Buffalo vs. Minnesota Total Pick
According to oddsmakers at Bovada.lv, Minnesota is the clear favorite for this game, as the Gophers are getting odds of -25 points against the Bulls. The over/under total for the contest has been set at 50 points. These two haven’t met since the 2002 season, a 41-17 win for Minnesota.
The Gophers had a big offseason, parting ways with Tracy Claeys while hiring Fleck from Western Michigan. Fleck was the hottest name in young coaches. He was coming off a 13-1 record in 2016, including an appearance in the Cotton Bowl. Minnesota was 9-4 last season overall and 7-6 with the under. The Gophers put up 29.3 points per game while allowing 22.1 per contest. This season, Fleck is going with two starting quarterbacks. Demry Croft and Conor Rhoda are each going to see action. Croft is a redshirt sophomore while Rhoda is a redshirt senior. Rhoda saw limited action last season, throwing for 88 yards and a touchdown. Minnesota will have its two leading rushers back in Rodney Smith and Shannon Brooks. The two combined for 1,808 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2016.
Buffalo is coming off another poor season in 2016, going just 2-10 overall. The Bulls put up a 9-3 mark with the under in 2016, as the offense averaged just 16.5 points per game. Defensively, Buffalo gave up 32.3 points per game. Buffalo used a freshman at QB last season in Tyree Jackson, as he threw for 1,772 yards with nine touchdowns and nine interceptions. He also rushed for 399 yards and five scores. Jackson is back for his sophomore year to lead the offense. Jackson has an uphill battle, as he loses his leading rusher and three top receivers from 2016.
This game could be ugly. Minnesota is working in a new system and is going to give two quarterbacks the opportunity to play. That usually doesn’t lead to a lot of offensive chemistry. Buffalo was a mess offensively and I don’t think that will get any better in this opener. The Bulls have to establish a lot of new skill-position players and Jackson hasn’t established that he’s a legit college quarterback. I can see the Minnesota defense having a field day with him and possibly pitching a shutout. I also don’t see the Gophers having a great offensive outburst with all the changes. Buffalo has hit the under in 6 of its last 7 non-conference games and Minnesota has done so in 4 of its last 5 non-conference contests. Look for more of the same on Thursday.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREDICTION: BUFFALO/MINNESOTA UNDER 50