Judging by both the results here and what I've seen on various forums where fellow wagering enthusiasts tend to congregate, there were no shortage of winning tickets cashed on the first weekend of the college football season.
We started off with 10,000 GAMBLIN' BUCKS, HOLLA! and saw that bankroll grow ever-so-slightly as we dipped our toes into the sweet, sweet waters of degeneracy.
WEEK ONE IN REVIEW
UNC +12 at Sakerlina LOSS (-55 GBHs) Sometimes you can handicap a game correctly and still lose. USCe scored all of its TDs on homerun plays and UNC had four shots from the 2 yard line to get inside the number late. Regardless, ifs-and-buts don't count, so we kicked the season off with a loss. My main takeaway is that USCe lacked offensive consistency and a killer instinct on defense. They're vulnerable.
Ole Miss -3.5 at Vandy WIN (+50 GBHs) We all needed a cigarette when this one was over. Back and forth, but the young, talented Rebels got it done. Neither team showed the ability to seize control, and both sides had periods of flailing around helplessly on both sides of the ball. Also, we saw a dude vomit. Always a plus. Look for Ole Miss to improve considerably as the season progresses, though their upcoming schedule is brutal. Oh, and Vandy is better at QB than I expected.
Texas Tech -5 at SMU WIN (+50 GBHs) Garrett Gilbert did Garrett Gilbert things and Kliff's young QB settled in and took care of business. SMU might be a little worse than most people think. Didn't like what towel totin' Hal Mumme had them doing on offense. And to no one's surprise, Kingsbury had the Red Raiders playing with confidence.
Alabama -21 vs. Virginia Tech WIN (+50 GBHs) In contrast to the UNC vs. USCe affair, other times one can handicap a game completely wrong and still get paid at the window. Alabama needed two special teams TDs and a defensive TD to cover against the Hokies. Lesson learned? Don't trust the Tide offense to roll. For now.
Clemson +2 vs. Georgia WIN (+50 GBHs) The shock was Aaron Murray's rough play and the Georgia offensive line's issues with pass protection. If anything, I was pleasantly surprised with how well an entirely new Georgia defense held up against Clemson's attack. As the season unfolds, I suspect we'll see that holding Tajh and company under 40 points is a hell of an achievement.
Ohio State -34 vs Buffalo LOSS (-33 GBHs) After a 23-0 first quarter this was looking solid, but Ohio State miscues allowed Buffalo to get off the mat.
Rice at Texas A&M OVER 66.5 (+30 GBHs) A fairly comfortable win, as the depleted Aggie defense let Rice into the endzone four times.
Moving on to week two, we'll up our bet amount a tad as we have a little more familiarity with each team's makeup and identity. But we'll also be careful to not overreact to what we saw in week one. Unfortunately, we're looking at an all-Saturday card as the CFB schedulers give NFL opening night a wide berth, with Thursday night contests that are only slightly more appealing than the thought of a nude Brady Hoke.
Current Bankroll: 10,142 GBHs
THE GAME: Texas -7 at BYU
Texas pulled away in the second half against a truly awful NMSU team, posting a score that looked sexy in the morning papers. And BYU couldn't hang on against Virginia. But looking closely, Virginia had two TD "drives" of under 20 yards. BYU's defense is perhaps one of the best kept secrets to the casual college football fan. In Provo, the mistakes David Ash made against NMSU will be far more costly, and the Cougar secondary will be plenty stingy. Kyle Van Noy. Learn the name.
THE BET: BYU +7 (66 GBHs to win 60)
THE GAME: Georgia -3 vs. Sakerlina
Remember what I said above about USCe being inconsistent on offense, and the UGA defense being perhaps a little bit better than people think? The veteran UGA OL gets its act together in pass protection and Richt bounces back between the hedges.
THE BET: Georgia -3 (66 GBHs to win 60)
THE GAME: Cincinnati -8 vs. Illinois
An eyebrow raiser. Cincy destroyed a hapless Purdue team last week, while Illinois struggled to get past Southern Illinois. The public is unsurprisingly all over Cincy. Yet the line has moved the other way, with the Wynn's opening spread of 16 getting hammered down to 8. When everyone loves a road favorite in early season non-conference play and the line movement makes no sense, go the other way. For reference, see Oklahoma State at Arizona, 2012.
THE BET: Illinois +8
THE GAME: Florida -3 at Miami (66 GBHs to win 60)
Miami showed problems executing in the passing game, running their way to a victory against overmatched FAU. The only problem? They're not going to be able to run effectively against a Gator defense that completely shut down a feisty Toledo offense. Florida will be bolstered by suspended and injured starters returning to the lineup. The only issue here is if the Florida offense can get out of its own way. They can. Barely.
THE BET: Florida -3 (66 GBHs to win 60)
THE GAME: Ohio State -27.5 vs. San Diego State
San Diego State was shredded last week by FCS Eastern Illinois, yielding over 500 yards, running the ball poorly, and passing inaccurately, completing 27 of 64 passes with 4 INTs. The Aztecs are not a good football team, and a meticulous Urban cleans up tOSU's mistakes and looks to score poll points with a lopsided win.
THE BET: Ohio State -27.5 (66 GBHs to win 60)
Baylor -27 vs. Buffalo (33 GBHs to win 30) Art Briles has his own little Cobra Kai dojo up on the Brazos. And the Baylor defense could possibly be better than the sieve of years' past. Keep an eye on the Bears.
Michigan -4 vs. Notre Dame (22 GBHs to win 20) Because the only thing more fun than rooting against Michigan is rooting against Notre Dame.
Good luck to all this weekend. As for me? Fully expecting a bloodbath after the sunshine and lollypops that blessed last week's slate. Who ya got?