Week 1 Predictions – 2018
Last Year: First, we want to close out the 2017 season. The Buckeyes had another big win in Ann Arbor, a solid victory in Indy and then went on to beat USC in the Cotton Bowl. There was still some disappointment not to make it to the playoffs but if you want to make it to the Final Four, don’t lose to Iowa. Also, congratulations goes out to Rick DeSutter who was our top prognosticator in 2017. Rick became our first four-time champion, can he repeat this year. Nice job once again by all the Buckeye 50 staff. I would put our winning percentage against any site out there!
This Week: The wait is over and the season is finally ready to begin. No need to talk about the mess that dominated the Buckeye focus during fall camp, let’s get right to week #1. Ohio State welcomes Oregon State to Columbus. 1-11 last year, it does not seem like the Beavers will be a strong challenge for the scarlet and gray. Expect to see a lot of players see some playing time …. A big game with huge playoff implications, particularly for the Huskies and the Pac-12 is Auburn versus Washington. The winner will have a quality win, the loser will probably need to win out to stay in the playoff race …. A game for pride will be the return of the Notre Dame – Michigan series. This year in South Bend, both coaches have pressure on them now, which will be increased with a loss …. We will also look at the LSU-Miami match-up which will feature former OSU quarterback Joe Burrow, who has been tagged as the tiger starter. Can he lead them to victory in his debut game? Also be sure to check out all our ‘upset special’ picks.
Guest Buckeye: As with the years past, we will continue to include former Buckeye players in our weekly prediction fun and we are thrilled to have Vaughn Broadnax back with us for the third straight year.
Here we go once again … our Week 1 Picks – Good Luck to All – Gregg
Oregon State @ (3)Ohio State
Bbaver: Pick: Ohio State – Very hard for me to get a feel for this game with Urban’s suspension and the lack of Ohio St info this Aug. I do know how bad Oregon State is, though, so it should be a beat down. I am just so happy to actually get to see this Buckeye team play and try to put some of this behind us, and interested to see the scholarship freshman all over the place in the 2nd half with the new redshirt rule. The call: Ohio State 48 Oregon 14.
Cory: It has been a tumultuous offseason for the Ohio State football team. The dust hasn’t fully settle yet, but nonetheless it’s time to finally get the games started. Despite all that’s been happening, the on-field product for the Buckeyes should be pretty exciting to watch. A good mixture of returning veterans combined with some very talented new starters has the Buckeyes filled with optimism for the season. While there are a lot of guys we could talk about, the focus is going to be on new starting quarterback, Dwayne Haskins. Haskins has looked good in very limited action, but the ability to produce when you’re the starter and not the backup is a much bigger challenge. At least he’s got the weapons around him to be successful. As for the opponent this week, Oregon State, the Beavers face a tough road test. The game is a noon kickoff, which is a big hurdle for a visiting West-coast team. The Beavers are also coming off a 1-win season and still working on building the team. Expect an OSU victory with some hiccups as the new players figure things out. Ohio State 38, Oregon State 10
Dave: Ohio Sate 48 Oregon 7
Gregg: It will be so good to get this season started, after the circus we have had as fans over the past couple of weeks. It should have been a circus about is Haskins ready to be ‘THE’ guy behind center. It could have been a circus over how the new secondary will shape themselves after replacing half the backfield. How will Coach Ryan Day split up carries between Dobbins and Weber. The one thing we know for sure, is the Buckeyes will be 1-0 by 4:00pm Saturday. Ohio State 52 Oregon State 9
Jason: It’s been a tough month plus in Columbus, but the time is near to put the controversy behind them and get the focus on the football team. They welcome an Oregon State team that won just one ball game a year ago and have a new head coach, Jonathan Smith. Ohio State will be led by a new head coach of its own, albeit for just 3 games, in Ryan Day. This will prove to not be an issue as Ohio State has a distinct advantage in all phases of the game. The Beavers will have absolutely nothing to lose so they will do their best to open it up and challenge the rather inexperienced Buckeye secondary. The Beavers return a veteran offense with 8 starters back, including 8 on the offensive line and they will certainly be tested as the Buckeyes boast maybe the best defensive line this side of Clemson. If Oregon State can make some plays downfield early, they may be able to make