It's Week One, and traditionally, that means there is a slate of FCS vs FBS snooze- fests that will bore even the staunchest college football fan. But this year actually has some sweet deals as far as match-ups go.
While there isn't exactly a slew of top 25 matchups, there are a good amount of games between teams that have intriguing story lines headed into the season. And as we all know, the best part of Week One is answering questions, and then thinking up new ones to ask.
Minnesota @ Middle Tenn St
This could be Gophers head coach Tim Brewer's final swan song in Minneapolis and the team is going to need to show some strides. But they are starting on the road against an MTSU squad that won 10 games last year and has a wealth of returning talent. This could be a problem for the Gophers, but it should be an interesting game.
My guess is that even without All-Sun Belt QB Dwight Dasher due to suspension, the Blue Raiders have enough firepower and home field advantage to keep the Gophers at bay.
My Pick: Minnesota 18 MTSU 31
Marshall @ Ohio St.
This is only the second time these two teams have played each other. Weird considering there are only 140 miles between the campuses. But here they are ready to square off. Now, this game is not an intriguing one because it might be close. Marshall would be lucky to score 20 points, but there are a few things to look for in this game.
Can Terrelle Pryor keep the momentum going from the Rose Bowl game? Can he begin to put the passing game together? There is someone the Herd have that you need to keep an eye on: LB Mario Harvey. He is a NFL talent, and if you want to look smart to your friends, watch this guy and tell them about him now, so that when the Mel Kipers are raving about him come March and April you will have the admiration of your peers.
My Pick: Marshall 3 Ohio State 38
Southern Miss @ South Carolina
You know, at some point you have to wonder if it will ever be the Gamecocks' "year." This year has their chance written all over it, except they cannot even get out of the gates with a consistent QB. Everything else is pretty much in place, with Florida kind of rebuilding, and Georgia not quite there yet. But somehow, there is always something keeping South Carolina back, and in this early season matchup they have a stout opponent.
Southern Miss has an All-SEC caliber WR in DeAndre Brown, and a QB in Austin Davis who can get him the ball. Defensively, if South Carolina is having problems on the OL then leave it to DE Cordarro Law and NT Anthony Gray to make sure whoever is playing QB for the Gamecocks is going to have a long night.
My Pick: Southern Miss 17 South Carolina 28
Pitt @ Utah
An old Fiesta Bowl rematch. Pitt is finally in the driver's seat by themselves in the preseason Big East hype. But it comes down to how well new QB Tino Sunseri can play. He has the tools around him to push a dominant attack, but he needs to be able to grip the reigns of the offense.
Luckily he can lean on RB Dion Lewis in the beginning of the season. The problem is that Utah has a stout DL that can slow Lewis just enough to keep this game close. On the flip side, Utah's sophomore QB Jordan Wynn is ready to take his game to the next level. He has two good RB's in Matt Asiata and Eddie Wide to keep the Pitt defense balanced and keep All-World DE Greg Romeus off of him.
My Pick: Pitt 24 Utah 20
USC @ Hawaii
Hawaii will not come close to USC, but it will be interesting to see how USC comes out. There has not been this much "us-against-the-world" mentality since the beginning of the Pete Carroll days, which ironically, Lane Kiffin was there for.
This seems like the same kind of chemistry year that 1993 Auburn had when they went undefeated. It would be nice to see Matt Barkley becomes more of a play-maker.
RB Marc Tyler is poised to make a serious run for all-conference honors. The most interesting story is that of sophomore LB Devon Kennard. He has taken the MLB spot from preseason all-conference pick Chris Galippo. If Kennard is as good as advertised, this could be the beginning of a very very very very good Trojan defense will Monte Kiffin running it.
My Pick: USC 45 Hawaii 10