College Football Pace Report & Picks: Week 2 Bets for Temple vs. Rutgers, Texas State vs. UTSA & More

College Football Pace Report & Picks: Week 2 Bets for Temple vs. Rutgers, Texas State vs. UTSA & More article feature image

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. Pictured: Temple’s Dominick Hill.

After a very exciting Week 1, Week 2 of college football looks even more tantalizing with plenty of huge matchups, headlined by Texas vs. Alabama.

That means there's plenty of betting value across the board, including in the totals market.

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 unders to bet in Week 2.

Miami (OH) vs. UMass

Saturday, Sept. 9
3:30 p.m. ET
Miami (OH) Odds
-112o / -108u
UMass Odds
-112o / -108u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAF odds here.

Boy, this is going to be an ugly game.

Brett Gabbert had a lot of confidence in his RedHawks before they took on Miami, but that did not age well.

"The real Miami is where?"

"Oxford, Ohio…We'll show them September 1st." – Miami Ohio QB Brett Gabbert

This didn't age very well 😬

— Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) September 2, 2023

The RedHawks were awful offensively. They up just three points, averaged 4.4 yards per play and had only three drives end inside Miami's 40-yard line — and they came away with just three points on those drives.

Gabbert was hurt for most of the last season, but when he played, he really wasn't that effective. In four games, he had a 67.8 PFF passing grade with four big-time throws and four turnover-worthy plays.

His offensive line has just 40 starts returning, and he was pressured on 25% of his dropbacks in the opener.

Miami (OH) also couldn't run the ball at all in the opener, gaining just 51 yards on 25 attempts. That carries over from last season when they ranked 128th in Rushing Success Rate, 111th in EPA/Rush and 115th in Offensive Line Yards.

UMass didn't have a terrible defense a season ago, finishing 39th in Success Rate Allowed, 75th in EPA/Play Allowed and 45th in Finishing Drives Allowed. Don Brown knows how to coach defense and has done a masterful job on what was one of the worst defenses in the country for so many years.

The Minutemen got crushed by Auburn last weekend and gave up 30 points to New Mexico State, but the Aggies only had 10 points heading into the fourth quarter before the game got a little chaotic and 48 total points were scored between the two sides.

Eight starters return for Brown's defense, so as surprising as it sounds, I have faith in their ability to shut down a below-average Miami offense.

On the other side, UMass had a terrible offense last year. It finished 130th in Success Rate, 131st in EPA/Play and 130th in Finishing Drives.

The Minutemen do get seven starters back on offense, but they need to run the ball to be successful. They ran the ball on 62.8% of their offensive snaps and averaged only 3.4 yards per carry as a team in 2022.

They've run the ball for over five yards per carry against both New Mexico State and Auburn, but the Miami (Ohio) front seven ranked 12th in EPA/Rush Allowed a season ago. The RedHawks return nine starters on defense and will once again be one of the best front sevens in the MAC, so UMass is going to have a difficult time running the ball.

Both of these teams were outside the top 100 in seconds per play last year, and both have once again been playing extremely slow — especially UMass, which is averaging 31.3 seconds per play in its first two games.

I only have 36.7 points projected for this game, so I like the value on under 46.5 points and would play it down to 42.5.

Pick: Under 46.5 (Play to 42.5)

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Texas State vs. UTSA

Saturday, Sept. 9
3:30 p.m. ET
Texas State Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAF odds here.

Texas State pulled off one of the biggest upsets of Week 1 by beating Baylor as a 27-point underdog in Waco. The Bobcats did that with over 40 new transfers coming in from last season, so it was truly an astonishing upset.

What the Bobs did well in that game was convert once they got into Baylor territory. All five trips inside Baylor's 40-yard line ended in touchdowns, which is as efficient as a team can be.

Repeating that again against a very good UTSA defense is another story.

The Roadrunners played a masterful game defensively against Houston in their opener, limiting the Cougars to just 4.6 yards per play and 2.6 yards per carry on the ground. This a UTSA defense that was one of the best in the Group of Five last year, finishing the season 10th in the nation in Success Rate Allowed, 17th in Finishing Drives Allowed and 14th in Havoc.

