The college football season starts this week and I've spent many hours analyzing all 120 Division 1A college teams to get ready for another profitable season of analysis at drbobsports.com. I only posted a few times last season (with good success on the games I chose to post), but I plan on posting analysis more regularly this season.
There is one game on Friday night and it's a game where I have a side that I like. This game is not one of my 3 Best Bets this week but it is a Strong Opinion, which are games that I considered playing. Below is an analysis of one of the games tonight. I have analysis 31 games in the Free Analysis section of my website.
Arizona (-16) 40 TOLEDO 20
Arizona only has a game with The Citadel coming up next week so the Wildcats will have all of their focus on this game, which should translate into an easy win. The Wildcats were just slightly better than average offensively last season (5.4 yards per play against teams that would allow 5.1 yppl to an average team), but quarterback Nick Foles, most of his receivers, and all the running backs are back and I expect the Wildcats to be more explosive offensively this season. Scoring on a bad Toledo defense should be no problem, as I expect the Rockets to be nearly as bad defensively as last year's team was (5.9 yppl allowed to teams that would average just 4.9 yppl against an average defensive unit). Arizona averaged 41 points last season against the 3 worst defensive teams that they faced (Washington, Stanford, and Washington State), who collectively were 0.3 yppl better than what I project Toledo's defense to be this season.
The Rockets will have a tough time keeping up against what appears to be another good Arizona defense. The Wildcats only return 4 defensive starters from last year's good unit (5.2 yppl allowed to teams that would average 5.7 yppl against an average team), but Arizona's defense has been at least 0.5 yppl better than average in 4 consecutive seasons (and 5 of the last 6) - including the 2008 season when they had just 3 returning starters. Last season's two best defenders, DE Ricky Elmore (10.5 sacks, 2nd team All Pac 10) and 1st team All Pac 10 CB Trevin Wade, both return and I don't expect the loss of coordinator Mark Stoops (now the DC at Florida State) to hurt too much. Toledo has a pretty good offense by MAC standards, but quarterback Austin Dantin wasn't nearly as good as this numbers appeared after taking over for injured veteran Aaron Opelt at mid season last year (Dantin's 6.8 yards per pass play came against teams that would allow 7.0 yppp to an average quarterback). The Rockets should move the ball at a decent rate at home, but it will be tough for them to keep up with what their defense allows.
My ratings favor Arizona by 20 1/2 points and the Wildcats also apply to a 27-5 ATS week 1 angle that plays on big road favorites. My only concern is Toledo's strong home field advantage (41-19 ATS all time at home when not favored by 28 points or more). I'll consider Arizona a Strong Opinion at -16 or less.