That's right – the premier family feud in college football gambling, PTNTS, returns for its 11th straight year. As always, the Kenney brothers are putting their handicapping skills on the line 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 give you an idea about the thinking behind my for-entertainment-purposes-only picks every week.
Let's do it...
BLATANT HOMERISM--Week 1
SMU at North Texas (-4.5)
The Mustangs poured it on the Mean Green, 54-32, last season. An Oklahoma high school football legend like UNT coach Seth Littrell can’t let that slide.
The pick: New SMU coach Sonny Dykes pays for Chad Morris’ affront – Mean Green by double digits.
Ole Miss (+2.5) vs. Texas Tech
If you have any suggestions as to why the Red Raiders are favored here, I’m all ears.
Is it the venue? Because Lubbock and Oxford are nearly the same distance from Houston.
Is it probation? NCAA sanctions might have left the Rebels’ roster scarred, but Hugh Freeze stocked up on enough talented recruits to give Ole Miss the personnel advantage here.
Is it the 10 returning starters on Tech’s defense? Experience helps, but let’s those dudes were part of a unit that finished 2017 ranked 88th overall in Defensive S&P+. The purported renaissance of D in Lubbock may be getting a tad overblown.
Factor in the uncertainty at quarterback for Tech, and I feel more confident in the Rebs moving the ball.
The pick: Underdog outright.
Wake Forest at Tulane (+6)
I don’t like picking between Willie Fritz and Dave Clawson any more than you do, OK? Their superbly coached teams went a combined 15-8-2 against the spread last season.
The suspension of first-string quarterback Kendall Hinton puts the Demon Deacons in a pickle here. They’re going down the depth chart to get freshman Sam Hartman a start. Scotty Washington, the second-leading receiver on the team a year ago, will also miss the game, which takes away a key target for Hartman in the passing game.
Between Tulane’s clock-draining ground game and what will likely be a low-margin offensive game plan from Wake, I’d settle in for a tight one.
The pick: Green Wave cover the six.
Alabama vs. Louisville (+24.5)
I usually try to avoid underdogs that I don’t believe can win straight up, and the Cardinals aren’t winning this game. I’m also well aware of the Crimson Tide’s sparkling record in these openers.
However, I can’t pass on the opportunity to back a team with offensive savant Bobby Petrino calling the shots against an Alabama defense that is breaking in an entirely new set of starters at linebacker and defensive back. I envision the Cards finding the end zone often enough to cover comfortably.
The pick: Tide by not enough – let’s say 14.
Washington vs. Auburn (-1.5)
I realize how dangerous Chris Petersen’s teams are when they have lots of time to prepare for a big opponent. He has a really strong squad this year, too, with 17 starters back from the 2017 Huskies.
In this case, however, I simply believe the Tigers have UW outgunned. I reckon we’re in for a heavyweight fight here, and I’ll side with the team that has the personnel edge, including at quarterback.
The pick: Tigers 31, Huskies 27.
THE SKINNY--Week 1
Texas vs. Maryland (+13.5)
Washington vs. Auburn (-1.5)
Tennessee (+10) vs. West Virginia
Michigan at Notre Dame (-1.5)
Alabama (-24.5) vs. Louisville