College Football Pace Report & Picks: Week 1 Bets for Ohio State vs. Indiana, Old Dominion vs. Virginia Tech, More

College Football Pace Report & Picks: Week 1 Bets for Ohio State vs. Indiana, Old Dominion vs. Virginia Tech, More article feature image

Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr.

A full college football week is upon us, as Week 1 kicks off on Thursday and runs all the way through Monday.

There's a major rule change that's going to affect totals this season. The clock will not stop on first downs in play unless it's in the final two minutes of each half. Per our Collin Wilson, with the new rule change, we could see game time decrease 3.2-to-5.1 minutes, which means totals would decrease anywhere from 5-8% compared to last season.

With head coach and coordinator changes, the transfer portal and quarterbacks in new systems, we can't really rely on each team's pace numbers from last season.

Instead, we have to take it on a case-by-case basis. So, until Week 4, plays per minute and plays per game numbers will not be provided.

If you're new to this piece, we'll take an in-depth look at the totals market using yards per play, Success Rate, Finishing Drives, plays per minute and more.

Using those metrics — along with a look at the weather and key injuries — the goal is to hopefully help bettors beat the market before Friday and Saturday morning.

Let's kick things off with three totals to target for Week 1.

Ohio State vs. Indiana

Saturday, Sep 2
3:30pm ET
Ohio State Odds
-110o / -110u
Indiana Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAF odds here.

Ohio State begins a new era on offense after CJ Stroud moved on to the NFL. Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day announced Tuesday that Kyle McCord will take over starting duties thus season.

McCord backed up Stroud last season and performed well in garbage time, going 16-for-20 and averaging 9.5 yards per attempt. McCord was a four-star recruit coming out of high school in Philadelphia and is your typical pro-style quarterback, which fits Ohio State's system really well.

His only weakness is his inability to escape pressure.

But the good news for McCord is that Ohio State quite literally has all of its skill position players back.

TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams are both back at running back after Ohio State averaged 5.4 yards per carry and finished 15th in Rushing Success Rate. They did lose three starters on the offensive line, but Ryan Day picked up two pretty solid transfers to keep the drop-off from being steep.

Ohio State is also bringing back every single one of its pass catchers from last season — most notably the best wide receiver in college football, Marvin Harrison Jr. Last season, Harrison had the best PFF receiving grade of all college football wide receivers who had over 100 targets. He averaged an absolutely ludicrous 3.18 yards per route run and 16.4 yards per reception.

Indiana will have no answer for the Ohio State offense, just like last season when the Buckeyes put 59 on the board against it. The Hoosiers return only three starters from a defense that ranked 85th in EPA/Play Allowed, 115th in Havoc and 77th in Finishing Drives Allowed.

With Walt Bell as offensive coordinator, Indiana ran the fastest tempo in college football last season, averaging a play every 20.17 seconds and putting up close to 78 plays a game.

It will have a new quarterback under center in Tayven Jackson — the brother of Indiana basketball star Trayce Jackson-Davis — who transferred from Tennessee.

Jackson is only a redshirt freshman, so he hasn't seen a lot of game action, attempting only four passes at Tennessee. He was in a pass-heavy system in high school and is more of a pro-style quarterback despite his athleticism. In the long run, he should be an upgrade at quarterback compared to what Indiana has had in recent years.

Ohio State returns seven players on the defensive side of the ball and is once again stacked in the front seven. However, it's a bit thin in the secondary after losing three starters.

The big problem that plagued Ohio State last season was giving up explosive plays. The Buckeyes were great at limiting Success Rate but ranked 122nd in explosiveness allowed. Then they had issues once opponents crossed the 40-yard line, finishing 85th in Finishing Drives Allowed.

With a lot of new faces in the secondary, it's hard to imagine Ohio State completely eliminating that problem.

At the same time, Indiana's pace is going to allow Ohio State to have more offensive opportunities than it would normally get.

I have 74.2 points projected for this game, so I think there's tremendous value on over 58.5 points and would play it up to 63.

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Washington State vs. Colorado State

Saturday, Sep 2
7:00pm ET
CBS Sports Network
Washington St Odds
-110o / -110u
Colorado St Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAF odds here.

Washington State is going through a transition period on offense. It has a new offensive coordinator in Ben Arbuckle, who was the co-offensive coordinator at Western Kentucky last season and has worked for many years under Texas Tech's Zach Kittley.

