Week One is less than two weeks away. Let's go! How about some early picks for the first full weekend of games?
My winning percentage last year was 55%, the year before that it was a shade under 60%. That's good enough to be a professional sports bettor.
Week One is always the most difficult to pick as you don't know what to expect from teams early in the year, and frankly, you don't even know how good individual teams will perform. As a rule of thumb, defense rules early in the year, while most offenses getting humming about mid-year.
I tend to like dogs and you will see that general theme to my picks. This week is certainly no different!
South Florida +13.5 vs. Wisconsin
Give me a very underrated South Florida team at home in the heat and humidity over an overrated Wisconsin team. I think Wisconsin will eke out a win, but South Florida getting 13.5 points is just too tempting. Bucky the Badger prevails in a thriller 28-24.
Nevada +10 vs. Purdue
Another Big Ten team opening on the road as a heavy favorite. As Lee Corso says, "not so fast, my friend!" This will be a close game in Reno, with the Boilermakers outlasting the Wolfpack 41-38 in OT.
Oregon State +15.5 vs Oklahoma State
Another dog! Oregon State Head Coach Jonathan Smith is one of the brightest offensive minds in college football and he will match wits with veteran offensive guru Mike "the mullet" Gundy. Oregon State was quietly a very improved team last fall and that progression will continue in year 2 of the Smith regime.
This will be a fun game, likely one of the most entertaining of the opening weekend. The Pokes will outscore the Beavers in Corvallis 48-41.
Northwestern +6.5 vs Stanford
These are two of the best-coached teams in America. Pat Fitzgerald is great against the spread and these teams are very similar. K.J. Costello vs Hunter Johnson may be the best-quarterbacked game in week one. This will be a field goal game. Stanford 20, Northwestern 17.
Auburn vs. Oregon - Under 57
As I said, defenses tend to win out generally early in the year. We saw what has happened to Oregon when they play physical SEC defenses, the results aren't good for the Ducks. Meanwhile, Auburn will be breaking in a new quarterback(s) with either Joey Gatewood or Bo Nix. This will be a low scoring affair similar to Auburn's game with UDub last year. Auburn squeaks by the Ducks 23-20.
Florida State -5 vs. Boise State
This is being a contrarian gambler. While most will be bearish on Florida State after a bad year they will take the Broncos. I just don't think FSU can play any worse than they did last year and they will be extra motivated to prove the critics wrong out of the gate. Noles cruise over the Broncos 31-20.
North Carolina vs. South Carolina - Under 63
Again, take the defenses and unders in these early season games, you won't be disappointed. North Carolina will be breaking in a new quarterback and new offensive system, meanwhile, South Carolina is stuck in the mud offensively. If the over/under were 53 I'd be taking the under. South Carolina prevails 23-13.