Penn St Nittany Lions 2019 College Football Preview

College Football Predictions – Penn St Nittany Lions 2019 College Football Preview

2018 Recap

Record – 9-4

ATS – 6-6-1

It’s a good sign when your team wins ‘just’ nine games and it’s considered by some to be a disappointment. The Nittany Lions followed up back-to-back eleven-win campaigns with a mark of 9-4, although they ended the season on a bit of a downer losing to Kentucky in the Citrus Bowl. The BONE OF CONTENTION with many Penn St faithful is that they failed to deliver in the big games. Their three losses during the regular season came to Ohio St, Michigan St, and Michigan. That’s certainly not an embarrassment, but those are the teams you compete with on an annual basis. You just have to find a way to beat those programs.

Can Penn St challenge for a division crown this year or are they too far behind the other BIG BOYS?


2019 MEGALOCKS Opening Power Rating

East Division – #4

Big 10 – #4


Penn St Nittany Lions 2019 Outlook

OFFENSE

QB Trace McSorley departs as the program’s all-time leading passer (9,899 yards) and the Nittany Lions are going to find it almost impossible to replace the skill, elusiveness, and leadership that he provided to the team. Sean Clifford has had a cup of coffee in FBS action but it remains to be seen if he can be a QB capable of leading the Nittany Lions into division contention. The transfer of potential starting Tommy Stevens was an unpleasant surprise and hurts the depth in the QB room. The RB unit looks good with a lot of talented youngsters on board including sophomore Ricky Slade ( 5.7, 6 TD LY) and freshman Noah Cain. Penn St cranks out stud RBs with ruthless efficiency so it would not surprise us to see another 1,000-yard back emerge. It wasn’t ideal to lose WR Juwan Johnson to the Oregon Ducks via transfer but they still return #1 WR KJ Hamler (754, 18.0, 5 TD LY) and dangerous TE Pat Freiermuth (14.2, 8 TD). Three starters on the OL are back but they need to do a better job in pass protection as they allowed 31 sacks LY with a REALLY elusive and smart QB.

Penn St posted 33.8 PPG last year and our BIG TEN INSIDERS project something close to the 30 PPG mark in 2019. That’s on the assumption that Penn St gets “decent” QB play and not something a lot better or a lot worse.

DEFENSE

Things look pretty SPICY on this side of ball as the Nittany Lions return six starters and their top-three tacklers from a season ago. Last season they bagged 40+ sacks for the fourth straight time (47) (!), allowed 20.5 PPG (#4 Big Ten), and just 53.6% completions (#2 Big Ten). They were a bit soft vs the run a season ago (169 YPG) and that is the biggest area of improvement needed in 2019.

Elite pass-rusher DE Shareef Miller is off to the NFL (Eagles) but there are plenty of men capable of bagging sacks including star DE Yetur Gross-Matos who garnered 1st Team Big Ten honors whilst tallying 8 sacks and 20 (!) TFL a season ago. There is decent size on the interior of the line and the rush D numbers should be better. The LB corps returns a pair of senior starters to go along with last year’s leading tackler Micah Parsons. The secondary may be the relatively weak link on the stop unit but they will be assisted by what is certain to be another fine pass rush.

This looks like one of the best defenses in the Big Ten and they should hold opponents to fewer than 20 PPG.

SPECIAL TEAMS

It seems like an average group on paper. PK Jake Pinegar was just 10/18 (!) on FGs from 30+ yards last year and they need to perform better than #8 in the Big Ten in net punting. The Nittany Lions need to find a new PR with the departure of DeAndre Thompkins (PR TD LY).

Schedule Analysis

Overall – Things should be smooth sailing right off the bat and they seem destined to bag at least four wins in their first five games (Idaho, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, at Maryland, Purdue). There are three tough road conference games to navigate (Iowa, Michigan St, Ohio St).

Potential ATS Trouble Spot – at Michigan St (October 26)

Penn St will be coming in off back-to-back MEAT GRINDER affairs with Iowa and Michigan. The Spartans will be rested and coming off a bye week.

Season Win Total

Over 8.5 +105

Under 8.5 -125

MEGALOCKS says:

No play yet in this market. There are several surefire wins on the docket BUT they also have some tough road affairs.

MEGAmazing Tidbits

With an official seating capacity of 106,572, Beaver Stadium is the second-largest stadium in the western hemisphere, behind only Michigan Stadium.

“Nittanyville”, originally known as Paternoville, is the name attributed to the student tradition of camping out in front of Beaver Stadium prior to a home football game. Each week before a home game, students camp out in front of the stadium in order to hold their positions in line for front-row seats.


MEGALOCKS ATS Outlook: Neutral

This looks like another contender in the GROUP OF DEATH (Big Ten East). The roster looks strong across the board other than the uncertainty at QB, and that my friends, is why we have them just a slight notch below the big three (Ohio St, Michigan, Michigan St). Having said that, the upside is here for them to make a SNEAK ATTACK on the proceedings, and we can’t rule out that possibility.

James Franklin has an ATS record of 35-30-1 (53.8%) since arriving in State College and the Nittany Lions have been a much better play at home (61%) than in true road games (39%). Keep that in mind when building your weekly wagering cards.


Want more Penn St football ?

WEBSITE

https://gopsusports.com/index.aspx?path=football

FORUM

http://pennstate.247sports.com/Board/Penn-State-Nittany-Lions-Message-Board-Forum-18

https://247sports.com/college/penn-state/Board/Audibles-Board-102698/

https://www.roarlionsroar.com/forum/penn-state-football

https://bwi.forums.rivals.com/forums/the-lions-den.18/

NEWS

http://www.blackshoediaries.com/

http://www.pennlive.com/pennstatefootball/

http://www.espn.com/college-football/team/_/id/213/penn-state-nittany-lions

http://bleacherreport.com/penn-state-football

http://www.statecollege.com/penn-state-page/sports/

TWITTER

Hashtag – #WeAre, #PSUnrivaled

Accounts to follow

https://twitter.com/PennStateFball

https://twitter.com/nittanyrich

https://twitter.com/GregPickel

Michigan Wolverines 2019 College Football Preview

College Football Predictions – Michigan Wolverines 2019 College Football Preview

2018 Recap

Record – 10-3

ATS – 6-7

Not again!

The Wolverines rattled off an impressive ten wins in a row after a tough opening loss at the hands of Notre Dame. They were in great shape to take care of business vs Ohio St (finally) and get to the Big Ten Championship Game. Oops. The Buckeyes used 8,000 passing yards (estimate) to help them demolish Michigan by a score of 62-39. That gives Ohio St fourteen wins in their past fifteen match-ups. The season didn’t end on a high note as they were drilled by the Florida Gators by a count of 41-15 in the Peach Bowl (Congrats MEGALOCKS BOWL BONANZA DRONE STRIKE CLUB members).

The Wolverines have 38 wins in four years under Jim Harbaugh. Can THIS be the year where they transition from “really good” to “great”?


