Connor Cape, voice of the Colorado Rapids and host of “The Connor Cape Show” on Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7, makes his favorite NCAA football picks every week. Feel free to reach him on Twitter at @MileHighCape to tell him how great he’s doing… or if he missed by a country mile. Again.
I didn’t do too shabby with a 5-3 record in Week One, and now the cobwebs are cleared. Week Two features fewer marquee matchups, but the good thing about a dollar is that they all spend the same. Let’s get to it… It’s picking time!
Ranked vs. Ranked
- No. 24 South Carolina (+10) vs Georgia – Sept. 8 1:30 PM MT, CBS, Williams-Brice Stadium
There are only two Top 25 games this weekend ,and this is the only one I’m picking. Both squads looked as good as SEC teams can look against inferior competition in Week One. This is an opportunity for South Carolina to plant a flag in the ground and announce that Will Muschamp 2.0 really did learn from his mistakes at Florida, and that Jake Bentley is one of the conference’s premier passers. Nationally televised in the exclusive CBS window, with last year’s runner-up in town, everything is set up for the Gamecocks to cover. I wouldn’t be terribly shocked if they win, but 10 points is just too many for a team picked to finish second in the division. The gap isn’t quite that wide.
PICK: South Carolina (+10)
Texas A&M (+12) vs No. 2 Clemson – Sept. 8, 5:00 PM MT, ESPN, Kyle Field
This game is going to be a reality check for the loser. Either Texas is still miles from being an elite program despite the recruiting that former head coach Kevin Sumlin had done, or Clemson is mortal. The SEC is already chest-thumping after their 13-1 opening weekend that included notching wins over Louisville and Miami in the ACC. if the ACC’s standard-bearer in Clemson were to fall in College Station, the SEC will rightfully be able to claim itself the best conference in football. Kyle Field used to have magic; the 12th Man used to mean something. If there’s anything left to it, the Aggies will cover.
PICK: Texas A&M (+12)
Kansas State (+9) vs No. 18 Mississippi State – Sept. 8, 10:00 AM MT, ESPN, Bill Snyder Family Stadium
K-State had a forgettable Week One, barely pulling out a win against FCS foe South Dakota. If this gives you pause – knowing a ranked SEC team is coming to Manhattan — don’t fret; K-State routinely underperforms in Week One. Nobody knows why, but it’s par for the course under longtime head coach Bill Snyder. With this being Mississippi State’s first road trip under Joe Moorhead, I’m sure “The Wizard” will have a trick or two to help his boys cover this spread. K-State isn’t elite in the Big 12, but Mississippi State has yet to prove itself as elite in the SEC – and Power 5 road trips still demand respect
PICK: Kansas State (+9)
No. 13 Penn State (-8.5) at Pitt – Sept. 8, 6:00 PM MT, ABC, Heinz Field
Sure, the Nittany Lions struggled in Week One, but that’s no big deal – Appalachian State is a good football team. There’s no shame in having a difficult opening week, and I try not to put too much stock in it. I think Penn State leaves Pittsburgh with a 10-point victory just because they’re more talented and have the advantage over the Panthers in nearly every phase of the game. I can’t let a shaky Week One result push me away from what I believed all spring and summer.
PICK: Penn State (-8.5)
No. 25 Florida (-14) vs Kentucky – Sept 8, 5:30 PM MT, SECN, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
Dan Mullen is a really good football coach, and now he’s got his dream job in Gainesville. For the past few years, Florida had wandered in the desert offensively, despite having the talent necessary to lead them to the oasis. Mullen will fix these things. Kentucky hasn’t beaten Florida in 30 years, and their defense just isn’t very good. The streak continues, and it continues by 15 points or more.
PICK: Florida (-14)
Colorado (+5) at Nebraska – Sept. 8, 1:30 PM MT, ABC, Memorial Stadium
Speaking of overreacting to Week One results, did the Buffs look good or what? I know Scott Frost is a demigod in Nebraska right now, but it’s going to take time to get that program back to respectability. After severe storms cancelled last week’s game, this week will be the first game for the Cornhuskers. And while they may win on talent alone, I think the Buffs have the program and quarterback stability necessary to go to Lincoln and keep it close – and maybe even win.
PICK: Colorado (+5)
Wyoming at Mizzou (OVER 52) – Sept. 8, 5:00 PM MT, ESPNU, Memorial Stadium
The line opened at 16 in favor of the Tigers, and if you could get it, congratulations. Now it’s 18.5, and while I think Mizzou wins by three touchdowns, I think there’s more value in the total here. 52 is an absurdly low number for a Missouri game, considering the offensive weapons they have. Yes, Wyoming has a terrific defense and deserves respect, but even if this game ends 34-21, the over cashes. And I think 42-17 is a more likely scoreline. The only hesitation is Wyoming may be starting a freshman QB and RB combo; going up against an SEC defense with that can’t inspire confidence in those of you who took the Cowboys at +18.5.
PICK: OVER (52)
Northwestern (-2.5) vs Duke – Sept. 8, 10:00 AM MT, ESPNU, Ryan Field
Week One saw the Wildcats go on the road to Purdue and win. Northwestern is my sleeper for a team that can challenge Wisconsin for a Big Ten West title and week one demonstrated why. They play quality football in a conference that rewards teams who are technically sound every Saturday. They probably won’t blow out many teams but you’ll watch them strangle the life out of opponents all season. 2.5 is a fine line for a couple of Power 5 squads. If Northwestern had any panache or sense of flair, they’d go out and win 38-10 but they don’t, so they won’t.
PICK: Northwestern (-2.5)
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