Welcome back to the best season of the year. College football is finally back! I can barely contain myself- actually, I can’t contain myself at all. I hope everyone had an enjoyable summer, but now it’s time to get back to work.
First off, if you are new to my blog, welcome and thanks for reading! If you read it last year and are back for more, you rock and thank you! Every week I will preview and pick at least 6 games. I will always preview the Arkansas game, but I won’t pick it. (I am a sophomore at the University of Arkansas.) I will also recap games that I thought were interesting and will include scores of all AP top 25 teams along with other scores worth noting.
My main knowledge is in SEC football because I go to an SEC school and grew up an SEC fan, but I do my best to keep up with every conference. You will probably notice I am a MWC fan as well because I grew up in Las Vegas rooting for UNLV. This means you are probably more likely to hear about teams like UNLV and SDSU on this blog than other college football blogs.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get down to what you are really here for: the 2014 college football season.
1Florida State vs Oklahoma State (Arlington) The defending National Champion, Florida State, opens their season in Arlington against Oklahoma State. The Seminoles return a lot of players from last year’s team including Heisman winner QB Jameis Winston. I think this team will do extremely well once again. Oklahoma State is also coming off a pretty good season, but they are not returning that many players. I don’t think they will have the same explosiveness as they did a year ago. I don’t think this is going to be a very competitive game. But you never know, it’s never smart to overlook a team, so Florida State needs to be careful. I am picking Florida State by at least 2TDs.
Arkansas at 6Auburn WPS! I have been looking forward to this game since the end of last season. Not just because it is the first Razorback game of the year, but also because I am heading to Auburn and Jordan-Hare Stadium for the game. That’s right, I’m excited about driving 10+ hours to see a game almost everyone is sure Arkansas will lose. But, what if my Hogs don’t lose. I’m not going to miss a chance to see a possible upset. That upset might be a slim chance, but I’m sure I’ll have fun either way. I get to see the team that almost won the National Championship play my favorite team. As far as on the field play goes, Arkansas needs to show a lot of improvement from last season. By all accounts, QB Brandon Allen is much better than last season. The Hogs have one of the best backfields in the SEC and will hopefully be able to get it going from the start. Auburn might not have the same season they did last year but I still think they will be a very good team. This is a very important game for both teams. Arkansas doesn’t need to win to show they are better than last year (though it would be nice if they did), but Auburn needs to win and win big if they want to show they are really as good as they were last season.
21Texas A&M at 9South Carolina (Thursday) This is the first game of the SEC season and the first on the brand new SEC Network. It can’t get here soon enough. If you read my SEC predictions, you know I don’t have high expectations for Texas A&M. I think they are going to struggle without Manziel. Their defense was not good last year and I’m not sure it has gotten much better. South Carolina, on the other hand, has a proven QB and I think this team will be very good this season. I think it will be a high scoring game for South Carolina. It may be close in the first half, but I think the Gamecocks will take over in the second half and win the game fairly easily. I am picking South Carolina by 2TDs.
16Clemson at 12Georgia This game has a chance to be one of the best of the weekend. These two teams should both be very good this season. That being said, I didn’t have trouble picking my favorite. Georgia returns a lot of good players from injury this season. While they wont have record setting QB Aaron Murray this year, Hutson Mason did a good job at the end of last season and will have plenty of targets. Clemson loses two major players in QB Tajh Boyd and WR Sammy Watkins. I would be surprised if Clemson didn’t do well this season, but they wont be as good as they have been the last couple years. The Bulldogs will have the benefit of home field advantage and I think that will be the difference maker. I believe this game will be won in the 4th quarter and will be an exciting one. I am picking Georgia by a TD or less.
14Wisconsin vs 13LSU (Houston) This one is an interesting game. I’m not really sure how good LSU is. They lose QB Zach Mettenberger and haven’t named a starter yet for this season. This offense’s main focus will be on the run game. The receivers don’t have that much experience. I also expect the LSU defense to be pretty good again this season. Their defense and special teams are going to be the reason they win this game. It might be a pick six, blocked kick, or a return, but I think that will be the difference in the game. Wisconsin looks like a pretty strong team, but I don’t think they will be able to play with LSU for 4QTs. I expect it to come down to the 4th quarter and for LSU to pull ahead at the end. I am picking LSU by a TD.
Utah State at Tennessee (Sunday) This game is huge for Tennessee. I don’t think it will be a very close game, but I’m interested to see how the Vols do after having to replace both their offensive and defensive lines. Utah State is coming off a good season and will be looking to get a major upset. The odds are against them, but those are the teams who can be the most dangerous. The Aggies have to make the long trip to Knoxville and I don’t think they can beat this Tennessee team. I’m always interested in a game that pits the SEC and MWC against each other. I am picking Tennessee by at least a TD.
Miami (FL) at Louisville (Monday) This is the last game of the first week of the college football season. This ACC game will be the first for newcomer Louisville and a rematch of last year’s Russell Athletic Bowl (LOU 36-MIA 9). I don’t think it will be a blowout this time around. Louisville lose QB Teddy Bridgewater to the NFL and Head Coach Charlie Strong to Texas. Their “new” HC is Bobby Petrino (HC at LOU from ’03-’06), and he is one of the best offensive (read into “offensive” as much or as little as you like) coaches in the game. Miami was way overrated last season and I think they will be about as good as they were last year. I see this game going back and forth, but Louisville will end up with their first ACC win. I am picking Louisville by a TD or less.
Games on Saturday unless otherwise noted
West Virginia vs 2Alabama (Atlanta)
South Dakota at 3Oregon
Louisiana Tech at 4Oklahoma
5Ohio State vs Navy (Baltimore)
7UCLA at Virginia
Jacksonville State at 8Michigan State (Friday)
SMU at 10Baylor (Sunday)
UC Davis at 11Stanford
Fresno State at 15USC
Rice at 17Notre Dame
Boise State vs 18Ole Miss (Atlanta) (Thursday)
Weber State at 19Arizona State (Thursday)
SF Austin at 20Kansas State
Florida Atlantic at 22Nebraska
Liberty at 23North Carolina
South Dakota State at 24Missouri
25Washington at Hawaii
UNLV at Arizona (Friday)
Southern Miss at Mississippi State
North Texas at Texas
Katie, great job as usual. How do you think my Washington State Cougars are going to do against Rutgers? I know they will throw it 60 times at least. Playing the game in Seattle.