Predicting All Top 25 Week 1 College Football Games Against the Spread
The time for idle speculation is over, and the time for bold predictions have come.
After all, college football is mere hours away from us.
Let's take one more look at the games the Top 25 will play in the opening week against the spread. Note that any team that doesn't have a line will not be looked at.
While most of these games aren't terribly interesting, there's a few that we've being dying to see since the 2012 BCS National Championship Game became boring.
So, what are the Week 1 picks against the spread? Read on.
Bowling Green at No. 25 Florida
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Current Spread: Florida -29.0
There's no question in my mind that Florida wins this game for two reasons:
1. This game is in The Swamp.
2. Will Muschamp and Florida have something to prove, particularly on offense. So, they won't be caught napping.
However, I'm not sure they outscore Bowling Green by 29 points. The Gators are installing a new offense under Brent Pease, and they haven't establish a clear-cut starter yet.
On the other hand, both Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel will be motivated to bring their "A" game as they are auditioning for the starting job. So, all things considered, including Florida's fantastic defense, look for the Gators to cover.
Prediction: Florida Wins and Covers the Spread.
Navy vs. No. 24 Notre Dame at Dublin, Ireland
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Current Spread: 16.0
Last time these two teams met, Notre Dame blew Navy out of the water to the tune of 56-14. However, Navy had an uncharacteristically bad year under Ken Niumatalolo last season, and Notre Dame has yet to settle on a firm starting quarterback.
Now, Navy isn't a patsy that you can figure out who your starting QB is without much of a chance of losing.
I do think that the Irish win in Ireland, but I also think that this game will be determined by 10 points or less as Notre Dame figures out their offense.
Prediction: Notre Dame Wins but Fails to Cover.
Miami (OH) at No. 21 Ohio State
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Current Line: Ohio State -23.0
There's a lot of excitement in the air in Columbus despite the fact that the Buckeyes can't win a conference championship or go to a bowl game.
Now, Miami of Ohio may be a MAC team, but they're not a bottom dweller by any means with senior QB Zac Dysert returning. The RedHawks are a bowl-bound team.
However, Meyer's re-energized Buckeyes shouldn't have trouble beating Miami (OH), but I've got a feeling that it's not by more than three touchdowns.
Prediction: Ohio State Wins But Fails to Cover.
San Jose State at No. 20 Stanford
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Current Line: Stanford -23.0
Stanford may be out of (Andrew) Luck (boy I'm going to miss making that joke...), but they're still a formidable team.
I can't say the same for San Jose State.
That being said, I think that this game is going to be a bit closer than the Cardinal would like as they figure out their offense. Stanford wins by at least two touchdowns, but not three.
Prediction: Stanford Wins But Fails to Cover.
Wyoming at No. 19 Texas
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Current Line: Texas -30.0
Texas is a quarterback away from having a run-away year, but I think this line doesn't respect Wyoming enough. After all, the Cowboys did go to a bowl game last season, and they did win eight games.
Also, Wyoming QB Brett Smith did pass for 3,332 yards as a freshman. Personally, I think that the Cowboys are one of the most underrated teams coming into 2012. Still, I don't see them beating the Longhorns in Texas, but they'll make them sweat a bit.
Prediction: Texas Wins But Fails To Cover.
Georgia Tech at No. 17 Virginia Tech
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Current Line: Virginia Tech -7.5
You can safely bet that Frank Beamer and Virginia Tech are going to get to double-digit wins. The Hokies have done that every year since they joined the ACC.
But I'm putting Virginia Tech on upset alert against Georgia Tech.
The Hokies lost a very good RB to the NFL in David Wilson. Also, the worst time to play a team that runs the triple option like Georgia Tech does is right at the beginning of the season.
Prediction: Georgia Tech Wins.
Southern Miss at No. 16 Nebraska
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Current Line: Nebraska -20.0
You know, if this was last year's Southern Miss squad, I'd definitely say that the Golden Eagles would cover the spread, and I even might have been tempted to put the Cornhuskers on upset alert.
However, both head coach Larry Fedora and QB Austin Davis aren't Golden Eagles anymore, so I see Nebraska covering the spread quickly.
A more interesting bet might be how many quarters Bo Pelini goes without chewing Taylor Martinez out.
Prediction: Nebraska Wins and Covers the Spread.
No. 14 Clemson vs Auburn at the Georgia Dome
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Current Line: Clemson -3.5
Although both of these teams share their mascot, these two sets of Tigers despise each other.
And really, these two teams have produced two thrilling games over the last two seasons, and the line indicates that this one should be another game for the ages.
