1. Alabama vs. Virginia Tech (Atlanta) Saturday, 5th
Bama will come in ticked off after the way they finished last year and will look to open the year with another win against an ACC power.
Meanwhile, the Techsters hope to get their first of two wins in Atlanta this year. Their offense is still lackluster and will not have much to cheer for against a strong Alabama defense.
I see Alabama winning this one, but it will not be the beat-down they put on Clemson a year ago.
2. Oregon at Boise St. Thursday, 3rd
Oregon brings in new coach Chip Kelly and a highly rated team. Boise St. has the same coach, and the same preseason expectations (lots of wins).
Oregon poses a huge threat to Boise's marvelous home record, and I do not see them missing a beat with their new coach. The game will go down to the wire with the Ducks prevailing on the smurf turf.
Sorry Boise, no BCS this year.
3. Georgia at Oklahoma St. Saturday, 5th
Georgia opens up the season with a buzz-saw of a game against the "something to prove" Cowboys. This game gives Oklahoma St. a chance to show the world they are for real.
The vaunted SEC against the high octane Big 12.
Should be fun.
A tone-setter for both teams.
I think Oklahoma St. will be too much for the travelling bulldogs. The Cowboys get revenge and win by 10 points.
4. Oklahoma vs. BYU (Arlington) Saturday, 5th
The Sooners and Cougars clash in an intriguing battle just west of Dallas.
Intriguing, but not competitive.
Oklahoma will bring in another "NFL, here we come" roster, and BYU will bring in a team that just can't quite reach the top of the mid-major pedestal (Boise St., Utah). This year's Cougars are not 2005's Boise St.
Oklahoma in a romp.
5. Miami at F.S.U. Monday, 7th
Talk about a way to begin ACC play.
The 'Canes and the 'Noles meet on opening week for the first time, and it should be a doozy. While they are not your papa's Hurricanes, Miami has great potential with a vast array of young talent.
Florida St. is in the same boat, but there seems to be too many question marks on and off the field. Miami delivers the first knockout of F.S.U.'s season by a field goal.
6. Cincinnati at Rutgers Monday, 7th
Early season game goes a long way to determine the Big East, even though W. Virginia may have something to say about that. The Bearcats look to build on their first Big East title against a Rutgers team that won't go away.
The Scarlet Knights need to fill their offensive puzzle pieces quick, but "the Naty" will not give them the opportunity.
Cincinnati by a Bearcat whisker.
7. Illinois vs. Missouri (St. Louis) Saturday, 5th
Though not as big a game as last year's, this highly charged matchup will still provide some fireworks. Illinois will come in as the favorite this year as they look to keep progressing.
Missouri might not be as good as years, but they shouldn't fall off too far. We'll see if they can reload instead of rebuild. If Illinois cannot beat Missouri this year, I'm not sure I'll ever see it happen.
Illini by two Juice Williams' touchdowns.
8. South Carolina at N.C. St. Thursday, 3rd
N.C. St. tries to prove they are a rising, formidable program against a rugged SEC opponent. The Wolfpack are making strides even though their record has not indicated that.
South Carolina continues to muddle through the SEC with their Hall of Fame coach. At this point, I can't figure this team out, but I know N.C. St. is going somewhere.
That's why I like the Wolfpack in a close one.
9. Maryland at California Saturday, 5th
Maryland is not a great team.
Heck, they may not even be a good team, but they often offer some surprises so California better not take them lightly.
Will this finally be the year Cal gets to a BCS game?
They need to take care of business and this game should be a decent quiz before the big tests lie ahead. California opens with a convincing W as the Bears roll.
10. Baylor at Wake Forest Saturday, 5th
Baylor hopes to get some revenge after a bad defeat at home to the Demon Deacons last year. Wake Forest looks to build on their best string of success with a sneaky good matchup against the Bears.
It won't be the most watched game of the weekend, but it will be a hard fought contest. Wake will make it back to back wins against Baylor, winning by the number of bowls they have competed in, nine.