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Week 1 CFB picks and introduction

Credit: Sports Illustrated

So I’m very excited. I love college football. It’s my favorite sport season of any sport by leaps and bounds. I get super excited on Saturdays in the fall, despite me never attending a school with a legitimate football program (my HS team won 1 game in my four years there, my college doesn’t have a team). I started picking every single FBS game every week against the spread 4 seasons ago and emailing it to two guys I knew. Quickly, I found out I’m not the worst at picking random games only found on ESPN3. I also found out that I didn’t care about the money part of it, I just loved watching college football.

Here’s what I’ll do. Every week before the first game, I’ll write something about the bigger games, I’ll pick every game against the spread (the team I pick will be bold and listed first), I’ll tweet things, various other content/social media ideas. Then, on Sunday or Monday (depending on whether match ups allow), I will write a recap and post my record picking so far. I want to call attention to lesser seen games and moments as well in that wrap-up idea. I can’t promise that I’ll see everything that happens on Saturdays, but I think I’ll cover a lot.

The first week has become marquee non-conference match up week. None of the top 25 are playing an opponent in their conference besides tonight’s game. Only 3 games are matching up 2 ranked teams as well. The real purpose of this weekend is to see how big teams do against opponents scheduled years ago on neutral sites. These are week 1 bowl games, only with the team chemistry.

№2 Ohio State -20.5 @ Indiana(Thursday, ESPN): You wouldn’t think Indiana would want to open against a B1G opponent, especially Ohio State. Indiana is 14–1 in home openers, but they’ve lost 22 straight to the Buckeyes. Even if Ohio State was looking ahead to Oklahoma next weekend, they would have to really be complacent to drop the game tonight. A team returning 15 starters including perennial pre-season Heisman candidate JT Barrett will look to use this game to shake the rust off and flex for the ESPN audience. Look for the Buckeyes to win by a larger margin that last years 38–17.

№21 Virginia Tech -4 vs. №22 West Virginia (FedEx Field, Sunday, ABC): A match up of teams I feel very shaky about staying in the top 25 all year. West Virginia loses a lot, with only 8 starters returning. Their 10 wins last year seem to be due to a pretty soft schedule, as is to be expected in the Big 12. However, Va Tech loses their QB and dynamic WR Isiah Ford. Plus, Virginia Tech lost their last 5 neutral field openers by 11 ppg. So why the Hokies? They return 7 starters on defense, including two 100+ tackle guys in Motuapuaka and Edmunds. Look for Virginia Tech to try and slow the game down and keep the score low. The continuity on defense gives them the slight edge in my book.

№3 Florida State +7 vs. №1 Alabama (Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Saturday, ABC): A potential playoff preview in week 1, a crazy match up to try and pick. Alabama returns a strong offense, with Damien Harris, Bo Scarbrough, Jalen Hurts and Calvin Ridley coming back. Plus, it’s a given that Saban will restock the defense. Alabama has started the last 5 seasons on the road, winning them all by an average of 25 ppg. However, they did lose a lot on defense and their opponent isn’t a team without it’s own identity. Florida State may have lost Dalvin Cook, but 15 starters return including 9 on defense and Derwin James coming back from injury. Jimbo Fisher is 10–3 SU on neutral sites in his 8 years. With a stronger defense than last year’s team that had 51 sacks and held opponents to 128 yards rushing. It’s a phenomenal match up for week 1, and I think 7 points is too big a spread.

So that’s all the highlighted games for this week (I’m rushing a bit since I’m posting this a bit later than expected). Below are the rest of the games that have a line on VegasInsider.com right now. First team listed is the team I picked. (An asterisk means neutral field):

Navy -9.5 @ FAU

№8 Washington -27.5 @ Rutgers

Utah -21 vs. North Dakota

Colorado -3.5 vs* Colorado State

Utah State +27.5 @ Wisconsin

Boston College -3.5 @ Northern Illinois

Nebraska -14.5 vs. Arkansas State

№5 Clemson -39.5 vs. Kent State

Akron +30.5 @ №6 Penn State

№23 Texas -18.5 vs. Maryland

Illinois -6 vs. Ball State

Iowa -11.5 vs. Wyoming

Bowling Green +17 @ Michigan State

California +12.5 @ North Carolina

Notre Dame -18.5 vs. Temple

№7 Oklahoma -43 vs. UTEP

Boise State -11 vs. Troy

Kentucky -10.5 @ Southern Miss

№4 Southern Cal -26.5 vs. Western Michigan

№15 Georgia -14.5 vs. Appalachian State

North Carolina State -5 vs* South Carolina

UMass -2.5 @ Coastal Carolina

Georgia Southern +34.5 @ №12 Auburn

№16 Louisville -24.5 vs* Purdue

Vanderbilt -3 @ Middle Tennessee State

№13 LSU -14.5 vs* BYU

UCLA -3.5 vs. Texas A&M

Georgia Tech +3 vs. №25 Tennessee

Record after Week 0: 3–3

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