In two weeks the 2016 college football season will commence and I can’t wait. Football for the B1G starts on Thursday, September 1st followed by games on Friday and Saturday.
If you follow my blog you know that I pick the B1G games each week. Prior to 2014 I simply picked winners and I was pretty good that hitting about 80% accuracy for the season. Starting in 2014 I upped the ante and started picking against the spread which is far more difficult. In 2014 my accuracy was 52% and last year it improved to 56%. For 2016, I’m setting a goal of 60%.
A few things to keep in mind:
- I make my picks before kickoff of the first game of the week.
- Once the picks are in, I don’t revise them.
- I use ESPN for the odds and sometimes they don’t have odds on certain games in which case I’ll find some odds on Oddsshark or something similar.
- If you think I’m any good at this, you certainly don’t follow my blog.
Okay, let’s kick this pig for the first time in the 2016 season…
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 1:
Indiana @ Florida International – 7:30pm on ESPN-U. Did you know that FIU are the Golden Panthers? Of course you didn’t. I’m going to assume that the Hoosiers continue to have a prolific offense this year, especially against sub-par defenses. If that is true, I think they hang a shit-ton of points on the Golden Panthers. Indiana is favored by 9.5 and they win by 17 easily covering.
Oregon State @ Minnesota – 9:00pm on BTN. I find this game much more interesting than the Hoosiers match-up, it’s a shame it’s on late on BTN as I’ll probably fall asleep watching it. Anyway, my gut tells me that the Gophers will be good this year, but in an above average kind of way, not a win the division kind of way. Even though they are favored in this one, it wouldn’t surprise me if they lose. I think it’s going to be close with the Gophers opening up an lead in the first half and the Beavers taking it away in the second. Almost too close to call in my book. Minnesota is favored by 13 but they win by three and don’t cover.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 2:
Furman @ Michigan State – 7:00pm on BTN. Not only are there no odds on ESPN for this game, Furman doesn’t even have a page on the site. This is a throw-away game that does nothing good for the Spartans. If MSU destroys them, no big deal as it is expected. If it is close, MSU gets picked apart for backsliding after a great 2015 season. And heaven forbid if the Spartans were to… never mind, we’ll not even go there. Let’s be clear, this is Michigan State paying Furman for a warm-up game and I’m sure the Paladins are happy to get paid. The downside is that beating Furman doesn’t help you make it to the playoffs or a great bowl game. So, know odds that I can find but oddsshark has a predicted score of 40.2-2.0 or the Spartans winning by 38. Does that suggest a 38-point spread? Okay, let’s go with that BUT if a legit spread comes out, I reserve the right to revisit this pick. Michigan State is favored by 38 and I have them winning by 36 and not covering. UPDATE 8/25: Michigan State is favored by 42 points and I’ll stick with my original pick with them winning by 36 and not covering.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 3:
Eastern Kentucky @ Purdue – Noon on ESPN-News. Much like the Michigan State game, this game has no odds posted and no info available on Colonels, so the same disclaimer applies here. Oddsshark predicts the score at 12.4-15.7, or 12-16 which is an oddball score. But these are oddball teams. The Boilermakers should be able to win by at least a score, right? Purdue is favored by four but they win by 10 and cover. UPDATE 8/25: Purdue is favored by 16 and I’ll stick with them winning by 10 but not covering.
Howard @ Maryland – Noon on BTN. Yep, same story here. The Terps should destroy the Bison and I think they will do just that. Oddsshark has the predicted score at 2.9-24.1 or 3-24. I think that is conservative. Maryland is favored by 21 but they win by 35 and easily cover. UPDATE 8/25: Maryland is favored by 48 points and I’ll stick with them winning by 35 but not covering.
Western Michigan @ Northwestern – Noon on ESPN-U. Yes, this could be a decent game considering that the Broncos can be a minor threat and the Wildcats can implode with the best of them. We all know home field advantage is null at Ryan Field. This game comes down to the Wildcats defense and can they slow or stop the Bronco offense. If yes, and easy win. If no, a very long day and possible 0-1 start. I’m going to give NWU the benefit of the doubt but I don’t feel great about it. Northwestern is a 6.5-point favorite but they win by 10 and cover.
