Neal's Picks, presented by The College Corner, Week 2
NEAL'S PICKS PALATIAL HEADQUARTERS -- We at Neal's Picks entered this season, one in which we are the defending champion, with a strong scouting report on the competition.
We knew Parham, for example, was reeling from the loss of a college baseball season. We knew he'd thrown himself into golf as an escape. We knew this latest Saints playoffs collapse was painful, so painful that he'd walked away from the game for a bit. He was, per our sources, checked out on football for a while.
Berry was too busy trolling message boards to focus on preparing for a season of predicting football games. Berry, an aspiring political expert, was spending more time on Biden vs. Trump than he was Oklahoma vs. Texas.
That left Wright. The sense inside the Palace was Wright would be distracted by marriage. His recent nuptials, we believed, would prevent him from focusing on betting lines. We believed he'd be so busy trying to impress his new wife that he'd lose track of AAC and Sun Belt teams.
We were wrong. We don't know what happened, if we're honest. Did things already get stale? Did Wright neglect his new bride as a result of his affection for Baker Mayfield? Maybe.
Or did we at Neal's Picks underestimate Aleia Segars Wright? Is it possible that Mr. Wright married Mrs. Wright for her football acumen?
Frankly, we think so. So here we are, one week into this season, getting to know a new enemy. Jeffrey's name might be on the picks, but we know the beauty and the brains behind them. This is information we'll take into account as we move forward. We can't complain, either. All is fair, after all, in love, war and Neal's Picks.
On to the picks...
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Neal McCready: 5-2 overall, 4-3 ATS
Chase Parham: 4-3 overall, 4-3 ATS
Jeffrey Wright: 5-2 overall, 5-2 ATS
Zach Berry: 5-2 overall, 2-5 ATS
Liberty (+13) at Western Kentucky, 11 a.m. ESPNU
Neal McCready: As a token of congratulations to Mr. Wright for his Week 1 win, I included a Liberty game. You're welcome, Jeffrey. My back hurts and I'm suddenly craving sweet and sour chicken, Mongolian beef, Moo Goo Gai Pan and some steamed dumplings. Oh, and some sake. Lots of sake. With a splash of lemonade, in a solo cup, of course. Neal's Pick: Western Kentucky 37, Liberty 21
Chase Parham: I'm surrounded by so many jokes that I can't even think straight. I'll just take the points and move on. Parham's Pick: WKU 31, Liberty 23
Jeffrey Wright: One team has already played a game, and the other has a head coach that has spent his summer searching his name on Twitter and DM’ing the #Haters. I’ll bet on the team that has on-field time. Wright’s pick: Western Kentucky 34, Liberty 17
Zach Berry: T-Pig and Co. will take this one, but I expect everyone's favorite coward to back door this one like an after hours call at a nail salon in Tampa. Zach's Pick: WKU 34, Liberty 24
Houston (+6) at Baylor, 11 a.m., FOX
Neal McCready: Dave Aranda is a good-looking man. I don't care what anyone says. Neal's Pick: Baylor 30, Houston 20
Chase Parham: The flexibility with interconference games is pretty cool to see here and kind of spits in the face of the rigidity that's currently in place with football schedules. That Ole Miss-Baylor game would have been fun. Parham's Pick: Baylor 40, Houston 31
Jeffrey Wright: I don’t know how anyone could have an opinion on this game. Houston has almost an entirely new roster and spent the past weeks preparing to play Memphis while Baylor has an entirely new staff with a new scheme. Wright’s pick: Baylor 30, Houston 27
Zach Berry: The long-anticipated Dave Aranda debut is here. And on the shores of the Brazos River I expect he and the Bears to take this one handily. Zach's Pick: Baylor 36, Houston 26
UCF (-7) at Georgia Tech, 2:30 p.m., ABC
Neal McCready: I thoroughly enjoyed Florida State's Week 1 loss. It just felt right. I have a suspicion Georgia Tech can't replicate the emotion it showed in Tallahassee. Neal's Pick: UCF 31, Georgia Tech 21
Chase Parham: Georgia Tech still looks funny not running the option, and while it won't be as sky high for UCF, the week two improvements will be noticeable -- even more so in a year like this. Parham's Pick: Tech 27, UCF 24
Jeffrey Wright: I love Georgia Tech here. They’re getting points, they’ve already played a game, and I was impressed by Justin Sims despite his throwing two of the worst interceptions that I’ve ever seen. FSU has a better defense than UCF, and the Jackets moved the ball. Wright’s pick: UCF 27, Georgia Tech 21