it interesting for a quarter or so. Defensively, the Beavers are weak. The Beavers will struggle early and often with the abundance of speed all over the Buckeye offense which will lead to many explosive plays and enable Ohio State to continue to move the chains at will. First year starting QB, Dwayne Haskins has a myriad of weapons at his disposal and he will use all of them. I expect a very focused Ohio State football team that will be playing with a chip on their shoulder and an us against the world mentality. In short, I wouldn’t want to be wearing a Beaver uniform on Saturday. I expect a crowd that’s a little more hyped than the typical overmatched non-conference opener. This is a game where the majority of the second half could see 2nd and 3rd teamers getting their opportunity to shine. All Buckeyes in this one. Ohio State 55 Oregon State 7
Joe-S-U: Ohio State
John: This should be an angry, focused bunch of Buckeyes. Hopefully, Day and staff will have this group ready to shut out the distractions take care of business. All things being normal, this would get ugly, quickly. The “other” OSU is really pretty bad, coming off a 1-11 season. A new coaching staff isn’t erasing that kind of stink overnight. Good guys roll, but maybe not by as much as they would if the “Great Urban Meyer Witch Hunt” never happened. Ohio State 45, Oregano State 6
Josh: Ohio State had its fair share of off season storylines that I don’t think need to go into too much detail. I think Buckeye Nation really just needs to see the Scarlet and Gray take the field in the Shoe, and watch the Silver Bullets streak across the gridiron on both sides of the ball. Dwayne Haskins will make his first start, and I know he has a lot of pressure already on him. I think he has a lot of great weapons around him to help him ease into this offense each game, and be read to go against a weakened Beaver defense. Defensively, we should be hungry, and I can see 5 sacks at least by our Rushman. Our secondary and linebackers will be tested, so we will see who will be the next Buckeye greats. I think this one will be over by the second quarter, and for those who stay until the 4th quarter, you can start thinking about your Roosters order on the way back to the car. Ohio State 56 – Oregon State 10
Dr. Mark: Ohio State 38-13, if I was the interim coach, I would open up the offense. But since the head coach is basically on a 12 hour total suspension he may not be allowed to do that.
PJSBuck: Ohio State by 35. I am not participating until Urban is back on the sideline as a small protest. Sorry, but I have TOTALLY had it with Drake, Smith and the other pointy-head, overpaid nimrods at OSU.
Pia Pete: Bucks over the Beavers
Coach Rick: This is a perfect starting game for Ohio State. You have a team from the West Coast coming into Ohio Stadium for an early start. All I have is a lot of questions that will get answered this weekend, so I have Ohio State winning by 24 points.
Steven: Expect a lot of scoring from many different angles. This game may feature the most balanced offense we have seen, or will see in a long time. I get the feeling that they will spread the ball around as much as possible since with what the team has had to endure over the past month, everyone deserves a bit of a reward. As Oprah is wont to say, “You get a touchdown, and you get a touchdown! Everyone gets a touchdown!” There will ample opportunity, as Oregon State will struggle to make it across the 50 yard line. Expect a long run or two to ruin the shutout, but this game isn’t about style points, it is just about getting back to what everyone wants to see, football. OSU 63-10
Trout: There’s a lot of unknowns going into this season for the Buckeyes. For starters, how will the team react to Urban not being around for the first quarter of the season. Secondly, how will Dwayne Haskins do as the new starting QB? He played great in limited time last year, but it will be interesting to see if he can consistently play at a high level. Even with those questions, I still think Ohio State should win easily. Oregon State is just not a good team. Ohio State has vastly better talent on both sides of ball. I see both Weber and Dobbins getting a lot of touches and rushing for a lot of yards. It may take a little while to get started because it is the first game of the season, but once Ohio State gets it going, the Beavers wont be able to stop them. (Ohio State, 38-6)
Vaughn: Who says there are no guarantees in college football? One thing I can guarantee is that OSU will the game this Saturday. Okay, okay that was a softball statement. Well let me clarify. The Ohio State University Buckeyes will light up the Oregon State University Beavers 45-10. The Buckeyes jump on the Beavers all of the first half. Then most of the starters get a breather the second half to allow the young pups to get some game time.
