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College Football Prediction and Results for Every Week 1 Game

Alex CallosCorrespondent IJanuary 10, 2017

College Football Prediction and Results for Every Week 1 Game

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    From cupcake matchups to nonconference showdowns to key league battles, the first week of the college football season has it all.

    The opening weekend is a five-day extravaganza that will take over the lives of fans across the country. With the start of the NFL season still a week away, college football will take center stage with games featured Thursday through Monday night.

    But who will come out on top in some of these key contests? Which games will be the biggest blowouts and what upsets will come about during Week 1?

    Some of the key games include North Carolina vs. South Carolina, TCU vs. LSU, Georgia vs. Clemson and Alabama vs. Virginia Tech.

    Those are just a few of the games to look out for this weekend. Here is a final score prediction for each game of Week 1.

    *All times Eastern

Nevada vs. No. 21 UCLA

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    UPDATE*

    Final Score: UCLA 58, Nevada 20

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 10:00 p.m.

    There are a few interesting West Coast late games and this is certainly one of them.

    UCLA was excellent last season on its way to a 9-5 record and berth in the Pac-12 title game.

    This year expect a huge season from sophomore quarterback Brett Hundley. He will be the go-to guy on the offensive side of the ball.

    Nevada also had a solid 2012. The Wolf Pack finished 7-6 and will be led by quarterback Cody Fajardo.

    UCLA is at home, which gives the Bruins a slight edge, but it could be closer than some might expect.

    Prediction: UCLA 27, Nevada 21

No. 19 Boise State vs. Washington

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    UPDATE*

    Final Score: Washington 38, Boise State 6

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 10:00 p.m.

    This is another very intriguing late game that is actually a rematch of the Las Vegas Bowl from last season.

    Boise State came out on top 28-26 in that one. Expect the result to be a little different this year.

    Even though the Broncos come into the game nationally ranked, Washington is a slight favorite (via Vegas Insider).

    The skill players on the Huskies will be able to move the ball against a solid Boise State defense.

    This one is going to be very close, but the Huskies will come out with a late victory, thanks to the experience of quarterback Keith Price and running back Bishop Sankey.

    Prediction: Washington 24, Boise State 21

No. 22 Northwestern vs. California

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    UPDATE*

    Final Score: Northwestern 44, California 18

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 10:30 p.m.

    The final game of the evening is another excellent matchup. Northwestern goes on the road to take on a new-look California team.

    The Golden Bears are welcoming a new head coach in Sonny Dykes, as well as plenty of new skill position players.

    California only won three games last season, so it is hard to imagine it reaching a bowl game.

    But at home, the Bears could make it interesting.

    Northwestern has been getting better every season. Last year it culminated with a 10-win campaign and a bowl victory.

    Running back Venric Mark and the quarterback duo of Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian will be too much for California to handle.

    Prediction: Northwestern 31, California 20

Ohio vs. No. 9 Louisville

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    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Louisville 49, Ohio 7 

     

    When: Sunday, Sept. 1, 3:30 p.m.

    With the NFL not starting until next weekend, this game should get major viewership across the nation.

    Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is one of the Heisman favorites, but Ohio has a pair of talented players in quarterback Tyler Tettleton and running back Beau Blakenship.

    This could be closer than a lot might think. Ohio has the offensive firepower to hang with Louisville for most of the game.

    If the Bobcats can avoid turnovers and force a few, an upset is possible.

    Odds are Louisville will just have too much in the end.

    Prediction: Louisville 31, Ohio 23

Colorado vs. Colorado State

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    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Colorado 41, Colorado St. 27

    When: Sunday, Sept. 1, 6:00 p.m.

    This annual rivalry game will once again kick off the season for both teams.

    Even though both Colorado and Colorado State struggled last season, that does not take away from the rivalry that exists between these two teams.

    After four wins in 2012, the Rams might be able to improve in 2013 with a victory over Colorado in the season opener.

    Colorado only won one game last season, but it will almost certainly be much improved in 2013 under new head coach Mike MacIntyre.

    This game is going to be close, but give the slight edge to the home team.

    Prediction: Colorado State 21, Colorado 20

No. 11 Florida State vs. Pittsburgh

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    When: Monday, Sept. 2, 8:00 p.m.

    The final game of the marathon weekend comes on Monday night. The Pittsburgh Panthers make their ACC debut against a very talented Florida State team.

    Even though Pittsburgh is at home, Florida State is clearly the more talented of the two.

    This will be a good game for freshman quarterback Jameis Winston to get his feet wet for the Seminoles.

    Pittsburgh is in a bit of a rebuilding year on offense with the loss of quarterback Tino Sunseri, running back Ray Graham and wide receiver Mike Shanahan.

    It might be a long Monday night for Pittsburgh.

    Prediction: Florida State 34, Pittsburgh 10

     

Liberty vs. Kent State

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    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Kent State 17, Liberty 10

     

    When: Thursday, Aug.29, 6:00 p.m.

    Nothing like a little cupcake to start off the season. Kent State is a very talented team. The Golden Flashes won 11 games last year and bring a lot of talent back, particularly at the skill positions.

    Liberty is an FCS school that did win six games last season playing in the Big South.

    The talent of Kent State, particularly at the running back position with the likes of Dri Archer and Trayion Durham, will be way too much for the Flames to handle.

    Even with a new head coach, the Golden Flashes should roll over Liberty at home to get Paul Haynes off to a good start. 

    Prediction: Kent State 34, Liberty 13

North Carolina vs. No. 6 South Carolina

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    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: South Carolina 27, North Carolina 10

     

    When: Thursday, Aug. 29, 6:00 p.m.

    This is being touted as the most highly anticipated game of opening night, as both teams come in with a wealth of potential.

    South Carolina might be one of the best teams in the country, but North Carolina has an experienced quarterback in Bryn Renner. The Tar Heels also have enough talent to hang around, even if this game is on the road.

    Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney will be spending all day trying to get in the North Carolina backfield. If he is successful in doing so, the Gamecocks should have no trouble winning this one. If not, it could be closer than some might expect.

    Prediction: South Carolina 24, North Carolina 16

Presbyterian vs. Wake Forest

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    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Wake Forest 31, Presbyterian 7

     

    When: Thursday, Aug. 29, 6:30 p.m.

