Bet Nebrask-Fresno State 'Under' for College Football Picks

Willie Bee

Friday, September 12, 2014 6:27 PM UTC

Friday, Sep. 12, 2014 6:27 PM UTC

Nebraska was facing a huge upset last week before pulling out a late win at home.  How will the Cornhuskers respond as college football odds favorites at Fresno State?

If I Was Bo Pelini, I'd be Keeping My resume Updated.
The often caustic and brazen head coach has his Nebraska Cornhuskers off to a 2-0 start to 2014, but Pelini's troops are coming off a close call against FCS McNeese State and the grumbling in Lincoln is growing louder.

Nebraska should up that record to 3-0 if this week's college football odds are any indication.  The Cornhuskers hit the road for the first time this year as 12 point favorites over the Fresno State Bulldogs, the 10:30 PM (ET) boot to be televised by the CBS Sports Network.  That spread has increased by two points since it started while the total sits in the 62 to 62.5 range.

It has been almost three years exactly since the two schools met on the gridiron for the first time.  That clash took place at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln where then No. 10 Nebraska needed a 21-point fourth quarter to pull off the 42-29 win.  The contest wasn't decided until a Taylor Martinez TD run with two minutes left, and Fresno State backers easily cashed their +28.5 point tickets.


'Huskers Have Tough 3-Game Stretch On Deck
Nebraska helped keep McNeese State in last week's contest with a couple of early mistakes.  First came Pelini's decision to go for it on fourth down at midfield on the opening drive, the Cowboys stuffing the run to set up a short field for their initial seven points.

McNeese State's next seven came on a 98-yard interception return, a pass that QB Tommy Armstrong Jr. should have never thrown.  Armstrong and the offense were mostly ineffective in the second half, and it took an amazing individual effort by Ameer Abdullah in the final half-minute to just get the 31-24 win in regulation after Nebraska entered the contest laying 35.5 points.

Armstrong is likely to be without one of his top receivers this week as Kenny Bell is questionable with a neck injury he suffered early in the McNeese State game.  Nebraska really shouldn't need Armstrong to throw much anyway; the Cornhuskers are ranked sixth in the country with nearly 350 yards per game running the football while Fresno State's defense is near the bottom of the list allowing 535 yards on the ground in the first two games.


Bulldogs Facing 0-3 Start To Campaign
Tim DeRuyter enjoyed his first two full seasons at Fresno State, taking the Bulldogs to bowl games and compiling 7-1 records in the Mountain West each year.  It hasn't gone so well in 2014, however, with fairly lopsided losses to Pac-12 teams to begin this campaign.

To be fair, the Bulldogs were taking on solid programs in Southern Cal and Utah on the road.  But the defensive-minded DeRuyter still has to be shaking his head at the two losses which saw the Trojans and Utes roll up a combined 1,227 yards of offense.  If the stop unit can't put up a much better effort this time, it's going to be a long night for the 'Dogs on their way to an 0-3 start to the year.

'Husker fans making the trip to Fresno are advised to bring along plenty of sunscreen.  It has been hot, hot, hot in the San Joaquin Valley the entire week, temperatures above 100º the entire time with the weatherman forecasting 104º for Saturday afternoon's high.  Kickoff will still find the thermometer in the upper-90s, a light NW breeze the only positive in the forecast.

It's easy to understand why the money has come in on Nebraska despite its close call a week ago.  But I don't trust the Cornhuskers to cover the spread at this point, and will be making my free college football pick on the final score never reaching the total.

College Football Pick: Nebraska-Fresno State Under 62 at 5 Dimes

Season: 4-5 (-1.5)

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