Week 1 Picks and Analysis
The first week of the college football season is filled with a few key match-ups, but mostly a bunch of big name schools taking directional schools out to the woodshed. Unfortunately, thanks to the BCS system, there isn’t much motivation for the elite programs to challenge other elite programs early in the season. However, opening weekend is still a time to rejoice. Now let’s take a look at the top college football games in week 1.
North Carolina at South Carolina (Thursday August 30)
After all these years, Steve Spurrier’s still got it. South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney is one of the few collegiate defensive players people tune into a game specifically to see. He’s a game changer that North Carolina’s offensive line won’t be able to handle. South Carolina has question marks on offense and if Connor Shaw doesn’t become a more consistent quarterback, they might lose 3-4 games. But they’ll dominate UNC.
Penn State vs Syracuse
Bill O’Brien did a marvelous job in year one at Penn State. But can he keep his team motivated for a second season, knowing they’re really playing for nothing other than pride? I’m not so sure about that. Syracuse is a formidable opponent and will give Penn State more than they expect. I look for a slight upset here by Syracuse.
Mississippi State vs Oklahoma State
Here’s one of the best games of the week. Oklahoma State is my pick to win the Big-12, but I don’t think they’ll even factor into the national title chase. Mississippi State is no better than 5th in the SEC, but they are as good as the Big-12 favorites. I’ll take the Cowpokes by a touchdown here because they have more offensive firepower.
Alabama vs Virginia Tech (GAME OF THE WEEK)
This is clearly the game of the week. The 2-time defending national champs take on Frank Beamer’s Hokies. How many times in recent years has an SEC team lost a big game out of conference? It seems like zero. AJ McCarron is a steady quarterback and Bama has too much athleticism for the Hokies to hang with them. Plus, the game is in Atlanta. Alabama doesn’t lose in Atlanta unless they’re facing Utah…
LSU vs TCU
Another big SEC vs. Big-12 match-up. The game is played in Texas, but LSU will still have a home field advantage. LSU is too good defensively to lose this game. But don’t expect a lot of points to be scored here. The Tigers will win this game in true Les Myles fashion – with defense, and probably a bit of luck going their way.
Boise State at Washington
It’s not that Steve Sarkisian has done a horrible job at U-Dub, but they’re still far behind the USC’s and Oregon’s of the Pac-12. Boise State has another chance at going unbeaten, but this game is bigger for Washington because their schedule is tougher. If Washington loses this one, a 7-win season is probably the best they can hope for. Boise State wins by a touchdown.
Colorado vs Colorado State (Sunday September 1)
Yes, I’m aware both of these teams are bad. Really bad. But this is an underrated rivalry. Even when these teams are mediocre, the rivalry is intense. Plus, there are no NFL regular season games so you might as well watch these teams play in an NFL stadium – Mile High Stadium in Denver. Colorado is arguably the worst BCS conference team. Colorado State isn’t much better but they’ll win this one.
Florida State at Pittsburgh (Monday September 2)
Speaking of games in NFL stadiums, this one is played at Heinz Field, which is also home to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Jimbo Fisher needs to have a big year in Tallahassee. But he’s going to have to find a quarterback to replace EJ Manuel. Pittsburgh, on the other hand, well…they’re not very good. Seminoles will roll in this one.
Well, there you have it folks. I know, it’s a little bit disappointing to see there are only a few big games the first week of the season. There really are no other games worth breaking down. Unless you’re interested in my prediction of that epic Idaho at North Texas match-up…