    Wake Forest struggled mightily last season, only winning five games and failing to qualify for a bowl game.

    The Demon Deacons were awful on the offensive side of the ball. They finished 116th in the country at only 18.5 points a game and were also 116th in rushing yards at 100.5 a game. While they might not be much better this season, they should be able to expose a weak Presbyterian defense.

    Presbyterian is also a member of the Big South. The Blue Hose were awful last season, winning only two games.

    Wake Forest will have no trouble rolling the Blue Hose in this one.

    Prediction: Wake Forest 38, Presbyterian 10

Indiana State vs. Indiana

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    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Indiana 73, Indiana State 35

     

    When: Thursday, Aug. 29, 7:00 p.m.

    Indiana showed some signs of improvement last season, but the Hoosiers struggled at the end of the year, finishing with a 4-8 mark.

    Head coach Kevin Wilson has enough talent coming back to win four or five games this season. One of them is almost certain to be the season opener against Indiana State.

    The Sycamores did win seven games last season as a member of the Missouri Valley Conference at the FCS level.

    With that being said, Indiana just has a little too much for this FCS squad.

    Prediction: Indiana 45, Indiana State 17

UNLV vs. Minnesota

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    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Minnesota 51, UNLV 23

     

    When: Thursday, Aug. 29, 7:00 p.m.

    Last season, Minnesota came out on top in a triple-overtime thriller. The Rebels went on to win only two games in 13 tries last season, while Minnesota finished the regular season 6-6, qualifying for a bowl game.

    This year, Minnesota is at home and should hold the slight edge in this one. The Golden Gophers have as much talent as they did last season, and it appears the Rebels are regressing.

    This one might be closer than the spread (about 14, via Vegas Insider) indicates, but Minnesota has enough talent to come out with a seven-point victory.

    Prediction: Minnesota 21, UNLV 14

Tulsa vs. Bowling Green

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    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Bowling Green 34, Tulsa 7

     

    When: Thursday, Aug. 29, 7:00 p.m.

    This is one of the more intriguing games of opening night, as two very talented teams will be battling it out. 

    Tulsa finished last season 11-3 and champions of Conference USA. The Golden Hurricane return a pair of very talented running backs in Trey Watts and Ja'Terian Douglas. The two combined for over 2,000 yards a year ago. 

    Bowling Green, on the other hand, won eight games last season, including a 6-2 mark in the very competitive MAC. 

    The Falcons are at home, so this could be very close throughout, particularly with a Bowling Green defense keen on stopping the run. The Falcons finished 10th nationally in defense last season, allowing only 16.8 points a game. 

    Prediction: Tulsa 28, Bowling Green 27

Illinois State vs. Ball State

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    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Ball State 51, Illinois State 28

     

    When: Thursday, Aug. 29, 7:00 p.m.

    Ball State is yet another very talented MAC team. The Cardinals won nine games last season and return star quarterback Keith Wenning, along with 1,400-yard rusher Jahwan Edwards and 1,100-yard receiver Willie Snead.

    Needless to say, this squad should be better on offense this season, after ranking 33rd in the nation at 33.6 points a game last year.

    Illinois State did win nine games as well last season, playing in the Missouri Valley Conference. Hanging with a team like Ball State on the road is not going to be easy, however.

    Prediction: Ball State 48, Illinois State 20

Akron vs. Central Florida

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    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: UCF 38, Akron 7

     

    When: Thursday, Aug. 29, 7:00 p.m.

    Central Florida had an excellent 2012 season, finishing the year 10-4 and Conference USA runners-up.

    The Knights will now be a part of the new American Athletic Conference and should be in the top half of the league immediately.

    Akron was awful once again last season. The Zips only managed to win one game. They finished the season near the bottom of the country in defense, allowing 35.7 points a game, ranking 107th in the nation.

    This one has blowout written all over it.

    Prediction: UCF 35, Akron 10

Southern Utah vs. South Alabama

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    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Southern Utah 22, South Alabama 21

     

    When: Thursday, Aug. 29, 7:30 p.m.

    This is undoubtedly one of the least talked about games of opening night, as two virtual unknowns go at it. 

    South Alabama was a new FBS member in 2012. The Jaguars only managed to win two games last year. It is not going to be easy in the Sun Belt in 2013.

    Southern Utah is a member of the Big Sky. The Thunderbirds did win five games last season, including a 4-4 mark in league play.

    This one could be close, but the talent of South Alabama is just slightly more than that of Southern Utah.

    Give the Jaguars the slight edge at home.

    Prediction: South Alabama 35, Southern Utah 20

Towson vs. Connecticut

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    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Towson 33, Connecticut 18

     

    When: Thursday, Aug. 29, 7:30 p.m.

    Connecticut has struggled each of the past two seasons, winning only five games in 2012.

    The Huskies do return a strong running game, led by junior Lyle McCombs. He will anchor an offense that had issues scoring points last season, averaging only 17.8 a game, ranking 121st in the nation.

    The defense was top 20 in the country, only allowing 19.8 points a game. That should be plenty enough to slow down Townson of the FCS level.

    The Tigers of the Colonial Athletic Association won seven games last season, but they will struggle to put points up against a solid Huskies defense.

    Prediction: Connecticut 31, Towson 7

Western Carolina vs. Middle Tennessee

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    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Middle Tennessee 45, Western Carolina 24 

     

    When: Thursday, Aug. 29, 7:30 p.m.

    This is another game that has not garnered a lot of hype. Middle Tennessee was a solid squad last season. The Blue Raiders finished the year 8-4 but missed out on a bowl game.

    This year, talented senior quarterback Logan Kilgore will anchor an offense that should be able to improve on the 26.6 points it averaged last season.

    That will all start with an easy matchup against Western Carolina. The Catamounts were downright awful last season, losing every game in the Southern Conference and only managing one win all season long.

    This will be ugly from the start.

    Prediction: Middle Tennessee 38, Western Carolina 13

Utah State vs. Utah

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    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Utah 30, Utah State 26

     

    When: Thursday, Aug. 29, 8:00 p.m.

    This is the first game on the list that features two in-state rivals. Utah State is clearly the better of the two teams, but taking on Utah on the road is never an easy task.

