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College Football Week One Predictions and Best Bets

 

Best Bets

Texas A&M +4 over UCLA
Navy -10 over Florida Atlantic
Washington -27.5 over Rutgers
Southern Miss +10.5 over Kentucky

TIER 1 Predictions

#11Michigan vs #17 Florida – Sat, 9/2 – 3:30PM ET on ABC in Arlington, TX

Both of these teams should be good enough to challenge for a New Year’s Six Bowl this year, but I just don’t trust either of them. For Michigan, it’s the lack of experience. The Wolverines have recruited at an elite level since John Harbaugh took over, but Michigan returns the least starters starters in the country at just five. As for Florida, the Gators have taken two straight SEC East titles, but can’t seem to take the next step, not to mention they will have to deal with the suspension of star wideout Antonio Callaway. The game will be dominated by defense, and neither team has even decided on a starting quarterback, but I have more faith in Harbaugh than a Florida team that ranked in the bottom 10% in offensive efficiency last year, I’ve got Michigan 27-17.

Prediction: Michigan 27, Florida 17
ATS Pick: Michigan -4

#3Florida State vs #1Alabama – Sat, 9/2 – 8PM ET on ABC – Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta, GA

This game could determine if we get anymore of these types of games in the future. Florida State is my #3 team in the country, but I think that they will probably lose two games. Let’s say we come to an 11-2 ACC Champion Florida State vs a 12-1 Pac-12 Champion Washington. Will Washington get in because they decided to play Rutgers instead of Alabama Week One? This game has been what has kept college football fans going over the long offseason, we get to see Derwin James come back after missing most of last season, and we get to see Jalen Hurts kick off his sophomore year against one of the best defenses in the country. For our sakes, I hope 11-2 Florida State gets in so we can see games like this again. Both teams lost a lot to the draft, but both teams reloaded in recruiting as they do every year. The X Factor in this game will be how Alabama runs it’s offense under it’s third coordinator in the past year. Last year against USC, Lane Kiffin came out firing, we’ll see if Brian Daboll does the same. Florida State will have to put more pressure on Deondre Francois this year now that Dalvin Cook is a Minnesota Viking, and his first game as the true captain of the offense will come against Alabama. These are legitimately two of the three best teams in the country, it’s not a media hype-up, but over the past five years, Alabama has opened with USC, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Florida, and Nick Saban knocked down every one of those pins by an average score of 39 to 14. This game will be a lot closer, but I think the Tide will get it done, let’s just hope Florida State still gets the chance to do the same in January.

Prediction: Alabama 34, Florida State 27
ATS Pick: Alabama -7

Texas A&M @ UCLA – Sun, 9/3 – 7:30PM ET on FOX

Neither of these teams come into the season ranked by the AP, although the winner could be, these are my #27 and #29 teams. Perhaps more importantly, whichever coach loses this game will instantly jump from a hot seat to sizzling. The star of this game is UCLA QB Josh Rosen, a potential NFL talent that made headlines after controversial statements about how student-athletes shouldn’t have to take on the roles of full time-student and player, but on the field, he’s really good, and as long as he recovers from his shoulder injury, he should be right at the top of draft boards, but Texas A&M has everybody back in the secondary, and it won’t be an easy test for Rosen, the Texas A&M offense has two runningbacks that could start most places, along with arguably the best receiver in the country in Christian Kirk. This will be a shootout, and could be one of the top games of the weekend, but in the end, I see the Aggies squeezing out a win.

Prediction: Texas A&M 34, UCLA 31
ATS Pick: Texas A&M +4 (Best Bet)

 #22West Virginia vs #21Virginia Tech – Sun, 9/3 – 7:30PM ET on ABC in Landover, MD

Last year we got Penn State against Pitt, and this year, we get West Virginia-Virginia Tech, what’s next? I love seeing old rivalries back. Both teams come off solid years, but will be starting new quarterbacks for the 2017 campaign. For West Virginia, it’s Will Grier, a grad transfer from Florida who left the Gators after being suspended for the use of PED’s. Grier has a cannon for an arm, and while not a scrambler, he’s mobile in the pocket. Virginia Tech will start freshman Josh Jackson under center, who is a dual threat that’s been getting a lot of buzz since Jerod Evans left for the NFL. West Virginia returns just eight starters (the second-least in the power five) and I see Bud Foster’s defense getting past the young WVU line and putting enough pressure on Grier to force some bad throws, I’ve got VT 34-31.

Prediction: Virginia Tech 34, West Virginia 31
ATS Pick: West Virginia +4.5

#25Tennessee vsGeorgia Tech – Mon, 9/4 – 8PM ET on ESPN – Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta, GA

Last year was supposed to be Tennessee’s year. I had them as a dark horse playoff team, but thanks to a slew of injuries and a defense that didn’t quite live up to the hype, the Vols settled for a disappointing 9-4 after starting the year with five straight wins. The star players on each side of the ball are in the NFL QB Josh Dobbs and DE Derek Barnett, but the Tennessee defense should be better, and Georgia Tech will be starting a new quarterback too. Neither team has named a starter, and Georgia Tech actually listed four different potential QB’s on their depth chart. This game was a tossup for me until Georgia Tech announced Dedrick Mills, the teams top halfback, was kicked off the team. It’s always hard to predict how teams will react to the triple option, but I will take the improved Tennessee defense over a Georgia Tech offense that has a lot of question marks right now.

