Week One Predictions
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At last, after months of agonizing pain due to waiting....college football is back! Three games get us kicked off tomorrow night followed by an entire weekend of action-packed football excitement. Folks, without further ado, here are my picks for the games of week one...
Thursday, August 28th
#21 Texas A&M (0-0) at #9 South Carolina (0-0) - 6:00 - SEC Network - It will be interesting to see two new QBs take the spotlight here as senior Dylan Thompson takes over for South Carolina and sophomore Kenny Hill takes over for Texas A&M. The Gamecocks are extremely tough to beat at home under Steve Spurrier (current 18-game home winning streak, 77-39 overall record in nine seasons) and Williams-Brice Stadium will not be friendly to the visiting Aggies. The visitors have some good players, and will keep it close for a while, but in the end South Carolina gets off to a good start. South Carolina, 29-20.
Boise State (0-0) vs #18 Ole Miss (0-0) - 8:00 - ESPN - Atlanta, GA - The Broncos have gotten used to traveling the US playing in OOC games. And the reason for that is that nobody wants to go to Idaho to play football - as beautiful and wide open as it may be. BSU debutes a new coach in Bryan Harsin, who takes over for long-time HC Chris Petersen. Can the Broncos keep up the level of play they have become known for? I think so. But in this one, I am going with an upset special, and I am going to pick the Rebels. I saw some promise in them a year ago with WR LaquonTreadwell and a solid defense, and I think they pick up with that again this year. Ole Miss, 30-24.
Rutgers (0-0) at Washington State (0-0) - 10:00 - FOX Sports 1 - The Scarlet Knights will carry the flag of the B1G for the first time when they travel almost as far as is possible in the continental US to take on the Cougars. The storyline here is that WSU throws the ball a ton and Rutgers is known to have a bad pass defense. Couple that with the distractions of traveling this far, and I am going to go with the "home" team (Washington State's campus is in Pullman, this game is in Seattle)...Washington State, 40-28.
Friday August 29th
Colorado (0-0) at Colorado State (0-0) - FOX Sports 1 - 9:00 - Denver, CO - You hate to say it out loud, but "who really cares?" Neither of these teams has done diddly-squat in recent years to have this game mean anything nationally. But on a local level, these two programs and schools and rivals make for what is usually an entertaining game as the dislike is there. Week one is filled with great match-ups, this just happens to be one of those that you pick a winner just for the helluva it. Anyway, at some point here I need to pick a winner - so I will go with the Buffs. I used to like them when I was younger and they have cool uniforms....Colorado, 27-20.
Saturday, August 30th
Penn State (0-0) vs Central Florida (0-0) - 8:30 AM - ESPN - Dublin, Ireland - At first, I thought the idea of having a game in Ireland was pretty stupid (still kinda do). But then I found out that I will get to watch a live football game at 8:30 in the morning, and I was better with it. It would make more sense if Notre Dame was one of the two teams playing in this, but whatever. These two teams take their talents to Europe to open the season, and I guess the X's and O's are still what matters. This game is hard to pick as distractions have to be abound. Long-hour plane flights and super annoying Irish accents would have me missing home, I know that much. Penn State, 28-24.
Appalachian State (0-0) at Michigan (0-0) - 12:00 - ESPN2 - Things have changed a good bit since the Mountaineers famous win in the Big House in 2007. App State is no longer dominating their weight level, and Michigan has improved. In this one, no craziness will go down. It will be all Wolverines, all the way, as they look to permanently erase the memories of one of the lowest days in school sports history. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if UM took the chance to up the score a bit if given the chance. Michigan, 47-3.
#7 UCLA (0-0) at Virginia (0-0) - 12:00 - ESPN - This is just the kind of game the ACC does NOT need. A team from the left coast will travel 3,000 miles (for the second year in-a-row, Oregon, 59-10 in Charlottesville last year) to beat the hell out of UVA and the ACC can do nothing but sit back and watch their brethren suffer. If I am a Cavalier fan, I hope this is the first of 11-straight losses to get Mike London out of there. The guy is a nightmare HC, and if I am wrong then I am wrong, but Virginia has no hope under his guidance (18-31 so far). On the other hand, the Bruins are quite good. UCLA, 55-10.