Zach Berry: I expect Geoff Collins and the Waffle House crew to come back down to Earth this week. Dillon Gabriel will pick up where he left off In 2019, but it's week one for the Knights so the Jackets keep it interesting. Zach's Pick: UCF 30, Georgia Tech 24
Louisiana Tech (+4.5) at Southern Mississippi, 6:30 p.m., ESPN2
Neal McCready: I have a soft spot for the hometown Bulldogs. I can still hum the fight song all these years later. Neal's Pick: Louisiana Tech 27, Southern Miss 23
Chase Parham: Southern Miss looked awful against South Alabama. I don't think Jay Hopson's resignation is a huge deal because of the time of year and the staff still in place, but I can't escape the optics of that opener. I know nothing about La Tech, but that's better than what I saw on the other side. Parham's Pick: La Tech 24, USM 21
Jeffrey Wright: I’m going to bet against the team that let South Alabama throw it all over them and has already fired its coach during a pandemic year. Wright’s pick: Louisiana Tech 24, Southern Miss 21
Zach Berry: I like the combination of Jack Abraham and Frank Gore, Jr., but I like the Bulldogs here to keep it close. Zach's Pick: SMTTT 32, Louisiana Tech 28
Wake Forest (+2.5) at North Carolina State, 7 p.m., ACC Network
Neal McCready: I'm the one who picks games and hell, I'm wondering why I picked this one. I guess I wanted to make a Dave Doeren comment. Neal's Pick: North Carolina State 27, Wake Forest 23
Chase Parham: We mapped out a path on the podcast this week for Dave Doeren to have been the Ole Miss coach a year earlier than it already happened. Butterfly flapping wings and all, Doeren, Ross Bjork and Matt Luke will always be sort of linked. Parham's Pick: Wake Forest 17, NC State 14
Jeffrey Wright: Again, I’ll just stay consistent and take the team that has already played a game as I think that fact has value. However, I’m completely prepared not to win this bet. Wright’s pick: Wake Forest 28, NC State 24
Zach Berry: Let the Claw cook. Zach's Pick: Wake Forest 30, NC State 28
New York Giants (+5.5) at Chicago Bears, Noon, CBS
Neal McCready: The Giants' offensive line versus the Bears' front-7. I don't care about quarterbacks. Neal's Pick: Bears 23, Giants 13
Chase Parham: It's a week one overreaction because I don't believe in the Bears despite that opener, but I see no way the Giants look competent this season. Parham's Pick: Bears 20, Giants 13
Jeffrey Wright: If you’re going to keep giving the Giants single-digit points, I’m going to keep laying them, especially when I think about the unspeakable things that the Bears’ defensive line is going to do to the Giants’ offensive line. Wright’s pick: Bears 27, Giants 17
Zach Berry: Can't decide if the Giants are just that bad or Mitch Trubisky is that serviceable now. Zach's Pick: Bears 22, Giants 16
Los Angeles Rams (+2) at Philadelphia Eagles, Noon, FOX
Neal McCready: The Rams typically don't do so well when they have to go east, but the Eagles didn't look all that good in Week 1. Neal's Pick: Eagles 24, Rams 20
Chase Parham: Brotherly love must really be a thing because I should hate the Rams with every fiber of my being, but I still pull for them in non-Saints games. It's a problem. Parham's Pick: Rams 27, Eagles 20
Jeffrey Wright: Was I the only person that watched these two teams play last week?!? The Eagles’ offensive line is terrible considering how banged up they are, and the Rams continue to be undervalued. Wright’s pick: Rams 24, Eagles 20
Zach Berry: This one should be fun. Despite an opening week win, I'm leaning Carson Wentz and Philly here. Zach's Pick: Eagles 27, Rams 23
New England Patriots (+4.5) at Seattle Seahawks, 7:20 p.m., NBC
Neal McCready: This is a matchup of two of the best football coaches in history. The Patriots are willing to slug it out and Seattle is willing to get nasty too. Damn, this should be a fun game. Neal's Pick: Seahawks 20, Patriots 17
Chase Parham: The lack of a Saints game in Picks is exhilarating. I legitimately sighed out loud when I saw the end of the picks. Parham's Pick: Seahawks 34, Pats 28
Jeffrey Wright: I’m buying all of the #LetRussCook stock that I can, and I think they will score points fairly easily this year. Also, I need to see the Patriots beat someone other than the Dolphins before I trust them against a known entity like the Seahawks. Wright’s pick: Seahawks 24, Patriots 17
Zach Berry: Cam Newton is going to be fun in Foxboro, but I like the more explosive offense this early in the season. Zach's Pick: Seahawks 25, Patriots 20