College Football Odds Week 2: Picks Against the Spread for Top 25 Matchups
The Week 2 college football slate is headlined by the clash between the Alabama Crimson Tide and Texas Longhorns, but if you dig deeper, the schedule could have at least three better games involving Top 25 teams.
After the marquee clash ends in Austin, the SEC East will capture our attention for two television windows.
The Tennessee Volunteers face an early road test against the Pittsburgh Panthers and then the Kentucky Wildcats visit the Florida Gators.
Tennessee, Kentucky and Florida are all fighting to be the second-best team in the SEC East behind the Georgia Bulldogs, and Week 2 should provide a bit of clarity as to where all three teams stand.
Florida was in the spotlight the most of the three programs in Week 1, as it earned a Top 10 win over the Utah Utes in Billy Napier's first game as head coach. The Gators have to fight against a potential letdown game at home and have to avoid looking ahead to their trip to Knoxville in two weeks.
Focusing on one single opponent is easier said than done in college football, but if Florida emerges at 2-0, it could have the inside track to that spot beneath Georgia in the SEC East.
Week 2 Schedule and Odds
Saturday, Sept. 10
No. 1 Alabama (-20) at Texas (Over/Under: 65.5) (noon ET, Fox)
Arkansas State at No. 3 Ohio State (-44.5) (O/U: 68.5) (noon ET, BTN)
Southern Miss at No. 15 Miami (-25) (O/U: 51.5) (noon ET, ACC Network)
South Carolina at No. 16 Arkansas (-8) (O/U: 53) (noon ET, ESPN)
No. 23 Wake Forest (-12.5) at Vanderbilt (O/U: 65.5) (noon ET, SEC Network)
Charleston Southern at No. 18 NC State (N/A) (12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN3)
Southern Utah at No. 13 Utah (N/A) (1:30 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network)
Marshall at No. 8 Notre Dame (-20.5) (O/U: 51) (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC)
Furman at No. 5 Clemson (N/A) (3:30 p.m. ET, ACC Network)
Appalachian State at No. 6 Texas A&M (-19) (O/U: 54) (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
No. 24 Tennessee (-6) at No. 17 Pittsburgh (O/U: 66.5) (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)
Washington State at No. 19 Wisconsin (-17.5) (O/U: 49) (3:30 p.m. ET, Fox)
Samford at No. 2 Georgia (N/A) (4 p.m. ET, SEC Network)
Akron at No. 14 Michigan State (-34.5) (O/U: 56) (4 p.m. ET, BTN)
No. 25 Houston at Texas Tech (-3) (O/U: 63) (4 p.m. ET, FS1)
Kent State at No. 7 Oklahoma (-33.5) (O/U: 72.5) (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+)
No. 20 Kentucky at No. 12 Florida (-6) (O/U: 52.5) (7 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Central Arkansas at No. 22 Ole Miss (N/A) (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+/SEC Network)
No. 10 USC (-8.5) at Stanford (O/U: 67) (7:30 p.m. ET, ABC)
Arizona State at No. 11 Oklahoma State (-11) (O/U: 57.5) (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
Hawai'i at No. 4 Michigan (-51.5) (O/U: 67) (8 p.m. ET, BTN)
No. 9 Baylor at No. 21 BYU (-3) (O/U: 53.5) (10;15 p.m. ET, ESPN)
No. 20 Kentucky at No. 12 Florida (-6)
The Florida Gators proved they won't back down from an early-season challenge in The Swamp, as they beat the Utah Utes behind Anthony Richardson in Week 1. Richardson showed he might be the best quarterback in the division after threw for 168 yards and ran for 106 yards and three touchdowns.
Florida gets an equally as tough challenge in Week 2 with the Kentucky Wildcats coming to Gainesville. Kentucky garnered offseason hype because of quarterback Will Levis and its potential to finish second behind Georgia in the SEC East.
While the Gators were busy upsetting Utah, Kentucky rolled past the Miami (Ohio) RedHawks at a leisurely pace. The Wildcats won the game by 24 points, but they were up by only three points at halftime and managed just 50 rushing yards.
Kentucky's starting running back, Chris Rodriguez, was suspended for the opener, and there is no update on his status as of Thursday morning. Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops there was no update when he addressed the media Monday, per the Courier-Journal's Brett Dawson.
“I've been advised that I just need to stay mum on this situation,” Stoops said. “It's not Mark Stoops. It's out of my hands.”
Rodriguez ran for 99 yards and a touchdown in last year's clash with the Gators. He closed the season with five straight 100-yard games.
Kavosiey Smoke is a decent backup to Rodriguez, but he may not be able to generate the yardage that Kentucky's starter typically does. That could hamper Kentucky's game plan in a road SEC game.
All of the advantages appear to be in Florida's favor. The Gators do not have to travel after their Week 1 win, they have all of their stars available, and Richardson had a better opening week than Levis.
As long as Florida avoids a letdown in the first half, it should cruise past the Wildcats and generate more hype about what's to come in Year 1 under Napier.
No. 24 Tennessee (-6) at No. 17 Pittsburgh
The Tennessee Volunteers flew under the radar in Week 1 because they cruised to an expected victory.
Hendon Hooker led the Vols to 59 points in a 49-point home triumph over the Ball State Cardinals on the same night the Pittsburgh Panthers renewed the Backyard Brawl against the West Virginia Mountaineers.
Pittsburgh enters the Week 2 clash with an edge because it was tested by a Power Five team in the first game since the departures of Kenny Pickett and Jordan Addison.
The Panthers held their own at home in a 38-31 victory, but now the talent on the other end moves up a few notches. West Virginia could have a solid season, but its offense is not as explosive as Tennessee's system.
Tennessee loves to push the pace. The second a play is called dead, Hooker is on the line shouting out the next play call.
The Vols will try to wear out the Pittsburgh defense with their abundance of wide receivers, starting with Cedric Tillman, who led the team with six receptions and 68 yards in Week 1.
Tillman, Bru McCoy and Jimmy Holiday could hurt the Pittsburgh defense with their speed and open up an early edge on the road.
Josh Heupel's Vols used the fast start strategy to perfection last year, as they got out to a 10-0 lead on Pittsburgh. But Pitt produced a 27-point second quarter.
Tennessee needs to finish the first half this time around to ensure the Panthers do not receive any extra momentum coming out of halftime.
If the Vols start fast again and keep quarterback Kedon Slovis at bay for a few drives, they should remain ahead by a touchdown and earn a nice road win that Heupel has been looking for.
Pittsburgh could attempt to slow the game down and that may be the way it wins the game, but the Vols should learn from the mistakes made in a 14-point second half last season to avenge the loss that happened on home soil 12 months ago.
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