2019 MEGALOCKS Opening Power Rating

East Division – #1

Big 10 – #1


Michigan Wolverines 2019 Outlook

OFFENSE

It’s easy to forget that for all the complaining about the Michigan offense they have still had a pair of productive seasons over the last three campaigns. They put up 35.2 PPG last year and 40.3 PPG in 2016. We expect to see another excellent performance out of the Wolverines as they have plenty of talent on the offensive side of the ball AND they have a new OC (Josh Gattis) who will speed things up and introduce a “Pro spread no-huddle”. This should fit QB Shea Patterson like a glove as he has played most of his football under similar schemes. Patterson did well last year (2,600, 22-7 TD to INT, 64.6%) but he still gets criticized for not being able to “win the big one”. It’s a bit unfair, particularly since he has only started ONE season at Michigan, but pressure comes to those in prominent roles.

It’s been a while since we have been this excited about the prospects for the Michigan offensive line. They return four starters to an experienced unit that also boasts some nice size. Last year the OL paved the way for a decent 4.8 YPC whilst allowing just 23 sacks. They are without question one of the most talented OL groups in the conference. Depth could be a problem at the RB spot with the departure of #1 RB Karan Higdon (1,178, 10 TD LY) and the suspension of #2 RB Chris Evans who will not be with the team in 2019. Unproven youngsters Christian Turner and Zach Charbonnet will get a chance to shine and senior Tru Wilson is still in the mix. The WR group should be SCARY for opposing defenses. The 1-2-3 combo of Nico Collins, Donovan Peoples-Jones and a healthy Tarik Black should put up big numbers, particularly when working in this new offensive scheme. The dangerous TE Zach Gentry will be missed.

DEFENSE

Michigan has allowed fewer than 20 PPG in each of the four season’s under Jim Harbaugh’s watch (19.4, 18.8, 14.1, 16.4) and that is not easy to accomplish with the way today’s offenses can score points. Yes, even in the Big Ten. It helps to have an ace DC (Don Brown) and a seemingly endless supply of talent. There is concern this year as the Wolverines lose their top-three tacklers and a small handful of true defensive stars. They will also be without their excellent DL coach Greg Mattison who left for Ohio St (!) to become co-DC.

The line is CHOCK FULL of young talent but only returns one starter to the mix. They get the benefit of Central Michigan transfer Mike Danna who was voted CMU’s most valuable player of 2018 (66 tackles, 9.5 sacks, 7 QBH LY) and it will be interesting to see what he can add to the DL rotation. The LB unit will be one of the best in the Big Ten and they boast a pair of stars in the secondary in S Josh Metellus (2nd Team Big Ten) and CB Lavert Hill (3rd Team AA).

We expect the Wolverines to book another season allowing fewer than 20 PPG but it’s tough to call for a monster season given the loss of so many key contributors.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Yes, guy.

The Wolverines got a great performance out of their special teams unit last season and everyone is back for duty. Their kicking game looks solid and they feature dangerous return men.

Schedule Analysis

Overall – It’s not too bad at all. They get arguably their three toughest games at home (Ohio St, Michigan St, Notre Dame) and have a pair of well-placed bye weeks.

Potential ATS Trouble Spot – at Indiana (November 23)

This is a SANDWICH GAME parked between BIGGIE SIZE conference tilts with Michigan St and Ohio St. Oh ya, and don’t forget that the Hoosiers took Michigan to OT in each of their last two meetings in Bloomington.

Season Win Total

Over 10 -110

Under 10 -110

MEGALOCKS says:

The Wolverines look STACKED but going over 10 wins is a tall order. Pass for now.

MEGAmazing Tidbits

Former President Gerald Ford started at center for the Wolverines and was voted most valuable player by his teammates on the 1934 squad.

In a game that decided the Western Conference championship in 1898, Michigan defeated the University of Chicago by a CFL-style score of 12-11. It was the Wolverines first conference title and it inspired “The Victors”, which later became the school’s fight song.  Impress the ALOOF MANAGER during your next job interview with that trivia nugget.


MEGALOCKS ATS Outlook: Neutral

This is the first year of the JIM HARBAUGH EXPERIENCE that we feel they have a legitimate shot of winning the Big Ten. Dare we say, even the best chance of any team? The team is loaded and ready to fire. Our primary concerns are the depth at RB and the ability to replace so many stars in the front seven on defense. The schedule falls in their favor and it’s hard to see them playing the final regular season game vs Ohio St without a shot to win the division.

It’s hard to make money on a consistent basis betting on Michigan. You are almost always paying a “They are awesome” tax buried in the point spread. In other words, if you wanna cheer for your boys, you are gonna pay too much to do it. The Wolverines have a record of 81-47 over the past ten years (WOO!) but are a mediocre 56-69-2 (44.8%) vs the Vegas number over that time horizon.

We like this team a lot but will prefer to back them in the futures market (Big Ten winner, etc.) vs hammering them every week ATS. Pick your spots.


Want more Michigan football ?

WEBSITE

http://www.mgoblue.com/sports/m-footbl/mich-m-footbl-body.html

FORUM

https://michigan.forums.rivals.com/forums/football.20/

https://247sports.com/college/michigan/Board/Stadium-and-Main-103320/

https://mgoblog.com/mgoboard

https://michigan.forums.rivals.com/forums/the-fort.18/

NEWS

http://www.maizenbrew.com/

http://www.detroitnews.com/sports/michigan/

http://www.espn.com/college-football/team/_/id/130/michigan-wolverines

http://bleacherreport.com/michigan-wolverines-football

http://www.freep.com/sports/wolverines/

TWITTER

Hashtag – #GoBlue

Accounts to follow

https://twitter.com/UMichFootball

https://twitter.com/nickbaumgardner

Nebraska Cornhuskers 2019 College Football Preview

College Football Predictions – Nebraska Cornhuskers 2019 College Football Preview

2018 Recap

Record – 4-8

ATS – 7-5

The Huskers kicked off the Scott Frost era in dubious fashion losing their first six games of the season. Three of those games were by a combined 13 points (Colorado, Troy, Northwestern). It had to be difficult to keep the faith but Nebraska gets full marks for winning four of their last six games, and the two games they lost were to really good teams (Iowa, Ohio St) by a total of 8 points.

Things are moving in the right direction and QUICKLY. Is it conceivable that Nebraska could challenge for a division title this season? Let’s take a look.


2019 MEGALOCKS Opening Power Rating

West Division – #3

Big 10 – #7


Nebraska Cornhuskers 2019 Outlook

OFFENSE

It didn’t take QB Adrian Martinez long to flash some big-time talent. All Martinez did as a true frosh was throw for over 2,600 yards and 17 TDs (64.6%) while rushing for 629 yards and another 8 TDs on the ground in his spare time. Martinez started 11 games and collected 300+ total yards in seven of those contests. Basically, nothing other than a brick wall defense could slow him down. This should be an exciting year for Nebraska fans as QBs often make a big jump from their first to second campaign. <grabs popcorn>

The RB group has a lot of talent even with the departure of 1,000-yard back Devine Ozigbo. One storyline to keep an eye on is the status of their #1 returning RB Maurice Washington (also caught 24 passes) who is in the midst of legal troubles. More clarity should come to the situation near the end of July. In the event that Washington is unable to go the Huskers will have to rely on talented but unproven youngsters. The Huskers celebrated their first ever (!!) 1,000-yard receiver in Stanley Morgan Jr a season ago but he departs as the program’s #1 all-time WR in terms of receiving yards. The good news is that they still have a legit #1 option in JD Spielman who racked up 818 yards and 8 TDs a season ago in just 10 games. That yard total included an impressive 209 yards vs the Badgers. The OL returns three starters and did a decent job last season paving the way for 5.4 YPC (#4 Big Ten) whilst allowing 28 sacks.

