It’s finally back! College football begins this week! The season kicks off on Thursday with South Carolina and North Carolina as well as 17 more games. Though there aren’t too many big games this weekend, some have big implications.
1Ohio State at Virginia Tech (Monday) This shouldn’t be an upset, but it was last season. The defending National Champions kick off their season Monday night in Blacksburg, Virginia. One of the biggest questions this offseason has surrounded the QB position at Ohio State. Braxton Miller decided to switch to WR, leaving JT Barrett and Cardale Jones. Both have the potential to be 1st round draft picks. The Buckeyes were the unanimous #1 team in the AP preseason poll and many will be looking to see if they can live up to the hype. Virginia Tech is looking to upset OSU for the second straight season. I would be surprised if they kept it close. I am picking Ohio State.
20Wisconsin vs 3Alabama (Arlington) This is the only matchup of two top 25 teams this weekend. I think this game will look a lot like last years WVU Alabama game. It might be a little closer, but I believe Bama will come out on top. It will be very interesting to see how good this Alabama team is. They are inexperience at the QB position and lost WR Amari Cooper. They do get RB Kenyon Barner back from injury. Wisconsin finished last season with a big win over Auburn in the Outback Bowl, and will try to get another win over an SEC West team in their opener. I think this will be a close game. I am picking Alabama.
Louisville vs 6Auburn (Atlanta) Louisville always has the potential to upset other teams because of their offense. They can score a lot of points fast. Auburn brought in former Florida HC Will Muschamp to be their defensive coordinator. The Tigers should see some immediate success from this hire. The defense will get a good test against the Bobby Petrino offense of Louisville. It will also be interesting to see how Auburn’s offense will do this season after losing Cameron Artis-Payne and Nick Marshall. This game has the possibility of being a shootout. I am picking Auburn.
Texas at 11Notre Dame In my perfect world, both teams would lose this game. But that can’t happen, so I guess I should put aside my feelings for these two teams. Texas had a great defense last season but had a very tough time on offense. Notre Dame had a hard time stopping anyone last season, allowing their opponents to score at least 31 points in their last 7 regular season games (and 28 points to LSU in the bowl game. This game will tell us if Notre Dame is overrated at 11. It will also be a good test for the Longhorns. Was Texas able to find some offense in the offseason? Was Notre Dame able to find some defense? This game will tell. I am picking Notre Dame.
15Arizona State vs Texas A&M (Houston) This game was difficult for me to pick. Both of these teams are known for their scoring ability. Texas A&M has not had the best defense in the past couple of years, but they have a new DC this year. John Chavis came over from LSU to help A&M with their defensive struggles. I think this game will come down to the team who has the better defense at the end of the game. Both teams are going to score a lot of points, so a key stop in the 4th quarter might be the difference in the score. It will also be interesting to see how a highly ranked ASU team does against one of the “bottom” teams in the SEC West. This should be a good game. I am picking Texas A&M.
UTEP at 18Arkansas After a strong finish to last season, Arkansas is ranked in the top 25 for the first time since losing to ULM in 2012. The Hogs have made a name for themselves by running the ball and then running it some more. They were looking to return two 1,000 yard backs, but senior Jonathan Williams broke his foot in a scrimmage a couple weeks ago, ending his season. Kody Walker and Raleigh Williams will have to step up in his absence along with Alex Collins. Arkansas had some trouble with depth at the WR spot last year but look to get better with players like JUCO transfer Dominque Reed. The Hogs have a new OC in former Central Michigan HC Dan Enos who looks to energize the offense. The Razorbacks lost some key playmakers on defense and that might be the biggest question headed into the season. Everyone knows that the Hogs are big and strong, but we are all waiting to find out if that is going to translate to another good year for the Razorbacks. Fans here in Fayetteville cannot wait for the season to start.
Washington at 23Boise State (Friday) The Broncos are favored by 12 points in this game, meaning the people in Vegas thing Boise State is going to have a really good year or that Washington is going to be down this season. It’s probably a little bit of both. The Huskies are a relatively young team with only 9 returning starters while Boise State returns 17. This should be a good win for the Broncos and might be one of their toughest games of the season. These two will meet on the Smurf Turf on Friday night and BSU should come ready to play or they could get upset in their first game. I am picking Boise State.
2TCU at Minnesota (Thursday)
4Baylor at SMU (Friday)
5Michigan State at Western Michigan (Friday)
Eastern Washington at 7Oregon
Arkansas State at 8USC
ULM at 9Georgia
Texas State at 10Florida State
Wofford at 12Clemson
Virginia at 13UCLA
McNeese State at 14LSU
Alcorn State at 16Georgia Tech (Thursday)
UT-Martin at 17Ole Miss
Akron at 19Oklahoma
21Stanford at Northwestern
UTSA at 22Arizona (Thursday)
SE Missouri State at 24Missouri
Bowling Green vs 25Tennessee (Nashville)
North Carolina at South Carolina (Thursday)
Western Kentucky at Vanderbilt (Thursday)
Michigan at Utah (Thursday)
UNLV at Northern Illinois
BYU at Nebraska
Louisiana-Lafayette at Kentucky