College football gambling's favorite sibling rivalry, PTNTS, is back in 2017 for a 10th 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.
As always, I'll try to provide a little insight into the rationale behind my mediocre selections every week to give loyal readers something to think about on the way to the window.
Let's hit it...
BLATANT HOMERISM--Week 1
Tulsa (+17.5) at Oklahoma State
Nice little in-state matchup to kick off football season in Green Country.
The Cowboys turned into an It Team in the offseason despite significant losses on defense. And OSU's D wasn't all the impressive to begin with.
The Pokes will certainly move the ball on TU's overmatched defense, but I think the Golden Hurricane can pound the ball well enough with star D'Angelo Brewer running behind a seasoned offensive line to control the clock and limit OSU's possessions. It won't be enough to spring an upset; they can still make OSU sweat a little.
The pick: OSU, 34-23.
West Virginia vs. Virginia Tech (-4)
*FedEx Field (Landover, Maryland)
As intriguing as this opener may be, I have no idea what would compel anyone to trek out to godforsaken FedEx Field to watch it in person. Trading a home-and-home series at two of the sport's rowdiest home venues for the sterility of a Sunday night in Landover offends my delicate sensibilities.
As for what we'll see on the field, I probably hold a higher opinion of the Hokies than most heading into this season. Redshirt freshman quarterback Josh Jackson could turn into a more dynamic presence than Jerod Evans. VaPoly also has proven commodities on D to fluster WVU QB Will Grier in his first live action in two years.
Don't be surprised if this turns into a sloppy affair.
The pick: Tech covers courtesy of a costly gaffe or two by the Mountaineers.
Alabama vs. Florida State (+7)
*Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta)
Feels like I'd be cheating y'all if I didn't give a pick on one of the most intensely hyped season openers in college football history.
Yes, I know all about the cavalcade of blowouts strung together by Nick Saban's Alabama teams to open the season. The Crimson Tide have made Labor Day weekend laughers a tradition in the past nine years.
The Tide have yet to open the year against an opponent of the caliber of this FSU team, though. 'Bama will do it after sending five members of the 2016 team's front seven to the NFL, which is a truly remarkable feat. Even if you load up on talent the way Saban has over the years, it's asking a lot to expect a team to not fall off after sustaining those kinds of losses.
That creates just enough of an opening for the Seminoles to slip through and notch an upset behind talented QB Deondre Francois and a loaded defense.
The pick: Yeah, I said it – FSU outright.
Florida (+5) vs. Michigan
*Jerry's World (Arlington, Texas)
Given all the noise around the Gators at the moment, I fully realize I should lay off here. That being said, I felt the wrong team was favored here in the first place. Getting an extra two points now with the Gators makes me feel even stronger about it.
Jim Harbaugh truly is one of the best in the business, but you don't enter a season with a combined five returning starters and not experience some early slippage.
The pick: Again, give me the underdog straight up.
Kent State (+39.5) at Clemson
Frankly, I'm having a hard time finding a fifth game that I really like on this slate. I'll offer up this shot in the dark based on the early start for a Clemson team with little motivation to humiliate the Golden Flashes.
The pick: Tigers by not enough.
THE SKINNY--Week 1
Boston College at Northern Illinois (+3.5)
Wyoming (+11.5) at Iowa
Temple at Notre Dame (-17.5)
Alabama vs. Florida State (+7)
California at North Carolina (-11)