College Football: Sunday and Monday Week 1 Picks

I don’t have a pick for games on Sunday and Monday. There are three games involving power conferences to round out Labor Day weekend. I’ll add some analysis for the three pool plays.

Pool Plays

Tennessee (-4.5) over Utah State

A SEC school is giving less than a touchdown to a Mountain West school at home. I think Tennessee is being disrespected. Butch Jones is improving his program and the Volunteers know they need to win this game with a brutal schedule this year. Chuckie Keeton is an exciting quarterback for Utah State but he is coming off an ACL tear and might start slowly against Tennessee. Utah State has a solid defense so I expect a lower scoring game but Tennessee to cover.

Baylor (-34.5) over SMU

Hard to go against Baylor at home against anyone. Especially in the first game in their new stadium. Coach Art Briles will want his team to make statement.

Louisville (-3.5) over Miami

Louisville plays their first game in the ACC on Monday night. They host Miami, who was the team they routed in the bowl game last season. Miami is starting true freshman Brad Kaaya at quarterback. I lean towards Louisville because I can’t count on the true freshman.

College Football: August 30 Picks

Thursday picks

Friday picks

I have four picks for the first Saturday of the college football season. The explanation for each game is hyperlinked in the pick.

UCF (-2) over Penn State

Rice (+21) over Notre Dame

Arkansas (+20) over Auburn

Georgia (-7.5) over Clemson

Pool Plays

Oklahoma State (+17.5) over Florida State 

Wisconsin (+5) over LSU Continue reading

Rice vs Notre Dame Pick

Notre Dame opens the season at home against Rice. An academic investigation as emerged in South Bend over the last few weeks, which suspended four players indefinetley including wide receiver Davaris Daniels. Everett Golson is back at Notre Dame after academic troubles of his own. He beat out Malik Zaire for the starting quarterback job this month.

Rice is coming off a 10-4 season and lose their leading passer and rusher. Still Rice is competitive and won’t be intimated by playing a big program. Last season they opened at Texas A&M, and took advantage of Johnny Manziel’s first half suspension to keep the game close. They ended up covering the spread despite losing 52-21.

Notre Dame might be distracted by suspensions but also they might have one eye on the following week. They host Michigan in the final regular season game with the Wolverines for the foreseeable future. Notre Dame lost to their bitter rivals last year, and I think they will look over Rice and struggle.

Pick: Rice (+21) over Notre Dame

Colorado State vs Colorado Pick

An early rivalry game in Denver as Colorado and Colorado State meet at a neutral site. The Buffaloes won this meeting last year on the opening weekend of the season. Colorado State started slowly last season but ended strong in large part to the running of Kapri Bibbs. The running back departed but quarterback Garrett Grayson is still at school. Colorado lost a big offensive weapon of their own in wide receiver Paul Richardson.

I think these schools are equally matched. Because Colorado is a slight favorite on a neutral site, I’ll take revenge-minded Colorado State against the spread.

Pick: Colorado State (+3) over Colorado

BYU vs UConn Pick

I usually focus on teams from the power five conferences but a game between an Independent and AAC teams stuck out to me. BYU travels to the northeast to face UConn. BYU bring back dual-threat quarterback Taysom Hill and a stable of running backs from last season. UConn dropped their first nine games last season before ending the year on a three-game winning streak. The Huskies hired Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco to help reignite the program in Storrs.

I like UConn to cover the spread in this game at home. The Huskies were embarrassed by FCS opponent Towson in their opener last season. I think they will be a more focused team in Diaco’s first game on the sideline. BYU might be looking ahead to next week. They go to Austin next weekend to play Texas, a team they defeated 40-21 last season.

UConn getting a lot of points at home, and a look ahead game for BYU is why I like the Huskies plus the points.

Pick: UConn (+16.5) over BYU