The ebbs and flows of bowl season are in full effect, as are the effects of the transfer portal and opt-outs.
We had some luck in last week's edition of college football team totals, but new challenges await with this week's games.
While there are plenty of opt-outs on the defensive side of the ball, this week it seems like the massive names have opted-out on the offensive side from Caleb Williams to Drake Maye to Sam Hartman, and those types of names at that position are reflected in the picks below.
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North Carolina vs. West Virginia Team Total Prediction
This game is a prime example of the difference opt-outs can make, as I was headed for an over pick on the Tar Heels team total, but when you replace perhaps the second quarterback in next year's NFL draft (Drake Maye) with a guy who's got 21 snaps under his belt and also lose the teams most talented wide receiver (Tez Walker) your offense is bound to suffer.
The Mountaineer defense is nothing to write home about, but the explosiveness has been sapped from the North Carolina offense and 30 is a bridge too far for me.
Pick: North Carolina UNDER 30.5 points
SMU vs. Boston College Team Total Prediction
The Mustangs and Eagles face off in this future ACC rivalry and it would seem like SMU's defense would be a prime candidate to hold the plodding Boston College offense in check, especially with the unusual team total.
The Mustangs' defense ranks 14th in points and yards allowed per game, but I believe that's more about who they've played (shoutouts against Prairie View and Temple, for example).
While it may be fair to question his weapons, duel-threat quarterback Thomas Castellanos (2,146 yards passing, 957 yards rushing) will move the Eagles enough to get them over this number.
Pick: Boston College OVER 18.5 points
Clemson vs. Kentucky Team Total Prediction
The Tigers come in averaging 25.8 points a game, a middling number in college football and the number gets worse when you remove the 69 points against FCS Charleston Southern.
Most of Clemson's opt-outs were on the defensive side, but a big one on offense was one of their few explosive targets in wideout Beaux Collins, leaving the Tigers options very limited deep.
Clemson may win this game, but if that happens, it's likely going to be a low-scoring, ground-and-pound, defensive battle.
Pick: Clemson UNDER 25.5 points
Notre Dame vs. Oregon State Team Total Prediction
Perhaps no offense has been hit as hard as Notre Dame's when you subtract quarterback Sam Hartman, running back Audric Estime, three starting wide receivers, two starting linemen and your offensive coordinator, Marcus Freeman may not recognize his offense.
Oregon State also lost its quarterback, not to mention its head coach, but this is a ball-control-type team that will attempt to slow the game to a crawl.
Pick: Notre Dame UNDER 23.5 points
Florida State vs. Georgia Team Total Prediction
The Seminoles are down to third-stringer Brock Glenn who started the ACC Championship Game after Tate Rodemaker decided to transfer.
Glen's thrown only 25 passes, but from where I sit there's not much difference between him and Rodemaker, who threw 56 passes on the season.
Whoever quarterbacked the Seminoles this game was going to have limited weapons with Johnny Wilson, Keon Coleman, Jaheim Bell and Trey Benson all opting out.
This wasn't a championship-level defense for the Bulldogs in 2023 and now they have to get pumped up to play a bowl game after letting the potential three-peat chance slip through their fingers.
The Bulldogs will dominate on offense, but Florida State gets to this number as Georgia's motivation wanes in the final minutes.
Pick: Florida State OVER 13.5 points
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.
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