Final Score: Ohio State 77 Oregon State 31
(6)Washington vs. (10)Auburn
Bbaver: Pick: Auburn – Should be a great game here. Two teams that look pretty evenly matched to me. Peterson has done such a good job at Washington but has few wins over elite team. Gotta go with the Auburn with the Huskies traveling across the country.
Cory: One of the reasons why opening week games are so exciting is we get to see matchups like this. Washington travels to Atlanta to play Auburn. Technically this is a neutral site, however, this is obviously going to feel like a home game for Auburn. Both teams enter the season ranked in the top 10 (Washington at No. 6 and Auburn at No. 9) so a win here seems likely to play into the playoff discussion. Washington is led by standout quarterback Jake Browning. Browning threw 43 touchdown passes in 2016, but came back to Earth last season with just 19 touchdowns. The knock on Browning is that he folds in big games, so it will be interesting to see how he does on Saturday. Auburn has a fine quarterback of their own in Jarrett Stidham. Stidham, who transferred from Baylor to Auburn last season, had only 18 touchdown passes but completed 66.5 percent of his passes and had just six interceptions. The Tigers lost both games they played in Atlanta last season, including the SEC Championship game, so they will be hungry for a win. Given Browning’s struggles in big games, expect Auburn to edge by in a close one. Auburn 31, Washington 28
Dave: Auburn 24 Wash 14
Gregg: I think too much is being made in the media about the importance of this game. The winner will not punch their ticket on the road to Atlanta, and the loser is not out of the playoffs. But it will be important for the Huskies to have a good showing after the Pac-12 went 1-9 in bowl games last year. I admire Coach Petersen for making that long trip across the country to play the Tiger in what is almost a home game for Auburn. I think Washington will be ready and will surprise Auburn. Washington 38 Auburn 35
Jason: This one is a game with major College Football Playoff implications. The winner is still alive, and the loser will need to run the table and get help to get in. Defensively, Auburn’s front seven are as good as it gets and will most certainly force Washington QB Jake Browning to air it out to win the game. The Huskies don’t have any burners that can take the top off the defense so they will need to nickel and dime the Tigers to move the football effectively. Huskie RB Myles Gaskin will attempt to navigate the Tiger front seven. Coming off a 1,400 yard, 21 TD year, he will need to be able to be somewhat effective to help Browning and the passing game keep the Tigers honest. Auburn has a pretty QB of their own in Jarrett Stidham, who will soon be playing on Sundays, but they will be tested by a stout defense, returning 9 starters from the 8th ranked defense in college football a year ago. As good as the QB’s are, the defenses may be better so moving the ball in this game could prove to be difficult. Ultimately, however, the Huskies just have a bit much on both sides of the ball and will make enough plays with Browning and Gaskin to get an early statement win and put Washington to the forefront of the CFP conversation. Washington 24 Auburn 17
John: Tigers drive an hour to get the stadium, The Huskies fly across the country, SEC idea of a neutral site That pretty much sums up SEC out of conference scheduling. Does any quality SEC team ever leave the deep south? I think the “neutral site” road game environment will be too much for the Huskies to overcome. Auburn 31 Washington 20
Josh: This is an intriguing match up of between two solid teams, and two teams eying for a Playoff spot. As history so far has shown so far, the loser isn’t out, but the win definitely helps. I think Auburn needs to win this one more because there is no guarantee they beat Alabama again at the end of the year, but they have the harder task of getting to the playoff. Washington could win this game to help the PAC-12 get more credibility especially after a disastrous bowl season. I think talent wise, both teams are evenly matched, but I will go with Washington in this one. I think Peterson always finds a way to win these higher profile games, and I think his quarterback will have a better season than last year. Washington 31 – Auburn 24
Dr. Mark: Auburn- 27-24 Not sure if Huskies are a sustained powerhouse yet. Tigers need to get back into national hunt with win over top 25 team
Pia Pete: Auburn over the Huskies.
Coach Rick: This has the making of a good game, bur I think Auburn makes a statement in this game. I have Auburn winning by 14 in this battle.
Steven: Here in the Midwest we don’t stay up late and watch a bunch of PAC-12 football. This tends to lead us to a bit of East Coast bias. Couple that with the fact that bias or not, the Pac-12 hasn’t been great for the past 5 years. This could be the corner turn to change that narrative. Washington comes into Atlanta the most solid team top to bottom since the Oregon Ducks that lost to Ohio State in the 2014 National Championship game. The home field (by proxy) advantage Auburn gains from the game being in Atlanta pushes this one to a bit of a coin flip, but I think overall talent push the Huskies over the top. U Dub 24-17.
