College Football Week 1 Predictions

Welcome to my weekly college football predictions. Each week I will make my picks on all the top-25 games here, as well as a few extras to get to 20 picks a week. I will use 5dimes.eu’s lines since 5dimes tends to get their lines up earlier than most. This is more just to keep track of my picks, but feel free to follow along or provide your own picks or criticisms.  I will make note of any over/unders that I like as well as I go along, but will not focus on them, especially not early on in the season.

The early weeks tend to be the roughest. They are often full of huge spreads and teams I really know nothing about.

I am not an ardent gambler, nor do I bet with high volumes of money either. A lucky run playing some online poker lately has created a solid gambling bankroll that I hope can fund my whole season, and perhaps turn a nifty profit.

Enjoy!

Also, since it’s week 1, I’m limiting my “analysis” to only a couple sentences.

All lines are from 5dimes.eu. All odds are as of 8/28. My picks are colored. 

There is nothing I look forward to more in the week than waking up early to watch Chris Fowler and the gang on College Gameday

Thursday, August 30

South Carolina (-6.5) @ Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt was tremendous at home against the spread last year — going 7-0 — and this line keeps falling in favor of them. I think this game is heavily contested early on, but I think there’s too much defense for USC, and I think Marcus Lattimore finally wears down the Vandy defense enough for USC to pull away late in the game.

Friday, August 31

Boise State @ Michigan State (-7)

I’m high on Michigan State this year — I think their defense is game-changing — and I think they’ll handle Boise State easily at home, especially with all the turnover in Boise. Michigan State has little experience at QB, WR and TE — much like Boise — but the Big 10’s best defense will be enough to topple Boise at home.

San Jose State @ Stanford (-26)

Stanford lost a lot of their offense to the NFL, but I don’t see much of a reason for a significant fall off in terms of production. They will have a tremendous defense, they still have a great offensive line, and Stepfan Taylor is as good of a running back as their is. Ground and pound.

Saturday, September 1

Hawaii @ USC (-40)

Most of Norm Chow’s offensive players are young recruits with little to no experience, and the defense is losing 7 of their 2011 starters as well. USC will win this game convincingly, but I think Chow will get enough out of his young offense to keep this from being a complete bloodbath. 

Michigan @ Alabama (-14) (Neutral Field)

Alabama was a 10 point favorite just a few weeks ago, and that seemed like a solid play for them. However, as the spread has inflated, I think it has started to favor Michigan. Alabama will certainly win, but I think Michigan has enough firepower on offense to keep this one close.

Can Denard Robinson find enough open space against Alabama to keep the game within hand?

North Texas @ LSU (-43)

North Texas has played Alabama or LSU three times the past four years: twice they covered a -43 point spread, once they didn’t. 43 points is just a little too high for an LSU offense that should have no problem with a North Texas team, but still is far from being an explosive high octane offense.

Oklahoma (-31) @ UTEP

Oklahoma has owned this matchup recently, winning the last two games they’ve played by a combined 109 points. They have a chip on their shoulder and enough talent to make this a blowout. 

Arkansas St @ Oregon (-35.5)

Arkansas St had one regular season loss last year, snatched Gus Malzahn from Auburn, and return plenty of key members of last year’s successful team. Oregon easily could score 50-60 points on Arkansas St, but I think there will be enough rust and things for the Ducks to tinker with to keep this game within 5 touchdowns. 

Buffalo @ Georgia (-38)

Georgia will dominate both sides of the ball. I can’t see how a poor Bulls defense gets many stops, nor do I see how the find the endzone against an elite defense. Bloodbath.

Marshall @ West Virginia (-24.5)

Marshall had a successful 7-6 season last year and returns an incredibly young team, with only 6 seniors on the roster. West Virginia’s offense figures to be as explosive as there is in the nation, but defensively there are still some concerns. Marshall will give up a ton of points, but they have enough play makers on offense (returning most of their skill players) to score a few of their own and keep this from getting too far out of hand.

