Kickoff Weekend: Week 1 Predictions for Every FBS Team

Casey RobbinsContributor IJune 5, 2011

Kickoff Weekend: Week 1 Predictions for Every FBS Team

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    COLUMBIA, SC - OCTOBER 30:  A general view of a kick-off between the Tennessee Volunteers and South Carolina Gamecocks during their game at Williams-Brice Stadium on October 30, 2010 in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Screw the preseason polls. They're little more than opinions designed to fulfill some team and conference's "destiny" of becoming the "national champion" or at least a contender.

    Instead, I'm going to go out on a limb and predicting every game for Week 1 well before those pesky preseason polls come out.

    Instead of boring everybody with 50 or 60-something slides, I will consolidate as much as I can on matchups that should be easy wins for some teams.

    And then I'll include a few slides of close games and upset alerts. The two marquee matchups that will occur in Week 1 will get a slide.

    Up first, the easy games.

The Easy Games

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    NORMAN, OK - NOVEMBER 22:  A general view of the scoreboard after the Oklahoma Sooners defeated the Texas Tech Red Raiders 65-21 at Memorial Stadium on November 22, 2008 in Norman, Oklahoma.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Thursday Sept. 1, 2011

    Mississippi State at Memphis: MISSISSIPPI STATE

    South Carolina State at Central Michigan: CENTRAL MICHIGAN

    Western Carolina at Georgia Tech: GEORGIA TECH

    North Carolina Central at Rutgers: RUTGERS

    Montana State at Utah: UTAH

    UNLV at Wisconsin: WISCONSIN

    UC Davis at Arizona State: ARIZONA STATE

    Western Kentucky vs. Kentucky: KENTUCKY

    Murray State at Louisville: LOUISVILLE

    Friday Sept. 2, 2011

    Youngstown State at Michigan State: MICHIGAN STATE

    TCU at Baylor: TCU

    Saturday Sept. 3, 2011

    Utah State at Auburn: AUBURN

    Missouri State at Arkansas: ARKANSAS

    Northern Arizona at Arizona: ARIZONA

    San Jose State at Stanford: STANFORD

    Florida Atlantic at Florida: FLORIDA

    Ball State at Indiana: INDIANA

    Western Michigan at Michigan: MICHIGAN

    Miami (OH) at Missouri: MISSOURI

    Chattanooga at Nebraska: NEBRASKA

    Wake Forest at Syracuse: SYRACUSE

    Akron at Ohio State: OHIO STATE

    Louisiana-Lafayette at Oklahoma State: OKLAHOMA STATE

    Indiana State at Penn State: PENN STATE

    Buffalo at Pittsburgh: PITTSBURGH

    Rice at Texas: TEXAS

    Idaho State at Washington State: WASHINGTON STATE

    Kent State at Alabama: ALABAMA

    Arkansas State at Illinois: ILLINOIS

    Howard at Eastern Michigan: EASTERN MICHIGAN

    Tennessee Tech at Iowa: IOWA

    McNeese State at Kansas: KANSAS

    Eastern Kentucky at Kansas State: KANSAS STATE

    Middle Tennessee at Purdue: PURDUE

    East Carolina vs. South Carolina: SOUTH CAROLINA

    Texas State at Texas Tech: TEXAS TECH

    Appalachian State at Virginia Tech: VIRGINIA TECH

    South Dakota at Air Force: AIR FORCE

    Minnesota at USC: USC

    Louisiana-Monroe at Florida State: FLORIDA STATE

    James Madison at North Carolina: NORTH CAROLINA

    Troy at Clemson: CLEMSON

    Southeastern Louisiana at Tulane: TULANE

    Liberty at North Carolina State: NORTH CAROLINA STATE

    William & Mary at Virginia: VIRGINIA

    Northern Iowa at Iowa State: IOWA STATE

    Charleston Southern at UCF: UCF

    Austin Peay at Cincinnati: CINCINNATI

    Stony Brook at UTEP: UTEP

    Weber State at Wyoming: WYOMING

    Cal Poly at San Diego State: SAN DIEGO STATE

    Colorado at Hawaii: HAWAII

    Sunday Sept. 4, 2011

    Marshall at West Virginia: WEST VIRGINIA

Close Games

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    COLLEGE PARK, MD - NOVEMBER 11:  Javarris James #5 of the Miami Hurricanes carries the ball as the Maryland Terrapins defend during the game on November 11, 2006 at Byrd Stadium in College Park, Maryland.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    The following is a list of the games that are too difficult to predict at this point and should be close games. Some of them are less than interesting matchups, but I said I would predict every game.

    Thursday Sept. 1, 2011

    Fordham at Connecticut: CONNECTICUT

    Villanova at Temple: TEMPLE

    New Hampshire at Toledo: TOLEDO

    North Texas at Florida International: FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL

    Saturday Sept. 3, 2011

    Northwestern at Boston College: NORTHWESTERN

    Ohio at New Mexico State: OHIO

    Army at Northern Illinois: NORTHERN ILLINOIS

    Louisiana Tech at Southern Miss: SOUTHERN MISS

    Delaware at Navy: NAVY

    Colorado State at New Mexico: COLORADO STATE

    Monday Sept. 5, 2011

    Miami (FL) at Maryland: MARYLAND

Upset Alerts

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    Ahhh, there's bound to be some upsets. These are those games with that potential and the winner predicted. Keep in mind thse are upset ALERTS and don't necessarily mean a team will be upset in the game.

