Forget your popcorn for Florida schools’ second games of the college-affiliated football season. Get your cupcakes ready.
That’s what the early Las Vegas sportsbook lines say as the giddy excitement -- and in the case of FSU and FIU crushing disappointment -- of the opening week feast segues into dessert Saturday.
The exceptions are Florida Atlantic and Central Florida. FAU, blowout losers to Navy in Lane Kiffin’s Boca Raton head coaching debut, are expected to be the after meal munchie for Wisconsin. The Owls opened a 29.5-point underdog and early money on Wisconsin quickly moved the line to 31 or 31.5 depending on the book. Central Florida’s only a one-point favorite over Memphis despite hanging a 61-17 poiut-a-minute spanking on FIU in Butch Davis’ first game as Panthers coach.
While Arkansas State has talent and even other small Sun Belt Conference cities moan about trips to Jonesboro, Ark., the Hurricanes opened a 16-point favorite. That quickly got bet down to 14.5 or 14. The Red Wolves gave Nebraska a tough time Saturday before losing 43-36.
Florida State doesn’t have to go to another Sun Belt Conference highway exit from the modern world, Monroe, Louisiana, because Louisiana-Monroe comes to Doak Campbell Stadium. Losing quarterback Deondre Francois for the season to a torn kneecap tendon during Saturday’s loss to No. 1 Alabama dimmed bettor confidence in Florida State only slightly. After opening a 33-point favorite Sunday, the Seminoles are 31 to 31.5-point favorites.
In South Florida’s season-opening 42-22 win against San Jose State, the Bulls fell behind by 16 in the first quarter. That’s almost as much as the 16.5-point spread by which the books made them a favorite over Connecticut Saturday. Now, that’s 17.5 to 18.
The books haven’t opined on the size of the cupcakes visiting the state’s two remaining FBS teams.
Florida, after an offense-light loss to Michigan, gets players back off suspension and Northern Colorado in The Swamp. Even FIU gets a cupcake, Alcorn State-flavored, for its Saturday home opener. Bet that Panthers seniors will caution against cockiness. They’re the only ones among FIU coaches or players who remember the second of back-to-back home losses to FCS foe Bethune-Cookman in 2013 and 2014. Alcorn opened its season by beating Miles College 50-14.