Hawaii @ Michigan – Noon on ESPN. God how I hate Michigan. The HarbaughManiaManiaMania seems to finally starting to rot a bit and even though the world seems to be putting the Wolverines on a pedestal in the pre-season, you can sense the annoyance and exhaustion in regards to Jim Harbaugh “personality”. That guy is a raging dick and a flaming asshole, but he is a pretty good coach for what it’s worth. Well, back to the task at hand, we have the Rainbow Warriors making the epic journey to Ann Arbaugh and the Big House. There is no way Michigan loses this game, so the question is really by how much do they win with new QBs. I think a lot. Michigan is a 41-point favorite and they win by 35 and don’t cover.
Bowling Green @ Ohio State – Noon on BTN. Nice to see the Buckeyes relegated to the Big Ten Network for their opener, what with playing a turd like Bowling Green (no judgement). The Falcons are an in-state non-rival that will give their all for a chance to beat the monolithic Buckeyes. It’s that extra determination that gives them an extra score which is great, but still not enough to win, not in the Horseshoe for sure. J.T. Barrett finally has the driver seat all to himself and I think he makes the most of it. Ohio State is favored by 27.5 but they win by 31 and cover.
Rutgers @ Washington – 2:00pm on Pac12. The Scarlet Knights travel all the way to Seattle to face the Huskies, that seems like an awful long way to go just to get spanked. Not that I think that Washington is all that great, but Rutgers is a never-ending stream of disappointment and they should never be trusted. So, the Knights lose, but by how much? Rutgers is a 26-point dog but they lose by 17 and cover.
LSU @ Wisconsin – 3:30pm on ABC/ESPN-3. Yep, Lambeau Field with ESPN College Gameday, this is going to be quite a spectacle. This is basically a home game for the Badgers with the added impact of playing where the Packers play which should get the fans plenty riled up. Even with the location advantage, the Badgers are a dog in this game. Is it SEC bias or is it simply that the Tigers looks solid and Bucky has a big question mark? No matter, my gut tells me this is a one-score game in the end. Wisconsin is a nine-point dog but they lose by a score and cover.
Kent State @ Penn State – 3:30pm on BTN. Yep, another cupcake week #1 game but at least it’s semi-respectable. The Lions should make quick work of the Golden Flashes in Beaver Stadium. I think it will be good for PSU to have some fresh blood in at QB, hopefully the newby will get rid of the ball a little faster and not end up getting sacked 10+ times per game like our old friend Hack did. Penn State is a 20-point favorite and they win by 24 to cover.
Miami (OH) @ Iowa – 3:30pm on ESPN-U. After an undefeated regular season, the Hawkeyes lost the B1G championship game and then lost their bow. Trust me, I know that deflated feeling. The Hawkeyes have a ton of talent coming back this year and assuming they can shake off those losses, they carry a bunch of momentum into 2016. For the Red Hawks, this is the toughest game of the season and they basically have no shot at winning. But they are not a complete push0ver and the Hawks need to pay attention. Iowa is favored by 27.5-points but they win by only 24 and don’t cover.
Murray State @ Illinois – 3:30pm on BTN. Clash of the titans, yes? No. It certainly should be a guaranteed win for Lovie Smith; welcome to the B1G coach. There is no spread on ESPN but Oddsshark has the predicted score at 3.8-34.8, or 4-35, making the Illini a 31 point favorite over the Racers. I have no idea what to expect out of Illinois but I’m going to assume that they come out fighting with a new coach and a fresh truckload of optimism. Illinois is favored by 31 but they win by 35 and cover. UPDATE 8/25: Illinois is favored by 35 points and I’m going to revise my pick to them winning by 31 and not covering.
Fresno State @ Nebraska – 8:00pm on BTN. The Huskers never should have fired Bo, but they did and they are not better for it. But they certainly are beat-Fresno State good, so there should be no question of them winning their home opener. But by what margin? Nebraska is favored by 28.5 and they win by 32 covering.
There you go, 14 B1G squads, all playing week #1. I’m hoping that eight or nine of these are right so that I get out to a good start towards my 60% goal for the season. Let me know if you agree or think I’m full of shit with these picks. I’m probably more that latter.
best of luck to all of the B1G squads this year. Everyone is tied for first place right now, let’s see who maintains that position and who drops like a rock. No matter what, it will be fun to watch. There is just one thing to always remember…