    Sept. 3, 2011

    Fresno State at California

    OK, so this may not technically be an upset, but it will certainly have that feel to it with a WAC team against a PAC-12 team. The WAC wins this one.

    Fresno State: 34, Cal 24

    Tulsa at Oklahoma

    With Oklahoma projected to be No. 1 in the preseason polls, they're bound to be the favorite in just about any game as long as they're No. 1. Tulsa isn't a bad team though and may break the preseason top 25, if not be just on the outside.

    Oklahoma's performance last year against WAC bottom feeder Utah State was ugly to say the least. They pulled out the W but just barely. This one will be much closer. Oklahoma still pulls off the W.

    Oklahoma 38, Tulsa 35

    Elon at Vanderbilt

    Once again, the upset status is really because of the difference between two different leagues. In this case, 1A and 1AA. Elon has a chance to pull off the win against an unsuspecting rag-tag SEC team. Vandy still wins. Not impressively but a win is a win. 

    Vanderbilt 24, Elon 14

    UCLA at Houston

    The perception of an upset will be seen in this one, even though Houston is arguably the better team, at least before the season starts. That all changes come week one kickoff time. In this game, Houston returns Case Keenum in his sixth year of eligibility. Anything can happen. They lost to UCLA in the game Keenum was injured. A healthy Keenum gives Houston the edge.

    Houston 30, UCLA 21

    Eastern Washington at Washington

    Washington had a rough season but finished with an impressive bowl win against Nebraska last year. Without Jake Locker, who knows how they'll fare, but all indications say there's really not going to be much if any improvement.

    Eastern Washington on the other hand is coming off a national championship season and is a truly great football team. If only they were playing at Eastern Washington on their blood red field...

    Washington 21, Eastern Washington 20

    Montana at Tennessee

    I know, another 1AA team against an SEC team. How dare I, right? Tennessee isn't that great though. Considering some of the other talent and teams in the SEC this year, they will struggle hard. And those struggles will start with a very talented and tough Montana team. The Grizz are tougher than their 1AA status would seem to denote.

    Montana 23, Tennessee 16

    South Florida at Notre Dame

    I've heard all the hype about Notre Dame before. Every year. No year has been all that much different from another. South Florida is a tenacious team with something to prove. You can bet they'll come out hungry. Will it be enough to win?

    Notre Dame 23, South Florida 20

    BYU at Ole Miss

    While this is another that might not technically be an upset since neither team will likely be ranked in the pre-season polls and there's a good chance neither will finish ranked either. Still, I like this as an upset for the implications of yet another SEC team against an "inferior" opponent.

    BYU 36, Ole Miss 28

    Richmond at Duke

    Let's face it, Duke is not very good. They won't be very good this year. And this game will show just that. Fortunately for Duke, this may be one of the few games they walk away from with a win. Although the score I predict isn't indicative of an upset, I think Richmond will hang for at least three quarters before Duke finally pulls away.

    Duke 30, Richmond 14

    Sunday Sept. 4, 2011

    Southern Methodist at Texas A&M

    Whether this one technically would be considered an upset is anybody's guess at this point, but it is one more case where the difference in conferences will make it certainly seem as though it's an upset. Nonetheless, I expect a really great game between these two teams.

    SMU 43, Texas A&M 38

Marquee Matchups

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 04:  A detail photo of the pylon during the Allstate Sugar Bowl between the Arkansas Razorbacks and Ohio State Buckeyes at the Louisiana Superdome on January 4, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Imag
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Of course, the beginning of the season is usually the time for teams to get a few "practice games" in. These four teams skipped the practice session and went straight to a pair of great games with huge BCS implications.

    Can you say Sugar Bowl?

    BOISE STATE VS. GEORGIA, Sept. 3, 2011, at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA 8 p.m. ET (ESPN)

    You either hate them or you love them. There's no in between with the Broncos. I would credit coach Chris Petersen with that. He took a relative unknown into the national spotlight and busted the BCS twice while still making waves in the other three years he's been Boise's head coach.

    And Georgia has one hell of a coach themselves in Mark Richt. Sure last season was a bit of a disappointment with a 6-6 regular season finish and a bowl loss to UCF. That's just how the ball rolls sometimes, even for the best of them.

    Neither coach will have his team ill-prepared for this game. You can take that to the bank. Richt won't allow his team to take this game, or the Broncos themselves, lightly. Coach Pete knows all too well about game day preparation.

    It should be a battle of epic proportions and well worth the watch on TV if you can't actually make it to the game.

    Both teams have a lot going for them, and both are starving for a BCS bowl at the very least. Maybe even more if it's possible.


    OREGON VS. LSU, Sept. 3, 2011, Cowboys Stadium, Dallas, TX 8 p.m. ET (ABC)

    Oregon has a solid offense. That much is no surprise. And the bulk of that offense will be back again this season.

    Despite losing possibly their best defender and special teamer in Patrick Peterson, LSU's defense will be stout once again.

    Each has some serious question marks on the opposite side of the ball, but at this point in the offseason, who doesn't? Can Oregon figure out their defense to replace the ones they lost in the offseason? Can LSU figure out their quarterback situation or can they really rely on Jordan Jefferson?

    All that remains to be seen.

    And there are obviously national title talks and expectations from both teams. I don't suspect either team will truly lose much in the way of their ability to play (and coach) great football. It'll be another epic game in a season full of them.

    OREGON 27, LSU 24