Hawaii @ UMass | UMass -3, O/U 61
6:00 : Warren McGuirk Alumni Stadium | Amherst, MA
These two teams played to finish up the regular season last year on the Hawaiian islands and defense was non-existent on both sides of the ball. Hawaii ultimately ended up winning that one at home 46-40 with over 650 combined passing yards. I would expect a lot of the same this year up in Amherst. The Hawaiian secondary was obviously shaky last year but should be assisted by a much better front 7, who should be able to get plenty of pressure on UMass in the passing game. The UMass offensive line lost 107 career starts from a unit that allowed 3.3 ypc and 45 sacks!! They will also be starting 4 sophomores along the line this year. Needless to say, UMass will need to establish some sort of a running game to prevent the pass rushers from teeing off on the QB’s. Hawaii will look to stuff the run to get UMass behind schedule on offense to allow their pass rush to get after the QB. I would expect just enough of a running game from Marquis Young and Jordan Fredericks, however, to allow the passing game of UMass to make some big plays, with one of the nation’s best TE’s, Adam Breneman (former #2 TE recruit, 70 rec, 808 yds, 8 TD’s LY) and a dangerous WR, Andy Isabella (62 rec, 801 yds, 7 TD’s LY).
Hawaii’s new found potency on offense will be led by Soph QB Dru Brown. He threw for 2,488 yds, 62.4%, 19/7 TD/INT ration, along with 306 rush yds and 4TDs. His ability to scramble, combined with the speed/power combo of Diocemy Saint Juste (1,006 yds, 6.1 avg LY) give Hawaii a dangerous enough running game to open up defenses and allow Brown to find a plethora of talented receivers, as Brown loves to spread it around. Hawaii also returns 79 career starts from a group that paved the way for 164 rush yds (4.8 avg), and will be one of the best OL’s in the MWC.
This will be a fun, high scoring game but I just like Hawaii’s balanced offense with a star in Dru Brown combined with a defense that I trust just slightly more than the UMass D. We’re going to take the points on the road and also play the Over.
BET : Hawaii +3 | 1 Unit
BET : Over 61 | 1 Unit
#19 USF @ San Jose St. | USF -21.5, O/U 70.5
7:30 / CBS SN : CEFCU Stadium | San Jose, CA
Charlie Strong just don’t fuck this up… USF is absolutely loaded again coming off an 11-2 season with a bonafide Pancake Schedule (normally a Cupcake Schedule but I’m rolling with PMFC on this one). Flowers very well could win the Heisman this year coming off 2,812 pass yds, 62.5%, 24/7 ratio and 1,530 rush yds, 18 TD’s (7.7 avg). The guy is incredibly dynamic and this schedule should allow him to put up even better numbers, particularly as a passer as the Bulls want to improve even more through the air. They do lose Marlon Mack in the backfield but D’Ernest Johnson is no slouch and is also very effective as a pass catcher. They are both big and dangerous at WR/TE and will be big and physical across the offensive line. San Jose St has everyone back in the secondary and expect to be one of the best in the MWC but are smallish and not very talented at all in the front 7. While USF would like to go bombs away early and show off their improved passing game, I would expect close to 400 rushing yards in the this one with Flowers going over 100 in the first half and may approach 200 himself.
San Jose St. has co-QB’s and co-RB’s coming into the season, which could be looked at as a good and a bad thing. For one, both Josh Love and Montel Aaron are garbage at QB so maybe go with the guy who’s not going to throw pick 6’s like Matt Schaub against a team as strong as USF? At RB they actually do have two talented backs in Malik Roberson and Zamore Zigler (Dirk’s brother?) and I expect to see plenty of both in this game. They do have talent back at WR also but TE Josh Oliver could be the most dangerous weapon against USF in this one, especially with the Bulls teeing off on whoever is at QB. The Spartans do have all 5 starters back along the Offensive Line and this should be their best unit on the team. USF, meanwhile, was down on defense LY but should be much better under Charlie Strong (despite the defensive performances under him at Texas). The DL get 7 back with starting experience and will form their best run D in maybe 5 years. Auggie Sanchez is a bonafide star at MLB coming off 117 tkls, 8.5 tfl LY and leads a really strong LB unit. They do like to blitz their corners and this secondary could also cause issues for the Spartans.
Look, this is a mismatch, especially when USF has the ball. San Jose St. should put up some points, as indicated by the lofty O/U number set at 70.5. Another factor here… San Jose St. is breaking in a first time Head Coach, Offensive Coordinator, and Defensive Coordinator. That does not happen, ever… USF is WAY too talented for SJSU, particularly when USF has the ball and they will need to impress the playoff committee all season long given the Pancake Schedule. Look for these boys to run it up.
BET : USF -21.5 | 2 Units