We expect improvement in year two under Scott Frost. Nebraska scored 30 PPG last year and we think they will produce their best output since 2014 (37.8 PPG).

DEFENSE

You can’t have everything right away.

The Nebraska defense struggled a season ago and ranked #12 in the conference in total defense (434 YPG). They were decent vs the pass (#5 pass efficiency D Big Ten) but too soft vs the run (#12 Big Ten). The couldn’t get adequate PENETRATION bagging just 25 sacks, although that was an improvement on the 2017 season when they had a mere 14. What do things look like this year?

Let’s start with the bad news. The Huskers lose five of their top-six tacklers from a season ago and are coming off a campaign in which they allowed 31.3 PPG. The good news is that they return six starters and have some good things going at all three levels of the defense. We love the size on the interior of the DL as they have more than a few yuuuge bodies including Oklahoma St transfer Darrion Daniels. Last season’s leading tackler LB Mohamed Barry is back for duty (112 tackles, 11 TFL, 5 QBH) and the secondary has a bunch of players with starting experience including their fine CB Dicaprio Bootle.

The Huskers’ defense will be improved but it’s unclear whether or not they will make a big enough leap to help them become division champs.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Things appear to be in good shape. The combo of PK Barret Pickering (14/18 FG) and P Isaac Armstrong (37.0 net) are solid and JD Spielman is a dangerous return man.

Schedule Analysis

Overall – The schedule is a lot more forgiving than what they had to endure a season ago. They should be able to open the season with three or four wins before the big home date with Ohio St. That will be APPOINTMENT TELEVISION. Their road conference slate is as good as you could ask for with games against Illinois, Minnesota, Purdue, and Maryland.

Potential ATS Trouble Spot – at Maryland (November 23)

This game follows a key battle with Wisconsin and precedes potentially the biggest game in a long while for Nebraska (home vs Iowa). Maryland is coming in off a bye and proved last year when they almost beat Ohio St (L 52-51 in OT) late in the year that they can be a handful.

Season Win Total

Over – 8.5 -110

Under – 8.5 -110

MEGALOCKS says:

LEANAGE to the over. There appears to be too much talent on this team to see them win fewer than nine games and the schedule certainly helps.

MEGAmazing Tidbits

Legendary HC Tom Osborne had an amazing record of 255-49-3 (.836) (!) as head coach at Nebraska.

In the early 1970s, the “NU” on the helmet was changed to the single “N”, a design that is still in use today. Why? Legend has it that there was a shortage of “U” stickers and so the single “N” remained. Flabbergast your SADISTIC PERSONAL TRAINER with that trivia nugget.


MEGALOCKS ATS Outlook: Neutral

Nebraska should be in the hunt for all the Big Ten West marbles. We expect them to continue the momentum from the 2nd half of last season when they were playing as well as anyone in the Big Ten. They have a potential superstar at QB who just might be the best signal caller in the conference after just one (great) freshman season. Frost has recruited well and the program is being built for sustainability. We worry about the depth across the roster but you can’t have everything.

When it comes to the point spread, Nebraska is almost certain to be a darling of DEGENERATE NATION. Recall last season that they were a popular sleeper pick and had trouble covering spreads early in the campaign. Lines appeared to be shaded in their favor. As the season wore on, they played a better brand of football and were covering a lot of Vegas numbers. The books did not adjust fast enough. What about this year?

The secret is out on these guys but there will still be spots of ATS value, particularly when they have the role of short favorites or underdogs. Go Huskers!


Want more Nebraska football ?

WEBSITE

http://www.huskers.com/SportSelect.dbml?SPID=22

FORUM

http://www.huskerboard.com/index.php?/forum/1-husker-football/

https://nebraska.forums.rivals.com/forums/husker-board.12/

https://247sports.com/college/nebraska/Board/Bugeaters-Place-105415/

http://www.scout.com/college/nebraska/forums/4511-bugeaters-place

https://nebraska.forums.rivals.com/forums/red-sea-scrolls.24/

NEWS

http://www.cornnation.com/

http://journalstar.com/sports/huskers/football/

http://www.omaha.com/huskers/football/

http://www.huskermax.com/

https://www.espn.com/college-football/team/_/id/158/nebraska-cornhuskers

https://hailvarsity.com/nebraska-football

TWITTER

Hashtag – #Huskers, #GBR

Accounts to follow

https://twitter.com/HuskerFBNation

Wisconsin Badgers 2019 College Football Preview

College Football Predictions – Wisconsin Badgers 2019 College Football Preview

2018 Recap

Record – 8-5

ATS – 4-9

They are human!

Wisconsin failed to win ten games for the first time since 2013 when they had a ‘horrible’ mark of 9-4. It was also strange to NOT see them in the Big Ten Championship game as they had made appearances in three of the previous four editions. They got sketchy QB play and the defense was down a notch from recent times. They totally dismantled Miami in the Pinstripe Bowl which was a 900,009 STAR MEGALOCKS HAMMER LOCK BOWL STEAM PLAY winner.

The West division of the Big Ten is very competitive. Let’s find out if Wisconsin has what it takes to get back to the conference title game in December.


2019 MEGALOCKS Opening Power Rating

West Division – #4

Big 10 – #8


Wisconsin Badgers 2019 Outlook

OFFENSE

The Graham Mertz era begins. The highly-regarded true freshman is destined to be the starting QB for the Badgers and it will interesting to see how he does in his first season. The best news possible is being able to hand off to your ALL-UNIVERSE RB Jonathan Taylor who is coming off another amazing year (2,194, 16 TD, 7.1). Yup, that’s right. Over 2,000 yards rushing. Bradrick Shaw is back at RB (injured LY) and should ease Taylor’s load just a bit. The WR and TE groups return essentially intact and will provide reliable options for Mertz when he chooses to MATRICULATE the ball down the field in the passing game. Actually, the targets in the THROW GAME look pretty good, particularly WR Danny Davis, WR AJ Taylor, and TE Jake Ferguson.

Our primary concern, although it may sound strange, is the offensive line. We KNOW the Badgers just reload at this position but they return just one starter to the unit, albeit that one man is a 1st Team Big Ten C in Tyler Biadasz. The Badgers have had a pair of recent seasons in which they were sub-par running the football by their standards. They averaged 4.3 YPC in 2016 and 3.8 YPC in 2015. Those were still really good teams but they had the benefit of ridiculously good defenses.

We think the Badgers score somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 PPG which is essentially what they did in 2018 (29.7).

DEFENSE

The Badgers defense was good last year (344 YPG, #4 Big Ten) but they allowed 22.6 PPG which was their worst mark since 2009 (21.8). These guys have set a high standard and we can’t wait to see if they get back to what they were the previous three seasons. For example, last year they allowed 155 YPG on the ground after a three-year run of yielding 98, 99, and 95 YPG.

Wisconsin brings back six starters to the stop unit but lose their top-two tacklers who both happened to be star linebackers. TJ Edwards and Ryan Connelly combined for over 200 tackles (!) and 21.5 TFL a season ago. That’s a lot of production that requires replacement. The DL should be fine as usual with some nice size, and LB Zach Baun was third on the team in tackles a season ago whilst leading the team in QBH (8). The secondary had a lot injuries to deal with but brings back three starters to a unit that banked a decent 14-14 TD to INT mark in 2018. One more thing. The Badgers suffered an alarming decrease in PENETRATION last campaign bagging a mere 19 sacks (#12 Big Ten) after racking up 42 (!) in 2017. They have to find a way to force more negative plays.

