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Pittsburgh vs. Utah
Pointspread - Utah -3 O/U 50
Week One College Football Predictions
Big things are expected from Dave Wannstedt and the Pitt Panthers in 2010. They are in off their best season in decades, they return some quality starters. They are favored in most spots, to win the Big East this year but how far they can go on the National scene remains to be seen. They play Utah and Miami Fla in the first three weeks of the season which will go a long way towards determining their fate in the "Big picture" this year.
Pitt travels west to take on MWC power Utah in week one. The Utes are in off a 10-3 year and two years removed from their spectacular 13-0 season capped by a win over Alabama in a year many thought Utah was the top team in the nation, or at least deserved a chance to prove it on the field.
The knock on the MWC has always been schedule strength. But this Utah team has managed to deliver outside of the conference when given the chance in high profile games, such as knocking off Cal last year in a Bowl game. But schedule strength remains a problem for the Utes. If they get by Pitt, it looks like clear sailing once again with the exception of games against TCU, BYU and Notre Dame, adding to the importance of this opener and a chance to add a nice win against a non conference foe favored to win their conference.
A look at Pitts results from a year ago may show they won 10 games, but barely. They certainly didn't dominate anyone, and many of their wins could have gone either way. Plenty of games decided by were decide by a touchdown or less. Seven to be exact.
Pitt and Utah look to be fairly evenly matched. In fact, they both beat Louisville by similar scores a year ago and Utah, like Pitt, had their share of close games that could have gone either way. You could say the line is accurate here. Two evenly matched teams, give 3 to Utah for home field and there's your line on the game, Utah -3.
We lean towards Utah here though. We'd anticipate some Pitt money coming in as the game approaches kicking this line off 3. At anything less than -3 we'd take Utah. Traveling across the country for their first game won't be easy and we favor Whittingham over Wannstedt as a coach. We think Utah wins this one.
The real play in this one may be on the total. The posted total is 50 and we like the under. Both defenses held opponents to 20 points per game last season with Utah holding 9 teams to 17 points or less. Pitt held 7 teams to 17 points or less. We'd expect both coaches to play a conservative game plan at least midway thru the 3rd quarter. Remember, there's no pre season in college ball. It's learn as you go. Neither coaching staff really knows what they have until they play a real game. It's such a big opener for both teams we'd be very surprised to see either team open it up early on. We'll take Pitt/Utah Under 50.