Dan Karpuc: Utah State -28 vs. UConn
As I wrote about at length in my preview of this game, even though UConn brought in Jim Mora to take over their program, this is still a team that went 1-11 last year, including losses to FCS Holy Cross (my alma mater… go Cross!) and perennial joke UMass. The Huskies barely beat FCS Yale (by six) for their only win of the year and have question marks all around the field at every position. Meanwhile, Utah State will return 12 starters and 32 letter-winners, and added 13 four-year transfers and look to continue the upward trend after an 11-win year with a win at the Jimmy Kimmel L.A. Bowl. Senior quarterback Logan Bonner and senior running back Calvin Tyler Jr. are going to light up UConn. Bonner set five different school records for Utah State in 2021, including passing yards (3,628) and touchdown passes (36) and was named to the Davey O’Brien Award (best QB) watch list and the Maxwell Award (best college player) watch list. Meanwhile, Tyler rushed for 884 yards with seven touchdowns in his first season for the Aggies last year, including four 100-plus rushing efforts. He’s been named to the Doak Walker Award watch list. This will be a tune-up for Utah State’s next game against Alabama, so I expect them to keep their foot on the gas and run up the score since this is their only game action before the Crimson Tide. It’ll be a very tough day for the Huskies and a sign of how much of a long-term rebuild this will be for Mora.
Lucy Burdge: Nebraska -12.5 vs. Northwestern
Nebraska and Northwestern will travel to Dublin to play this Week 0 game at Aviva Stadium. I think the luck of the Irish will be with Nebraska when it comes to covering the spread. Nebraska is 9-6 all-time against Northwestern, scoring 442 points and allowing 286 to the Wildcats. A trend in favor of Nebraska to win outright is that Pat Fitzgerald is just 39-60 as an underdog vs. the moneyline while coaching Northwestern, and a trend in favor of Nebraska to cover is that Fitzgerald is 18-33 ATS in the first month of the season. I think Nebraska can cover the spread against Northwestern here to kick off the season.
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