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    College Football Week Zero:

    Looks, Predictions, Guide & Wagers

    August 28, 2021

     

    Nebraska Cornhuskers(-7) @ Illinois Fighting Illini, O/U 55

    When: August 28, 2021 at 1:00 PM EDT

    Channel: FOX

     

    The Cornhuskers of Lincoln, Nebraska start their football season with NCAA sanctions and allegations swirling around Scott Frost and his football program. Nebraska also begins the season with a road challenge in the form of Illinois. The Fighting Illini bring in Brent Bielema to coach up their team and you cannot deny that Brent has been a winner. His Arkansas tenure was a little rough but if you look deeper at what he was facing and the tough schedules he rolled out..you would understand him struggling. Not to mention Arkansas was in skeleton mode after the Pelini fallout. Look at the track record the former Badgers HC earned while taking Wisconsin to three Rose Bowls. Facts are facts and Bielema knows how to win in this conference, Scott Frost does not. I do not believe in the Nebraska golden boy like a lot of people do and I don’t really care that this is his third you which is normally the year programs turn their tides with newer coaching. The line has dropped from 9.5 since summer time openings and I feel that Illinois has a good amount of NFL talent on their roster. The Fighting Illinois has NFL ready talent and NFL draft eligible players in very important spots throughout their roster and they also have MORE of these players than Nebraska does. Illinois has 3 players that are projected to be 1st/2nd Team All Big Ten this year while Nebraska only has 1.. Illinois is primed for leadership in the LB corps from Jake Hansen who could easily have 100+ tackles this season and has shown NFL ready play recognition/tackling. The three anchors on this o-line who could tear Nebraska’s d-line up are C Doug Kramer, RT Alex Palczewski and LT Veredian Lowe who are all 300+ pounds and are all seniors. The NFL talent doesn’t stop on just this front, the defensive front features physical NFL bodies also. Look for DEs Isaiah Gray and Owen Carey to bring pressure on the QB seeing as they combined for 7.5 sacks last season in just 8 games. Nebraska does have some offensive playmakers at their disposal but I just think the program is distracted and will start sluggish this season. Their depth does not impress me and other than the glory years at UCF, Frost has not proven his coaching chops. 

    Bet- 1.15 units to win 1 unit on Illinois Fighting Illini(+7) 

     

     

    UConn Huskies @ Fresno State Bulldogs(-27.5), O/U 62.5

    When: August 28, 2021 at 2:00 PM EDT

    Channel: CBS Sports Network

    It is now known knowledge that the UConn Huskies have not played a football game in almost two full calendar years. Head Coach Randy Edsall is in his 5th year back for his second tenure in Storrs, Connecticut and he is hoping to get back to his glory years. Edsall was the coach that ushered this program from IAA to the FBS ranks in 1999 and UConn has been in a deep sludge for the last three years now. Long story short, we have to look into the ’19 team to get a good read on personnel for UConn. We will start with the offensive line because if they can produce then we will be able to see senior running back Kevin Mensah become the lone UConn Husky to rush for THREE 1,000 yard seasons. Mensah was the first RB in Storrs to rush for 1,000 yards since 2011 when Lyle McCombs did it. The line is facing adversity seeing as how last year they lost OT Matthew Peart to the NFL as well as 55 starts combined by the C and RG position. The Huskies o-line also lost two backup linemen so this year there are only two “starters” back but they do add a 300-pound Colorado transfer in Valentine Senn. I personally do not feel that this line will be able to stop pressure up front and I do not believe winning line yards is what this offensive line will offer their team. The linebacker position is one that UConn actually returned a crop of guys (#2, #3, #5, #7 tacklers) who all started 6+ games in the 2019 season but their production will be able to provide minimal progress or improvement this season as UConn works back into the swing of playing college football. As we switch to Fresno State, your first thought is probably about the offense and all of the explosive numbers the Bulldogs have put up in recent years. However, the Fresno State defense is going to be an issue this season for opponents as they return TEN starters on that side of the ball! Led by defensive end David Morales (2nd-TM Mountain West) and a DEEP defensive back group. The Fresno State defense returns nine top players in the secondary with playing experience and I feel that that equates to tons of depth. Fresno combines an aggressive pass rush as well as savvy pass defense on the back end (Pass Defensive Rating has been on average of 38.7 over the L4Y). The offense will be led by former Washington Husky QB Jake Haener who has NFL type arm strength, their backfield is rounded out with three top end RB talents highlighted by Ronnie Rivers. Rivers is the first Fresno State Bulldog back to top 2,500+ rush yards and 1,000+ receiving yards in his career. This kid is explosive and dynamic, helping him out will be Utah transfer Jordan Wilmore. The offensive line for the Bulldogs does lose their starting RG and RT from last year but they return EIGHT linemen with starting experience! Last year this offense averaged 32.8 PPG which was their best since 2013 and with all of that talent back on the field this year…expect this Fresno State team to build on and improve that number. I am giving the special teams nod to the Bulldogs in this contest. I could definitely see Fresno putting a full 50-Burger up on the Huskies from Storrs but the chances of starters getting pulled early is high. The Fresno State team takes on Oregon next week in an important non-con game. Lets minimize risk and stay within the parameters of the first half of play.