    The Utes struggled last season, battling injuries on their way to a 5-7 campaign. Utah State, on the other hand, won 11 games on its way to a WAC title. Quarterback Chuckie Keeton emerged during his sophomore campaign. He will be one of the top quarterbacks in the country by the end of the season.

    This one will be close. Even though Utah is the favorite, the Aggies are the more talented of the two teams, with a much better quarterback to lead the way.

    Prediction: Utah State 27, Utah 20

Jackson State vs. Tulane

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    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Tulane 34, Jackson State 7 

     

    When: Thursday, Aug. 29, 8:00 p.m.

    Tulane was terrible last season. The Green Wave finished the year with a 2-10 mark and near the bottom of Conference USA. They were unable to win a nonconference game, but that might not be the case this season as Jackson State kicks off the year at home.

    Jackson State did win seven games last season as a member of the SWAC (FCS). The Tigers will need to slow down the Tulane passing attack. The Green Wave struggle in most facets of the game, but pass offense is a strength.

    The Tigers also did not win a nonconference game last season, so something has to give.

    Odds are Tulane comes out on top in this one.

    Prediction: Tulane 31, Jackson State 14

Ole Miss vs. Vanderbilt

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    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Ole Miss 39, Vanderbilt 35

     

    When: Thursday, Aug. 29, 9:15 p.m.

    This is the second nationally televised game of the night on ESPN. It will follow North Carolina-South Carolina. It is also the first conference matchup of the season, as two SEC foes go head-to-head in a game that will have a huge impact for both schools.

    Vanderbilt was a major surprise last season, winning its final six games of the year to finish 9-4. Ole Miss also had an excellent campaign, finishing 7-6.

    There is a lot expected from each of these teams, as they both have as much talent as they did in 2012.

    This one will be close, but the slight edge here goes to Vanderbilt at home.

    Prediction: Vanderbilt 23, Ole Miss 20

Sacramento State vs. San Jose State

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    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: San Jose State 24, Sacramento State 0

     

    When: Thursday, Aug. 29, 10:00 p.m.

    San Jose State was another of the surprise teams in the country last season, finishing the year 11-2. The team was led by the play of quarterback David Fales. The junior-college transfer finished the season with 4,193 yards passing and 33 scores.

    He will have no problem carving up a Sacramento State defense that does not have much talent in the secondary.

    The Hornets won six games last season as a member of the Big Sky, but they will be no match for San Jose State in this one.

    Prediction: San Jose State 48, Sacramento State 14

Rutgers vs. Fresno State

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    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Fresno State 52, Rutgers 51 (OT)

     

    When: Thursday, Aug. 29, 10:30 p.m.

    This is one of the more intriguing games of opening night, as Fresno State brings back to a team that could make some serious noise in 2013.

    The Bulldogs won nine games last season, led by quarterback Derek Carr who passed for 4,104 yards and 37 scores.

    Rutgers, on the other hand, lost some very talented players, including running back Jawan Jamison early to the NFL draft. Replacing the likes of linebacker Khaseem Greene and other solid defensive players is not going to be easy either.

    Fresno State just has too much for a Rutgers team that should still be in contention for the American Athletic Conference title this season.

    Prediction: Fresno State 27, Rutgers 20

No. 24 USC vs. Hawaii

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    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: USC 30, Hawaii 13

     

    When: Thursday, Aug. 29, 11:00 p.m.

    This is the kind of game that USC could use to get the season started off on the right foot.

    The Trojans are a heavy favorite against a Hawaii squad that only won three games a year ago. While USC also struggled, it was not nearly to the extent the Warriors did.

    Even with the quarterback situation still up in the air at USC, there is no question that this is going to be a blowout from the start.

    Expect a huge night from wide receiver Marqise Lee for the Trojans.

    Prediction: USC 49, Hawaii 14

Morgan State vs. Army

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    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Army 28, Morgan State 12

     

    When: Friday, Aug. 30, 7:00 p.m.

    After 17 games on the slate for Thursday night, there are 10 more set for Friday. 

    Kicking off the night is a battle between Morgan State and Army.

    The Black Knights are coming off an awful 2-10 campaign, but Morgan State only managed three wins last season as a member of the MEAC (FCS).

    Army led the country in rushing yards per game last season at 369.8, but it struggled defensively, allowing 35.3 points a game.

    It could be a long season once again for Army, but the Black Knights have plenty of talent to take down Morgan State in the season opener.

    Prediction: Army 45, Morgan State 13

Samford vs. Georgia State

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    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Samford 31, Georgia State 21

     

    When: Friday, Aug. 30, 7:00 p.m.

    This will be the first game for Georgia State as a member of the FBS level. The Panthers are making the transition this season and have a date with Samford to get things started.

    The Panthers only won one game last season as a member of the Colonial Athletic Association, so there is plenty of room to improve.

    Samford, on the other hand, won seven games in the Southern Conference.

    Even though these two teams are playing on different levels this season, Samford appears to be the better of the two and should come out with a road victory in this one.

    Prediction: Samford 31, Georgia State 20

Western Michigan vs. Michigan State

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    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Michigan State 26, Western Michigan 13

    When: Friday, Aug. 30, 8:00 p.m.

    Michigan State will try to rebound from a 7-6 campaign in 2012. The Spartans will once again struggle to score points, particularly with the loss of star running back Le’Veon Bell to the NFL draft.

    Western Michigan did not have the season it was expecting in 2012. The Broncos finished the year 4-8 and 2-6 in the MAC.

    The Spartans are at home, and it is hard to imagine the Broncos scoring enough points to hang around with Michigan State, even if the Spartans offense is sub-par.

    Prediction: Michigan State 31, Western Michigan 7

Florida Atlantic vs. Miami (FL)

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    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Miami 34, Florida Atlantic 6

     

    When: Friday. Aug. 30, 8:00 p.m.

    All the hype surrounding the Miami Hurricanes starts on Friday night, as the Hurricanes take on in-state foe Florida Atlantic.

    There is a lot of talent on both sides of the ball for the Hurricanes. The offense will be led by sophomore running back Duke Johnson and senior quarterback Stephen Morris.

    On defense, there is youth and talent all over the place.