We see the Badgers improving on defense but it’s unlikely that they return to the ridiculous levels of the 2017 (13.9 PPG) or 2016 (15.6 PPG) units.

SPECIAL TEAMS

WHOA NELLIE. That stench floating through the air might be coming from the memory of the 2018 special teams unit that couldn’t do much of anything right. We have to assume there will be more problems on the horizon given that most of the crew is back other than their PK.

Schedule Analysis

Overall – The out-of-conference docket should be a slam dunk (at USF, FIRE UP CHIPS, Kent St), although we suppose the Bulls could give them a bit of a game. Our WEEK ONE INSIDERS tell us that the spread is in the -10/-11 range as we go to press. The Big Ten schedule will be a challenge as they face Ohio St and Michigan from the East division AND finish the year with four of their final six games on the road. Fun fact: Their first road game is on August 30. Their next road game is October 19 when they travel to face Illinois. That’s a scheduling quirk, yo.

Potential ATS Trouble Spot – Kent St (October 5th)

Don’t adjust your sets. We are serious. The Golden Flashes will be improved and this game falls right in the middle of conference play (Northwestern, Michigan St). The Badgers will be laying a TON of points and this is probably not the spot you want to give 30+.

Season Win Total

Over 8 -150

Under 8 +130

MEGALOCKS says:

Playing with a true freshman QB in a tough division has us leaning to the ‘under’. Not sure we will get down on this bad boy because it’s not in our DNA to bet against Wisconsin.

MEGAmazing Tidbit

Wikipedia is awesome. AMIRITE?

The team’s nickname originates from the early history of Wisconsin. In the 1820s and 1830s, prospectors came to the state looking for minerals. Without shelter in the winter, the miners had to “live like badgers” in tunnels burrowed into hillsides.


MEGALOCKS ATS Outlook: Neutral

This program is as reliable as they come. Wisconsin has an impressive 102 wins over the past ten years and is a contender for the Big Ten title pretty much every year. It will be intriguing to see how they fare after a bit of a down season by their standards, particularly while being led (presumably) by a true freshman QB. 

Wisconsin boasts an excellent ATS record (57%) over the past ten years. They are a tough team to bet against BUT we will take a neutral view to start the season until we get a feel for if these guys have a shot to be “vintage Wisconsin”. 


Want more Wisconsin football ?

WEBSITE

http://www.uwbadgers.com/index.aspx?path=football

FORUM

https://247sports.com/college/wisconsin/Board/Football-Board-103797/

http://wisconsin.247sports.com/Board/Badgers-Message-Board-23

http://buckyville.yuku.com/forums/1/Badger-Football-Board/Badger-Football-Board#.WYHu4rpFyiM

https://wisconsin.forums.rivals.com/forums/the-badgers-den.6/

NEWS

http://www.buckys5thquarter.com/

https://www.espn.com/college-football/team/_/id/275/wisconsin-badgers

http://bleacherreport.com/wisconsin-badgers-football

http://www.sbnation.com/college-football/teams/wisconsin-badgers

TWITTER

Hashtag – #OnWisconsin

Accounts to follow

https://twitter.com/BadgerFootball

https://twitter.com/jaypo1961

https://twitter.com/Jason_Galloway

Iowa Hawkeyes 2019 College Football Preview

College Football Predictions – Iowa Hawkeyes 2019 College Football Preview

2018 Recap

Record – 9-4

ATS – 9-3-1

The Hawkeyes started out with a fine mark of 6-1 only to lose their next three conference games and fall out of contention in the division. They rallied well to win their last three contests including an upset win over Mississippi St in the Outback Bowl.

Iowa has bagged an impressive 37 wins over the past four campaigns. Let’s see if they have what it takes to make it back to the Big Ten Championship Game.


2019 MEGALOCKS Opening Power Rating

West Division – #1

Big 10 – #5


Iowa Hawkeyes 2019 Outlook

OFFENSE

Iowa brings back arguably the best QB in the Big Ten in senior Nate Stanley (59%, 2,852, 26-10 TD to INT LY). They averaged a tidy 31 PPG under Stanley’s leadership but will have to move on without some of the key weapons from a season ago. Iowa had one of the best college football TE combos of all-time (!) last year in TJ Hockenson and Noah Fant and BOTH men left early for the NFL draft. Oh ya, and each of them was chosen in round one. Their #1 WR Nick Easley also moves on. The RB corps is loaded and one of the best in the Big Ten. The Sargent/Young/Kelly-Martin TRIFECTA combined for an impressive 1,723 yards and 16 TDs (!) rushing a season ago and they all report back for duty. The OL did great work last season allowing just 16 sacks (T1 Big Ten) while doing a decent job paving the way for their RBs.

The Hawkeyes will obviously miss their pair of star TEs but we still think they can be effective. Expect QB Nate Stanley to rely on the running game and be efficient when called upon. Iowa banked 31 PPG last year but we expect something in the high-20s in 2019.

DEFENSE

Iowa has played marvelous defense over the past three years and allowed fewer than 20 PPG on each occasion. The road appears to be a bit more challenging this season as they return just four starters to the equation and need to replace a lot of talent. Among THE DEPARTED are their top-four tacklers from a season ago including the leader in that department (S Jake Gervase), not to mention DE Anthony Nelson (#4 DC Buccaneers) who tallied 9.5 sacks in 2018 and another 4th round NFL DC Amani Hooker (Titans).

The DL is always a strong unit for the Hawkeyes but they need to replace all four starters this year. The good news is that emerging star DE AJ Epenesa returns for battle (10.5 sacks LY) as does partner-in-crime DE Chauncey Golston (9 TFL LY). The back-two layers of the defense should be fine, and in particular, a secondary that returns three starters and who led the team to a nice showing in terms of pass efficiency D a season ago (#3 Big Ten, 19-20 TD to INT).

It seems reasonable to expect Iowa to take a step backwards on defense but we still grade them as an above-average Big Ten unit. Look for them to allow about 20 PPG.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Iowa needs to find a replacement for their reliable PK Miguel Recinos who connected on 8/9 FGs from 40+ yards last year. The punting game needs improvement (#12 Big Ten net punting LY) but at least they should be able to rely upon KR Ihmir Smith-Marsette who averaged almost 30 yards a return on 24 attempts in 2018.

Schedule Analysis

Overall – Iowa typically takes a page from the UCF school of scheduling and this year is no exception. Their out-of-conference docket features home games with Miami Ohio and MTSU and a road date with Iowa St. They have a bit of a tough road in Big Ten play as they visit Michigan, Northwestern, Wisconsin, and Nebraska.

Potential ATS Trouble Spot – Nothing noted.

Season Win Total

Over 7.5 -145

Under 7.5 +125

MEGALOCKS says:

The number feels about right and we might take a nibble of the ‘over’ if the juice comes down to the -120 range.

MEGAmazing Tidbits

Kirk Ferentz has booked 20 (!) seasons with the Hawkeyes and is the longest current tenured head coach in the FBS.