Trout: I think this game will be relatively close to start. Washington is the typical PAC-12 school that they are fast, and the can score a lot of points. But just like a typical PAC 12 school, they get punched in the mouth from a stronger team, they can’t seem to come back. I think that what Auburn will do to the Huskies. The game will remain close initially. Washington might be able to keep up the points that the Tigers that put up. But the superior strength and ability of Auburn will eventually wear them down and Auburn will win by a few scores. (Auburn, 35-20)
Vaughn: It’s the SEC versus the PAC-12 and it will be brute versus finesse. Washington’s combo of Jake Browning and Myles Gaskin are a force to be reckoned with and I suspect their defense will be stout up front. However, I can’t bet against Auburn and my “nephew” Chandler Cox. I think the Auburn crowd and comfort of Mercedes-Benz Stadium provide just the edge they need to beat Washington. I am going 24-12 Auburn over Washington.
Final Score: Auburn 21 Washington 16
(14)Michigan at (11)Notre Dame
Bbaver: Pick: Michigan – This one could go either way and should be a low scoring game. Not sure Shea Patterson will be ready to play on the road against a top 15 team like Notre Dame. It may not matter, as Notre Dame will find scoring tough to come by. Michigan is dinged up, but I give them the slightest of edges here.
Cory: The classic rivalry is reborn. After three seasons apart, Michigan and Notre Dame are finally playing each other again and there is a lot on the line in this game. Michigan is looking to take the next step under the guidance of coach Jim Harbaugh, and become a playoff team. On the other hand, Notre Dame is also looking to launch a playoff run of its own. There is some concern over how good Notre Dame can be as the Fighting Irish are coming off a three-loss season. Those losses were all to ranked teams, but the only good wins last season came by USC and North Carolina State. It will be interesting to see how well the Michigan offense does with new starting quarterback Shea Patterson, an Ole Miss transfer. Could this be the season Michigan puts everything together? A big opening week win over Michigan would say a lot about Patterson and the Wolverines. Michigan 24, Notre Dame 17
Dave: ND 28 Mich 21
Gregg: The Wolverines are currently riding a 3 game losing streak. Moreover, Coach Harbaugh is only 9-8 in the last 17 games, and yet they still love him in Ann Arbor. Truth be told, I love him up there too, as it is a sure win for the Bucks as long as he is there! Michigan will be strong again on defense but the question that will shape their entire season is how well will they do with a transfer QB getting the starting nod. Notre Dame has some questions of their own and there may be some pressure on Coach Kelly to do well this year. The Domers are 7-0 at night against Michigan, and I think they make it 8-0 in a close contest. Expect to see more confidence and fewer turnovers from Irish Junior QB Brandon Winbush. Notre Dame 16 Michigan 13
Jason: It’s a rivalry renewed for these two schools, who haven’t met since 2014, when Notre Dame ran over the Wolverines, meet up to kick off 2018 with a lot on the line. Michigan needs this game if for nothing else to prove Jim Harbaugh can win a big game and Notre Dame must have it to put their name firmly in the playoff mix. If either lose this game, it will be difficult to get back into the picture. Offensively, the Irish struggle to throw the football and the Wolverines return 9 starters on a defense that led the nation in pass defense. Notre Dame makes its living running the football so look for Michigan to key on the running game and dare Notre Dame to fling the football around which they will have to do to keep Michigan honest. The Irish will rely heavily on their very talented defense, and new Wolverine starting QB, Shea Patterson will have to avoid the pick, something he struggled with at Ole Miss. He has the ability to move the pocket and make plays with his feet and in this game, he will have to for Michigan to move the football effectively. Look for this to be a game of field position and which offense can avoid the key turnover. I expect Notre Dame to control the tempo by relying on an effective running game, playing field position offense, combined with playing at home to get it done and Michigan goes back to the drawing board, losing a tough one in South Bend.
