College Football Picks Week 1: Predictions and Odds for Top 25 Schedule

Jake RillAnalyst IAugust 26, 2019

SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 31:  Head coach Mario Cristobal of the Oregon Ducks runs onto the field prior to the start of the Redbox Bowl against the Michigan State Spartans at Levi's Stadium on December 31, 2018 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

This past weekend gave college football fans a small taste of the upcoming season. Now, it's time for things to really get underway.

A pair of matchups took place on Saturday, when Florida defeated Miami (Fla.) and Hawaii outlasted Arizona. But for the rest of the country, this upcoming weekend will mark the start of the 2019 season.

Many of the top-ranked teams in the nation will be in action, although many are heavy favorites against lesser opponents.

The only opening matchup that will feature a pair of ranked teams will take place Saturday night, when No. 11 Oregon and No. 16 Auburn face off at AT&T Stadium in Dallas.

Here's a look at what to expect from the first full weekend of the college football season, including predictions for each of the Top 25 teams that will be in action.


Week 1 Schedule and Odds

All Times ET. Odds via Caesars.

Thursday, Aug. 29

Florida A&M at No. 17 UCF (-47.5), 7:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network

Georgia Tech at No. 1 Clemson (-36.5), 8 p.m., ACC Network

Texas State at No. 12 Texas A&M (-34), 8:30 p.m., SEC Network

No. 14 Utah (-5) at BYU, 10:15 p.m., ESPN


Friday, Aug. 30

Tulsa at No. 18 Michigan State (-22.5), 7 p.m., FS1

No. 19 Wisconsin (-13) at South Florida, 7 p.m., ESPN


Saturday, Aug. 31

Florida Atlantic at No. 5 Ohio State (-27.5), noon, Fox

Northern Iowa at No. 21 Iowa State (-18.5), noon, FS1

South Alabama at No. 24 Nebraska (-36.5), noon, ESPN

Eastern Washington at No. 13 Washington (-32), 3 p.m., Pac-12 Network

Duke at No. 2 Alabama (-35), 3:30 p.m., ABC

Idaho at No. 15 Penn State (-36.5), 3:30 p.m., Big Ten Network

Northwestern at No. 25 Stanford (-6.5), 4 p.m., Fox

No. 22 Syracuse (-17.5) at Liberty, 6 p.m., ESPN+

No. 3 Georgia (-21) at Vanderbilt, 7:30 p.m., SEC Network

Georgia Southern at No. 6 LSU (-28), 7:30 p.m., ESPNU

Middle Tennessee at No. 7 Michigan (-34), 7:30 p.m., Big Ten Network

No. 11 Oregon vs. No. 16 Auburn (-3.5), 7:30 p.m., ABC

Miami (Ohio) at No. 20 Iowa (-21.5), 7:30 p.m., FS1

Louisiana Tech at No. 10 Texas (-20.5), 8 p.m., Longhorn Network

New Mexico State at No. 23 Washington State (-31.5), 10 p.m., Pac-12 Network


Sunday, Sept. 1

Houston at No. 4 Oklahoma (-24.5), 7:30 p.m., ABC


Monday, Sept. 2

No. 9 Notre Dame (-20.5) at Louisville, 8 p.m., ESPN



Oregon 31, Auburn 24

Tony Avelar/Associated Press

This is the best game that will be taking place this weekend, and it will likely be a close contest until the end.

However, the matchup could be decided by the play of the two quarterbacks. Oregon will be led by returning senior Justin Herbert, while Auburn's offense will be guided by Bo Nix.

Nix is certainly talented, but this will be his college debut. And Oregon is a tough non-conference opponent for any quarterback to go up against during the regular season, especially a true freshman who is unfamiliar with the speed of college play.

Meanwhile, Herbert likely would have been a first-round pick in this past NFL draft, had he not decided to return to Oregon for his senior season. Now, he'll look to lead the Ducks to success in the Pac-12 Conference, where they are one of the early favorites to win the conference title.

While both teams have strengths and will go back and forth, the experience of Herbert and inexperience of Nix will show in the fourth quarter, when the former will lead Oregon to a season-opening victory.


BYU 28, Utah 27

Steve Conner/Associated Press

This is the lowest spread this weekend for a game featuring only one ranked team, and Utah will likely have a challenge in traveling to take on in-state rival BYU.

Utah and BYU are facing off for the 100th time in the "Holy War" rivalry that dates back to 1896.

BYU only plays two teams that are currently ranked this season, so this could be an opportunity for the Cougars to make an early statement. But they have some challenging matchups coming up against Tennessee, USC and Washington, so this may be a game they need to win to avoid a tough start to the year.

Utah has won eight straight meetings against BYU, dating back to 2010. So, the Cougars are due to take back control of the rivalry, which will happen in a game that comes down to the wire. As the line indicates, this will be one of the closer games of the opening weekend in college football, and it will deliver an exciting finish.

BYU will upset Utah to earn its first win in this rivalry series since 2009, when it notched a 26-23 victory in overtime. Zach Wilson took over as the Cougars' quarterback last season as a freshman, and that experience will help him begin his sophomore season with a win.


Other Predictions

UCF 51, Florida A&M 10

Clemson 48, Georgia Tech 7

Texas A&M 45, Texas State 3

Michigan State 38, Tulsa 17

Wisconsin 34, South Florida 17

Ohio State 45, Florida Atlantic 13

Iowa State 31, Northern Iowa 10

Nebraska 45, South Alabama 7

Washington 38, Eastern Washington 10

Alabama 48, Duke 17

Penn State 45, Idaho 10

Stanford 27, Northwestern 21

Syracuse 38, Liberty 14

Georgia 31, Vanderbilt 10

LSU 41, Georgia Southern 10

Michigan 48, Middle Tennessee 10

Iowa 34, Miami (Ohio) 17

Texas 41, Louisiana Tech 13

Washington State 31, New Mexico State 0

Oklahoma 34, Houston 20

Notre Dame 28, Louisville 17


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