Clemson (-3.5) @ Auburn

I certainly will not be betting on this one. I really have a hard time gauging how good Clemson is and whether they just snuck up on some teams last year or were for real. That thrashing by WVU was remarkable, and I’m not sure if that will motivate them to be hungry right out of the get go, or if it’s a testament of who they really are. 

Wyoming @ Texas (-29.5)

Even with such a strong running attack, I think Teaxs’ passing game will slow them down just a little bit as there assuredly will continue to be some growing pains and early season rust. I’m not a fan of either of their quarterbacks, and I think even against a vastly inferior Wyoming team, there will be some struggles in the passing game. Wyoming has a QB in Brett Smith who can do enough in the air and on the ground to have a few good drives. 

Southern Miss @ Nebraska (-20)

Southern Miss had a great season last year lead by an explosive offense ranking in the top 20 in both points and yards per game. Nebraska is the superior team, but I think Southern Miss has enough on both sides of the ball to keep this close, especially if the Nebraska passing game continues to disappoint. This is the toughest team they’ve Southern Miss has played in a while, they haven’t lost a game by more than a touchdown in almost exactly two years (the 2010 opener at South Carolina). 

Miami (OH) @ Ohio St (-22.5)

Urban Meyer’s first game in Columbus…yeah, the team will make a statement. This is a team with a major chip on their shoulder and a lot to prove. 

How long before Urban Meyer has Ohio State competing for National Championships again?

Bowling Green @ Florida (-29)

I will be surprised if Florida allows BG to score more than 10-13 points. Florida has some major quarterback concerns, but they have enough speed on the outside to burn BG consistently. Muschamp will have his guys ready to start the season at home, and they’ll be out for blood.

Sunday, September 2

Kentucky @ Louisville (-13.5)

And Big East vs. SEC match up figures to favor the SEC, but this is the VERY rare exception. Louisville is the Big East’s best team — with solid talent on both sides of the ball — and Kentucky figures to finish dead last in the SEC without much going for them, especially on offense. I actually think this spread a bit low.

Monday, September 3

Georgia Tech @ Virginia Tech (-7.5)

Under Coach Paul Johnson, when Georgia Tech has scored 30 or more points the team has gone 22-1. That 30 point threshold might be enough to do the trick on Monday, and I don’t think they’ll get there. Georgia Tech is solid on both sides of the ball, but I think the VT defense will be prepared enough for Georgia Tech’s offensive attack to limit their success. 

Other non-top-25 games

Washington State @ BYU (-13)

Washington State has some work to do before the power of Mike Leach completely rubs off, but they’ll show a tangible improvement right away. Leach is inheriting a duo in WR Marquess Wilson and QB Jeff Tuel that should be able to run Leach’s all-out aerial assault offense relatively successfully from the get go. Defensively they are young and undersized, but I think they’ll score enough points to keep this close.

How quickly can Mike Leach turn things around at Washington State?

Miami (-2) @ Boston College 

Both rosters are very thin entering this season. Boston College is coming of their worst season in a long time, and Miami’s roster was decimated this off-season. Boston College will be without Montel Harris this season which will be a huge blow. It’s a pretty evenly-matched game between two teams that figure to have disappointing seasons, so I give the nod to the home team.

Tennessee (-3) @ North Carolina St (Neutral Field)

This is perhaps the most evenly-matched game of the week. The two teams are very similar in terms of their strengths and weaknesses. Tennessee had a really disappointing year last season, but between QB Tyler Bray and their solid defense, they should improve assuming full health. Even still, I think NCST has too much talent on offense, and especially in their secondary. They’ll eek out a victory.

Note: No line available for Murray St @ Florida St; Jacksonville St @ Arkansas; Missouri St @ Kansas St; Savannah St @ Oklahoma St; Northern Iowa @ Wisconsin

YTD Overall Record: 0-0

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