ND 27 Michigan 21
John: Man, can we just hope for a meteor to strike South Bend about 7:25 Saturday night? It’s hard to have a rooting interest when one loathes both teams playing. Supposedly, a Michigan win would be good for Ohio States playoff hopes, but it’s week one and I just can’t pick the Weasels. Notre Dame 27 Michigan 24
Josh: I think the biggest storyline for this game is the credibility of the coaches. I know a lot of people don’t want to say it, but these are two of the highest profile teams historically, and both Kelly and Harbaugh have underpreformed. Both will try to prove their place and build their reputation. The South Bend faithful will make things difficult, and thankful this rivalry is renewed. I know this is usually pegged as OSU fans as a game where there are no winners, but I am rooting for the Maize and Blue in this one. I think Harbaugh will have his defense ready, and he might actually have a good quarterback now in Patterson. I think you will see some basic offensive scheming as they are still breaking him in, but I think the Golden Domers are upset at home, and continue to build the narrative of the Big Ten East as the best division.
Michigan 21 – Notre Dame 17
Dr. Mark: Notre Dame. 24-21 – mostly because I’m not sure which way Michigan is going- if they are going down -then coach Khaki will go down too.
Pia Pete: Domers down the weasels
Coach Rick: I am not sure how a team overpays a coach to underperform each year, but Michigan is doing it. I would like to support the Big Ten here, but I have Notre Dame willing by 17 points.
Steven: Is it rude to point out that these are two second tier teams and invariably their fanbases will use a win on Saturday to immediately jump to the conclusion “We’re back!”, and convince themselves they’re going to win a national title? Nevertheless, both of these teams are improved, and in Michigan’s case, vastly improved now that coach Harbaugh actually has a quarterback to work with. Shea Patterson is lightyears beyond the tomato cans that have heretofore lined up for the Wolverines during Sideshow Jim’s tenure. Add in the fact that the UM defense is legit, especially on the back end, this is a team that could be special. UM in a grinder 27-24.
Trout: Both these teams are a bit of an unknown. Michigan and Notre Dame have consistently been over-hyped and have under-performed in recent memory. Neither Brian Kelley or Jim Harbaugh have delivered on what they promised to their respective universities. If I had to pick a team, I think I’d have to go with the Irish. Although neither team has been great, Notre Dame has been better. I do think the game will be close however. The inclusion of Shea Patterson as Michigan’s QB will give the Wolverines slightly more consistency on offense. I see this game going down to the last drive, with the Irish just pulling off the victory. (Notre Dame, 38-35)
Vaughn: There is some magic left in that old gold hat to paraphrase Frosty the Snowman. It will be interesting to see how Michigan has improved and if Jim Harbaugh can get his first signature victory over a ranked opponent away from the Big House. I think not. The breaks will go the Irish’ way and the gold hats upset the Wolverines 21-17.
Final Score: Michigan 0 Notre Dame 0
(8)Miami at (24)LSU
Bbaver: Pick: Miami – I will be rooting for Joe Burrow and LSU here, but not sure if JB will be in at this point. Another good game that could go either way, but I will take the ‘Canes in a close one.
Cory: The game between Miami and LSU is another opening week gem that is expected to get a lot of attention. Miami surprised everybody last season, almost making it to the playoff under first-year coach Mark Richt. It’s reasonable to expect the Hurricanes be even better this season. On the other side is LSU, a talented team with a mediocre coach in Ed Orgeron. The Tigers are coming off a four-loss season, but one thing LSU finally has is a quarterback. Former Buckeye Joe Burrow transferred to LSU over the summer and is going to finally get a chance to lead an offense. We’ve seen enough of Burrow to know he’s a dangerous passer, but how he fares as a starter remains to be seen. Miami 31, LSU 21
Dave: LSU 21 Miami 14
Gregg: Joe Burrow finally gets his chance to start. Coach O needs a big season to keep the boosters off his back and I think the come into the season with an offense that will score more than the 27 points a game they averaged in 2017. Miami on the other hand is just an above average team. They won a few games in the beginning of the season but ended up losing their last three games. Would love to see Joe do well in his first game away from Columbus. LSU 24 Miami 20
Jason: A potential CFP elimination game takes place on the Bayou right out of the gate. The game could catapult the winner into early contender talk. LSU is still looking for a signature win under Coach Ed Orgeron and he will have that opportunity to kick off the 2018 season. LSU will likely be trotting out Ohio State grad transfer QB, Joe Burrow to lead a group of unproven offensive skill players. Defensively, LSU is loaded with a secondary that might be the best in the country. The Hurricanes, whose biggest question mark is on the offensive side of the ball, may have a difficult time moving the football against the Bayou Bengal attack. A year ago, the Cane’s struggled to keep drives alive and the LSU defense was one of the best in 3rddown conversions allowed. However, Miami and the ‘turnover chain’ can play defense too and LSU, looking to find a rhythm offensively, will find it very difficult against maybe the best group of linebackers in all of college football. This has all the makings of being a good old fashioned defensive struggle. Ultimately in games like this, I give the edge to the home team. Burrow will lead a late drive to give the Tigers a big win in the opener.
