College Football Predictions Week 1: Picks for Biggest Games of Opening Week

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 1, 2012

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 04:  Tajh Boyd #10 of the Clemson Tigers looks to pass against the West Virginia Mountaineers during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 4, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

After the college football season got underway during the week, the action will really pick up on Saturday with teams around the nation looking to start on a positive note. The first Saturday of games features a couple high-profile battles.

Here's a look at some of the most anticipated games of the Week 1 schedule with predictions for which teams will come out on top. Even though it's only the first week, college football fans have come to learn exactly how important every game can be.

Michigan vs. Alabama

Alabama, the defending national champions, don't open with a cupcake opponent from a lower division. The Crimson Tide start their title defense with one of the toughest tests they will face all season. There's obviously risks involved with a tough Week 1 game, but it's also a chance to make a statement.

Even though Alabama enters the game with an advantage in overall talent, Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson serves as the great equalizer. When he's playing at his peak, he becomes a matchup nightmare, even for the Tide defense.

The first Michigan drive on offense will set the tone. If Alabama can get a quick stop, the momentum will shift significantly in its favor. If the Wolverines put points on the board, there's a good chance fans are in for a classic.

Prediction: Alabama

Clemson vs. Auburn

Clemson started last season with eight straight victories, thanks in large part to the dynamic playmaking ability of quarterback Tajh Boyd. After struggling at times in the second half of last season, Boyd must return to form for the Tigers to start this season with a victory.

His counterpart, Kiehl Frazier, is taking over the reigns of the Auburn offense. That should give Clemson an advantage at the position, but the X-factor is running back Onterio McCalebb. If he plays well enough, Frazier won't have to dominate.

When you consider the defensive edge Auburn should have, it basically becomes a toss-up game. And when the margin between two teams is razor thin like that, leaning toward the better quarterback is usually the way to go.

Prediction: Clemson

Notre Dame vs. Navy

Since there are a limited number of games pitting two top teams against each other, the Notre Dame and Navy rivalry will get a chance to shine. Adding a little extra intrigue to the game is the fact it will take place overseas in Ireland.

As always, hopes are high in South Bend with a new season set to begin. Few teams in the country have more pressure on a yearly basis than the Fighting Irish. If they want to start on a winning note, they'll have to do it without suspended running back Cierre Wood.

It shouldn't be a major issue, though. Notre Dame's defense should be well-versed in stopping Navy's triple option offense and Theo Riddick will pick up the offensive slack. With tougher games on the horizon, the Irish should build some early momentum with a win.

Prediction: Notre Dame