In 1979, legendary HC Hayden Fry helped to create the Tiger Hawk, the logo seen on Iowa’s football helmets. Fry’s inspiration came from the Pittsburgh Steelers and he sought to overhaul their uniforms to make them resemble those from the STEEL CITY. Bewilder your latest SURPRISINGLY HOT BLIND DATE with that trivia nugget.


MEGALOCKS ATS Outlook: Neutral

This year’s edition of Iowa football feels like a lot of teams in the Big Ten West division. A team that can win nine or ten games, but also, a squad that can finish 7-5 if the breaks don’t go their way. Iowa has a proven track record of bagging more wins than you would expect AND the schedule is not that tough.

The Hawkeyes are a respectable 54% ATS over the past 10 seasons and it’s usually not a good idea to bet against these guys. We will take a neutral stance to start the season and reassess after they get a few games under their belt.


Want more Iowa football ?

WEBSITE

http://www.hawkeyesports.com/schedule.aspx?path=football

FORUM

https://iowa.forums.rivals.com/forums/iowa-football.26/

http://hawkeyenation.com/forum/index.php?forums/football.6/

http://iowa.247sports.com/Board/Iowa-Hawkeyes-Message-Board-Forum-143

NEWS

http://www.hawkcentral.com/football/

http://www.blackheartgoldpants.com/

http://www.thegazette.com/sports

https://www.espn.com/college-football/team/_/id/2294/iowa-hawkeyes

TWITTER

Hashtag – #Hawkeyes

Accounts to follow

https://twitter.com/HawkeyeFootball

https://twitter.com/marcmorehouse

https://twitter.com/MarkEmmert

Northwestern Wildcats 2019 College Football Preview

College Football Predictions – Northwestern Wildcats 2019 College Football Preview

2018 Recap

Record – 9-5

ATS – 7-6-1

It’s impossible to not cheer for Northwestern. Scrappy team. They win games. Beautiful campus. But, we digress. Last year the Wildcats won their first Big Ten division title in school history as they rattled off seven (!) consecutive conference games to end the regular season. They couldn’t hang with an outstanding Ohio St squad in the Big Ten Championship game BUT they did finish strong by handing Utah a rare bowl defeat in the Holiday Bowl.

Does Northwestern have the MINERALS to win another division crown?


2019 MEGALOCKS Opening Power Rating

West Division – #5

Big 10 – TBD


Northwestern Wildcats 2019 Outlook

OFFENSE

We are excited to see how things go at QB this year. We were fans of the school’s all-time leader in passing yards Clayton Thorson, but now it’s time to usher in the Hunter Johnson era. Johnson was a highly-recruited prospect at Clemson (!) and he brings a ton of potential to the QB room in Evanston. The WR group loses #1 man Flynn Nagel (68, 780 LY), but they still have some experience on hand and don’t forget that Kyric McGowan averaged 17.7 yards per reception a season ago. Isaiah Bowser did a great job at RB for the Cats and racked up 85+ rushing yards in each of Northwestern’s final six regular season games. It’s safe to say that Bowser was a yuuuge reason why the Wildcats won the division a season ago.

We have significant concern about an offensive line that returns just a pair of starters, although it’s good to know that those men are at C and LT. Northwestern somehow won nine games with a group up-front that allowed 36 (!) sacks (dead last Big Ten) and paved the way for a measly 115 YPG on the ground (um, ya. Dead last Big Ten).

Given the new-found raw talent at QB, we expect Northwestern to have a similar (or slightly increased) level of production compared to the prior year (24.2 PPG).

DEFENSE

DEVELOPING. Northwestern should be really good on defense yet again. They don’t often WOW you with amazing statistical numbers but they do what matters; stop the other team from scoring too many points. Take note, ADVANCED ANALYTICS GUY.

Northwestern allowed a mere 130 YPG on the ground last year (#4 Big Ten) and are going to be really tough vs the run again in 2019. The DL is tough and features two-time 2nd Team Big Ten DE Joe Gaziano (7.5 sacks LY) while the LB group boasts a pair of stars in Paddy Fisher (3rd Team AA) and Blake Gallagher who led the team in tackles a season ago (127) (!). The soft spot of the defense is the secondary as the Cats allowed 64% completions last year (2nd last Big Ten) and were #11 in the conference in pass efficiency defense.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Cue the CIRCUS MUSIC. Northwestern is going to attempt a FG. They also need to find a new P and the return units are MEH.

Schedule Analysis

Overall – The docket is not kind to a team that often starts slow (see below). Things get REAL in a hurry when they take on Stanford in week one. After a sure win (?) vs UNLV, their next five games are tough Big Ten appointments (Michigan St, at Wisconsin, at Nebraska, Ohio St, Iowa). If they can survive the EARLY ONSLAUGHT they should be able to finish strong.

Potential ATS Trouble Spot – UNLV (September 14)

This game pops up before a date with Michigan St and the Wildcats are just 17-25 ATS (40.5%) as home chalk.

Season Win Total

Over 6.5 +125

Under 6.5 -145

MEGALOCKS says:

If you think taking Northwestern to finish under their season win total in ANY year is a safe bet you should give up gambling. Just kidding. Not really. We lean to the over.

MEGAmazing Tidbits

The mascot is the Wildcat, a term introduced by the Chicago Tribune in 1924, after reporting on a football game where the players appeared as “a wall of purple wildcats”. Amaze your ADVENTUROUS MASSEUSE with that trivia bomb.

Northwestern was cold as ice in bowl games but are now on a legitimate HEATER winning four of their last five. A joyous sidenote to mention is that while Northwestern is tied for the longest bowl losing skid of all-time (9) they share that distinction with Notre Dame.


MEGALOCKS ATS Outlook: Neutral

Northwestern looks like one of many legitimate contenders in a competitive Big Ten West division. The defense is going to be a rock and their overall prospects will probably come down to the performance of QB Hunter Johnson and the ability to successfully navigate a very difficult first-half schedule. The Wildcats have an annoying habit of getting off to slow starts and they would be well-advised to avoid getting buried in a deep hole to start this campaign.

There’s an old saying that we like to refer to: It’s never a bad idea to get down on some SWEET ACTION when it comes to Northwestern. Last year we SHOCKED THE WORLD and recommended a season win total ‘over’ play and a small wager on them to take down the Big Ten at 60-1. They cashed the ‘over’ but fell one game short of making us billions.

Northwestern hasn’t had a losing season ATS since 2014 and they should be a decent team vs the number once again. Our primary concern is a DEEP Big Ten Conference and their poor ATS record at home (43% L10Y). Our recommendation is to focus on these guys as road underdogs as they boast a 24-9 (!) record vs the point spread over the past ten seasons. That’s 73%, yo. Go Cats!


Want more Northwestern Football ?

WEBSITE

http://www.nusports.com/?path=football

FORUM

https://northwestern.forums.rivals.com/forums/wildcat-football-board.14/

http://northwestern.247sports.com/Board/Northwestern-Wildcats-Message-Board-Forum-59466

NEWS

http://www.insidenu.com/

https://www.espn.com/college-football/team/_/id/77/northwestern-wildcats

http://bleacherreport.com/northwestern-football

http://www.hailtopurple.com/index.html

https://www.sbnation.com/college-football/teams/northwestern-wildcats

TWITTER

Hashtag – #GoCats

Accounts to follow

https://twitter.com/NUFBFamily

https://twitter.com/insidenu

Purdue Boilermakers 2019 College Football Preview

College Football Predictions –  Purdue Boilermakers 2019 College Football Preview

2018 Recap

Record – 6-7

ATS – 6-7

Quite the mixed bag, yo.