That means the pace is going to be ramped up to the max, and Washington State is going to become a pass-heavy team. That is all well and good, but that doesn't really fit starting quarterback Cam Ward, which was evident last season.

Ward is a fantastic athlete and oftentimes will make video game-type plays with his feet, but he's really not that great of a passer. Last season, he put up a PFF passing grade of just 58.0 with only 10 big-time throws and 21 turnover-worthy plays.

Washington State threw the ball close to 60% of the time — the same as Western Kentucky — and this was the output.

Image via PFF.

This may end up working out in the long run, but from what we've seen so far, it's likely not going to be effective to begin the season.

Ward is also losing his top four pass-catching options from last season.

Colorado State fielded a really bad secondary last season, ranking in the bottom 20 in most metrics. However, it's returning all four starters from last season and added some decent transfers to help with depth, so it should be much improved against the pass.

With Jay Norvell coming over from Nevada last season, Colorado State went through an entire identity change. It went from a run-oriented offense to an Air Raid, and the results were awful. The Rams finished 121st in EPA/Play and 131st in Finishing Drives.

In Year 2 of the new system, Clay Millen should improve on a decent first season after averaging 8.2 yards per attempt with a 75.0 PFF passing grade.

Millen had a really bad game against Washington State a season ago, going 25-of-35 for 212 yards with two turnovers a 54.7 PFF passing grade.

When the air attack wasn't effective last season, the Rams couldn't run the ball to save their lives. Colorado State averaged just 2.8 yards per carry, ranked 124th in Rushing Success Rate and 121st in EPA/Rush.

It does return its top running back, but it returns only one starter on the offensive line and will be relying on a lot of transfers. Colorado rushed for just 37 yards, so it's hard to imagine the rush is going to improve at all this time around.

Washington State finished as a top-50 pass defense by EPA/Pass Allowed and will be getting three of its four secondary starters back from last season. Up front, its best two defensive linemen return, so it's going to be difficult for Millen in the opener.

Washington State ranked 34th in seconds per play, but Colorado State played a very slow pace at 103rd in seconds per play.

With inconsistencies with these two offenses, I think the total is too high. I have 45.2 points projected for this game, so I like the value on under 54.5 points and would play it down to 52.

Old Dominion vs. Virginia Tech

Saturday, Sep 2
8:00pm ET
ACC Network
Old Dominion Odds
-110o / -110u
VA Tech Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAF odds here.

Old Dominion is going through a transition period in its offense. It brought in a new offensive coordinator in Kevin Decker, who served as the offensive coordinator at Fordham for the past two seasons. His offense put up pretty solid numbers last year, averaging 5.4 yards per rush and 9.7 yards per pass attempt.

However, he's taking over an Old Dominion offense that has to replace a lot of production. Only four starters are returning on offense with the Monarchs losing their starting quarterback, top running back, two of their top three pass-catchers and three offensive linemen.

Decker brought over quarterback Grant Wilson from Fordham with him, but even though Wilson is familiar with the offense, he has just 13 career pass attempts. So, I'm having a hard time seeing how the Old Dominion offense is going to be better than its ranking of 100th in EPA/Play last season.

Virginia Tech's defense was quite good last year, ranking 21st in Success Rate Allowed. It was tremendous up front, finishing second in Stuff Rate, 25th in Defensive Line Yards and 37th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed.

The Hokies will once again be stout in their front seven with a lot of experience returning. They also added a few transfers, including linebacker Stone Snyder, who was a two-time All-American at the FCS level.

Grant Wells beat out Baylor transfer Kyron Drones for VT's starting quarterback job, but Wells really wasn't that great last season. He finished the year with a 64.3 PFF passing grade and averaged only 6.6 yards per attempt.

It was pretty clear that Wells' issues have stemmed from short-to-intermediate passing:

Image via PFF.

Not only did Virginia Tech struggle to throw the ball, but it finished outside the top 100 in Rushing Success Rate and EPA/Rush. It returns seven starters on the offense but loses its top two rushers and has just 66 starts returning on the offensive line.

When these two teams played last year, it ended with a 20-17 victory for Old Dominion with a whopping seven turnovers between the two teams.

Decker ran a play every 25.3 seconds at Fordham, which is around the FBS average and very close to what Virginia Tech put up last season at 25.1 seconds per play.

With the changes happening at Old Dominion and the inefficiencies of the Virginia Tech offense a season ago, I think this total is too high.

I have 39.2 points projected for this game, so I like the value on under 48.5 points.

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