College football picks, schedule: Predictions against the spread for key top 25 games in Week 2

College football picks, schedule: Predictions against the spread for key top 25 games in Week 2

With Week 1 in the books, we move on to our college football picks for Week 2, which actually features more high-profile top 25 nonconference matchups, including two of the biggest of the season in No. 12 Texas A&M at No. 1 Clemson and No. 6 LSU at No. 9 Texas. The SEC will have an opportunity to bounce back after a rough first week of the season, and the Big Ten has a couple interesting games as well with Cincinnati visiting in-state rival No. 5 Ohio State and Army travelling to No. 7 Michigan.

With action starting early in the day and continuing late into the night, let’s take a look at the biggest games on the schedule Saturday along with our predictions for what will transpire in those contests. Our CBS Sports college football experts have picked every game both straight up and against the spread, giving you ample opportunity to decide how to make your picks ahead of kickoff.

All times Eastern

Cincinnati at No. 5 Ohio State (-16.5) — Noon on ABC: Ohio State has the edge in just about every department — overall talent, quarterback, maybe even coaching and certainly home field advantage. But don’t underestimate the great equalizer that is an in-state clash. The Bearcats may not make this a game, but they’ll be close enough to cover the double-digit spread. Pick: Cincinnati (+16.5)   — Kyle Boone

Army vs. No. 7 Michigan (-23.5) — Noon on FOX: This spread might seem large, but as I wrote above, Michigan has won all 11 of its nonconference home games under Jim Harbaugh by an average of 29.3 points per game. Furthermore, the Wolverines’ defensive line coach is Shaun Nua. Nua is in his first season at Michigan, but he spent six seasons (2012-17) as the defensive line coach at Navy where he became quite familiar with how to stop an option offense. Plus, while Michigan wasn’t perfect against Middle Tennessee last week, its run defense was just fine, limiting the Blue Raiders to 2.6 yards per carry. The Wolverines should overpower Army over the course of 60 minutes. Pick: Michigan (-23.5) — Tom Fornelli

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No. 12 Texas A&M at No. 1 Clemson (-17.5) — 3:30 p.m. on ABC: We might have a situation where oddsmakers aren’t going to be able to keep up with Clemson. The issue in games like this, and others against the tougher teams on the Tigers schedule, is that opponents will be able to move the ball and score against a defense that’s still reloading and figuring things out after the loss of three first round NFL Draft pick defensive linemen and several more key veterans. Because Texas A&M should be able to move the ball and score a little, Clemson will continue to play aggressively on offense. And since Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne and Co. won’t be coming out of the game, they’ll just continue to score. I like the Tigers by three touchdowns, something like 45-23. Pick: Clemson (-17.5) — Chip Patterson

No. 6 LSU at No. 9 Texas (+6.5) — 7:30 p.m. on ABC: By now you probably know that Tom Herman is outstanding against the spread as a dog: 13-2-1 overall with 10 outright wins. He’s also 2-0 vs. the SEC at Texas, for what it’s worth. The line has been fluctuating between five and six points at most books, but if you give me the Horns as near touchdown dogs, at home, I’m going to take the points. A moneyline pick wouldn’t be a bad idea either. Pick: Texas (+6.5) — Ben Kercheval

No. 23 Stanford at USC (-2.5) — 10:30 p.m. on ESPN: Even though K.J. Costello’s injury is every bit as big for Stanford as JT Daniels’ is for USC, the Trojans seem to have an answer with Kedon Slovis. Nothing’s a sure thing with Clay Helton’s Trojans, but that offense is awfully hard to stop when it starts clicking. Pick: USC -2.5 — Ben Kercheval

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