By Chris Carlson – The College Football season is back and all is right in (my) the world. 150 years of the greatest regular season of any team sport shows us why this game has so many rivalries established well before the NFL started to peak in popularity. With only 1 ranked vs. ranked matchup to speak of the on the schedule the games flying under the radar will be can’t miss in Week 1. Side note, Week Zero SUCKS!!!
#11 Oregon vs. #16 Auburn: This is the best matchup on paper of former powerhouse programs both looking to jump back in to the National title conversation. The Ducks have the advantage on offense especially at QB with a Heisman Trophy hopeful Justin Hubert. However, Oregon will be without the services of two wide receivers, role player senior Brenden Schooler and highly touted freshman Mycah Pittman. Although Auburn has mysteriously struggled on offense in recent years , we know they can still run the ball and play hard-nosed defense. A sloppy start turns into a very competitive game decided in the closing minutes.
The Pick: Auburn 30 Oregon 24
Under The Radar
#25 Stanford vs. Northwestern: These two schools basically mirror each other as elite level academic universities that oh by the way can mix it up with the best of them on the gridiron. Head coaches David Shaw and Pat Fitzgerald are two quality individuals that produce solid teams that usually won’t kill themselves with errors. In the first outing of the season it can be difficult to know how sharp the offenses will play. That fact alone lends itself to siding with the more experienced signal-caller in Cardinals QB K.J. Costello. In a grind-it-out style game Stanford kicks a field goal in the last 90 seconds or so to put this one on ice.
The Pick: Stanford 23 Northwestern 19
Florida State vs. Boise State: It’s strange for neither program not to be ranked among the top tier in the country. FSU has been out of the limelight for the last few years mostly because of a poor offensive line. The Broncos have been a consistent squad reaching 10+ wins over a 4-year span. My knee-jerk reaction is screaming for a Boise State victory, but something tells me replacing a stud QB/RB combo will produced mixed results. Also the Seminoles will be in front of their home crowd, a fanbase that will be raring and ready to go in late August.
The Pick: Florida State 27 Boise State 23
Saturday Upset Special
Utah State is a slight road dog at Wake Forest but look for the Utes to mess up the Demon Deacons home opener with a key win for Utah State.
Virginia Tech vs. Boston College: The Hokies are a 4.5 point favorite visiting the Eagles and should get an early ACC conference win but it won’t come easy.
Ole Miss vs. Memphis: If you like your football to be played similar to a video game then by golly this is the high-flying matchup for you. This guy is picking the over and a combined total of 70 should be attainable.
Against The Spread
Fresno State may in fact lose to USC but it will be by less than the 13.5 points the Trojans are favored.
(Honorable Mention: #19 Wisconsin on the road at South Florida will win the game but the Bulls we keep it close enough to sneak under the 13 points.)
Take it to the window Oklahoma State will beat Oregon State by 15 points all day long.
Quick Hits Recap
-Heisman Trophy Favorites: Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence, Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa, Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor, Oregon QB Justin Herbert
-Heisman Darkhorse’s: Georgia QB Jake From, Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts, Georgia RB D’Andre Swift, & Texas QB Sam Ehlinger.
-Dabo Sweeney and his Clemson Tigers attempt to defend their Championship title they won in a destructive manner over Alabama.
Under Sweeney the Tigers earned 2-National Titles both beating Alabama. In the last 3 years under Sweeney’s guidance Clemson has the most wins versus Associated Press Top-25 opponents 14-2 beating out Nick Saban at 14-3.
-Michigan Head Coach Jim Harbaugh’s seat got even hotter with a thrashing from the Wolverines bitter-rival the Buckeyes. In Michigan’s last 10 games facing a Top-10 opponent, UM is 1-9 and 2-6 against Michigan State and Ohio State. Something has to give for Harbaugh to settle the pick fork mob ready to burn his seat at the head of table.
Written by Chris Carlson Host of The College Ball Show Podcast available at blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio & Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio