College Football Pick
In case anyone has forgotten, J.T. Barrett is still a really good quarterback and Ohio State isn’t going anywhere. Ranked No. 6 in the preseason polls, the Buckeyes dropped 77 points in their opener, as the offense looked back to its dynamic ways after an up-and-down 2015. They’ll meet Tulsa this week, a team that also surpassed expectations in the first Game with a 45-10 win of its own. But in Columbus, the Buckeyes opened as a -27 point favorite at 5 Dimes Sportsbook and early bettors have already pushed the number past 4 td’s early in the week.
It was only a couple years ago that Barrett took over the college football scene before getting hurt, which allowed Cardale Jones to be the new name in Columbus. But with Jones gone, Barrett has the QB job to himself and isn’t looking back. Barrett finished with seven total touchdowns (six passing) and 349 passing yards in the opening win and entered his name in the early Heisman discussion. With a Game against Tulsa next, he could easily continue along those same lines with another huge Game.
The Golden Hurricane are mostly known for their offense after allowing close to 40 points per Game last year. They gave up 52 points in a loss to a similarly-skilled Oklahoma team last season. While they held San Jose State to 10 points last weekend, that’s not saying much.
Barrett and the OSU offense should have their way and could be looking at another 50-point Game after failing to reach that mark all of last season. Mike Weber and Curtis Samuel are both able in the backfield and should be fine replacements of Ezekiel Elliott. Samuel is the more interesting case as he’s taking up an H-back role that saw him get 13 carries and nine receptions in the opener. Expect another huge Game from him.
Defensively, the Buckeyes may have had the more impressive opener, holding down the consistently solid offense of Bowling Green. Sure, the Falcons had a new quarterback, but holding them to 10 points was still impressive. Doing that against Tulsa probably won’t be in the cards because the Golden Hurricane have plenty of experience at the skill positions along with quarterback Dane Evans.
Evans was okay in the opener, passing for 198 yards and a touchdown, but he’ll be the name to focus on if backing Tulsa in this Game. Evans threw for 4,332 yards and 25 TDs a year ago and will need bigger numbers in this matchup because it’s doubtful Tulsa will again run for 300-plus yards against this Ohio State front line.
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That said, this Tulsa offense can’t be overlooked, with experience like D’Angelo Brewer in the backfield and Keevan LUcas and Josh Atkinson at wide receiver. The Buckeyes ran up against a team working in a new quarterback in the opener and they capitalized. The Golden Hurricane don’t have that issue and these guys scored plenty of points against big teams last year, including 38 at Oklahoma and 52 against Virginia Tech in a bowl Game.
Then again, Tulsa’s defense is going to have loads of trouble trying to contain Barrett and company. Expect a ton of points in this one, possibly reaching the 80-point-total range if Evans gets back to last year’s levels.
Our Pick – Tulsa can hang points on the board with the best of them. The put up 40+ almost every time they took the field last year including scoring 38 on Oklahoma and 52 on Virginia Tech. Their offense is almost completely intact from a year ago, so we’re going to go ehad and back Tulsa here, knowing that the back door (cover) will alwys be open.
No total is posted yet, as this is initially being written on Monday. However, if the total is anywhere in the 60’s, we’ll lean towards the OVER. Tulsa +29 and OVER if total in 60’s.