College Football Week 1 Picks: Top-Ranked Teams in No Danger of an Upset
In most cases, the first weekend of college football is all about the heavy hitters staking their claims over incredibly undermatched opponents.
There are always a few exceptions—most notably, this season, No. 8 Michigan will face No. 2 Alabama in the season-opener—but for the most part, the teams worthy of BCS contention will slide through this weekend without a hitch.
Here's a glance at some of the teams that will have no trouble getting that first W in the first attempt.
No. 1 USC
Now that the Trojans' postseason ban has ended, they're gunning to reassert themselves as one of the most formidable opponents in college football. Given the facts that Matt Barkley is back for another year and that the team's rushing attack improved tenfold when Silas Redd defected from Penn State, there's no reason to believe USC is in any danger this weekend.
There's also the fact that Hawaii isn't a team that has given USC much trouble in the past. The last time these two teams faced each other in the 2010 season opener, USC won handily, 49-36.
Last year, USC—which finished 10-2—was already very strong. Somehow, in the course of one offseason, they've gotten infinitely stronger. Hawaii doesn't stand a chance.
No. 3 LSU
Facing: North Texas
There's nothing like facing a Sun Belt team in the season-opener to help last season's BCS runner-up get off on the right foot. LSU—which earned the top ranking in the Coaches' poll but sits at third in the AP—got the luck of the draw with its first opponent.
Last season, North Texas went 5-7 overall and 4-4 in Sun Belt play. The Mean Green (yes, their real name) played just one ranked opponent in 2011—and endured a humiliating 41-0 loss to Alabama—and also dropped games to the likes of Louisiana-Lafayette and Arkansas State.
LSU, meanwhile, looked conclusively like the strongest team in the nation before being shut out in the national championship for its first loss of the season. Now, it will be looking to take out any lingering anger upon the Mean Green.
No. 19 Oklahoma State
Facing: Savannah State
The Cowboys needed an opponent like Savannah State to open the 2012 season.
Which team will have the easiest time getting a win on Saturday?
After losing two of its most potent offensive weapons—Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon—to the NFL draft, this bodes to be a year of transition for Oklahoma State. Last year, Weeden threw for 4,727 yards and 37 touchdowns, and he was just as prolific the year earlier—with a lot of help from Blackmon, no doubt.
Blackmon, the top-rated receiver in this year's draft, contributed 1,522 yards and 18 touchdowns, helping the Cowboys to a 12-1 record. However, most likely, this season isn't going to be like that. This season is going to be about forging a new identity, and as the Cowboys take their first crack at finding out what that identity is, Savannah State—which won a single game in 2011—is the perfect guinea pig.
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