LSU 24 Miami 21
John: Personally, I thought Joe Burrow had a better skill set to fit into Urban’s offensive philosophy than Haskins, so I had hoped he would stay and compete for the starting job at Ohio State. Given that he won the starting job in Baton Rouge, it’s hard to disagree with his choice, However. Injuries suck, as I think that without the broken hand last year, Joe is starting in Columbus against Oregon State Saturday instead of Miami (He had won the backup job out of fall camp last year to back up JT). This is another “neutral site” game, but this site is a little more neutral that Washington/Auburn. I like the Tiger’s with the minor upset – LSU 27, Miami 24
Josh: I am going to pick LSU for two reasons. First, Joe Burrow is the new qb, after transferring from Ohio State, and he threatened and forced 2 qbs to leave the program. That’s how good he is, and LSU has not had a history of great quarterbacks. LSU traditionally has talent and the defensive back position, so they should challenge the speed of the Hurricanes. Second reason, and I guess another personal reason, I just don’t like the “U”. They had a successful year last year, but I think that was lightning in a bottle. Unfortunately, the talent in their division isn’t great enough to compete against them, so a loss here won’t hurt their ACC title aspirations. I would eventually like to see LSU win the SEC this year mostly because of Burrow, but to also hurt Alabama from making it 5 years in a row.
LSU 24 – Miami 14
Dr. Mark: Miami 38-35 best of the games to watch I think QB Joe has an axe to grind but ill pick the Hurricanes
Pia Pete: Miami over LSU
Coach Rick: I have Miami winning this game I personally think this will be LSU’s worse opening game loss ever.
Steven: How good can LSU be with Joe Burrow at the helm? Like Michigan, LSU has been beset by a bevy of forgettable quarterbacks over the last decade. Burrow comes into the SEC and should succeed as long as his offensive line can keep him upright. Expect a very J.T. Barrett-like performance. Joe will hit the underneath routes and let his receivers do the heavy lifting. When the read isn’t there, Joe can run, and run well. Traditionally LSU has been a very run heavy team, mostly due to the Les Miles Michigan legacy. If the present regime can get a little more creative from an offensive standpoint, the Tigers could make some noise. I like the upset. Burrow wills them to a victory in Jerryworld. GEAUX JOE!!!!! LSU 31-28
Trout: It will be exciting to see how Joe Burrow does as the LSU starting QB. He obviously has talent, but it was just didn’t work out with the Buckeyes. I think he, along with the other LSU Tiger will do well against Miami, but won’t pull off the victory. Both teams are rebuilding, but its clear that the Hurricanes are slightly ahead. I should be a relatively close game, but I think Hurricanes will start pulling away in the second half. LSU with Burrow will be better than the Tigers have been in a few years, but it wont be enough to beat Miami. (Miami, 27-21)
Vaughn: Miami may think they are back and it would good for football if they are. However, LSU addition of Joe Burrow is only going to solidify their offense with an added dimension, a capable quarterback. I still can’t give LSU and edge until I see though. Miami gets the nod here 31-20 over LSU.
Final Score: Miami 0 LSU 0
Bbaver: Troy over Boise St: Tough week to call this kind of upset, but with the upset parameter’s in place I will go Neal Brown’s Troy team to upset Boise St, a team everyone says is going undefeated. I don’t think it will actually happen, but Neal Brown may be CFB’s next big thing in terms of coaches. The Trojans hung around only losing 24-13 on the blue turf last year. This one could be interesting.