    Florida Atlantic struggled last season, only managing to win three games, two coming against Sun Belt teams. This one could be ugly from the start.

    Prediction: Miami 38, Florida Atlantic 10

Texas Tech vs. SMU

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    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Texas Tech 41, SMU 23

     

    When: Friday, Aug. 30, 8:00 p.m.

    This is a nationally televised ESPN game that could have huge bowl implications for both teams.

    Both Texas Tech and SMU came on strong last season to reach bowl games, but a loss in the season opener in 2013 could make it difficult to become bowl eligible.

    Texas Tech is welcoming a new head coach in Kliff Kingsbury and could be in somewhat of a transition year after finishing 8-5 in Tommy Tuberville’s final season.

    SMU finished 7-6 last season and fourth in Conference USA. Things will get a little tougher in the American Athletic Conference this year.

    The Mustangs are at home, which will help keep this one close, but the Red Raiders just have a little too much talent.

    Prediction: Texas Tech 37, SMU 28

Southern vs. Houston

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     *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Houston 62, Southern 13

     

    When: Friday, Aug. 30, 8:30 p.m.

    Houston is another new member of the American Athletic Conference. The Cougars only won five games last season as a member of Conference USA, so they better gets their wins out of conference this season.

    It all starts with a game against Southern out of the SWAC. The Jaguars only managed to win four games last season, so the Cougars should have no trouble at home.

    Offense has never been a problem for Houston, but defense will likely be an issue once again in 2013.

    Prediction: Houston 45, Southern 20

North Dakota State vs. Kansas State

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    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: North Dakota State 24, Kansas State 21

     

    When: Friday, Aug. 30, 8:30 p.m.

    The North Dakota State Bison are certainly no pushover, even for a team as talented as Kansas State.

    Last season they won 14 games on their way to their second consecutive FCS title. This season they will open the year against Kansas State.

    The Wildcats are one of the many teams trying to replace their quarterback, as Heisman Trophy finalist Collin Klein is gone.

    Kansas State is at home, but the Bison have the talent to hang around. This one is going to be much closer than the spread suggests (ranging from 13 to 17, via Vegas Insider), but Kansas State should be able to come out on top.

    Prediction: Kansas State 31, North Dakota State 24

     

Northern Arizona vs. Arizona

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     *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Arizona 35, Northern Arizona 0

    When: Friday, Aug. 30, 10:00 p.m.

    Northern Arizona finished fourth last season in the Big Sky with a 6-2 league mark. The Lumberjacks were also 8-3 overall.

    Arizona, on the other hand, had a solid season under first-year head coach Rich Rodriguez. The Wildcats finished the season 8-5 but struggled defensively, allowing 35.3 points a game.

    They will rely heavily on the run once again, as the nation’s leading rusher Ka’Deem Carey returns. He will have to carry an even heavier load with quarterback Matt Scott having moved on.

    Beating Northern Arizona will not be a problem in the opener.

    Prediction: Arizona 48, Northern Arizona 17

     

Purdue vs. Cincinnati

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    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Cincinnati 42, Purdue 7

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 12:00 p.m.

    The Bearcats and Boilermakers will both be welcoming new head coaches, as Tommy Tuberville takes over at Cincinnati and Darrell Hazell at Purdue.

    Even though it is a transition year for both teams, it appears the Bearcats are the more talented of the two.

    Cincinnati was its usual self last season, winning 10 games and a share of the Big East crown. This year the Bearcats will once again be in contention for the conference crown, but this time in the new American Athletic Conference.

    Purdue came on strong last season to win six games and qualify for a bowl. Expect this program to continue to rise, but it will not start off strong in the season opener against Cincinnati.

    Prediction: Cincinnati 31, Purdue 24

Massachusetts vs. No. 23 Wisconsin

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    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Wisconsin 45, Massachusetts 0

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 12:00 p.m.

    Massachusetts struggled big time during its first season at the FBS level in 2013. The Minutemen only managed to win one game last year, but they should be slightly better in 2013.

    Offense was the problem for UMass, as it only averaged 12.7 points a game, ranking last in the nation. Defense was not much better either, allowing 40.2 points a game, ranking 121st.

    Wisconsin, on the other hand, is one of the top rushing teams in the country. The Badgers will be able to control the game from start to finish with that rushing attack.

    After an 8-6 campaign in 2012, the Badgers should be even better this season.

    Prediction: Wisconsin 56, Massachusetts 7

Villanova vs. Boston College

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    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Boston College 24, Villanova 13

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 12:00 p.m.

    This game has all the looks of an old Big East basketball matchup. Too bad it's two teams who struggle on the football field.

    Villanova is an FCS member. The Wildcats won eight games last season as a member of the Colonial Athletic Association. Boston College, on the other hand, was downright awful once again last season. The Eagles only won two games.

    Quarterback Chase Rettig and wide receiver Alex Amidon might be the two most talented players on the field. They will be too much for Villanova to handle.

    Prediction: Boston College 34, Villanova 13

Elon vs. Georgia Tech

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    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Georgia Tech 70, Elon 0

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 12:00 p.m.

    The first game of the day on Saturday appears to have blowout written all over it.

    Georgia Tech is coming off a 7-7 season and will be welcoming a new quarterback to the fold in Vad Lee. He will lead an offense that loves to run the football.

    Elon is an FCS member out of the Southern Conference. The Phoenix only managed to win three games all of last season. No question that this one should be a lopsided affair.

    Prediction: Georgia Tech 45, Elon 7

William & Mary vs. West Virginia

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    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: West Virginia 24, William & Mary 17

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 12:00 p.m.

    West Virginia appears to be in a bit of a rebuilding mode, as the Mountaineers lost a lot of talent from last year’s squad.

    The running game will be the concentration this year with the likes of Andrew Buie, Dustin Garrison and Houston transfer Charles Sims all getting plenty of touches.

    After a 7-6 record in 2012, West Virginia might struggle to reach a bowl game in 2013.

    William & Mary only won two games last season, including one victory in the Colonial Athletic Association.

    This one could be one of the most lopsided games of the entire first week.

    Prediction: West Virginia 45, William & Mary 10

Buffalo vs. No. 2 Ohio State

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    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Ohio State 40, Buffalo 20

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 12:00 p.m.

