Week 2 College Football Chalk Talk: Stuckey & Collin Wilson’s Favorite Favorites, Including East Carolina vs. Old Dominion
Patrick Smith/Getty Images. Pictured: East Carolina’s Keaton Mitchell.
You may be familiar with our weekly underdog moneyline article. Well, it's time to also show some love for our two favorite college football favorites that we cover weekly on the Big Bets on Campus podcast.
We affectionately refer to them as "overdogs" thanks to one of our beloved callers.
In our inaugural piece last week, we kicked things off with a 2-0 start, but it certainly wasn't easy. I'd like to give a special shout-out to Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker for taking care of his boosters late in a cover that looked very much in doubt early in the fourth quarter. Washington also barely held on after dark for a cover to get us the sweep.
This week, we have a pair of home teams laying double-digits — with quarterbacks you may not fully trust, so get ready to hold your nose if you want to follow along.
YTD: 2-0 +2.00 units
Wilson: Wisconsin -17
|Washington State Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Welcome back to the trust circle, Graham Mertz.
The quarterback had a near-perfect debut a couple of seasons ago but has yet to replicate that success. However, Mertz thrived in Week 1 — albeit against an FCS school — completing 14-of-16 passes with no turnover-worthy plays.
Considering Wisconsin will rarely shy away from feeding star running back Braelon Allen on standard downs, any improvement from Mertz will add a sorely missed dimension to the Badger offense.
Speaking of Allen, he should have a field day on the ground in a game in which Wisconsin should control the line of scrimmage.
Meanwhile, Washington State stumbled into Camp Randall after a lackluster opener against Idaho. The Cougars needed a last-second interception at their own 28 to survive the Vandals. Idaho quarterback Gevani McCoy hit eight different targets with multiple explosive plays.
There was a lot of uncertainty surrounding the new Washington State Air Raid offense coming into the season with quarterback Cam Ward transferring in from Incarnate Word, but the early returns were not positive. This offense looks like it has a long way to go before we start comparing it to the transformation we saw at Western Kentucky with Bailey Zappe last season.
Things won't get any easier this week against the always rock-solid Jim Leonhard defense.
With New Mexico State on deck, Wisconsin has no concern about next week's game. Therefore, it could keep its foot on the gas pedal a bit longer looking to get Mertz even more positive reps.
Ultimately, the Badgers should control the line of scrimmage, which should help them extend here.
Pick: Wisconsin -17
Stuckey: East Carolina -12
|Old Dominion Odds|
-110o / -110u
|East Carolina Odds|
-110o / -110u
Well, Collin is laying double digits with Graham Mertz, and I'm doing the same with Holton Ahlers in his 50th and final season (I think) in Greenville. What could possibly go wrong?
It's a potentially tough situational spot for ECU after losing in heartbreaking fashion to in-state rival NC State last week. The Pirates could come out a bit flat, but you could make a similar case for ODU after upsetting in-state big brother Virginia Tech in a thrilling victory last Friday night.
In fact, the Monarchs are the only non-Power Five team to defeat a Power Five opponent heading into Week 2. The rest have gone a combined 0-46.
I came away much more impressed with the Pirates in their loss than the Monarchs in their upset. Both played at home in similar spots, but ECU faced a much tougher opponent. It also actually outplayed the Wolfpack in many statistical categories.
Meanwhile, ODU basically just benefited from countless Virginia Tech mistakes. The Hokies actually finished with almost 100 more yards and held a 4.5-3.6 yards-per-play edge. They simply couldn't overcome a whopping five turnovers, including one on a botched field goal that resulted in six the other way.
Old Dominion's offensive line has major issues, especially on the interior. That could cause major issues on the road against an ECU defense that looks significantly improved based on last week's performance.
Ahlers also should have no issues moving the ball against the Monarch defense. Plus, ECU's running game should cook after facing one of the stingiest run defenses in the country.
Ultimately, I believe the Pirates are a bit discounted after everybody saw ODU beat Virginia Tech. But that game was basically gifted away, while ECU looked very impressive.