The major college football schedule officially gets underway on Thursday, and we’ll examine the game between Rutgers vs.Washington St. Read our informative NCAA football betting article pertaining to this game that uncovers a point-spread wagering value.
PAC 12 versus Big Ten Opening Game
The Washington St. Cougars will take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in Seattle Washington on Thursday night. The opening kickoff will be at 10:00 PM ET and will be televised by Fox Sports1. This will be the opening game of the 2014 season for both teams. According to NCAA football betting odds, Washington St. is a 8.0 point favorite, and the posted total is 61.0.
What they did Last Year
Washington St. went 6-6 during the 2013 regular season campaign and qualified for a bowl game. Unfortunately the Cougars lost in an absolute thriller 48-45 at the hands of Colorado St. in the New Mexico Bowl. Considering this is a program that went a combined 12-49 from 2008 through 2012, last season was a huge step in the right direction.
Rutgers will be making their debut as a member of the Big Ten conference in 2014. The Scarlet Knights also went 6-6 during the 2013 regular season and qualified for a bowl game. Rutgers was a 29-16 loser at the hands of Notre Dame in the Pinstripe Bowl that was played at historic Yankee Stadium.
The Head Coaches
Mike Leach returns for his 3rd season as head coach at Washington St. In his first 2-years at the helm the Cougars went a combined 9-16 straight up and 14-11 ATS. Leach gained the reputation as an offensive genius during his head coaching tenure at Texas Tech. The Cougars had 400 or more yards of total offense in 8 of 13-games in 2013. He will have 8 starters returning on offense as well as 6 of the defensive side of the ball.
Kyle Flood begins his 3rd season as head coach of the Rutgers Scarlet Knight. In his first 2-seasons Rutgers went 15-11 straight up and 13-13 ATS. Unlike the opposing head coach in this game, Flood developed his reputation as a successful defensive coordinator before being appointed to his current position at Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights went under the total in 9 of 13-games a season ago. Flood will have 9 returning starters on offense and 7 on defense.
The Key Returning Starters
Washington St. was the 4th best passing team in the country a season ago. However, this was a Cougars team that also turned the ball over 35-times a season ago. They figure to be dynamic again offensively with returning senior quarterback Conner Halliday who threw for over 4500 yards and 34-touchdowns in 2013, and he’ll also have the benefit of his top 8 receivers returning from a season ago.
Rutgers returns quarterback Gary Nova who seems like he’s been around forever, in addition to all 5 starting offensive linemen from a season ago, and talented running back Paul James. The addition of former Maryland head coach to the duties of offensive coordinator for Rutgers will provide a huge shot in the arm offensively.
I’m just not convinced at this early point of the season that Washington St. is a touchdown better than Rutgers. I look for this one to be a game that goes down to the wire. I like the road underdog in this spot.
College Football Pick: Rutgers +8.0 over Washington St.