Week 1’s barrage of games over a five-day period is here! Here’s the new “Weekly Picks” segment featuring picks against the spread for all games featuring Top 25 teams.
[Editor’s Note: All odds courtesy of OddsShark.com. As of Thursday, there were no lines for games of #18 Miami, #19 USF, and #20 Kansas State, as all are playing FCS schools]
• #3 Florida State vs. #1 Alabama (-6.5)
This is Alabama’s sixth straight year facing another Power 5 school in the season opener. The Tide’s average margin of victory in the previous five? 25.2. Lay the points and roll with the Tide.
— Pick: Alabama
• #2 Ohio State at Indiana (+20)
Indiana has played Top 25 teams close in Bloomington in recent years, including a 31-24 loss to the Buckeyes in 2015 that came down to the final play. The Hoosiers will be competitive enough to cover.
— Pick: Indiana
• Western Michigan at #4 USC (-22)
Western Michigan is coming off a trip to the Cotton Bowl but head coach P.J. Fleck, QB Zach Terrell and WR Corey Davis are all gone. The Trojans will roll WMU in the Coliseum.
— Pick: USC
• Kent State at #5 Clemson (-40)
The defending national champions face a team coming off a 3-9 season whose head coach, Paul Haynes, just took a medical leave of absence. Clemson will win YUGE.
— Pick: Clemson
• Akron at #6 Penn State (-35)
Last year, Akron’s nonconference game vs. a Big Ten team resulted in a 54-10 loss to Wisconsin. This will be just as ugly.
— Pick: Penn State
• UTEP at #7 Oklahoma (-48)
New Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley wants to prove OU won’t miss a beat without Bob Stoops and Heisman hopeful QB Baker Mayfield will be thrilled to pad his stats.
— Pick: Oklahoma
• Utah State at #9 Wisconsin (-34)
Once a solid Group of 5 program, Utah State is headed in the wrong direction after a 3-9 season in 2016. The 2017 season will start on a similar note.
— Pick: Wisconsin
• Tulsa at #10 Oklahoma State (-17)
Tulsa still hasn’t named a starting quarterback while Oklahoma State has the most powerful offense in the Big 12. The Cowboys will rip right through the Golden Hurricane.
— Pick: Oklahoma State
• #17 Florida vs. #11 Michigan (-3)
Florida is now up to 10 players suspended for the opener, with more suspensions possibly on the way. That’s too much chaos to win a season opener like this.
— Pick: Michigan
• Georgia Southern at #12 Auburn (-36)
Georgia Southern returns 17 starters and should hang around a while, like the Eagles did in a 10-point loss at Ole Miss last season.
— Pick: Georgia Southern
• BYU vs. #13 LSU (-12.5)
BYU was hardly impressive in its season-opening 20-6 win over FCS Portland State. Throw in the game being moved from Houston to New Orleans due to Hurricane Harvey and this will be a rout.
— Pick: LSU
• Appalachian State at #15 Georgia (-14)
A decade ago, Appalachian State shocked the college football world by knocking off Michigan in Ann Arbor. The Mountaineers are coming off a 10-3 season and could pull off another shocker.
— Pick: Appalachian State
• #16 Louisville vs. Purdue (+23.5)
Louisville ended the 2016 season with three straight losses to Houston, Kentucky and LSU. Purdue has enough optimism under new head coach Jeff Brohm to keep it within 3 touchdowns.
— Pick: Purdue
• #22 West Virginia vs. #21 Virginia Tech (+2.5)
Virginia Tech is breaking in a freshman QB in Josh Jackson while West Virginia is handing the reigns to Florida transfer Will Grier, who has drawn rave reviews in Morgantown. Take the experience in a shootout.
— Pick: West Virginia
• Maryland at #23 Texas (-17.5)
It’s so hard to tell how a team will play in its first game under a new head coach and The Eyes of Texas are all on Tom Herman. The Longhorns will start slow but pull away late.
— Pick: Maryland