SMU @ Tulane
Spread: SMU -7
6:30 PM, ESPN
This is one of those games that I went into thinking I would be on SMU, but once I dug into it a little more, my mind was changed.
SMU O vs. Tulane D
SMU will be without two of their best weapons: WR Reggie Roberson and RB TJ McDaniel.
Tulane's biggest weakness on defense is allowing explosive pass plays and interestingly enough, SMU hasn't been great in that department this year (44th). That will only get worse without WR Reggie Roberson.
SMU will still be able to throw the ball well tonight (6th in passing success rate), but I do think Tulane's defense which ranks 6th in sack rate will be able to put pressure on Shane Buchelle.
Tulane O vs. SMU D:
This is where we see a massive mismatch: Tulane's rush offense vs. SMU's rush defense.
Currently, Tulane ranks 1st in Line Yards and Power Success and 6th in Stuff Rate. SMU's defense in those same stats: 54, 64, 55.
Tulane ranks 9th in EPA/rush, SMU's defense ranks 65th in EPA/rush.
Reminder, this is out of 76 teams, not 130 like usual.
Tulane will be able to dominate the line of scrimmage and draw out long drives. They struggled against Houston doing this, but that defense is much better than the one they'll face tonight against SMU
Pick: Tulane +7
BYU @ Houston
Spread: BYU -4
9:30 PM, ESPN
Houston O vs. BYU D:
BYU has been a wagon all season long....well until last week. They outscored their opponents by 124 points and then somehow only beat UTSA by 7 points at home.
UTSA is a bottom 25 team according to SP+ and BYU still allowed them to complete 6 passes of 20+ yards. Houston will be looking to do the same tonight with a Dana Holgorsen patent pass offense that throws the ball all over the field. BYU ranks 37th in EPA/pass and that came against weak passing competition such as Troy, Navy, and Louisiana Tech. I expect QB Clayton Tune to have a big night.
BYU O vs. Houston D:
When you think of Dana Holgorsen teams defense doesn't really come to mind, but this Houston defense is a phenomenal unit.
Houston only has one game so far this season, but they rank 3rd in defensive EPA. The most impressive part was how much they dominated Tulane's rushing attack. They held Tulane to under 1 yard in 50% of their rushes last week! This is incredibly encouraging considering BYU establishes their offense through the run (60% of their plays are run, which is the 15th most in the country). If Houston can stop that, I think they'll render Zach Wilson not as efficient as he has been all season.
Pick: Houston +4
Overall: 37-36-2,-1.25 units