    Ohio State appears to be one of the most complete teams in the country. The Buckeyes open up the season against Buffalo out of the MAC.

    This could be one of the biggest blowouts of the week, as Ohio State just has too much talent on the offensive side of the ball to even be slowed down by the Bison.

    Buffalo did show some improvements, winning four games last season (from three in 2011), but the Buckeyes will have no problem forcing turnovers and turning them into points.

    Prediction: Ohio State 48, Buffalo 10

Southern Illinois vs. Illinois

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    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Illinois 42, Southern Illinois 34

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 12:00 p.m.

    Southern Illinois won six games last season as a member of the Missouri Valley Conference. This year the Salukis will open up against an Illinois team that only won two games a year ago.

    Illinois was downright awful in 2012 and will be looking for a bounce-back year in 2013.

    That is not likely to happen, although the Fighting Illini should improve on the 2-10 mark assuming they get batter play from senior quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase.

    Either way, Illinois should be able to get a victory with relative ease in the season opener.

    Prediction: Illinois 35, Southern Illinois 20

Toledo vs. No. 10 Florida

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    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Florida 24, Toledo 6

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 12:21 p.m.

    Even though Florida is a top-10 team nationally heading into the season, the Gators might have their hands full in this opener against a very talented Toledo team.

    The Rockets won nine games last season and bring back some serious talent in running back David Fluellen, quarterback Terrance Owens and wide receiver Bernard Reedy.

    They have the ability to put some points on the board, but the Gators have one of the top defenses in the country. They only allowed 14.5 points a game last season, ranking fifth in the nation.

    This one is going to be a lot closer than the three-touchdown-plus spread indicates (via Vegas Insider), but Florida will just have too much defense in the end.

    Prediction: Florida 24, Toledo 20

Florida International vs. Maryland

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    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Maryland 43, Florida International 10

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 12:30 p.m.

    Maryland struggled last season, but that was mostly due to injuries at the quarterback position. The Terrapins were forced to use five different quarterbacks in 2012, and they still managed to win four games.

    If they can stay healthy, this will likely be a bowl team in 2013, led by star wide receiver Stefon Diggs.

    Florida International only won three games all year long. It could be another long season for the Golden Panthers, particularly with a very challenging nonconference slate.

    The Terrapins will just have too much in this one.

    Prediction: Maryland 28, Florida International 10

Louisiana Tech vs. North Carolina State

42 of 76

    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: North Carolina State 40, Louisiana Tech 14

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 12:30 p.m.

    Louisiana Tech was an offensive juggernaut last season, but that is not likely to be the case this year.

    The Bulldogs lost head coach Sonny Dykes to California, along with star wide receiver Quinton Patton and quarterback Colby Cameron. Running back Kenneth Dixon will likely carry the load for a team that led the country in scoring last season at 51.5 points a game.

    The Wolfpack welcome a new head coach in Dave Doeren to the fold. They will also be replacing quarterback Mike Glennon.

    Look for this game to be relatively close for a while, but NC State will pull away in the second half.

    Prediction: North Carolina State 38, Louisiana Tech 28

Rice vs. No. 7 Texas A&M

43 of 76

    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Texas A&M 52, Rice 31

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 1:00 p.m.

    This game has a lot of hype surrounding it because of Johnny Manziel.

    Texas A&M is clearly the better team here, even though Rice did win seven games last season, including a bowl victory.

    The Aggies are at home and could be a national title contender if Manziel stays on the field.

    This is a game that could be ugly from the opening kickoff, as the Rice defense, which allowed 30 points a game last season, does not appear to have the talent to hang with the Texas A&M offense.

    Manziel will not play in the first half due to a suspension, per ESPN, but that is not going to matter much.

    Prediction: Texas A&M 49, Rice 17

Colgate vs. Air Force

44 of 76

    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Air Force 38, Colgate 13

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 3:00 p.m.

    Air Force was second in the country last season in rushing yards. The Falcons finished the year averaging 316.2 yards a game on the ground, but they will have to do it this year without quarterback Connor Dietz and top running back Cody Getz. Those were the two leading rushers last season for the Falcons.

    After a 6-7 campaign in 2012, it is hard to picture Air Force doing much better in 2013.

    Beating Colgate will not be too challenging. The Raiders went a perfect 5-0 in the Patriot League last season, but they only finished 8-4 overall.

    Air Force will just have too much talent in this one.

    Prediction: Air Force 35, Colgate 7

Central Michigan vs. No. 17 Michigan

45 of 76

    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Michigan 59, Central Michigan 9

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 3:30 p.m.

    Michigan will certainly be in contention for the Big Ten title, but there are a few questions marks surrounding the Wolverines, including Devin Gardner at quarterback.

    They open the season against a Central Michigan team that won seven games last season, including a bowl victory.

    The Chippewas are led by senior running back Zurlon Tipton. Last season he rushed for 1,492 yards and 19 scores.

    If Central Michigan can control the ball, this one could be relatively close for a while.

    Michigan, however, will just have too much in the end.

    Prediction: Michigan 35, Central Michigan 20

Temple vs. No. 14 Notre Dame

46 of 76

    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Notre Dame 28, Temple 6

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 3:30 p.m.

    Notre Dame did lose a good amount of talent on both sides of the ball, as names like Tyler Eifert, Cierre Wood, Theo Riddick, Everett Golson and Manti Te’o are no longer in the mix.

    There is a lot coming back, including star defensive linemen Louis Nix III and Stephon Tuitt.

    The key to the season will likely be the play of quarterback Tommy Rees.

    Temple, on the other hand, struggled last season on its way to a 4-7 season. The Owls will also have to replace some talented running backs, including Matt Brown and Montel Harris.

    Notre Dame will just have far too much for the Owls to handle.

    Prediction: Notre Dame 35, Temple 14

Mississippi State vs. No. 13 Oklahoma State

47 of 76

    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Oklahoma State 21, Mississippi State 3

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 3:30 p.m.

    Mississippi State surprised many people by winning eight games last season and staying in the mix for the SEC title well into the season.

    The Bulldogs will be solid once again this season, led by quarterback Tyler Russell.

    Oklahoma State might have one of the best offenses in all of the land. The Cowboys were third last season at 45.7 points a game. There is a lot coming back, including wide receiver Josh Stewart.

