Last Saturday was an appetizer. Now get ready for an all-you-can-eat College Football buffet. Week 1 of College Football is finally here, and there are several big-time matchups.
Penn State at Wisconsin
The key matchup is in the trenches, Penn State’s new defensive line against Wisconsin’s experienced Offensive line. The Nittany Lion’s have the athletes on offense with Jahan Dotson, Parker Washington, and a stacked TE room, but will Sean Clifford be consistent enough to win games under Mike Yurich’s offense. Wisconsin hopes Graham Mertz takes a step forward after declining as last season went on. Both teams are ready to prove last season’s records were just a fluke.
Verdict: (Penn State +5) If Penn State takes care of the football, and limits Wisconsin’s running game they have a chance to win outright. To keep it safe take Penn State with the points. They have better athletes and should be able to win or at worst keep it within a field goal.
Penn State 27- Wisconsin 24
Indiana at Iowa
It’s hard to get near the top, it’s even harder to stay there. If people weren’t aware of Tom Allen and the Hoosiers’ protentional then they do now. Michael Penix Jr comes back from an ACL injury, and his leading receiver Ty Fryfogle is there to help him stretch the field. Defensively the Hoosiers are looking to reload as well. Iowa is known for its defense, and that should remain solid, but the offense will be at the center of attention. Spencer Petras and Tyler Goodson return, with Rimington Award favorite Tyler Linderbaum anchoring the offensive line.
Verdict: (Iowa -3) Indiana is a solid team and will have success this season, but Penix Jr’s first game back will probably be shaky. He makes that entire offense go and we’ve seen how bad the offense can be without him. Iowa has the offense to put up some points, against the Hoosier defense. I’m just not sold on the Indiana offense coming out of the gate strong.
Iowa 31- Indiana 24
Louisiana-Lafeyette at Texas
We enter the “Sark” era of Texas Longhorn football, and he has a tough test to start. The Ragin Cajun’s return Levi Lewis and their offensive line in one of the best offenses in the Group of 5. The defense has trouble defending the run but has one of the best pass defenses that can forces turnovers. The only thing that’s for sure this year for Texas is the offensive line should be the team’s strength, and it needs to be with a brand-new quarterback.
Verdict: (ULL+8) Louisiana- Lafeyette is no stranger to beating quality Power 5 opponents (they beat Iowa State week 1 last season). Texas has new faces everywhere and there are too many questions. ULL has the better QB on the field and he’ll lead the Ragin Cajuns offense against a Texas defense that is less than stellar in the back half.
Texas 31 – ULL 28
WVU at Maryland
What Maryland team is going to show up? The team that beat Penn State convincingly or the team that was blown out by Northwestern? WVU looks to take a step forward under Neal Brown. The Mountaineers had one of the best defenses in the Big 12 and they return most of their production. Jarret Doege looks to improve an offense that had its share of moments. The Mountaineers are more run first behind All-Big 12 running back Leddie Brown. Maryland is led by Taulia Tagovailoa. The Terrapin success this season will almost solely rely on his play.
Verdict: (WVU-3) West Virginia will be able to control the game with their running game behind Leddie Brown. Mountaineer’s defense will be able to keep Tagovailoa in the pocket and prohibit him from rolling out and finding the edge for yardage. West Virginia scores a touchdown in the fourth quarter to win.
WVU 27 – Maryland 20
Alabama vs Miami
Miami has a great pass rush that will keep them in this game early, but Alabama is on a whole other level than the Hurricanes right now. Alabama has the best defense in the country and although Miami has the electric D’Eriq King the Crimson Tide defense should be too much for the rest of the Hurricanes weapons.
Verdict: (Alabama +18.5)
Miami is a good football team. They will finish at worst second in their division, but Alabama’s defense is too good for Miami to move the ball consistently. This game will be close early due to the Hurricane’s pass rush against Bryce Young, but they will eventually get worn down in the second half.
Alabama 45 – Miami 21
Georgia vs Clemson
Talent-wise Georgia may be the better team. Most of the defense is back and will be putting together the best pass rush in the country. I know Dj Uiagalelei looked good against Notre Dame last season but this Georgia team is better than the 2020 Fighting Irish. There is no doubt Clemson is the best team in the ACC but without Travis Etienne and Trevor Lawrence this offense might be in a bit of an identity crisis early.
Verdict: (Georgia +3) This game could’ve been vastly different if it took place later in the year. Clemson has too many new faces on offense and will have a slow start against the Dawgs. Georgia is a team that knows who they are and what their game is. In Week 1 Clemson will still be figuring that out.
Georgia 31 – Clemson 27
LSU at UCLA
We saw a totally different UCLA team than in the past. Chip Kelly returns 19 out of 22 starters and the Bruins are flying around on defense. The offense led by Dorian Thompson-Robinson looked great against a Hawaii defense that is supposed to be one of the best in the Mountain West. LSU’s defensive line does create penetration inside which can make things difficult for UCLA’s offense. Offensively LSU’s will be lead by their WR’s but will need Max Johnson to be their guy. In two starts he has completed 48 of 87 for 674 yards. The Tigers will need him to take care of the ball and get the ball to receivers in space.
Verdict (UCLA +4.5) This line started at LSU -4.5 and it is currently at -2.5. In this situation, I like to follow the line. UCLA had a week to shake the cobwebs out against Hawaii. LSU will be on the road (yes I realize the Rose Bowl will be half Tiger fans) in its first game and it will take some time for them to get adjusted. LSU gets a slow start, they form a comeback but fall short. Take UCLA with the points to be safe, but if you want to take an underdog outright, this is one to do it.
UCLA 38 – LSU 35