College football gambling's favorite sibling rivalry, PTNTS, is back in 2016 for a ninth straight year. As always, the Brothers Kenney are putting their handicapping skills to the test every week this season, with the loser buying the winner a delicious chocolate martini on Christmas Day.
If you're new here, the rules are pretty straightforward:
- We both pick five games against the spread each week of the season;
- Best overall record against at the end of the season wins.
Per usual, I'll try to provide a little insight into the misguided rationale behind my selections every week to give BH's loyal readers something to chew on before they hit the betting windows.
Without further adieu...
BLATANT HOMERISM--Week 1
South Carolina at Vanderbilt (-4)
ESPN kicks off the Best Opening Weekend in College Football History with the biggest dog of the SEC's entire conference schedule. As of now, these look like the league's two worst teams.
We'll find out this year just how deeply the rot had set in in Gamecocks' program during the Head Ball Coach's final years in Columbia. Will Muschamp inherited a bare cupboard and will have to throw some youngsters to the wolves.
The Commodores know what being led to the slaughter feels like. I'm sure they will relish a chance to be the ones doing the whooping this time.
The pick: Vandy, 9-2.
Kansas State (+14.5) at Stanford
The Wildcats are tracking as one of the Big 12's toughest outs this season. With veterans like Elijah Lee and Dante Barnett leading the defense, KSU should have a sneaky good unit that frustrates opposing offenses and makes a miniscule number of mistakes.
Even with all-around stud Christian McCaffrey back, the Cardinal's unsettled quarterback situation portends problems moving the ball in this game. KSU will face similar issues as its green offensive line goes head to head with Stanford's physical front seven.
The pick: North of two touchdowns feels like too much in what looks to be a grinder.
Missouri (+10) at West Virginia
Whatever my disappointment in Josh Heupel's tenure as Oklahoma's offensive coordinator, he has a chance to kickstart the Tigers' anemic attack this year. The Mountaineers, who are replacing nearly every significant contributor on defense, offer an opportunity to start that effort off on the right foot.
Mizzou's new feature back, Alex Ross, was a productive runner at OU under Heupel, so don't be shocked if the graduate transfer sees an abundance of carries.
The pick: Live dog.
UCLA at Texas A&M (-3)
Kicking this game off in the middle of the afternoon should merit a criminal investigation of CBS. Sure, it gets hot in Los Angeles. This will likely be stifling for the Bruins. Advantage: Aggies.
Another A&M advantage lies in trenches. Myles Garrett, Daylon Mack and the rest will pound UCLA QB Josh Rosen, who's breaking in a bunch of new weapons at the skill positions.
UCLA's D should keep the game competitive into the second half, but the matchups and conditions combine to favor a cover for the Aggies.
The pick: A&M 27, UCLA 21.
Colorado (-8.5) vs. Colorado State
I'd love to give you a dissertation on why I like the Buffaloes here, but the truth is that I just don't have a good feel for these games in the opening week. I think CU is underrated heading into this year, so I'll roll with the Buffs early.
The pick: Lay it because why not.
THE SKINNY--Week 1
UCLA (+3) at Texas A&M
San Jose State at Tulsa (-5)
Kansas State at Stanford (-14.5)
Bowling Green (+28.5) at Ohio State
Notre Dame (-3.5) at Texas