West Virginia (0-0) vs #2 Alabama (0-0) - 3:30 - ABC regional - Atlanta, GA - One has to think that Nick Saban - the most successful coach in the college game the last decade or so, and also on a two-game losing streak - will come out with his hair on fire for this one to prove his program is still the class of college football. We all know that the talent on the Bama sideline is plenty, and in this one, they will be dialed-in and ready to start a run at a national title. I would like to see West Virginia keep it close for a while, and they may, but in the end Alabama turns it on. Alabama, 41-20.
California (0-0) at Northwestern (0-0) - 3:30 - ABC regional - Year in and year out, Cal has disappointed me in football. So it would be crazy for me to pick them to win on the road against a Northwestern program that I have come to respect over the years under Pat Fitzgerald (55-46 overall). I think this will be a typical Golden Bear type of game: play decent and lose. When it is all said and done, Northwestern will be a bit too much, and Cal will be back to their losing ways once again....Northwestern, 28-20.
Arkansas (0-0) at #6 Auburn (0-0) - 4:00 - SEC Network - Oh boy. This could get ugly. The Gus Bus is loading up and the next stop is a 40-point beat down of Arkansas. The Razorbacks have serious work to do while Auburn has the horses and the coaching to stay in the national spotlight all season. No way this is an upset. Auburn rolls big behind quarterback Nick Marshall (still not certain of how long he will sit) and a load of talented athletes around him. The Auburn defense has some learning to do, and this game is the perfect opportunity for some on-the-field, live game experience. Auburn, 52-13.
#16 Clemson (0-0) at #12 Georgia (0-0) - 5:30 - ESPN - These two long-time, nearby foes played a thriller a year ago in a close Clemson win, 38-35, in Death Valley. This time around, "Between the Hedges," I expect a similar score, and once again a home win. The knowns in this game are that UGA has an experienced, solid running game, and that Clemson has an experienced, solid run-defense. The unknowns are parts of the Georgia D and the Clemson running backs. A turnover by an inexperienced CU running back could be the difference late in this contest. I hope I am wrong (CU alum), but I have to pick the Dawgs in their house. Georgia, 30-26.
#1 Florida State (0-0) vs Oklahoma State (0-0) - 8:00 - ABC -Arlington, TX - Over the years I have grown a very strong respect for Oklahoma State and the coaching of Mike Gundy. The Cowboys are a fun team to watch, and they beat people on a very regular basis. Florida State will get all they want from the Cowboys - in unfamiliar waters being unranked - and I think this game will be closer than many think. FSU starts off sluggish and has to fight off a heavy OSU crowd to secure the win. "Famous Jameis" will come through eventually, but the 'Noles get off to a rocky start. Florida State, 38-31.
#14 Wisconsin (0-0) vs #13 LSU (0-0) - 9:00 - ESPN - Houston, TX- This might be the game of the week right here, folks! Two programs who have been consistently strong over the last 15 years meet up in what has all of the makings of an instant classic. The Badgers and their physical offensive running style will be fun to watch against the LSU defense loaded - as always - with guys who will one day play on Sundays. I look forward to winding down an action-packed first college football weekend with this dandy of a match-up late Saturday night! LSU, 25-21.
#25 Washington (0-0) at Hawaii (0-0) - 10:30 - CBS Sports Network - After coaching for years in the landlocked mountainous middle-of-nowhere Idaho landscape at Boise State, Chris Petersen takes his first Husky squad to their first game out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, 4,000 miles from the mainland. How will they fare against the Rainbow Warriors? I think they get a W. Hawaii is a fun program to keep up with, but in reality, a well-coached Pac-12 school should win this game....Washington, 30-20.
Monday, September 1st
Miami (0-0) at Louisville (0-0) - 8:00 - ESPN - The fact here is that I see more out of Louisville head man Bobby Petrino than I do out of Miami HC Al Golden. While Petrino struggles at staying out of trouble off of the field, his teams can play some serious football on the field (forget his Atlanta Falcons stint, please). Golden, meanwhile, hasn't exactly set the world on fire in three seasons in Miami (22-15 overall, 13-11 ACC). The Hurricanes have brought their recruiting back up the last couple of seasons - but it is yet to reach that elite level across the current two-deep roster. The U is not a bad program right now, but they also aren't the U of back in the day yet, either. Louisville, 28-17.
* All rankings AP, All times EST
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