I'm going with the Tigers.
Which ones, you ask?
Well, the fact that Clemson is without Sammy Watkins, I'm going with the Auburn variety.
Prediction: Auburn Wins.
No. 23 Boise State at No. 13 Michigan State
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Current Line: Michigan State -7
These two teams have an awful lot in common. Both are top-notch programs; both have head coaches that love trick plays and both are replacing their starting quarterback.
The difference, however, is that Michigan State has an experienced veteran defense while Boise State has had to rebuild on both sides of the ball. That's why I'm going with the Spartans.
Coincidentally, I'd also bet that we're going to see at least one trick play in this game.
Prediction: Michigan State Wins and Covers the Spread.
Marshall at No. 11 West Virginia
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Current Line: West Virginia -25.0
West Virginia beat Clemson by 37 in the Orange Bowl. Geno Smith is hitting on all cylinders and he's also a senior.
True, Marshall and West Virginia are neighbors, and they don't particularly like each other, but I just don't see how the Thundering Herd is going to slow down the Mountaineer offense.
Prediction: West Virginia Wins and Covers the Spread.
No. 9 South Carolina at Vanderbilt
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Current Line: South Carolina -6.5
The fact that Vanderbilt is a less than a touchdown underdog shows how much respect Vanderbilt has gotten under James Franklin as head coach.
While I also respect how much progress the Commodores have made over the last couple of years, I respect Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks more. Marcus Lattimore is back, and the Gamecocks have a killer defense, meaning that poor Vandy should lose by more than a single touchdown, even if this game is in Nashville.
Prediction: South Carolina Covers the Spread.
Buffalo at No. 6 Georgia
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Current Line: Georgia -37.5
The question here isn't whether or not Georgia can beat the spread. Really, the only question is whether or not the Bulldogs get tired of thumping poor Buffalo into the ground.
Given that this is the first game of the season, I say that Georgia doesn't get tired of thumping Buffalo and wins to the tune of 42-0 or thereabouts.
Prediction: Georgia Covers the Spread.
No. 5 Oklahoma at UTEP
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Current Line: Oklahoma -31.0
It seemed like the Sooners might have believed their own hype a bit too much last season. Landry Jones was a popular preseason Heisman Trophy candidate, and Oklahoma almost seemed to be a lock for the national championship game.
However, Landry Jones' numbers, particularly his touchdowns, took a disturbing dive when Ryan Broyles went down to injury. During that stretch, the Sooners lost to Baylor for the first time in history.
The 2012 squad, as well as Landry Jones, should be a much hungrier team after last season's disappointing performance. This is very, very bad news for UTEP.
Prediction: Oklahoma Wins and Covers the Spread.
Arkansas State at No. 4 Oregon
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Current Line: Oregon -35.5
Normally, you wouldn't look twice at a line like 35.5 between a legitimate Top Five team that has a high-powered offense and a team from the Sun Belt.
But I'm warning you. Look again.
The Red Wolves got to double-digit wins last season. Even when you play in the Sun Belt, that means you have a good team.
Does Oregon win? Yes. But do they cover the spread?
I say no.
Prediction: Oregon Wins But Fails to Cover.
North Texas at No. 3 LSU
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Current Line: LSU -42.5
I don't have LSU covering the spread here for the simple reason that even the Tigers are going to get bored of beating up poor defenseless North Texas.
We'll see if that shocks Les Miles.
Prediction: LSU Wins But Fails to Cover the Spread.
Hawaii at No. 1 USC
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Current Line: USC -40.0
With an offensive mind like Norm Chow now running things at Hawaii, I can't really see USC beating Hawaii by 40. Besides, while I am convinced that the Trojan offense is the real McCoy, I'm not quite sold on the defense yet.
Don't get me wrong. USC should still win by three touchdowns or more, but a 40-point spread is just too high.
Prediction: USC Wins But Fails to Cover.
No. 10 Michigan vs. No. 2 Alabama at Cowboys Stadium
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Current Line: Alabama -13.5
And now, the one that we've all been waiting for.
Personally, I think that this one will be much more interesting than the BCS National Championship Game was between Alabama and LSU. I can pretty much guarantee that there will be more than one touchdown.
The Alabama offense, despite losing Trent Richardson to the NFL, seems to be as strong as ever. The Alabama defense lost a whole lot of talent to the NFL, but they'll still be a top 25 and maybe even a top 10 defensive unit.
Michigan, on the other hand, has a potent offense and an OK defense.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is the difference in the game.
Prediction: Alabama Wins and Covers the Spread.