THE BIG ONES
No. 21 Texas A&M Aggies at No. 9 South Carolina Gamecocks
Thursday at 6 p.m. ET, SEC Network
Both teams are starting new quarterbacks as Johnny Manziel and Connor Shaw are now playing in the NFL. The difference? Texas A&M will start Kenny Hill who is making his first start in college and South Carolina will start 5th-year senior Dylan Thompson who has 2,000 yards in his career. The more experienced QB and an O-line with 113 career starts makes me go with the Gamecocks
Pick: South Carolina
No. 16 Clemson Tigers at No. 12 Georgia Bulldogs
Saturday at 5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Clemson QB Cole Stoudt will be taking his first career snap on the road in Atlanta against an experienced Bulldogs team that could surprise some folks in the SEC. After losing their #1 Quarterback, Running Back and Wide Receiver Clemson will lack that experience that Georgia has with Todd Gurley, a Heisman contender and co. Last year Georgia lost on a botched hold on a field goal, I feel Clemson won’t be so lucky this time.
No. 14 Wisconsin Badgers vs. No. 13 LSU Tigers in Houston
Saturday at 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
Last year LSU became the first team in SEC history to have a 3,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher and two 1,000-yard receivers but all four of those players are gone. Incoming recruits Leonard Fournette and wide receiver Malachi Dupre will fill the gap at halfback and wideout respectively but questions still remain at quarterback. On the other side Wisconsin lost all-american linebacker Chris Borland but not much else. New badgers QB Tanner McEvoy will be working with the one of the best offensive lines and one of the best runningbacks in the nation. Look for the 5 1/2 point underdogs to pull out the upset late.
No. 1 Florida State Seminoles vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys in Arlington, Texas
Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, ABC
Defending champions Florida State are top-15 in the country at every position and will be favored by double digits in all 12 of their games? But could overconfidence get to them in week one and could#Arlington2Arlington end before it even starts? I doubt it, the ‘Noles return Heisman trophy winner Jameis Winston and a slew of all-ACC’ers while OK State returns 0 all-Biig 12 players. I call for the ‘Noles to make a statement on national TV.
Pick: Florida State
OTHER NOTABLE GAMES AND POSSIBLE UPSETS
Boise State Broncos vs. No. 18 Ole Miss Rebels in Atlanta
Thursday at 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
If you read my SEC preview you know I am really high, like beat Alabama high on the Rebels. The Rebels have a combined 135 starts in the trenches and I think Ole Miss can take care of business and start the road to Arlington with a “W”.
Pick: Ole Miss
Penn State Nittany Lions vs. UCF Knights in Dublin
Saturday at 8:30 a.m. ET, ESPN2
Last year the Knights shocked the world with a win in Happy Valley and I think they can do it again in Dublin against a first-year coach.
No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Navy Midshipmen in Baltimore
Saturday at noon ET, CBS Sports
This is JT Barrett’s chance to shine, after Heisman contender Braxton Miller went down with an injury. The Buckeyes will be fine… at least for now.
Pick: Ohio State
No. 7 UCLA Bruins at Virginia Cavaliers
Saturday at noon ET, ESPN
I will be in attendance as I am a diehard Wahoo fan and I am not just saying this because of that but I think Virginia can hang with the Bruins for a little while. Expect UCLA to pull away late.
West Virginia Mountaineers vs. No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide
Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
Look for Alabama to win and win BIG! The only way the Tide can lose this is if the new quarterback is not as good as advertised.
Arkansas Razorbacks at No. 6 Auburn Tigers
Saturday at 4 p.m. ET, SEC Network
8 of the last 13 games in this series have been upsets. That trend will not continue