College Football Pick
Both of these teams have new head coaches, Michigan led by Jim Harbaugh and Oregon State led by Gary Andersen. The Beavers got off to a better start with a win on opening weekend, but you can’t really compare Weber State with Utah (who Michigan lost to). That’s a good reason the Wolverines are a -15 point favorite at home (at 5 Dimes). Combine that with the Harbaugh love and the line makes perfect sense.
Jim Harbaugh is not going to take away all of Michigan’s problems immediately and that was seen after their opening 24-17 loss at Utah. This team finished with five wins last year because they weren’t very good and there aren’t that many new pieces in significant roles in Harbaugh’s first year. The decisions that Harbaugh did make — at quarterback and running back — didn’t do much. Jake Rudock was likely chosen because he didn’t turnover the ball much at Iowa, but he tossed three INTs in the first Game. He finished with 279 yards, which is a sign of improvement for the passing Game, but turnovers killed the Wolverines. De’Veon Smith is the clear starter in the backfield (with Derrick Green and Ty Isaac in the No. 2 role) and he finished with 47 yards on 17 carries. OUtside of solid Games from receiver Amara Darboh and tight end Jake Butt, there wasn’t much difference from last year’s group.
Michigan played tough defense, as has been the case for a couple years, but in the end, it wasn’t enough to boost the team to a win with a weak offense. All of these things could and should look different against Oregon State, and that’s why they are favored by two touchdowns.
Gary Andersen has a bit of experience in the Big Ten, but he also takes over a team that only had five wins a year ago, although with arguably lesser talent. The lack of a passing Game will likely be an issue for this Game as Andersen’s new up-tempo, spread approach hasn’t helped that part of the Beavers offense yet, especially with freshman quarterback Seth Collins. Sure, the offense totaled 281 yards on the ground in the first Game, but Collins managed just 92 yards through the air in a non-covering 26-7 win.
The Beavers still have a decent shot of covering this Game, though, as long as Michigan’s offense continues to have problems. Oregon State is transitioning to a 3-4 defensive scheme this year and they have plenty of holes throughout the unit that weren’t exploited in the first Game. Considering the Wolverines offense, they may not be exploited that much in this Game, either.
And if that’s the case, the Oregon State offense should get enough going to at least stay within two touchdowns.
But, also consider this is the opening Game in Ann Arbor for the Wolverines and Harbaugh, which means the fans are going to be extra hyped, as well as the players. This defense has the ability to lock down and frustrate freshman Seth Collins all Game long. And Oregon State probably isn’t a team you want to be backing in this kind of environment yet.
Our Pick – The Wolverines woud appear to be in a great spot to get Harbaugh his first “w”. But laying -14.5 isn’t something we’re willing to do. Oregon State returns just 2 starters to a defense that was taken apart week after week a year ago so we’ll lean towards over 45 here as most teams reached that on their own against this defense a year ago.