The Boilermakers provided a lot of highs and lows for their fans last year. ACT ONE. Lose the first three games by a combined 8 points. ACT TWO. Win four games in a row with the cherry on the cake being a 49-20 beating of YOUR Ohio St Buckeyes. ACT THREE. Drive people crazy with inconsistency and lose by 40,000 (estimate) to Auburn in the Music City Bowl.

The Big Ten West gets tougher by the day. Does Purdue have a shot to contend for a division crown this year?


2019 MEGALOCKS Opening Power Rating

West Division – #6

Big 10 – #11


Purdue Boilermakers 2019 Outlook

OFFENSE

The Purdue passing attack put up some fine numbers last season and were 2nd in the Big Ten in passing yards per game (308). The underappreciated David Blough moves on after throwing for over 3,700 yards and 25 TDs. Junior Elijah Sindelar moves into the starting role, and while he does have starting experience, it’s tough to expect him to be as productive as his predecessor. The RB unit is a major concern as they lose a ton of production. DJ Knox and Markell Jones were a fine 1-2 punch that combined for over 1,400 (!) yards and 13 TDs a season ago but they are both gone. Here is some great news. WR Rondale Moore is one of the most electrifying players in the Big Ten and he is just a sophomore. Moore snagged 114 (!) receptions last year which led the FBS by a LOT (Andy Isabella, UMass, 102) and he also rushed for over 200 yards and a pair of TDs in his spare time (10.1 YPC). The offensive line is a bit of a worry given that they only bring back a pair of starters and they allowed 30 sacks LY whilst paving the way for 4.4 YPC.

It feels like the Purdue offense will take a step back and average less than 30 PPG (30.5 LY).

DEFENSE

Yuck. The Boilermakers allowed 453 YPG last year and that was the 2nd worst mark in the Big Ten behind the DUMPSTER FIRE in Champaign, Illinois. Their masterpiece was probably the Music City Bowl in which they allowed 586 yards to Auburn whilst allowing 63 points. For those keeping score at home, Auburn rolled up 56 in the first half (!) and there is zero doubt that they could have approached A COOL HUNDO if they really tried. What do things look like this year?

We are optimistic that improvement is in the cards. Nine starters are back on defense and they appear to have some really nice chess pieces. The entire front-seven returns for duty including their excellent LB Markus Bailey (2nd Team Big Ten) who led the team in tackles (115) (!) whilst picking up 10 TFL a season ago. A solid LB corps adds Ben Holt who did some fine work at Western Kentucky while leading the Hilltoppers in tackles in 2018. They need to get some improvement from the secondary as they yielded 285 passing YPG (last Big Ten) and 62.3% completions (#11 Big Ten). Their fortunes will improve if they can achieve more PENETRATION this season as they only tallied 61 TFL a season ago (#11 Big Ten).

Purdue allowed 20.5 (!) PPG in 2017 and 30.0 last year. We project improvement but don’t see these guys reaching the lofty heights of the 2017 stop unit.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Rondale Moore does a bit of everything including returning punts and kickoffs. That’s a good thing, although he wasn’t explosive on returns last season. Purdue needs to work in a new P,PK combo. Overall, not great news here.

Schedule Analysis

Overall – The season starts with three tricky out-of-conference games (at Nevada, Vanderbilt, TCU) and they would do extremely well to get through those contests unscathed. The Big Ten slate is favorable as they have five home dates whilst avoiding Michigan and Ohio St.

Potential ATS Trouble Spot – Nothing significant to note at this time.

Season Win Total

Over 7 -110

Under 7 -110

MEGALOCKS says:

The number looks about right. There are areas of concern on the roster but those are offset somewhat by the manageable schedule.

MEGAmazing Tidbits

The official mascot of Purdue University is The Boilermaker Special which resembles a Victorian-era railroad locomotive.

Purdue’s last Big Ten title came back in 2000 when they shared the honor with Northwestern.


MEGALOCKS ATS Outlook: Neutral

Hmm. The defense is going to take a step forward, but the offense is almost certainly going to be less potent than last year’s version. And what about the special teams? The Big Ten West is getting very competitive and it feels like Purdue is going to have their hands full on most occasions.

HC Jeff Brohm has exceeded market expectations in his first two years in West Lafayette posting a record of 15-11 vs the Vegas number. We will give him the benefit of the doubt this season and expect the Boilermakers to get back to a bowl game whilst having ups and downs vs the point spread.


Want more Purdue football ?

WEBSITE

http://www.purduesports.com/sports/m-footbl/pur-m-footbl-body.html

FORUM

https://purdue.forums.rivals.com/forums/free-board-boilermaker-football.24/

http://purdue.247sports.com/Board/Purdue-Boilermakers-Message-Board-Forum-59450

https://purdue.forums.rivals.com/forums/knucklehead-central.22/

NEWS

http://www.hammerandrails.com/

http://www.indystar.com/sports/boilers/

http://www.jconline.com/sports/boilermakers/

https://www.espn.com/college-football/team/_/id/2509/purdue-boilermakers

TWITTER

Hashtag – #BoilerUp

Accounts to follow

https://twitter.com/BoilerFootball

Minnesota Golden Gophers 2019 College Football Preview

College Football Predictions –  Minnesota Golden Gophers 2019 College Football Preview

2018 Recap

Record – 7-6

ATS – 8-5

Row the boat, baby.

Year two of the PJ Fleck era was pretty successful as the Golden Gophers bagged seven wins and look to be building for the future.  They started out 3-0 and then went into a funk losing the next four games in a row. They finished strong by kicking Wisconsin’s teeth in and doing the same thing to Georgia Tech in the Quick Lane Bowl. Those two wins came by a combined score of 71-25 (!). We did not see that coming. It was a job well done.

Minnesota is just 5-13 in Big Ten play in two seasons under PJ Fleck. Could this be the year they start to do some damage vs conference opponents?


2019 MEGALOCKS Opening Power Rating

West Division – #2

Big 10 – #6


Minnesota Golden Gophers 2019 Outlook

OFFENSE

Minnesota looks to be in decent shape at QB with sophomore Tanner Morgan poised to take a step forward this year (58.6%, 9-6 TD to INT LY). Zack Annexstad also got some playing time as a freshman a season ago but it appears to be Morgan’s job to lose. The RB group just might be the best (!) in the Big Ten as they bring back Mohamed Ibrahim (1,160, 9 TD) who averaged a sweet 5.7 YPC last year as well as a LOT of depth. The offensive line returns three starters and a ton of size including a VIRTUAL CONTINENT at RT in Daniel Faalele (6-9 400) (!). The HITS KEEP COMING at WR with Tyler Johnson (78, 1,169, 12 TD) who is one of the most underrated receivers in college football. Fellow WR Rashod Bateman made a splash as a freshman (51, 704, 6 TD) and could be ready for even bigger things this year.

Minnesota increased their output from 22.1 PPG to 28.9 last year. We predict they get over the 30 PPG mark for the first time since 2005 (!).

