College Football Picks Week 1: Elite Programs That Will Suffer Opening Day Upset

Dan ChodosContributor IIAugust 28, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 03:  Denard Robinson #16 of the Michigan Wolverines looks to pass against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 3, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

The dust is still settling from a turbulent offseason for college football, but now the real action is about to begin.

Picking the winners for Week 1 this year can seem dizzying—Urban Meyer is at Ohio State and Charlie Weis is in Kansas? There are only 10 teams in the Big 12?

But I believe these two perennial powerhouses are in for a rough start to their seasons:


No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 8 Michigan at Dallas Cowboys Stadium

Yes, Alabama is a beast. Yes, Nick Saban is still running the show, and yes, their offensive line averages 6'4" and 315 pounds, according to via Bleacher Report

But according to that same article, the Tide will return only four starters on defense and, “The secondary could be a weakness as three starters are gone.”

That’s good news if you’re Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson. The Wolverine captain and Heisman hopeful is the type of player you just can’t game-plan for—he lead the team in both passing and rushing last year, and he could walk all over an inexperienced ‘Bama secondary.  

If you don’t believe me, listen to Mr. Saban himself. Ben Kercheval of NBC Sports reported that the Alabama coach, while answering questions at a press conference on Monday, likened Robinson to another dual threat QB who’s done pretty well for himself:


“They have as significant a player as we’ve seen since we played Cam Newton [in 2010], in terms of what he can do in a game, and how the offense is built around and features him.”

Expect Robinson to do his best Superman impression and carry the Wolverines to a Week 1 upset.


No. 24 Boise State at No. 13 Michigan State

Josh Slagter reported on via The Detroit News that Detroit Lions wide receiver Titus Young made a prediction for Friday’s game: “I expect a good game, but Boise is going to win,” he reportedly said, “I know for a fact.  Quote me.”

You got it, Titus, and I happen to agree with you.

Boise has a proud, well-documented history of beating teams they weren’t supposed to beat. They may have lost a lot of starters from 2011, including star quarterback Kellen Moore, but they still have mad scientist Chris Petersen calling the plays.

Petersen’s trademarks during his successful tenure as head coach for the Broncos have been offensive execution and using unconventional, unexpected plays. While the Spartans have a highly touted defense, it is extremely difficult to scheme against an offense that executes plays you would never expect them to run.

In addition, Boise has a new offensive coordinator this year in Robert Prince, as reported on Bleacher Report by Martin Sondermann. This will only add to Boise’s element of surprise, as their offense should look drastically different from last year’s.

With so many unknowns working in their favor, the Boise State Broncos are ready to shock the nation once again with a thrilling upset.