Cory: Boise State @ Troy While the game this week between Boise State and Troy won’t get as much attention as some of the other opening-week games, it should be just as exciting to watch. Everybody knows how consistently good the Broncos have been, and starting the season with a No. 22 ranking shows to expect the same success from Boise State this year. Troy is a name that is not as well known, but don’t doubt the quality of this football team. The Trojans feature a balanced offense, led by new starting running back Jamarius Henderson. Henderson averaged 7.9 yards per carry last season, and is a good pass-catcher as well. These two teams met in Boise last season, with the Broncos winning 24-13. The game this year is in Alabama, and I expect Troy to return the favor to Boise State. Troy 21, Boise State 20
Dave: Upset Tenn over WV
Gregg: #23 Texas(-13 ½) @ Maryland – I was considering a couple other games for my Upset Special, but decided to go with this game. Mostly because I want to see Tom Herman go down. The Longhorns are an obvious choice and are picked by some to win the Big 12. But they have questions a QB and the Herman game plan is very dependent on strong quarterback play to be successful. The Terps should start the year as strong as they did last year when they score 51 points in the opener which was good enough to beat Texas on the road. Maryland brings back 8 starters on offense and I think the unfortunate death of a teammate this summer may help to focus and bond as a team. This season, they hope to improve on the 4-8 season from a year ago. This would be a huge win for the Big Ten as well. Maryland 37 Texas 33
Jason: Boise State @ Troy – There are two matchups nationally that pit two defending conference champions and this one is one of those. A rematch of the game a year ago when Boise State defeated the men of Troy. This one is in Troy, who is young but talented and has something to prove against the visiting Broncos. Boise State returns nearly their entire defense along with talented QB, Brett Rypien, and the Broncos will give the Trojans an immense challenge in the opener. Troy will lean on a talented defense to bring pressure on Rypien and hope to force him to make mistakes. If Boise State has a weakness, it’s up front offensively and if Troy can get penetration, as they return 5 of their top 7 pass rushers, they could make it very difficult on the Bronco offense. A late pick will secure it and the Trojans exact a bit of revenge to get an upset, statement win as they look to get in the picture for a New Year’s six bid.
Troy 31 Boise State 28
John: San Diego State over Stanford: While there are a few intriguing matchups this week where a lower ranked team has a good shot of knocking off a higher ranked one (see Miami/LSU for an example) there aren’t too many matchups in week one where the ranked team should have much to sweat about if they are planning an unranked opponent. However, Stanford tends to be a lot like Michigan – a team the “experts’ like early every year that usually ends up 9-3 or 8-4. The Aztec’s can on occasion put a good team on the field. I’ll pick them this week to knock off the Cardinal.
Josh: FAU at Oklahoma – I think of the games that fit the criteria for the upset special, this one is the only one I could see that fit. FAU has Kiffin at the helm and the Owls had a successful season last year. Oklahoma has a new qb, who also is signed to a baseball contract. I think this one might still be an Oklahoma victory; however I think Kiffin will pull some offensive trickery and find a way to upset the Sooners at home.
FAU 24 – Oklahoma 21
Dr. Mark: Tennessee over west Virginia – 27-24
Pia Pete: Troy over Boise State
Coach Rick: Boise State @ Troy -My upset special is not much of an upset. I have Troy beating Boise State by 7 points.
Steven: Michigan State vs. Utah State – I’m pretty sure most of the games go chalk, but I’ll go with the closest game between top 25 teams and unranked opponents – Utah State puts a scare into Michigan State. MSU 33-27.
Trout: #23 Texas(-13 ½) @ Maryland – I know Maryland program is in disarray at the moment, but I have a feeling that they might pull off another upset against Texas. They are not a great team, but they showed last year that they can score some points. Not to mention that Texas is still a Rebuilding team. I think it will be close, but I see the Terrapins pulling off another upset. (Maryland, 42-41)
Vaughn: #23 Texas(-13 ½) @ Maryland – The big story in college football not revolving around coaches doing what coaches do by not being honest with the media, is the University of Maryland. In this day and age Jordan McNair’s death is unforgiveable and should have never happened. Does this lift a team up, or tear it down? I am choosing the latter. Maryland goes down hard to Tom “Peewee” Herman’s Texas squad 35-10.