College football really starts off correctly and on my Birthday on Thursday night September 1st.
Happy Birthday to me.
September 1st, 2016
Indiana at Florida International: The Hoosiers are favored by 4.5 and they should easily cover. I am interested in the Hoosiers because of head coach Kevin Wilson and his offense which will be led by new Quarterback Richard Lagow. The Hoosiers return one of the nation’s best Offensive Linemen in Dan Feeney and 1,000 yard Running Back Devine Redding along with play making Wide Receiver Simmie Cobbs Jr. Maybe the Hoosiers can play defense this season. International finished 5-7 last season and is looking for improvement.
South Carolina at Vanderbilt: SEC gets cranked up quickly. The Vanderbilt Commodores are
actually favored in a league game by 2.5 points. The Gamecocks played against Will Muschamp when he coached Florida and I have no clue why they would hire him, but hopefully he learned from his mistakes. Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason thinks he has his Quarterback in 6-4, 230 true sophomore Kyle Shurmur and Mason badly needs a win here. I’m picking Vandy and their stout defense.
Oregon State at Minnesota: This game is irrelevant to most, and the Gophers are favored by 9 points. I will be following outstanding Wide Receiver 6-5, 235 Jordan Villamin all season. Plus, sophomore 6-2, 255 Running Back Ryan Nall who shredded the Oregon Duck defense a year ago with 174 yards rushing. Both schools need a win here, but the Gophers more than likely get it.
September 2nd, 2016
Colorado State at Colorado: Rivalry game that has been played at the beginning of the season as long as I can remember. Both schools are down, but the Buffaloes have shown signs of improvement in spite of finishing with a less than satisfactory 4-9 record. The Rams of Colorado State finished 7-6 with a much easier schedule under new coach Mike Bobo. The Buffs are favored by 8 and I think they win a hard fought battle.
Kansas State at Stanford: The Cardinal host a usually spunky Kansas State Wildcat team that
disappointed with a 6-7 record last season. Bill Snyder will never get the recognition that he deserves for saving this program, but he should be known as one of the best coaches of all time for what he has done. Christian McCaffrey should have won the Heisman last year, many say, and I do not really disagree. He will have a mostly new Offensive Line and a new Quarterback, so hopefully he can repeat last season’s dramatic statistics. Ryan Burns is the new Quarterback at Stanford, but I have no idea how head coach David Shaw picked between them since they looked identical from what we saw of them. Stanford is favored by 15 and I am thinking that they cover.
September 3rd, Saturday
Georgia Tech vs Boston College: Talk about a long day for my wife, this game starts at 6:30 in the morning Eastern Time because it’s going to be played in Ireland. I am personally anxious to see if Georgia Tech can bounce back from last year’s disaster and new BC Quarterback Patrick Towles who is a graduate transfer from Kentucky. Last season, Boston College had the very best defense in the nation and that should continue at least for a little while making tough going for the Yellow Jackets. Georgia Tech is favored by 3 points and they probably cover
Oklahoma vs Houston: Oklahoma has a tough early schedule including Houston and Ohio State. If they survive, they could be well on their way to another playoff berth. Oklahoma is favored by 10 points, but they had better not take Houston lightly if they want to win. Baker Mayfield and Samaje
Perine are back to lead the Sooners while Greg Ward Jr is back to lead is Cougars. Oklahoma finished 2015 with an 11-2 record while the surprising Houston Cougars shocked the nation with an impressive 13-1 record in head coach Tom Herman’s first season. I think Oklahoma wins, but not by more than 10 points.
Bowling Green at Ohio State: This won’t be much of a game, but it’s a must watch to see the replacements for lost Buckeye starters. Bowling Green was no match for Ohio State with previous head coach Dino Babers, but since he left they are at a real disadvantage. The Ohio State University is favored by 27 points and they should cover fairly easily. I am particularly interested in the replacements for Ezekiel Elliott, the Wide Receivers and most of the defense.
Hawaii at Michigan: Another lopsided contest with Michigan as a 41 point favorite Hawaii was blown out in their first game against California and it won’t get much easier for them. Unlike Cal, Michigan actually plays defense. This one could get really ugly, but it will be interesting to see the new starter at Quarterback for the Wolverines and freshman Defensive Lineman Rashan Gary. 41 points can be hard to cover, but Hawaii is pretty bad and the Wolverines could do it.
South Alabama at Mississippi State: The Bulldogs are favored by 34
Missouri at West Virginia: The Mountaineers of West Virginia are favored by 12.5, but Missouri should bring a really strong defense to the game. They have a brand new coach who was previously their Defensive Coordinator. I think West Virginia wins by about 14 points.
Rutgers at Washington: The Huskies are favored by 22 over Rutgers and their brand new coach, Chris Ash. With a lot of talent returning in Seattle and a seasoned Quarterback in Jake Browning, the Huskies could cover. Washington will also be helped by the return of talented Wide out and return man John Ross. The Huskies also should have the best defense in the Pac 12. Ash has a lot of work to do at Rutgers.
