The moment we’ve all been waiting for. College Football has returned and I will be giving you the low down on all the key matchups. Before each night of College Football, I will be sending out a preview complete with picks. Let’s take a look at the appetizer of Week 0 before the full slated main course next week.
Nebraska at Illinois
Nebraska has 9 starters back on defense but the offense is a mystery. Adrian Martinez is going into his Senior year as the starter after Luke McCaffrey transferred to Louisville. Wide receivers will be the worst position group on the field with the only returning starter being Levi Falck who only has 122 yards and a score to his name. The Cornhusker’s Tight end group is probably the best room on the team. Look for Austin Allen, Travis Vokolek, and Iowa transfer Oliver Martin to contribute heavily in the passing game. The Offensive line will return most of their starters with Cameron Jurgens anchoring at center. The Fighting Illini return four starters on the offensive line and will look to provide help as Brandon Peter returns for his super senior year. Illinois’s defensive line is going to struggle, but their linebackers are tenacious and their secondary should be improved.
Verdict: (Illinois +7)The spread was 9.5 and has gone down to 7. Scott Frost and the Cornhuskers are being investigated by the NCAA for holding illegal practices off-campus during covid. Bret Bielema has a buzz in Champaign. Look for Illinois’s defense to hold Nebraska’s Offense to under 28. Illinois’s offense should move the ball well enough to stay in the game, but it won’t be enough to win. The back door cover does worry me, but Bielema’s Illini will play with a ton of pride. They will not let a late score happen.
Nebraska 27 Illinois 24.
UConn at Fresno State
Jake Haener returns for the Bulldogs and will develop nicely under new offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb. The Fresno State defense returns most of its starters, and this team as a whole will be improved across the board. UConn is probably going to be worse than they were two years ago, and that is saying something. The defense gave up 41 points and 467 yards a game and the offense managed a measly 18 points and 227 total yards per game in 2019. With things looking down on the Huskies, expect the dogs to be pulled off (pun intended) early in the second half.
Verdict: (Fresno State -27.5) (U62.5) Fresno State is going to roll UConn. With the game being out of reach early in the third quarter and UConn struggling to score, Fresno State covers with the under.
Fresno State 42- UConn 10
Hawaii at UCLA
UCLA went 3-4 last season with their largest loss being a 6 point deficit to Colorado. The Bruins return 19 starters the most in major College Football and should be set for a great season. Dorian Thompson- Robinson has been around since the start of the Chip Kelly era and this year he will cash in on some success. With that being said UCLA will probably look vanilla on Saturday considering they have to play LSU next week. Hawaii’s defense is better than what people think with ten Starters returning. This game will be close in the beginning before UCLA pulls away.
Verdict: (Hawaii +17.5) (U70.5) UCLA has LSU next week and probably won’t show a lot. The Offense will take a little bit to get going against a Rainbow Warrior defense that is a tad underrated. Hawaii’s offense scores just enough to cover.
UCLA 42 – Hawaii 27
UTEP at NM State
This is going to be a stinker to cap off Week 0. New Mexico State might be the worst team in the FBS. Even though UTEP isn’t much better (will probably finish last in Conference USA) they should be better in all facets of the game. In the Spring season, the Aggies went 1-1 with a 43-17 loss to Tarleton State who was 5-3 in FCS.
Verdict: (UTEP -9)The Miners should handle the Aggies. Expect a slow start from UTEP because NM State did play live competition in the Spring.
UTEP 33 – NM State 17