Free Football Pick: Rice vs. Texas A&M
Matchup: Rice Owls vs. Texas A&M Aggies
Saturday, Aug. 31, 1 p.m. (ET)
NCAAF Betting Odds: VietBet
Pointspread: Texas A&M -27
Total Line: 66.5
The Owls were just one game over .500 last season at 7-6 straight-up, but they closed-out the 2012 season with a five-game winning streak that included a 33-14 rout of Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl as one-point underdogs. With 19 of 24 starters back in the fold from that team they have been opened as fourth-favorites to claim the Conference-USA title this season.
The offense will once again be led by quarterback Taylor McHargue. He threw for 2,209 yards and 12 touchdowns last season while adding another 667 yards and 11 scores on the ground as the team’s second leading rusher. Rice was ranked 29th in the nation in run offense with an average of 201.8 yards a game. It put up an average of 31.8 points a game, but the defense had a tendency to make things interesting by allowing an average of 30 points a game.
The big question in College Station this past week was last year’s Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel going to be suspended for this game?In somewhat of a bizarre twist, he will have to sit out the first half as part of an agreement with the NCAA over issues from signing memorabilia. Look for either Matt Joekel or freshman Kenny Hill to get the start in his place.
This game may stay a bit more competitive with him on the sidelines, but a fired-up Manziel is likely to blow it wide open once he gets his chance to play if for some reason it does remain close. Last season he quickly became known as Johnny Football for his ability to electrify the crowd with his ability to both throw and run the ball. He ended the 2012 season with 3,706 passing yards with 26 touchdown throws while running for another 1,410 yards and 21 scores. The Aggies finished the season 11-2 SU highlighted by that huge win over Alabama on the road.
The gap between these two programs remains pretty darn wide even with Manziel out of the starting lineup for the first half. In fact, the lead could be wide enough that we could see a big dose of the Aggies’ running game in the second half as they coast to a victory that covers the 27 points.
Texas A&M 48 Rice 20
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