Prediction: Tennessee 34, Georgia Tech 27
ATS Pick: Tennessee -3

TIER 2 Predictions

#2Ohio State @ Indiana – Thu, 8/31 – 8PM ET on ESPN

The Pick: Ohio State 34, Indiana 17
ATS Pick: Indiana +21.5

Navy @ Florida Atlantic – Fri, 9/1 – 8PM ET on ESPNU

The Pick: Navy 42, Florida Atlantic 24
ATS Pick: Navy -10 (Best Bet)

Colorado State (1-0) vs Colorado – Fri, 9/1 – 8PM ET on Pac-12 Network in Denver, CO

The Pick: Colorado 34, Colorado State 31
ATS Pick: Colorado State +5.5

Wyoming @ Iowa – Sat, 9/2 – 12PM ET on Big Ten Network

The Pick: Iowa 34, Wyoming 21
ATS Pick: Iowa -11.5

Maryland @ #23Texas – Sat, 9/12 – 12PM ET on Fox Sports 1

The Pick: Texas 37, Maryland 20
ATS Pick: Maryland +18.5

NC State vs South Carolina – Sat, 9/2 – 3PM ET on ESPN in Charlotte, NC

The Pick: NC State 28, South Carolina 21
ATS Pick: NC State -5

Troy @ Boise State – Sat, 9/2 – 3:45PM ET on ESPNU

The Pick: Boise State 34, Troy 27
ATS Pick: Troy +11

Appalachian State @ #15 Georgia – Sat, 9/2 – 6:15PM ET on ESPN

The Pick: Georgia 34, Appalachian State 20
ATS Pick: Appalachian State +14.5

#6Louisville vs Purdue – Sat, 9/2 – 7:30PM ET on FOX in Indianapolis, IN

The Pick: Louisville 48, Purdue 20
ATS Pick: Louisville -24.5

BYU (1-0) vs #13LSU – Sat, 9/2 – 9:30PM ET on ESPN – Advocare Texas Kickoff in New Orleans, LA

The Pick: LSU 31, BYU 24
ATS Pick: BYU +14.5

TIER 3 Predictions

Tulsa @ #10 Oklahoma State – Thu, 8/31 – 7:30PM ET on Fox Sports One

The Pick: Oklahoma State 45, Tulsa 31
ATS Pick: Tulsa +18.5

#8Washington @ Rutgers – Fri, 9/1 – 8PM ET on Fox Sports One

The Pick: Washington 48, Rutgers 7
ATS Pick: Washington -27.5 (Best Bet)

Utah State @ #9Wisconsin – Fri, 9/1 – 9PM ET on ESPN

The Pick: Wisconsin 41, Utah State 14
ATS Pick: Utah State +27.5

Boston College @ Northern Illinois – Fri, 9/1 – 9:30PM ET on CBS Sports Network

The Pick: Boston College 31, Northern Illinois 20
ATS Pick: Boston College -3.5

Akron @ #6Penn State – Sat, 9/2 – 12PM ET on ABC

The Pick: Penn State 49, Akron 17
ATS Pick: Penn State -31

Kent State @ #5Clemson – Sat, 9/2 – 12PM ET on ESPN

The Pick: Clemson 49, Kent State 10
ATS Pick: Kent State +40

California @ North Carolina – Sat, 9/2 – 12:20PM ET on ACC Network

The Pick: North Carolina 38, California 27
ATS Pick: North Carolina -11

Youngstown State @ Pittsburgh – Sat, 9/2 – 1PM ET on ACC Network

The Pick: Pittsburgh 41, Youngstown State 21
ATS Pick: No Line

Nevada @ Northwestern – Sat, 9/2 – 3:30PM ET on Big Ten Network

The Pick: Northwestern 41, Nevada 20
ATS Pick: Nevada +23.5

Temple @ Notre Dame – Sat, 9/2 – 3:30PM ET on NBC

The Pick: Notre Dame 34, Temple 21
ATS Pick: Temple +17.5

Eastern Washington @ Texas Tech – Sat, 9/2 – 4PM ET

The Pick: Texas Tech 45, Eastern Washington 41
ATS Pick: No Line

Kentucky @ Southern Mississippi – Sat, 9/2 – 4PM ET on CBS Sports Network

The Pick: Kentucky 34, Southern Miss 31
ATS Pick: Southern Miss +10.5 (Best Bet)

Western Michigan @ #4USC – Sat, 9/2 – 5:15PM ET on Pac-12 Network

The Pick: USC 42, Western Michigan 24
ATS Pick: Western Michigan +27.5

Central Arkansas @ #20Kansas State – Sat, 9/2 – 7:10PM ET on ESPN3

The Pick: Kansas State 38, Central Arkansas 14
ATS Pick: No Line

Georgia Southern @ #12Auburn – Sat, 9/2 – 7:30PM ET on SEC Network

The Pick: Auburn 45, Georgia Southern 17
ATS Pick: Georgia Southern +34

South Alabama @ Ole Miss – Sat, 9/2 – 7:30PM ET on ESPNU

The Pick: Ole Miss 38, South Alabama 20
ATS Pick: South Alabama +24

Northern Iowa @ Iowa State – Sat, 9/2 – 8PM ET

The Pick: Iowa State 31, Northern Iowa 24
ATS Pick: No Line

Arkansas State @ Nebraska – Sat, 9/2 – 8PM ET on Big Ten Network

The Pick: Nebraska 31, Arkansas State 17
ATS Pick: Arkansas State +17

Vanderbilt @ Middle Tennessee – Sat, 9/2 – 8PM ET on CBS Sports Network

The Pick: Vanderbilt 35, Middle Tennessee 27
ATS Pick: Vanderbilt -3.5

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