    The Cowboys could be a sleeper in 2013 and might just be the best the Big 12 has to offer.

    Expect an Oklahoma State victory in this neutral site matchup.

    Prediction: Oklahoma State 37, Mississippi State 28

    *Game will be played at Houston's Reliant Stadium

Syracuse vs. Penn State

48 of 76

    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Penn State 23, Syracuse 17

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 3:30 p.m.

    This is another nonconference game that features two major programs.

    Syracuse is in a transition year with a new head coach, new quarterback and a brand new league.

    The Orange might struggle, particularly early in the season. Penn State clearly appears to be the better of the two teams.

    The Nittany Lions have a stud wide receiver in Allen Robinson and a talented true freshman quarterback in Christian Hackenberg, although he has not yet been named the starter.

    Penn State will just have a little too much for Syracuse to handle.

    Prediction: Penn State 24, Syracuse 17

    *Game to be played at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey

Northern Illinois vs. Iowa

49 of 76

    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Northern Illinois 30, Iowa 27

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 3:30 p.m.

    Northern Illinois shocked a lot of people last season on its way to a 12-2 season and a berth in the Orange Bowl.

    This year the Huskies bring back star quarterback Jordan Lynch. He was one of the most explosive players in the country and should have enough talent around him to handle the Iowa Hawkeyes.

    Iowa struggled mightily last season, losing its final six games on its way to a 4-8 season.

    This year could be huge for head coach Kirk Ferentz and his squad. He might find himself on the hot seat with six wins or fewer.

    This one should be very competitive from start to finish.

    Prediction: Northern Illinois 31, Iowa 27

Louisiana-Lafayette vs. Arkansas

50 of 76

    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Arkansas 34, Louisiana-Lafayette 14

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 4:00 p.m.

    Louisiana-Lafayette will not be a pushover for Arkansas. The Ragin’ Cajuns won nine games last season and finished second behind Arkansas State in a very competitive Sun Belt Conference.

    This year they welcome back junior quarterback Terrance Broadway who showed flashes last season as a sophomore.

    Arkansas has a new head coach in Bret Bielema, but he is coming off a 4-8 campaign. The middle part of the schedule is grueling for Arkansas, as a four-week stretch features the likes of Texas A&M, Florida, South Carolina and Alabama.

    This is one the Razorbacks need to get, and they most likely will. They certainly do not want a repeat of the Louisiana-Monroe game from 2012.

    Prediction: Arkansas 24, Louisiana-Lafayette 17

North Carolina Central vs. Duke

51 of 76

    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Duke 45, North Carolina Central 0

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 4:00 p.m.

    Duke was another major surprise from last season. The Blue Devils started out like a ball of fire, going 6-2 early in the year, but lost their final five games of the season to finish 6-7. Still, a bowl berth is something to be very proud of.

    The Blue Devils could be in for a long season, but they should handle North Carolina Central rather easily.

    NC Central is a member of the MEAC. The Eagles finished 6-5 last season. They will have no answer for Duke. 

    Prediction: Duke 42, North Carolina Central 14

Nicholls State vs. No. 3 Oregon

52 of 76

    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Oregon 66, Nicolls State 3

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 4:00 p.m.

    There is little doubt that this will be one of the biggest blowouts of the opening week. With the exception of possibly Alabama, Oregon might be the most talented team in the country.

    No offense possesses the weapons that Oregon does. The Ducks are one of the odds-on favorites to win the national championship.

    Nicholls State is a member of the Southland Conference. The Colonels only managed to win one game last season.

    That speaks for itself. Oregon will win this one rather handily.

    Prediction: Oregon 70, Nicholls State 7

No. 1 Alabama vs. Virginia Tech

53 of 76

    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Alabama 35, Virginia Tech 10

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 5:30 p.m.

    The key to the Virginia Tech season will likely rest on the shoulders of quarterback Logan Thomas. He struggled mightily last season as a junior but has the skill set to lead Virginia Tech to the top of the ACC in 2013.

    Alabama is clearly the favorite to win the national championship. The Crimson Tide have an excellent defense once again. Last year the group led the nation, allowing only 10.9 points a game.

    Alabama just has too much for the Hokies in this one. The Crimson Tide defense will be able to slow down Virginia Tech, and the offense, led by AJ McCarron and T.J. Yeldon, will score plenty of points to cruise to an easy victory.

    Prediction: Alabama 31, Virginia Tech 13

    *Game will be played in Atlanta at the Georgia Dome

BYU vs. Virginia

54 of 76

    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Virginia 19, BYU 16

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 3:30 p.m.

    BYU has enough talent to compete with almost anybody in the country and Virginia is going to find that out the first game of the season.

    The Cougars have one of the top receivers in the country in Cody Hoffman and one of the top linebackers in the nation in Kyle Van Noy.

    Last year the defense only allowed 14 points a game, ranking third in the country.

    Virginia, on the other hand, struggled to score points. The Cavaliers only averaged 22.8 points a game, ranking 95th in the nation.

    The Cavaliers are going to struggle to score points. It could be a long day for the Virginia offense.

    Prediction: BYU 28, Virginia 6

Howard vs. Eastern Michigan

55 of 76

    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Eastern Michigan 34, Howard 24

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 6:00 p.m.

    With the exception of Massachusetts and Akron, Eastern Michigan was the worst team in the MAC last season. The Eagles finished the year 2-10 and 1-7 in league play.

    They will begin the season against the Howard Bison out of the MEAC. Howard finished second in the league last year, winning seven games against only four losses.

    Still, the Bison do not have the talent to compete with an FBS school, even if it is Eastern Michigan.

    Expect this one to be close for a quarter or two, but the Eagles will pull away in the second half.

    Prediction: Eastern Michigan 31, Howard 17

Austin Peay vs. Tennessee

56 of 76

    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Tennessee 45, Austin Peay 0

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 6:00 p.m.

    It was certainly a struggle last season for Tennessee. The Vols only won five games, including a 1-7 mark in the SEC.

    New head coach Butch Jones will be looking to right the ship, but he is going to have to find replacements for all his skill position players.

    That is easier said than done, but against a team like Austin Peay, it certainly should not be a problem.