    Bet- 1.15 units to win 1 on Fresno State(1H) -15.5 

     

     

    Hawaii Warriors @ UCLA Bruins(-18), O/U 68.5

    When: August 28, 2021 at 3:30 PM EDT

    Channel: ESPN

    Hawaii Warriors @ UCLA Bruins(-17.5), O/U 68.5

    When: August 28, 2021 at 3:30 PM EDT

    Channel: ESPN

    Since Todd Graham was hired away from Tempe and Arizona State he has been getting this Hawaii program right on track with positive momentum. In a cornerstone year two approaching, I am bullish as hell on the Warriors and I really hope they come out to play. Graham is a winner and a coach who features polished defensive players amongst his teams. All 11 defensive starters are back and there are tons of solid coaches in place for the players. During Todd Graham’s tenure at Arizona State he coached his way to a 46-32 with five bowl games where he won three of them in addition to picking up wins against BYU and Houston in their last two. Look for a third linebacker position to play a key role in DC Victor Santa Cruz’ scheme as he chooses to use a SPUR. Hybrid linebacker/safety Khoury Bethley is the returning #2 tackler from last year and he is joined by Darius Muasau (104 tackles last year) as well as six other top tacklers for the Warriors’ defense. The offensive side of the ball returns 111 career starts on the offensive line and they will be protecting a truly dynamic, dual-threat in sophomore Chevan Cordeiro. Getting a bid body Rice transfer in Aaron Cephus is huge for the offense who lost a couple of talented pass catchers from last year’s team. Hawaii’s offense will be tested by an improved UCLA defense, I feel the 21 combined returning defensive starters will have an enormous impact on this game. Expect superb linebacker play on both defenses but keep an eye out on the Bruins stud Mitchell Agude who is in his junior year after playing some JUCO ball. Agude came over last year with another highly touted JUCO linebacker in Caleb Johnson who had 5.5 sacks last year. The secondaries for both of these teams are deeper and more experienced than they were last year, they have also built this experience over the course of the last two years. We won’t see terrible QB play from Dorian Thompson-Robinson but he is a guy who relies on his dual-threat ability. I don’t see Hawaii being fooled too much by Chip Kellys’ scheme. The UCLA offensive line does however look intact and healthy while returning all the starters from last year. TE Greg Dulcich is a dynamic pass catcher who is a prospect that will be talked about with having a trajectory for the NFL. The Bruins’ backfield lost Josh Kelley to the NFL last year and brought in a duo of ball carrier transfers of Brittain Brown from Duke and Zach Charbonnet from Michigan. With improved defensive play on both sides I feel points will be hard to come by. Todd Graham has plenty of experience coaching in the PAC-12 and he definitely is not gonna let his team shy away from this challenge.

    Bet(s)- 1.1 units to win 1 unit on Hawaii Warriors(+18) & 1.15 units to win 1 unit on under the total of 68.5

     

     

    UT-El Paso Miners(-9.5) @ New Mexico State University Aggies,  O/U 59

    When: August 28, 2021 at 9:30 PM EDT

    New Mexico State has had only one bowl victory since the year 1960, the current head coach Doug Martin was on the sidelines coaching that game in 2017 against Utah State. Since 2018 the Aggies are 3-0 straight up and against the spread, that is quite surprising. The NMSU football team went 415 days in between football activities and games, the Aggies had no season last year. There were a ton of players who transferred out after the state of New Mexico disallowed athletic activities. There are two different quarterbacks that could be seen in this game against the Miners. Jonah Johnson is a junior and he has been in a QB battle this summer with red-shirt freshman Weston Eget, the initial starting nod will more than likely go to Johnson. The Aggies also brought in a highly touted transfer from Michigan in O’Maury Samuels to get some explosiveness at the running back position. The anchor on the offensive line to look out for is LT Sage Doxtater (1st Team Independent) who turned down going into the NFL to stay here and play for Doug Martin one more year. Each player who caught a pass last year is back for this season, look for newcomer transfer from Missouri Dominic Gicinto to help out on the offensive side of the ball. Moving onto Dana Dimels squad, Dana is entering his fourth year as the Miners coach and he returns EVERY offensive starter. Led by 1st Team C-USA wideout Jacob Cowing. According to Dimel, his quarterback Gavin Hardison has the strongest arm that he has ever coached. Pair that with Deion Hankins (9 touchdowns and 4.9 YPC) in the backfield who easily could top 1,000 yards this season and you have a great foundation. This offensive line is fully intact and has 101 combined starts led by LG Bobby DeHaro. Dana Dimels built a winning coaching staff around him and this is a football program on the rise. Look for the run games to be heavily featured throughout this contest but also look for the defensive line of UTEP to blow up NMSU more than a few times. Keenan Stewart and Praise Amaewhule (82 inch wingspan, 9 pbu’s) have the potential to combine for 12+ sacks this year, wreaking havoc in the backfield will become a familiar sight for these two studs.  

    Bet(s)- 1.1 unit to win 1 unit on UT-El Paso Miners(-9.5) & 1.1 units to win 1 unit on under the total of 59

     

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