The countdown has begun, as August 30th is upon us. The day some of us have been waiting for since Alabama claimed its 5th National Championship under Nick Saban. With the college season quickly approaching, I figured it was time to give you my top 5 games for week 1. It’s my world you’re just reading about it. Let’s get this show on the road!
#5: UCF(#21) at UCONN
This will be the most interesting game to watch on the opening night of College Football, this Thursday. Not because it will be close, it won’t. It’s going to be an absolute blowout in favor of the Knights. What will be interesting to watch is how new head coach Josh Huepel handles taking over the reigns of this vastly talented offense. Last season Huepel made Drew Lock look like a starting NFL QB at Mizzou and he should be able to do the same for McKenzie Milton. All eyes will be on the self-proclaimed National Champions and I suspect they will show up for this game.
Last year UCF won this matchup at home 49-24. This year the game will be played in Connecticut and the spread is UCF (-23.5). I believe UCF is very capable of covering and I’d put my money on it. The game will be played on ESPNU on Thursday, August 30th at 7pm.
My prediction: UCF 52, UCONN 21
#4: Louisville vs Alabama (#1)
The Camping World Kickoff in Orlando Florida is probably going to be a blowout, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be fun to watch. It will be Alabama’s first game back since winning it all for a 5th time under Saban, and Louisville’s first game in the post-Lamar Jackson Era. As tempting as this matchup against Louisville seems, we should pump the breaks. Bama comes into this game with QB uncertainties and practically a brand new defensive unit. I’m not saying Louisville is going to win but I don’t think it will be as much of a blowout as the spread predicts. The Cardinals are bringing back a load of offensive starters including what will be a top 5 receiving core when the season is all over. If they can ease Jawon Pass into the game and keep it within 2 scores entering the 4th, this game could get more interesting than Saban would want.
The spread sits at a whopping -24 for Alabama. If I was a gambling man I’d take the +24 for Louisville in hopes they can keep it to a two to three score game. Mama will start slow, it depends on if the Cardinals can jump on the Tide early. The game will be played on Saturday, September 1st at 8:00pm on ABC.
My Prediction: Louisville 21, Alabama 38
#3: Michigan (#14) at Notre Dame (#12)
This is an intriguing matchup for both teams hoping to improve from last season. On one hand, Michigan (My National Champion pick) is hoping new transfer QB Shea Patterson will be the answer to their prayers. If Patterson can stay healthy, Michigan has every right to believe they can win it all this season. They tout what will be a Top 5 defense again this season and plenty of weapons for Shea to choose from. On the other hand, you have a Notre Dame team that rode on the hype train last season until the first quarter of their game against my beloved Hurricanes. They were quickly exposed as the slow and underwhelming team they had actually been all year up to the point. The Irish feature not one but two below average starting QBs, a slow defense and young offensive line. Oh and did I mention they lost their best receiver to the NFL this year? This game will have a high viewer rating because it’s a night game in South Bend and the atmosphere will be crazy… for at least a half.
The line is currently at Notre Dame -1 which means Vegas doesn’t have much faith in the Irish at home. I expect the game will be close for a half due to the crowd that will show up to South Bend, but Michigan should be able to pull away as the far superior team. The game will be played on Saturday, September 1st at 7:30pm on NBC.
My prediction: Michigan 34 , Notre Dame 20
#2: Washington (#6) vs Auburn (#4)
The Chick-Fil-A Kickoff game at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta should be electric this year. Both teams will be vying for a playoff spot this year and return most of their key starters from last season. Headlining for Washington will be Senior QB Jake Browning. I would rank this game at #1 but it really only matters for one team. Yes winning would be nice, but Auburn plays in the SEC. They lose to Washington, but beat Alabama and win the SEC and they’re in no questions asked. If Washington loses I can’t see a way in for them given how weak the Pac-12 is and has been in past years. I expect the game to be close but I think Auburns size and experience on defense will be enough to start the season off right for Gus Malzahn.
At the moment the spread is practically at a push with Auburn sitting at -2.5. I expect Auburn to cover this spread and win by at least a touchdown in Atlanta. The game will be played on Saturday, September 1st at 3:30pm on ABC.
My Prediction: Washington 13, Auburn 24
#1: Miami (#8) vs LSU (#25)
The Turnover Chain in Jerry’s World on Sunday Night against the SEC? Sign me up. This game sits at #1 on my list not just because of my bias towards those Orange and Green jerseys, but
The line sits at -3.5 for Miami which I think is fair as Miami may just be ranked too high at #8. This game should be very physical and fun to watch for both teams fans. However, if Miami starts bringing that chain out of it’s box it could be a long night for the Tigers. The game will be played on Sunday, September 2nd at 7:30pm on ABC.
My Prediction: Miami 31, LSU 17
UPSET OF THE WEEK
FAU OVER OKLAHOMA! I’m sticking to my word on this one. I think Lane Tiffin has his guys prepared with a fun and wild game plan to keep them loose on the road and they will give OU more than it can handle. Having to break in a new QB in any situation isn’t fun and Kyler Murray will struggle at home against an underrated FAU defense. The spread sits at -21 for Oklahoma. The game will be played on Saturday, September 1st at Noon on Fox.
My Prediction: FAU 27, Oklahoma 24