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Luckett’s Locks: Riding Home Dogs in Thin Week Three

(Photo: © Rich von Biberstein | Getty Images)

(Photo: © Rich von Biberstein | Getty Images)

After a ho hum debut where we went 2-2, we are back this week in an effort to return to the winning side. WKU was unable to sneak in the backdoor while Army is turning into an absolute juggernaut that is steamrolling over any competition in their way. However, the unders cashed pretty easily and we have a new slant this week.

We are still waiting on the SEC to begin and we got recent news stating that the Big Ten and Pac-12 will be starting next month. Therefore, its a thin week thanks to this and some COVID-19 cancellations. However, there are plenty of teams getting wiggle room at home against foes that don’t have any business laying points in some spots. Let the home dogs howl.

No. 19 Louisiana at Georgia State (+16)

The Ragin’ Cajuns were the biggest story in college football last week as Billy Napier’s squad hit the road and came out the straight up victor in Ames despite being a 13-point dog at kickoff. The Cajuns were better than Matt Campbell’s preseason darling Iowa State Cyclones and they have been front page news on every major outlet in recent days.

Now they will open up the Sun Belt season on the road traveling to Atlanta to take on Shawn Elliott’s Georgia State Panthers in the artist formerly known as Turner Field with ESPN2 in the house. GSU, of course, upset Tennessee in this spot last year and Elliott has led this dormant program to two bowl appearances in his first three seasons.

The Panthers return 16 starters and the Cajuns are a little inflated after riding strong special teams to a double-digit win despite having just a 4.86-4.27 yards per play advantage. I smell a hangover and two touchdowns plus a safety is just too many points on the road. Take the home dog.

Boston College at Duke Under 52

Duke went on the road last week and put up a respectable fight in South Bend. The defense more than held their own against Notre Dame while Clemson transfer Chase Brice looked more than serviceable at quarterback and the skill position talent doesn’t appear to be flat out terrible. Now they’ll open their home slate against Boston College as a small 5.5 point favorite.

Former Ohio State defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley is set to make his debut as a head coach and the 41-year-old was one of the my favorite hires off the offseason. The Eagles have some intriguing skill talent pieces on offense, but they will be mainly riding Notre Dame transfer Phil Jurkovec at quarterback. However, Hafley with a staff that has plenty of NFL roots have quite a rebuild on its hands on defense.

Hafley is a first-time defensive head coach while Duke’s David Cutcliffe knows the defense his the strength of his football team. Add in a forecast that is calling 12mph winds throughout the afternoon and this feels like an under. Expect conservative game plans from both staffs as this under easily crosses the finish line.

Syracuse @ No. 25 Pittsburgh (-21.5)

Well, it’s officially time to start our #FadeSyracuse movement.

The Orange looked just plain pitiful in their opener on the road against a sleepwalking North Carolina while Pittsburgh handled their business against Austin Peay dropping a fiftyburger against a quality FCS opponent. We’re calling for this one to get ugly.

The Panthers are set to be one of the best ACC teams not named Clemson this season and they looked the part last week. Kenny Pickett has started 28 games at quarterback and is in his second year under respected play-caller Mark Whipple while Pitt’s defense currently ranks second in SP+’s efficiency rankings.

This one is going to get ugly. Lay all of the points.

No. 14 UCF at Georgia Tech (+7.5)

Georgia Tech was perhaps the biggest surprise of last week with their upset victory over Florida State down in Tallahassee. Geoff Collins’ crew just flat out physically whooped Florida State in their own house and currently the projected long rebuild away from the triple-option is ahead of schedule thanks to their blue-chip, true freshman quarterback.

The Jacksonville, Florida native was a long time Florida State commit before flipping to Georgia Tech following the dismissal of Willie Taggart. He looks like the future in Atlanta and things could be looking up for the Ramblin’ Wreck. Now they’ll be hosting a G5 juggernaut.

UCF is 35-4 in the last three seasons with two New Year’s Six appearances and a claimed national championship. They have been the cream of the crop and sophomore quarterback Dillon Gabriel looked like the real deal as a true freshman (59.3% completion rate, 9.2 yards per attempt, 29 touchdowns). They certainly look like the better team, but there might just be something to this Georgia Tech squad.

The Knights have struggled in this spot recently going 0-4 against the spread and 2-2 straight up as a small road favorite under Josh Heupel. Recency bias could be clouding the judgement, but I’m jumping on this bandwagon at Waffle House U. We’re taking the home team with the points at Bobby Dodd in one of the biggest games of the day.

Best Bet: Troy @ Middle Tennessee (+3.5)

We’re making the trip down I-65 just south of Nashville and stopping in Murfreesboro where the Blue Raiders call home. Rick Stockstill has been the head coach here for 15 seasons and the last time we saw this football team they were absolutely pasted by Army up in West Point.

The Blue Raiders looked just awful against the Black Knights and that took a lot of shine off a team many expected to compete in the C-USA. After a week off, the will host their old rival Troy from the Sun Belt for a 3pm local time kickoff on Big ESPN.

Troy was a bit disappointing under first year head coach Chip Lindsey last season and the Trojans are in the process of replacing stud quarterback Kaleb Barker. They should not be laying any points on the road and we’ll more than happily take that field goal and a hook.

Ride the dogs.

Article written by Adam Luckett

Twitter: @AdamLuckettKSR