College Football Picks: Temple vs. Idaho

Doug Upstone

Thursday, September 26, 2013 3:58 PM GMT

Thursday, Sep. 26, 2013 3:58 PM GMT

On the college football landscape for Saturday, tucked away in Moscow (not Russia) Idaho, two teams who have a combined 0-7 record will do battle in relative obscurity.


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One team will leave the Kibbie Dome (that’s where they play) with a victory and the other will continue the search, lusting for a W.

Let’s Get to Know the Temple Offense

The Owls are technically in their third different conference in three years (MAC and Big East) and are settling into the new AAC.

Temple is 0-3, but did cover their opening game against Notre Dame under first-year coach Matt Rhule. Whatever achievement they manufactured in that contest was given back two weeks ago in losing at home to FCS Fordham 30-29, as 20.5-point college football odds favorites. The Owls defense surrendered 520 yards in that contest.

The quarterback is Conner Reilly, who is completing 54.3 percent of his pass, but for only 5.40 yards per attempt, which is why Temple is 95th in passing in the country. Reilly has only one touchdown pass this season, not a good sign for those making college football picks

The Owls running game is handled by Zaire Williams and Kenneth Harper and they are averaging a very respectable 4.8 yards a carry. Harper is also the team’s third-leading receiver with eight catches for 82 yards. 

Let’s Get to Know the Idaho Offense

When the WAC was forced out of its status as football conference, Idaho was one of two teams which did not secure conference affiliation after the dismantling. Most of the 1990’s, the Vandals were a winning football team, however, since 2000; they have been one of the worst programs in college football with 42-125 SU record.

Bobby Petrino’s brother, Paul, must have wanted badly to be a head coach and is the man in charge of Idaho.

The Vandals are 0-4 and the highlight of their season to date was covering against Northern Illinois in a 45-35 shootout, in their lone home game.

At the controls of the Idaho offense is QB Chad Chalich, who makes connections with receivers an impressive 67.3 percent of the time, but overall this is mostly dink and dunk, averaging just 215 yards a contest. Chalich’s favorite target by far is Dezmon Epps (29 receptions), who has almost 40 percent of the team’s catches. 

The running game is without distinction, averaging 2.8 yards a carry, which has to trouble college football handicappers.

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Who Knew Anyone Cared?

The sportsbooks release of the numbers on this game has those reviewing the betting odds hitting this contest much harder than expected, at least by how the numbers moved.

Temple was sent out as a 9.5-point favorite and they have since been dropped to -8, in spite of Idaho having more negative trends then Texas Sen. Ted Cruz could recite in 21 hours like he just spent on the Senate floor. 

The total has gone north, up two points to 57, which in theory suggests there is sharp action on this game at 1:00 Mountain Time on the ALT Network, because few normal bettors would not have this on their list of sports picks.

If defense wins championships, than one will win this game (in spite of itself)

In this matchup, we have two of the worst defense in the country, with Idaho 120th in total defense and Temple at 122nd, out of 126.

Because the Owls do not chuck the pigskin very effectively, if the Vandals can prevent allowing 219 yards on the ground like normal, they could cover the spread and who knows, maybe even win.

The Temple defense is 124th against the pass (326.7 yards per game) and will have to contain Epps to give them a chance to beat the spread and win the game. One would have to think the Owls defensive coaches will bring heat on Chalich, since Idaho quarterbacks have been sacked an average of 6.5 times a game.

With Idaho a decent 18-14-1 ATS as a single digit underdog, let’s consider them for our free picks.

College Football Free Pick: Idaho +8 at bet365

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