And they bring back ZERO of their
defensive line. ULM brings back almost their entire defense, and
defenses are almost always ahead of offenses early on, and Wake
couldn't score LAST year with everyone that departed. Wake in their
last 20 road games are 5-15 SU and not much better ATS. ULM has won
SU three of their last four as a +4 underdog or less, and the loss
of Price for Wake is far more significant than the loss of Browning
for ULM. Wake was awful last year, and although ULM wasn't a
juggernaut, Wake shouldn't be favored here, not with their lack of
offense or defense from last season, minus the graduates.
Early thoughts on other Thursday games.
Being a Gamecock fan I am trying to be unbiased here. The loss
of Shaw might be bigger than people think. Dylan Thompson simply
isn't going to run, although he does have a better arm and they do
have skill position players on offense. I suspect Spurrier may play
it close to the vest here, not wanting to put Thompson in harms way
early. Their defense without Clowney will obviously suffer, but
their DB's are simply raw, IMO. So, no Manziel or Mike Evans,
either. I still wouldn't lay the points at this point in time, and
think it does stay under.
Unusual for Tulsa and Tulane to open with a Conference game.
Tulsa lost at Tulane last season 14-7, which is one reason why the
total may be so low. Both teams bring back most of their starters,
so I actually lean over a little. We'll wait and see what the line
does. 5 is a dead number, and if we took the points we'd want +6
and if we took the over we'd want it at less than 48.
I will almost always fade SEC teams on the road (or at home)
against non-conference teams. They're almost always over valued,
and this is probably no exception. Mississippi hasn't been a
double-digit road favorite in quite some time, and that current
total of 56 may be a bit too high. I do expect Ole Miss to have a
great defense, so IMO right now that may be the best play in the
The best numbers are gone if you wanted to take Temple, and
after what Vanderbilt did last season they're clearly going to be
an early public team, so that early scalping of +17 isn't
unexpected. Right now I don't like this game much at all.
Rutgers always has a good defense, but they don't play teams
like Washington State very often. Rutgers goes to the B-10 and
brings a ton of people back, while WSU brings a ton back,
especially on offense. I can see this game staying reasonably close
for the 1H, but the speed at which WSU runs their offense may wear
out Rutgers in the 2H if they can't create some turnovers. Every
WSU game will have a big total for obvious reasons, so we'll wait
and see here. Perhaps I could tease Rutgers to more than +14, and
we rarely tease totals.
As always, this is an early look and we'll update things
closer to game-day.