The Roadrunners returned eight players on defense, and even though they lost three of their top four tacklers and two really good cornerbacks, they look just as good.

Texas State head coach GJ Kinne came over from FCS Incarnate Word and brought both his offensive and defensive coordinators with him. They played at a very fast pace last season, running a play every 21.2 seconds, which would've been a top-25 pace at the FBS level.

That's slightly faster than the pace Texas State ran last year, which was 50th in the country.

Kinne brought in TJ Finley from Auburn to be his quarterback. Finley had an awesome first game against Baylor, throwing for three touchdowns and 298 yards.

But everything we know about Finley from his season at Auburn in 2022 tells us he's a below-average quarterback. Finley started six games for Auburn between 2021 and 2022 and never posted a PFF passing grade above 70. So, he may have lit up a Baylor secondary that ranked 99th in Passing Success Rate Allowed last year, but that's going to be hard to replicate against a unit that held Houston to 6.3 yards per attempt in Week 1.

On the UTSA side, Frank Harris is one of the best dual-threats in college football, but he had a really poor game in Week 1. Harris went 18-of-36 for 209 yards with three turnover-worthy plays.

UTSA ran the ball very effectively and averaged 5.9 yards per carry, but the Roadrunners had major issues once they got past Houston's 40-yard line.

Finishing Drives — scoring efficiency on drives that go past the opponent's 40-yard line — is the best indicator of a successful offense. UTSA didn't do well in that area against Houston, coming away with only 14 points on five drives that ended inside the Cougars' 40.

Texas State did a great job at preventing Baylor from scoring close to the end zone, as the Bears came away with just 23 points on a whopping eight drives that ended inside the Texas State 40-yard line.

I only have 54.3 points projected for this game, so I like the value on under 63.5 points and would play it down to 59.

Temple vs. Rutgers

Saturday, Sept. 9
7:30 p.m. ET
Big Ten Network
Temple Odds
-104o / -118u
Rutgers Odds
-104o / -118u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAF odds here.

Rutgers picked up a convincing 24-7 win over Northwestern in its opener, but the offense really wasn't that impressive. The Scarlet Knights averaged only 3.9 yards per play and 2.7 yards per carry in their dominant victory.

Rutgers didn't have much to look forward to in regard to its offense coming into the season, especially with Gavin Wimsatt as the starting quarterback. Wimsatt threw for only 163 yards on 29 attempts (5.6 yards per attempt) and had an adjusted completion percentage of just 60.7% against the Wildcats.

In a limited sample size last season, he had a PFF passing grade of just 45.3, so it's hard to see him throwing all over Temple's secondary.

Rutgers also struggled to run the ball, which was nothing new. The Knights put up only 3.6 yards per carry a season ago and ranked 122nd in EPA/Rush.

The Temple defense showed up in its opener against Akron, holding the Zips to just 4.9 yards per play. The Owls dominated up front and gave up only 2.6 yards per carry, which will be huge in this game because that'll put pressure on Wimsatt to beat them through the air.

Temple returns nine starters on defense, which was the strength of the team last year. The Owls finished last year 48th in Finishing Drives Allowed, 27th in Havoc and 56th in explosiveness. The front seven is stacked once again, so there really shouldn't be too much of a drop-off in these rankings.

However, Temple's offense was quite poor last season. It finished outside the top 100 in Success Rate and Finishing Drives because it couldn't run the ball to save its life. The Owls finished 131st in Rushing Success Rate, 130th in EPA/Rush and 128th in Offensive Line Yards, all while averaging just 3.1 yards per carry.

The Owls do bring back their top two running backs, but they have only 40 starts returning on the offensive line. So, I don't see how they're going to effectively run the ball against Rutgers' front seven.

Rutgers dominated Northwestern with its defense in the opener, giving up only 3.2 yards per play and holding the Wildcats to just 12 yards on the ground.

Greg Schiano knows how to coach defense, and with eight starters returning to a unit that finished 40th in EPA/Play Allowed and boasted a top-35 ranking when it came to stopping the run, Temple is going to find it difficult to move the ball.

I only have 40.8 points projected for this game, so I like the value on under 47 points and would play it down to 45.

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