Until Saturday Week 2 college football predictions: Can Colorado do it again? Will Texas win in Alabama?

Ari Wasserman, David Ubben and Mitch Sherman previewed the biggest games of Week 2 of the college football season on the Until Saturday podcast. The trio discussed the games and made picks against the spread for Alabama–Texas, Colorado–Nebraska, Notre Dame–NC State and more.

Below is an edited, abridged version of their discussion on more than 10 Week 2 games. The full episode includes discussion on Texas A&M (-4) at Miami, Ole Miss (-7) at Tulane, Utah (-7.5) at Baylor, Oregon (-6.5) at Texas Tech, Wisconsin (-6) at Washington State, Auburn (-6.5) at Cal and more.

You can listen to the full episode here.

Nebraska at Colorado (-3.5)

Wasserman: Last week, Nebraska, you know, showed some concerning things, right? I’m not sure how high you are on Jeff Sims after that performance. I’m not sure how high we are on Nebraska’s ability to win a close game and a 3.5-point spread is an indication that they think that this is going to be close. I think that line is super, super fishy.

I think there are a lot of people out there that are really, really high on Colorado after what they saw from Travis Hunter and Shedeur Sanders last week. And I think there are a lot of people who are down on Nebraska, given the way that they lost that game. And this line has not moved all week. And I think that the the inkling for a lot of people is going to be to bet into Colorado.

But I’ve got two observations here that I wanted to make. One: Colorado now has tape… so there’s something to scheme and to prepare for. Then two, I think that when we’re looking at the Nebraska defense, if their experience is on the secondary, I think they’re going to be able to prepare for what Colorado throws at them. And then offensively, I think they’re going to be able to run the ball and I think they’re going to be able to shorten the game with their possessions.

I find myself really gravitating toward the Nebraska side of this thing. And I would not be shocked that Nebraska won the game.

Ubben: I’m unsure. I think there’s just again. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that this is still an unprecedented experiment.

I’m going to lean Colorado here. I’m going to say I think Colorado gets it done just because I think it’s possible we’re still underrating Colorado. I think they can still play a little bit better. They seem to believe so. And TCU played really poorly. I think TCU did a lot of things to Colorado that Michigan did to them in the semifinals. Weird mistakes and all that stuff, but I think TCU is still a really good team. I don’t think Nebraska is a very good team. I think that’s part of this as well. So I’m not sure they’re going to score enough to keep up here. I like Colorado.

Sherman: What’s interesting in that conversation is that Nebraska is going to try to shorten this game, as you mentioned, Ari.

Nebraska was able to snap the ball just 59 times last week against Minnesota, in part because it turned it over four times and because it couldn’t sustain drives, struggled on third down in the first half, had just three first-half possessions. So it may be playing in Hunter’s hands a bit that there won’t be as many snaps in this game. He’s not going to be able to play most likely 130 snaps in the Nebraska game because it’s going to be a different tempo than what Colorado saw against TCU, where both teams were trying to push the pace. Nebraska is going to slow the pace down. There may only be 115 snaps or so total in this game or 120 snaps in this game. And actually if that happens, it works in Nebraska’s favor. But I’m with you, David. I don’t think that this week it’s going to necessarily be a huge issue for Hunter.

Wasserman: OK, Mitch, I want to ask you. What’s your thought process on Sims after one game?

Sherman: Really disappointing. He stared down his receivers. He didn’t look at all like the quarterback Jeff Sims, the Georgia Tech transfer, that the Nebraska coaches spoke about in the offseason but then you have to recognize that it’s a small sample size and he’s dealing with the receiving corps at Nebraska, and this isn’t going to change over the course of the season, that is athletically compromised. Nebraska has had massive attrition at the receiver position. It’s a group that is in transition. They have freshmen in the program who are the future of this position that have track speed, the kind of guys that Matt Rhule thrives in working at that receiver position, but they’re not ready yet.

Wasserman: So, Mitch, break down the game for me. Who do you like?

Sherman: I think we overreact to Week 1. I think we overreact to the way that the game finished for Nebraska and that over the course of 60 minutes, Nebraska did, for the most part, what Matt Rhule wanted Nebraska to do. And I think we’re overreacting to what happened in Fort Worth with Colorado. They’re a better team than people gave them credit for, than I gave them credit for, at the start of the year. But I don’t think they can execute that well week in and week out. I think some things are going to go wrong for Colorado in this game that didn’t go wrong in the first game. I think some things will probably go right in crucial situations for Nebraska that didn’t go right. And I think those 3.5 points are awfully enticing.