    The Governors were 2-9 last year and finished in last place in the Ohio Valley Conference.

    Look for a blowout win by the Vols.

    Prediction: Tennessee 49, Austin Peay 10

Eastern Washington vs. No. 25 Oregon State

57 of 76

    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Eastern Washington 49, Oregon State 46

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 6:00 p.m.

    Oregon State is one of the top teams in the Pac-12. The Beavers are coming off a solid 9-4 campaign and have a lot coming back on both sides of the ball, particularly offense.

    The Beavers should not have any trouble coming up with a huge victory over FCS school Eastern Washington.

    The Eagles were the champions of the Big Sky Conference last season and managed to finish the year 11-3, making the national semifinals.

    Still, expect a three- or four-touchdown victory for the Beavers.

    Prediction: Oregon State 42, Eastern Washington 14

McNeese State vs. South Florida

58 of 76

    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: McNeese State 53, South Florida 21

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 7:00 p.m.

    South Florida is another team that is welcoming a new head coach in Willie Taggart. He brings a winning attitude from Western Kentucky. That is certainly something the Bulls could use.

    After only winning three games last season, it will be interesting to see how the Bulls fare in 2013.

    Taking on McNeese State in the season opener is not going to be too challenging.

    McNeese State went 7-4 last year and 4-3 in the Southland Conference.

    Even with how bad South Florida has been, the Bulls will not have any trouble with the Cowboys in this one.

    Prediction: South Florida 30, McNeese State 13

Idaho vs. North Texas

59 of 76

    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: North Texas 40, Idaho 6

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 7:00 p.m.

    This might be a bit of a yawner here. North Texas was 4-8 last season, struggling mightily on the offensive side of the ball.

    Idaho was 1-11 and one of the worst teams in the country. The Vandals are not going to be able to hang with North Texas all day, but they have enough to make it close in the first half.

    Either way, not too many people are going to be tuned into this one.

    Prediction: North Texas 31, Idaho 23

Arkansas Pine Bluff vs. Arkansas State

60 of 76

    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Arkansas State 62, Arkansas Pine Bluff 11

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 7:00 p.m.

    Arkansas State won 10 games last season on its way to a Sun Belt title. The Red Wolves will once again be one of the top teams in that league in 2013.

    They do have some key players to replace, including star quarterback Ryan Aplin, but that should not be a problem against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

    The Golden Lions went 10-2 last season and 8-1 in the SWAC. It should be another successful season for the Golden Lions, but they do not have nearly enough to compete with the Red Wolves.

    Prediction: Arkansas State 34, Arkansas Pine Bluff 13

Texas State vs. Southern Miss

61 of 76

    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Texas State 22, Southern Miss 15

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 7:00 p.m.

    Texas State won four games last season during its first season at the FBS level. Southern Miss, on the other hand, was the only FBS team to go winless all season long.

    The season opener against Texas State might give Southern Miss a chance to pick up that elusive victory.

    The Golden Eagles are at home, which gives them a slight advantage.

    Prediction: Southern Miss 21, Texas State 20

Murray State vs. Missouri

62 of 76

    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Missouri 58, Murray State 14

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 7:00 p.m.

    Missouri struggled to a 5-7 mark in 2012, but a lot of that had to do with the injury to quarterback James Franklin, as well as the transition to the SEC.

    This year head coach Gary Pinkel and his squad should be a little more prepared.

    Whether they are prepared should not matter against Murray State.

    The Racers only won five games last season and finished sixth in the Ohio Valley Conference (FCS).

    This one should be a blowout from the beginning.

    Prediction: Missouri 48, Murray State 13

Louisiana-Monroe vs. No. 16 Oklahoma

63 of 76

    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Oklahoma 34, Louisiana-Monroe 0

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 7:00 p.m.

    Everybody remembers what Louisiana-Monroe did last season in the opener against nationally ranked Arkansas. That turned out to be not too impressive of a win by the end of the season, but the Warhawks certainly made a name for themselves during that contest.

    This year, the Sooners better be ready, particularly with freshman quarterback Trevor Knight making his collegiate debut.

    The Warhawks welcome back quarterback Kolton Browning. He is the engine of that offense. If he can avoid turnovers and take care of the ball, Louisiana-Monroe will be able to hang around for a while.

    The Sooners offense will prove to be too much to handle in the end.

    Prediction: Oklahoma 38, Louisiana-Monroe 20

Miami (OH) vs. Marshall

64 of 76

    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Marshall 52, Miami 14

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 7:00 p.m.

    Miami lost a lot of talent on offense. Star quarterback Zac Dysert is now with the Denver Broncos and stud wide receiver Nick Harwell transferred to Kansas.

    That is not good news for a Miami team that only managed to win four games last season with those players.

    Marshall was not much better. The Thundering Herd finished 5-7 and 4-4 in Conference USA. They do possess one of the best pure passers in the country in junior Rakeem Cato.

    Cato threw for 4,201 yards and 37 touchdowns last season as Marshall led the nation at 365.1 passing yards a game.

    Expect Marshall to win big in this one.

    Prediction: Marshall 38, Miami 20

Washington State vs. Auburn

65 of 76

    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Auburn 31, Washington State 24

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 7:00 p.m.

    This is one of the more interesting games of the day, as two teams that struggled mightily in 2012 square off to begin the 2013 season.

    Washington State was 1-8 in the Pac-12 last season and 3-9 overall under first-year head coach Mike Leach.

    Auburn, on the other hand, was only 3-9 as well, but it did not win a single SEC game.

    Washington State was dead last in the country in 2012 when it came to rushing yards. The Cougars only averaged 29.1 yards a game.

    If Auburn can hold them close to that, it is going to be a long day for the Cougars against first-year head coach Gus Malzahn and his Tigers.

    Prediction: Auburn 27, Washington State 20

Old Dominion vs. East Carolina

66 of 76

    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: East Carolina 52, Old Dominion 38

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 7:00 p.m.

    East Carolina is a team that is not afraid to throw the football around a little bit. The Pirates finished third last season in Conference USA, going 8-5 overall and 7-1 in league play.

    Quarterback Shane Carden should bring big things on offense once again for this squad.

    They start off the season against an Old Dominion team that is in the process of transitioning to the FBS level.

