College Football Pick
Vanderbilt hosts Temple to kick of their 2014 college football season and find themselves installed as -17 point home favorites over the Owls, at 5 dimes sportsbook. These two teams have played just twice before. Once in 1935 and once in 2006. In 2006, Vandy blew out Temple 43-14, also at home. Will history repeat?
The line on this Game is set at what it would have been had they played last year. Our job as handicappers, is to figure out if either team is more likely to get better or worse this year, or perhaps stay the same. Handicapping early season Games can be a little more challenging than handicapping Games after teams have a few Games under their belts.
Temples 2-10 season was to be expected last year. They had a new coach, which means new schemes which translates into speed bumps along the way. On the bright side for the Owls, many of their losses were close Games which is exactly what you look for when looking for a team likely to improve. With a full season under coach Matt Rhule, we’d expect the Owls to add a few more wins in 2014.
Vanderbilt however, has to deal with what Temple had to a year ago. A new coach. However, unlike Temple, Vanderbilt has some solid talent for Derek Mason, the former Defensive Coordinator at Stanford, to work with.
There’s no question Vandy is the more talented team. You really can’t compare the two in terms of strength of Schedule. To go 9-4 last year and to have gone to 3 straight Bowl Games while playing in the SEC speaks volumes for Vandy. Only the final margin is in doubt here.
Rather then make a selection for the Game, were going to make a first half and a 1st quarter play here. We expect there to be some initial speed bumps for Vandy in this one before they eventually get rolling. We’ll take Temple + in the first quarter and Temple + in the first half.
If it plays out like we suspect it might, and it’s fairly close at the half, we’d then consider backing Vanderbilt in the 2nd half as their talent and depth should become evident as this Game wears on.