The VSiN college football expert Adam Burke digs into two games on Saturday’s slate.
South Carolina at Texas A&M
It is really easy to laugh at teams that have embarrassing performances, such as South Carolina’s effort against Vanderbilt last week, but those types of games can create buy-low spots in the marketplace. I think this is one of them.
Texas A&M looked great in a letdown spot against Missouri and covered for me last week, but I wonder if the paradigm has shifted to make the second game after a big upset the letdown spot. Now the Aggies are laying an enormous number at home the week before their off-week. After the bye, The Fighting Jimbos will face Auburn and Ole Miss.
Having watched way more Gamecocks football than I’d like to admit this season, their biggest issue has been the quarterback position. The defense really scraps and claws, but the offense just doesn’t have the right guy under center. Graduate assistant-turned- roster player Zeb Noland gets the start after leading SC’s game-winning touchdown drive against Vandy. He has been better than Luke Doty. You can’t blame Shane Beamer for playing the guy with eligibility past this season, but Doty’s injury puts Noland into the lineup.
Zach Calzada’s out-of-body experience against Alabama was a surprise, but he was just 13-for-25 for 148 yards last week against Missouri’s pathetic defense. The Aggies simply ran it down Missouri’s throat with a defense that has now allowed well over 6 yards per carry. The Gamecocks’ run defense isn’t stellar, but it is 2 yards per carry better than Missouri’s.
We’ve got a low total of 45.5 and a big spread here. I don’t think we need a ton from the South Carolina offense to get a cover in this one. You can see the tempered expectations for the Aggies offense with an expected final score of 33-12 with the spread and total factored in.
Pick: South Carolina, +20.5.
Eastern Michigan at Bowling Green
Remember when Bowling Green had its 15 minutes of fame from beating Minnesota for the program’s first win over a FBS team since 2015? Since then, the Falcons have lost three straight, to MAC foes Kent State, Akron and Northern Illinois.
To this point, the Eagles haven’t scored more than 26 points in a game against an FBS team and haven’t topped 27 in any game this season. This offense is very limited with just 4.71 yards per play on the season. While Bowling Green’s defense grades better from a yards-per-play standpoint for the season, Eastern Michigan’s defense has actually allowed fewer yards per play in conference games.
The Eagles have a big third-down advantage in this game as well, as they rank 26th nationally in third-down conversion rate at 46.2 percent; Bowling Green ranks 120th at just 31 percent. The two defenses are pretty similar. Eastern Michigan also has a big red zone advantage, ranking 23rd in touchdown percentage to Bowling Green’s rank of 122nd.
Eastern Michigan is definitely known as more of a home team, with an outstanding ATS record on the grey turf in Ypsilanti, but the Eagles hold enough advantages here to take them in a short favorite role at Doyt Perry Stadium.
Pick: Eastern Michigan, -3.