College football picks, schedule: Predictions against the spread, odds, top 25 games in Week 2

Week 1’s top headline was undoubtedly Colorado’s upset of TCU, a national finalist in the college Football Playoff last year in the debut of Buffaloes coach Deion Sanders. Now Sanders, his son Shedeur Sanders and Travis Hunter are all garnering national spotlight, but the tests are just underway for No. 22 Colorado. Week 2 presents CU’s home opener against a Nebraska program looking to right the ship after fumbling away its first game under coach Matt Rhule. But before Week 5 concludes, Colorado also has dates with No. 13 Oregon and No. 6 USC on the schedule. In other words, to start with a winning record, CU may need to win Saturday’s showdown.

The story of Week 2, though? That’s clearly No. 3 Alabama hosting No. 11 Texas in the culmination of a high-profile home-and-home series. Nick Saban’s squad escaped last season with a 20-19 victory, while Steve Sarkisian’s team enters this season as the near-unanimous favorites in the Big 12. Will this finally be the year the Longhorns make a national statement, or will this matchup serve as just another notch on the Crimson Tide’s belt as it attempts to return to the College Football Playoff?

Elsewhere on the slate we see No. 23 Texas A&M visiting Miami for a showdown between two of the game’s highest-paid and perhaps most-criticized coaches, No. 10 Notre Dame taking a trip to NC State seeking to continue their hot start, and No. 2 Michigan hosting UNLV in the second game of Jim Harbaugh’s early season suspension.

Be sure to stick with CBS Sports throughout the day for college football coverage from the opening kickoff onward. Let’s take a look at our expert picks for the best games in Week 2.

Odds via SportsLine consensus | All times Eastern

3:30 p.m. | CBS, Paramount+ with ShowtimeCBSSports.comCBS Sports App — The spread is rather large, and I’m not sure I want to be sweating a five-touchdown lead late in the fourth quarter of this one. Instead, I’d take the over, as it could cash a lot earlier than that. With Sherrone Moore calling plays again, Michigan’s offense should look smoother than last week, and I don’t have a lot of faith in UNLV’s ability to stop it. However, on the other side of the ball, Michigan has the talent edge defensively, but UNLV’s offense can be tough to defend. It’s a run game designed to break big runs, and it only needs one missed assignment from a defender to make it happen. Don’t be surprised if the Rebels break off a few big plays and find the end zone, even if they never threaten to win the game. Pick: Over 58 — Tom Fornelli

3:30 p.m. | ABC, fubo (Try for free) — Both offenses have been revamped under first-year coordinators after abysmal 2022 seasons, but the jury is still out on how committed the head coaches are to playing aggressive offense. Jimbo Fisher and Mario Cristobal are veteran coaches who like to control the football and lean on their defenses. They combined to score just 26 points in last season’s 17-9 Texas A&M victory, and it’s hard to see that total doubling in 2023 unless some defensive touchdowns and big special teams plays impact the action. Pick: Under 51 — David Cobb

7 p.m. | ESPN, fubo (Try for free) — I’ll start by making sure you understand that I also find it extremely weird to be taking Texas — the perennial underachiever — against Alabama. It’s as if my fingers are revolting against me as I type it, but I must ignore them because it’s truly how I feel. I believe there’s a good chance Texas will win this game outright because it’s a talented team and has the better QB in the matchup. That’s important. Still, even if Alabama does the thing it does (win), I don’t know how often the Crimson Tide can do so by more than a touchdown, so I’m taking the points with the Longhorns. Pick: Texas +7 — Tom Fornelli

Noon | ABC, fubo (Try for free) — Notre Dame’s ability to control the game at the line of scrimmage will be the difference in this matchup. NC State can use Brennan Armstrong to get hard yards, but he needs to find more explosive plays to keep up with the Fighting Irish on the scoreboard. I’m expecting the game to be competitive as NC State’s defense will provide plenty of challenges for Sam Hartman and Notre Dame’s new offense. However, losing the line of scrimmage wears a team down over the course of four quarters, and I think it’s close to a double-digit win for the Irish. Pick: Notre Dame -7.5 — Chip Patterson

Noon | Fox, fubo (Try for free) — Everything went to script during Colorado’s first game, but Nebraska’s game plan is to get teams off schedule. This will be an opportunity for QB Shedeur Sanders to prove he can work off schedule and grind out opportunities against physical opponents. Defensively, Colorado has to hold up in the middle. It will be a closer game than many expect, but the Buffs aren’t losing their home opener. Pick: Colorado -3 — Shehan Jeyarajah

Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 2, and which underdogs win outright? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread — all from a proven computer model that has returned more than $2,500 in profit over the past seven-plus seasons — and find out.

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