    The Monarchs won the Colonial Athletic Association last year, finishing 11-2 overall and 7-1 in league play. They also will be playing five FBS schools this season.

    It should be an interesting one, but the Monarchs do not have quite enough to hang with the Pirates.

    Prediction: East Carolina 34, Old Dominion 20

UAB vs. Troy

67 of 76

    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Troy 34, UAB 31

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 7:00 p.m.

    Neither of these teams was very impressive last season. Troy struggled to a 5-7 campaign, including 3-5 in the Sun Belt.

    UAB was only 3-9 with a 2-6 mark in Conference USA.

    The schedule for these teams is not very easy, so if either has bowl aspirations, it is going to need to win this game.

    This is one that could certainly go either way. Troy appears to be the slightly better team with quarterback Corey Robinson leading the way.

    Prediction: Troy 21, UAB 17

Kentucky vs. Western Kentucky

68 of 76

    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Western Kentucky 35, Kentucky 26

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 7:00 p.m.

    Western Kentucky pulled off the upset last year on a two-point conversion in overtime. This year the Wildcats will be looking for revenge.

    Odds are they are going to get it.

    Kentucky is at home, and it is also the debut of new head coach Mark Stoops. That is a good combination, even going up against a Western Kentucky team that won seven games last season and also welcomes back one of the top running backs in the nation in Antonio Andrews.

    Expect a solid outing and victory from Kentucky.

    Prediction: Kentucky 28, Western Kentucky 20

    *Game will be played in Nashville

Wofford vs. Baylor

69 of 76

    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Baylor 69, Wofford 3

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 7:30 p.m.

    Wofford always seems to have a solid program at the FCS level, but it is going to take a miracle to slow down the rushing attack of Baylor and knock off the Bears.

    Last season Wofford was 9-4, finishing in a three-way tie for first place in the Southern Conference.

    This year Baylor will have a new quarterback in Bryce Petty, but talented running backs Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin return to form one of the top backfields in the nation.

    There's no question that the Bears will be putting some points up in this one.

    Prediction: Baylor 45, Wofford 14

UTSA vs. New Mexico

70 of 76

    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: UTSA 21, New Mexico 13

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 8:00 p.m.

    New Mexico showed some improvements last season, winning four games (a three-win improvement from 2011) and getting better on both sides of the ball.

    There is still a long way to go for the Lobos, but they should be able to beat UTSA.

    UTSA was playing its first season at the FBS level in 2012 and won eight games against a very weak schedule. This season it will be more challenging playing in Conference USA.

    Either way, the slight edge here goes to New Mexico at home.

    Prediction: New Mexico 26, UTSA 20

Northern Iowa vs. Iowa State

71 of 76

    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Northern Iowa 28, Iowa State 20

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 8:00 p.m.

    Iowa State managed to win six games once again last season and qualify for a bowl game. This year might be a little more of a challenge with linebackers Jake Knott and A.J. Klein no longer in the mix.

    Starting off the season against a team like Northern Iowa should allow the Cyclones to come out with a victory.

    Northern Iowa has had some solid teams over the years, but it struggled to a 5-6 campaign in 2012 as a member of the Missouri Valley Conference.

    Look for Iowa State to run away in this one.

    Prediction: Iowa State 27, Northern Iowa 14

New Mexico State vs. No. 15 Texas

72 of 76

    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Texas 56, New Mexico State 7

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 8:00 p.m.

    Texas might be as talented as it has been in quite some time. The Longhorns kick off the season against New Mexico State.

    The Aggies only won one game last season. Needless to say, it could be a long night for the Aggies.

    Texas should have no problem rolling through New Mexico State in this one.

    Prediction: Texas 52, New Mexico State 7

Wyoming vs. No. 18 Nebraska

73 of 76

    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Nebraska 37, Wyoming 34

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 8:00 p.m.

    Nebraska might have the most explosive offense in the Big Ten if quarterback Taylor Martinez can avoid turnovers.

    With the being said, the defense could use some work after allowing 27.6 points a game last season.

    Either way, beating Wyoming is not going to be an issue early on.

    The Cowboys only won four games last season, finishing 3-5 in the Mountain West Conference.

    The Nebraska offense will just have too much at home for Wyoming.

    Prediction: Nebraska 48, Wyoming 17

Eastern Illinois vs. San Diego State

74 of 76

    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Eastern Illinois 40, San Diego State 18

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 8:00 p.m.

    San Diego State is one of the many talented teams near the top of the Mountain West Conference.

    The Aztecs won nine games last season and finished 7-1 in the Mountain West.

    This year it could be much of the same, as they begin the season against an overmatched Eastern Illinois program.

    The Panthers only finished 7-5 last season, but won the Ohio Valley Conference (FCS) with a 6-1 mark in league play.

    Still, this one is not likely to be close.

    Prediction: San Diego State 38, Eastern Illinois 17

No. 5 Georgia vs. No. 8 Clemson

75 of 76

    *UPDATE*

    Final Score: Clemson 38, Georgia 35

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 8:00 p.m.

    There is no question that this is the marquee game of the week. Two of the top 10 teams in the country are going head-to-head on national television.

    Georgia is an all-around juggernaut. The Bulldogs are loaded offensively with a backfield featuring Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. Quarterback Aaron Murray is also one of the best in the nation.

    Clemson has a talented offense as well, led by quarterback Tajh Boyd. If junior wide receiver Sammy Watkins can return to his freshman season form, Clemson could be a national title contender.

    Problem is, the Tigers have to get by Georgia first.

    Prediction: Georgia 24, Clemson 21

No. 12 LSU vs. No. 20 TCU

76 of 76

    *Update*

    Final Score: LSU 37, TCU 27

    When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 9:00 p.m.

    This is also one of the more intriguing games of the first week. Both teams are ranked in the top 20 nationally and it will be an excellent gauge as to just how talented these teams really are.

    There are a lot of questions surrounding both teams, particularly on offense, but the defenses of both are likely to be strong once again.

    It could come down to who wins the turnover battle. Whoever does that is likely to come out on top.

    Expect a close game throughout with LSU coming out with the victory.

    Prediction: LSU 24, TCU 20

    *Game will be played at Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, TX

     

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