DEFENSE

The Gophers were decent on defense last season (#6 Big Ten) but were a bit soft vs the run (173 YPG, #9 Big Ten) and a bit lacking in the PENETRATION department (23 sacks, #9 Big Ten). There is reason for optimism as they played an improved brand of defense down the stretch and return seven starters to the equation. They lose their top-two tacklers from a season ago but have talent at all three levels of the defense. The DL features size on the interior and 2nd Team Big Ten honoree Carter Coughlin (9.5 sacks LY) at DE. Thomas Barber and Kamal Martin lead a very good LB corps and the secondary is in decent shape with a healthy Antoine Winfield.

The potential is here to improve significantly (26.5 PPG, #8 Big Ten LY) but they need to tighten up vs the run and do a better job of creating negative plays.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Yes, guy.

The Gophers have one of the best punters in the Big Ten in Jacob Herbers (41.0 net LY) and two men that took punts to the house in 2018. Demetrius Douglas is a solid KR and the belief is that new PK Grant Ryerse will be a good one.

Schedule Analysis

Overall – It sets up very nicely for the Gophers. They avoid Ohio St and Michigan from the East division and could easily have six wins in the first eight games if they stay healthy. The final four games will be a test (Penn St, at Iowa, at Northwestern, Wisconsin).

Potential ATS Trouble Spot – at Northwestern (November 23)

This match-up follows a physical game at Iowa and comes before the big rivalry game with Wisconsin (see below).

Season Win Total

Over 7.5 -130

Under 7.5 +110

MEGALOCKS says:

Lean to the over. The talent and schedule combo is sweet.

MEGAmazing Tidbits

The Gophers played their first football game in 1882 and defeated something called Hamline University by a score of 4-0. Legend has it that even then, people were complaining on social media about the BAD BEATS they suffered on their wagering card. Poor babies.

With the exception of 1906, the Gophers and Badgers have played each other every year since 1890. Their 128 hard-fought games makes it is the most played rivalry in the FBS. All for Paul Bunyan’s Axe!


MEGALOCKS ATS Outlook: Positive

That escalated quickly.

Just when we thought the PJ Fleck experiment might take a turn for the worse, the Golden Gophers racked up eight wins with average QB play and a lot of youth on the roster. It seems to us that this team is poised to compete for the Big Ten West, as crazy as that might sound.

The Golden Gophers are 12-12-1 ATS under Fleck’s watch and they just might be able to bag another winning season vs the number (8-5 ATS last year). DEGENERATE NATION will more than likely sniff these guys out as a potential hot team but don’t let that bother you. Don’t be FADE GUY. Just keep them in mind more often than not when building your weekly wagering card.


Want more Golden Gophers football ?

WEBSITE

http://www.gophersports.com/sports/m-footbl/minn-m-footbl-body-main.html

FORUM

http://www.forums.gopherhole.com/boards/forumdisplay.php?2-7-National-Titles-Football-Forum

https://minnesota.forums.rivals.com/forums/inside-gopher-nation.8/

NEWS

http://www.thedailygopher.com/

http://bleacherreport.com/minnesota-golden-gophers-football

http://www.gopherhole.com/

http://www.startribune.com/sports/gophers/

https://www.espn.com/college-football/team/_/id/135/minnesota-golden-gophers

TWITTER   

Hashtags – #Gophers, #RTB

Accounts to follow

https://twitter.com/GopherFootball

Illinois Fighting Illini 2019 College Football Preview

College Football Predictions – Illinois Fighting Illini 2019 College Football Preview

2018 Recap

Record – 4-8

ATS – 5-7

Illinois managed to double their win total from the previous season but still finished up with a mediocre record of 4-8. Their victories did not exactly come vs a WHO’S WHO of college football (Kent St, Western Illinois, Rutgers, Minnesota) and HC Lovie Smith now has a record of 9-27 in Champaign. The Fighting Illini have not posted a winning record since 2011 (7-6).

Are better times to come this year? Pull up a chair and take a read!


2019 MEGALOCKS Opening Power Rating

West Division – #7

Big 10 – #12


Illinois Fighting Illini 2019 Outlook

OFFENSE

It’s been an absolute treat watching the QB play at Illinois over the past three years. YUCK. We are happy to say that there is finally reason for excitement at QB as highly-regarded recruit Isaiah Williams is a virtual cinch to take over the starting gig as a true freshman. You don’t want to put too much pressure on the kid, but if there’s one thing we have learned over the past decade or so, talented QBs are more than capable of doing great work in their first season. Williams will have a really good running game to rely upon. Did you know that Illinois ranked #12 in the FBS in rushing a season ago and were 2nd to Wisconsin (!) in the Big Ten? Amaze your PAROLE OFFICER with that trivia nugget. The ground attack should be just fine this year as they bring back their 1,000-yard RB Reggie Corbin (1,085, 9 TD) who averaged an amazing 8.5 yards per carry in 2018. They also have proven depth at the position. The OL looks good and they return 4/5 starters to a unit that paved the way for 243 YPG on the ground whilst allowing a respectable 27 sacks. It’s unclear if they have a true #1 option at WR but they do return a lot of experience and add transfer Trevon Sidney from USC. (UPDATE – June 21: Former Michigan QB Brandon Peters transferred to Illinois and is the favorite to win the starting QB job)

Illinois tallied 26.0 PPG last season and we project they will improve and have their best output since 2013 (29.7).

DEFENSE

It’s still unclear what we were watching last season but it sure didn’t look like “defense”. Illinois gave up almost 40 PPG, whilst allowing 245 YPG on the ground (worst in the Big Ten), 263 YPG  through the air (2nd worst Big Ten), and yielding 60+ points on three different occasions. CONGRATS “over” backers. What can we expect this year?

The Fighting Illini return 10 starters to the stop unit and as we have noted in other team previews, we tend to like the upside that a lot of experience brings to the table, even if they performed poorly during the prior season. Lovie Smith will be running the show this year and if the defense is EVER going to show improvement this HAS to be the year. AMIRITE? The DL returns almost everyone but will be without one of their best players Bobby Roundtree who led the team in sacks and TFL last season. Roundtree suffered a serious spinal injury in a swimming accident and we hope he makes a full recovery. The LB and DB units return essentially intact but will be without leading tackler LB DelShawn Phillips.

Serious improvement needs to be made. We are cautiously optimistic that they will make positive strides but they still appear to be the weakest defense in the conference. Rutgers may end up saying HOLD MY BEER. Stay tuned.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Losing their fine PK Chase McLaughlin is a tough pill to swallow (20/25 FG, 36/36 XP LY) and it will be interesting to see if promising freshman Caleb Griffin can have a good first season with the team. The punting and return units need to get better.

Schedule Analysis

Overall – The first five games are not scary at all. Akron. At Connecticut. Eastern Michigan. Nebraska. At Minnesota. If they can’t find three wins in there it seems highly unlikely they will be able to get to a bowl game.

Potential ATS Trouble Spot – Eastern Michigan (September 14)

Illinois should be able to bag a SU win but keep in mind that they are just 13-21 ATS (38%) as home chalk over the past ten seasons. Oh, and they have Big Ten play on deck (Huskers).

Season Win Total

Over 4.5 +115

Under 4.5 -135

MEGALOCKS says:

There’s no excuse to fail to win three games. Enough already. Getting to five wins? Might be a stretch. No SWEET ACTION on this market.

