Friday 9/6 5pm pst
Wake Forest -18 @ Rice
No doubt about it I have upgraded Rice in my power ratings going forward, however my Army number remains unchanged. For those who do not follow me on twitter, please I encourage you to do so @TheJudgeSports. For those familiar with my twitter, they know we were on Army first half last week in what I envisioned to be an offensive onslaught and a nightmare for Rice to defend. Anyone who watched that game clearly knows that is not how it played out as Army could seemingly get nothing going on offense.
After re-watching this game the other night I have to give Rice a lot of credit for their ability to handle the triple option, something I thought they would greatly struggle with. I also thought that Army would look to attack Rice through the air, as their dual threat QB threw for over 1000 yards last season, something not all that common from option teams.
However, that handicap was also way off as Army attempted just eight passes. Army never was able to get in a groove offensively which was something I greatly underestimated. Looking back at option teams over the year it was evident to me that these teams second half numbers are far better than their first half stats. This I attribute to a multitude of factors but a lot of it is boils down to continuity on the line of scrimmage and between running and quarterbacks. This Rice team will have a different animal on their hands handling Wake and their “mini air raid” style of attack. Rice will simply not be able to score enough points to keep up with Wake here and once they go one dimensional to fight back into the game Wake will have an easier time on defense as they can start to sit back. Rice ran just 44 offensive plays against Army and went 3-11 on third downs. Wake Forest may run upwards of 80 plays at the tempo they play and based on their ability to pick up big chunk plays.
These two teams met last season with Wake rolling to a 56-24 victory and that came with some let off from Wake later in the 2nd half. Wake is off a non-conference road game in which they needed a fourth quarter touchdown drive to win the game. While I typically do not like buying teams on the 2nd week of a back to back road games, this is a short price to lay with Wake and a team they will not overlook after seeing how they held Army in check last week.
The Pick: Wake Forest -18