You mentioned that this is a fishy line and I think they’re trying to get the bets on Colorado. They’re trying to get more money on Colorado because they understand the advanced metrics that go against what the common sense tells us about how we see these two teams. The common sense tells us when you watch them that Colorado is ready to just run over Nebraska or throw the ball all over Nebraska. I don’t think the way that these two teams play, the way that they play at the line of scrimmage, some of the things that are inside the box score, I don’t think it necessarily says that. So I do like Nebraska in this game to cover the 3.5.

Notre Dame (-7.5) at NC State

Ubben: I think I’m falling into a trap, Ari.

Wasserman: And what’s that? That Notre Dame is actually good?

Ubben: I think Notre Dame is actually good.

Wasserman: I’m in the same trap.

Ubben: I think I buy Notre Dame playing really strong on the lines. I did not love what I saw from NC State in Week 1. They tore through UConn on that first drive with Brennan Armstrong, who scored, and then they just seemed like they shut it down. I don’t know. But I think Notre Dame can win this game rather convincingly because the way they play on the lines and then, of course, Sam Hartman.

Sherman: I’ve got a moment of pause just because I think NC State is a little undervalued. I think people have a hard time recognizing that they’ve been as consistent as they have the last few years, and now they’ve got Brennan Armstrong at quarterback.

But I’m with you, Dave, in believing what I see from Notre Dame these first couple of games with Hartman. I like the Irish to cover.

Wasserman: I’m going to go Notre Dame, too. I’m in the same trap.

Texas at Alabama (-7)

Wasserman: This to me is a very interesting game. I think it’s going to be a revelatory game in terms of how good is Alabama actually going to be this year in a season in which we have some doubts. And then also, too, is Texas athletically up to the challenge to play in these games and compete in these games?

Sherman: I’m excited for Quinn Ewers that he gets a chance to come back after the way that went last year and play against Alabama. That was tough the way he started that game to then go out and for Texas to still hang around. So I think he’s got to be highly motivated.

I like Bama to win. I don’t have any questions about that. Got some questions about the number. But being in Tuscaloosa, I think Alabama will outscore Texas. I could see a lot of points being on the on the board on Saturday in Tuscaloosa. I like Alabama to win and to cover.

Wasserman: I got to tell you, I watched a lot of the Alabama game for no specific reason other than losing money last week and (Jalen) Milroe might be the truth this year.

Ubben: I want to see him throw the ball when teams are limiting his legs. This is the same thing with Anthony Richardson last year. Yes, he’s a special runner, but when teams reined him in and said, ‘No, you’re not going anywhere, you got to throw the ball,’ he turned into a pumpkin pretty quick. He had a lot of really, really bad games.

Can Texas do that? They’ve got the athletes to do that. And, ultimately, it’s the same thing we’ve talked about all offseason already. I don’t believe in Alabama’s weapons, I believe in Texas’ weapons. I believe in what we saw last season. I believe in Texas getting up for this ballgame. I think that matters. I think Texas doesn’t play a lot of games that they can describe as their Super Bowl very often and this is one of them. And also, famous last words, Bryant-Denny is not that tough of a place to play. It’s just not.

So give me Texas to win outright and Texas to cover here.

Wasserman: I’m going to the game and if Texas wins, my keyboard is going to be on fire after the game.

I feel like Alabama is going to be or is better than I thought, and I am scared, but there’s no way I could possibly pick them now.

Locks of the Week

Ubben: Jake Spavital. Philip Montgomery. Hugh Freeze. Auburn-Cal over 54.5. I think these two teams will fill it up. Justin Wilcox certainly has had a defensive reputation, but Auburn scores enough to cover here, but Cal puts up some points on the board too.

Sherman: I’m going out west. Saturday night, the Coliseum. Stanford goes into USC as a 30-point underdog. That’s too much with that USC defense. Stanford is probably not great, but it did beat Hawaii in Week 1. Hawaii I think is OK this year. Certainly better than last year. USC obviously wins the game. Not going to win by 30 points.

Wasserman: I really, really, really like A&M this week. It’s a risk and I know it’s a lock, but it’s college football. I don’t know if it’s a lock of the week, but I am stepping my foot right into the bear trap.

(Photo of Dylan Edwards: Greg Nelson / Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)

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