MEGAmazing Tidbits

Illinois has claimed three Big Ten titles since 1963, the latest coming in 2001 when HC Ron Turner and QB Kurt Kittner led the team to a record of 10-2 (7-1 conference play).

The Fighting Illini have a post-season record of 5-10 since their Rose Bowl win over Washington in 1963.


MEGALOCKS ATS Outlook: Neutral

Please. Enough is enough. Illinois football fans deserve better.

We don’t mind giving guys some time BUT this is now year FOUR of the LOVIE SMITH EXPERIENCE and it’s time to see some results. The roster is experienced and they now feature a flashy new QB who could be a really good one. The schedule is not a beast and the talent is there to make progress and a bowl appearance. It’s just hard to bank on these guys when they have been a perpetual doormat.

Illinois is 52-70 ATS (42.6%) over the past 10 seasons, and that is pretty awful considering that they are often catching a ton of points and the point spread is almost always shaded in their favor. Who is lining up to bet this team? <crickets> We can see these guys surprising some folks but can’t give them a full endorsement.


Want more Illinois football ?

WEBSITE

http://www.fightingillini.com/index.aspx?path=football

FORUM

http://www.illinoisloyalty.com/Forums/forumdisplay.php?f=4

https://247sports.com/college/illinois/Board/Football-Fan-Forum-103854/

http://www2.illiniboard.com/forum

NEWS

http://www.thechampaignroom.com/

http://www.news-gazette.com/sports/illini-sports/football

https://www.espn.com/college-football/team/_/id/356/illinois-fighting-illini

http://bleacherreport.com/illinois-fighting-illini-football

TWITTER   

Hashtag – #Illini

Accounts to follow

https://twitter.com/IlliniFootball

https://twitter.com/BobAsmussen

Rutgers Scarlet Knights 2019 College Football Preview

College Football Predictions – Rutgers Scarlet Knights 2019 College Football Preview

2018 Recap

Record – 1-11

ATS – 7-5

There’s nothing like losing 11 straight games, baby.

Rutgers started out like a HOUSE ON FIRE in week one when they destroyed Texas St. And then they promptly lost the next two games by a score of 107-17. Did we mention that one of those games was vs Kansas? Must have slipped our mind. More fun trivia! Rutgers scored more than 17 points in ONE game all year. You guessed it. That was in the season opener vs the aforementioned Bobcats.

It doesn’t seem that long ago when Greg Schiano was CHOPPING WOOD at Rutgers and leading Rutgers to several successful seasons. We know that they are in the Big Ten Conference now, but hopefully they show some signs of life this year. <grabs popcorn>


2019 MEGALOCKS Opening Power Rating

East Division – #7

Big 10 – #14


Rutgers Scarlet Knights 2019 Outlook

OFFENSE

The Scarlet Knights were a barf-inducing #128 in total offense last season (266 YPG) and only managed to score 13.5 PPG which was dead last in the FBS. That’s just not cool. Highly-touted QB prospect Artur Sitkowski had GROTESQUE stats last year (49%, 4-18 TD to INT) but maybe we can chalk it up to freshman jitters? QB McClane Carter comes over from Texas Tech (!) and maybe he can be the tonic that gets the passing game rolling?

Rutgers can feel good about their 1-2 RB combo of Raheem Blackshear and Isaih Pacheco who combined for almost 1,200 yards rushing and 6 TDs a season ago. Blackshear is also coming off a campaign in which he led the team in receptions AND receiving yards (44, 367). The OL may be a bright spot as they return three very experienced starters and have allowed fewer than 20 sacks in each of the last two seasons.

It feels like this offense still has a long way to go. There is plenty of youth in the QB,RB, and WR ranks but we need to see it before we believe it. Book another poor season on offense.

DEFENSE

We have DUELING BANJOS to document. On the one hand, there is no doubt that the Scarlet Knights displayed improved performance down the stretch. They held Penn St and Michigan St to a combined 34 points in their final two games. On the other hand, they only return five starters to a defense that allowed 31.4 PPG and tallied a mere 16 sacks a season ago. Oh ya, and five of the top seven tacklers are bye bye. Only three starters return in the front seven and they appear to lack adequate size to deal with the Big Ten grind. The secondary is the strength of the defense as it features emerging star Avery Young at CB (10 PBU LY). Keep in mind that HC Chris Ash was a former DB coach and his Scarlet Knights only allowed 55.6% completions in 2018.

Our most reasonable prediction is that Rutgers holds the fort and performs at a similar level to the prior campaign (31.4 PPG).

SPECIAL TEAMS

The kicking game is in great shape with PK Justin Davidovicz (9/11 FG LY) and P Adam Korsak (40.1 net LY). Hopefully, they can find some half-decent return men.

Schedule Analysis

Overall – Yippee. They begin with Massachusetts. Then things get real when they travel to Iowa. There is a five-game stretch in the middle of the season where they might be able to bag some wins (Maryland, at Indiana, Minnesota, Liberty, at Illinois) but the last three games are flat out NASTY (Ohio St, Michigan St, at Penn St).

Potential ATS Trouble Spot – Liberty (October 26)

This bad boy pops up between a pair of Big Ten games (Minnesota, at Illinois) and Rutgers will almost certainly be laying a bunch of points. They are not the most reliable team to be backing as a home favorite (14-20 ATS L10Y).

Season Win Total

Over 3 +105

Under 3 -125

MEGALOCKS says:

Slight lean to the ‘over’ but we aren’t crazy about DUMPSTER DIVING on low season win totals.

MEGAmazing Tidbits

Rutgers is believed to have played in the first ever intercollegiate football game back in 1869. They defeated Princeton by a score of 6-4. For this reason, Rutgers is often referred to as “the birthplace of college football.”

The Scarlet Knights made nine (!) bowl appearances in a ten year span from 2005-2014. Yup, that happened.


MEGALOCKS ATS Outlook: Neutral

Will the rebuilding process ever end? This year looks like another one in which the Scarlet Knights take it on the chin. We wouldn’t be surprised to see them go on a little bit of a HEATER mid-season when the schedule is manageable, but it’s really hard to see this team getting close to bowl eligibility.

Rutgers has posted an ATS record of 15-9 over the past two seasons despite winning a mere five games. This is just another reason why FADE GUY loses his mind most weekends. It’s not as simple as just betting against the bad teams. The Scarlet Knights have a lot of issues but please note that you will usually pay a premium to bet against them.

It’s likely we will avoid Rutgers games (again) for the most part from a wagering perspective BUT will watch to see if they show signs of improvement early in the season.


Want more Rutgers football ?

WEBSITE

http://www.scarletknights.com/sports/m-footbl/rutu-m-footbl-body.html

FORUM

https://rutgers.forums.rivals.com/forums/rutgers-football.20/

https://247sports.com/college/rutgers/Board/Rutgers-Football-102431/

NEWS

http://www.nj.com/rutgersfootball/

http://www.espn.com/college-football/team/_/id/164/rutgers-scarlet-knights

http://bleacherreport.com/rutgers-football

http://www.onthebanks.com/

http://blogs.mycentraljersey.com/rutgers/

https://www.thescarletspotlight.com/

TWITTER

Hashtag – #TheHunt

Accounts to follow

https://twitter.com/RFootball

https://twitter.com/KSargeantNJ