UCLA at Texas A%M: UCLA is ranked and the Aggies are not, but the Aggies are favored by 1 point. The Bruins have Quarterback Josh Rosen who was the best true freshman at his position last season and some good young talent, but I am giving up on UCLA coach Jim Mora. I believe the Aggies will win and by a bit more than a single point.
LSU vs Wisconsin: In this game being played in Green Bay, the Tigers of LSU are favored by 10
points and they should win going away. Leonard Fournette has been struggling with an injured ankle, but even if he can’t go, the Tigers just have too much talent for the Badgers right now. Wisconsin could be better later on in the season, but they lost their Defensive Coordinator and to the LSU Tigers, of all people. The Tigers win big here.
Kent State at Penn State: This game should not be interesting and the Nittany Lions are favored by 18.5 points. Look for them to cover. I actually believe they will be better now with a new Quarterback. Christian Hackenberg was just built for a different kind of offense than James Franklin and the Nittany Lions want to run. The Lions return a lot of players including top Running Back Saquon Barkley and their offense could be dangerous. On defense, they lost 3 outstanding defensive linemen, but that won’t cost them against Kent State. I’ll be watching to see how Trace McSorley does at Quarterback for Penn State.
Murray State at Illinois: I didn’t find a point spread here. Murray State is not the greatest test, but I will be viewing this game to get a look at new Illinois coach Lovie Smith. I will be mostly interested in the new defense and Hardy Nickerson as Defensive Coordinator and Hardy Nickerson Jr at Middle Linebacker.
Louisiana Tech at Arkansas: Arkansas is favored by 21, but the Razorbacks under Bret Bielema are notorious slow starters even losing a few early games that they should have won easily. The Pigs win, but they probably won’t cover the spread. It will be our first real look at new Quarterback Austin Allen, the younger brother of previous starter Brandon Allen.
UC Davis at Oregon: Another game that I could find no point spread on, and this game could get really ugly. I am interested to see the new Quarterback Dakota Prukup and the new Defense under
former Michigan head coach Brady Hoke. Also, will be interesting to see if Olympic hurdler Devon Allen is back and in form yet.
Georgia vs North Carolina: The Georgia Bulldogs are favored by 3.5 points and this could be a great game. New Bulldog coach Kirby Smart hasn’t had time to put his own systems in that well yet, so this game could go either way. I will be in favor of watching freshman Quarterback Jacob Eason for the Bulldogs and junior Quarterback Mitch Trubisky for the Tar Heels. Will Georgia Bulldog Running Back Nick Chubb be back to his old form? This could be one of the better games of the day, but I would guess that the Dogs don’t cover.
Massachusetts at Florida: This game will be a blowout and the Gators are favored by 36 points. Luke Del Rio will be the Florida Gator Quarterback and their offense will be vastly improved over last season. UMass will melt in that heat and humidity in Florida and the Gators more than likely cover.
USC vs Alabama: This is a great old time match up but this time Alabama has the advantage in talent. But, it’s not as much as you might think. USC has some great talent also. Alabama is favored by 9.5 points and they will cover unless they turn the ball over a bunch. However, Quarterback is unsettled and losing Derek Henry is huge. The Crimson Tide defense will be dominating unless the Trojans can throw the ball effectively. Both teams have outstanding Offensive Lines and Wide Receivers. The Trojans are capable of an upset here, but it’s not likely.
Clemson at Auburn: Clemson is favored by 8 points and this could be a great game. The Tigers had a rough time getting started last season and if that happens again this year, look for a big Clemson win. I think the Clemson Tigers win by about 10 points as Quarterback Deshaun Watson begins his
September 4th Sunday
Notre Dame at Texas: The Fighting Irish whipped Texas badly last season but Texas should be improved this year. Notre Dame is favored by 4 points and they will probably cover. The Longhorns are still very young with their best players being sophomores and freshmen and they might be a year away still. Texas fans don’t want to accept that fact, and the Longhorns should at least have a winning record this season and push hard for a good bowl game in 2017. Texas probably starts a true freshman Quarterback in this game and it’s hard to beat a team as good as Notre Dame with a true freshman there.
September 5th Monday
Ole Miss vs Florida State: This game has a chance to be the biggest game of the weekend and the Seminoles have been installed as an early 6 point favorite. The Seminoles have their entire offense back from last season except that they have replaced their starting Quarterback with redshirt freshman Deondre Francois. Florida State had some losses on defense, but they have plenty of talent returning there as well.
Ole Miss lost their best player when Laquon Treadwell left for the NFL and they had some other big losses as well. But, Quarterback Chad Kelly says he is the best Quarterback in the country and we will find out soon enough. FSU Running Back Dalvin Cook should be the difference in the game as the Noles cover the spread.