Pete Ruden

Pete Ruden, Action Network College Football Editor

South Dakota State +15.5

The Jackrabbits enter 2022 ranked No. 2 in FCS after two deep runs in the FCS Playoffs that included a heartbreaking loss in the national title game in 2020. 

Remember when Iowa beat Colorado State, 24-10, last year? SDUS beat those same Rams, 42-23. The point is, this Jackrabbit team is better than many programs at the bottom of the FBS barrel. 

I’m not concerned about Iowa’s defense here. I’m concerned about Spencer Petras facing an SDSU secondary that led FCS with 21 interceptions last season. Petras has recorded 20 big-time throws and 16 turnover-worthy plays over the last two seasons, per PFF. Plus, Iowa’s receiver depth is already a concern.

Add in the fact that Iowa might keep things relatively vanilla on offense with a rivalry game on deck, and it makes sense to take the points with the Jackrabbits.

Under 44.5

Iowa is essentially every under bettor’s dream. 

The Hawkeyes ranked 18th nationally in Defensive Success Rate last season, meaning opposing offenses couldn’t stay on schedule on first through third down. Plus, we all know how easily Iowa’s secondary can keep quarterbacks from getting into a rhythm.

On the other side, Iowa’s offense finished 118th in Success Rate and 121st in Finishing Drives, which means it failed to score touchdowns when it crossed the opponent’s 40-yard line, often settling for field goals or no points at all.

South Dakota State, meanwhile, lost first-team FCS All-American running back Pierre Strong to the NFL, as well as quarterback Chris Oladokun. It won’t be an easy transition for the Jackrabbits as others look to step up in their place.

And again, Iowa may also keep its game script pretty bland to keep things off film ahead of the Cy-Hawk game. 

I’d feel comfortable taking this under down to the key number of 42.

Lock of the Week: Texas State +5.5 vs. Nevada

One could infer that Nevada would be bad this season after it returned only 10% of production on offense and 17% on defense, per Action Network’s TARP ratings. But man, the Wolf Pack might be one of the worst teams in all of college football.

Nevada’s quarterbacks combined for just 78 yards on 14-of-23 passing in a 23-12 victory over New Mexico State — which was already one of the worst teams in the nation. It also needed five Aggie turnovers and some turnover luck on offense to secure the victory. 

Meanwhile, Texas State returns 90% of its offensive production and brings in Arkansas State transfer Layne Hatcher to lead the offense under center. 

I’m all in on fading Nevada in Week 1. I snagged this line at +5.5 when it opened shortly after the Wolf Pack’s opening win, but it’s been bet down to +1 at most books since then. While I would prefer having at least a field goal of cushion, I don’t hate the idea of taking Texas State on the moneyline. Go Bobs!