Crystal Ball Predictions for College Football Week 1
As the 2016 college football season draws closer to its kick-off on August the 26th, we are bound to witness increased action in the NCAAF betting lines that have been tamely active since Alabama clinched the College Football Playoff title at the start of 2016. Now is therefore a good time as any for us to look into our crystal ball and predict our way into the game slated for Week 1 of the new season. You ready for our bold NCAAF picks? Cool, here we go…
Crystal Ball Predictions for College Football Week 1
Florida International Upsets Indiana
From what I’ve read and watched about him, Indiana’s new quarterback Zander Diamont is nowhere close to matching the talent of last year’s starting QB Nate Sudfield. And making matters worse for the Hoosiers (who went 6-7 last season), they also lost one of their biggest offensive pieces from last year’s campaign in running back Jordan Howard. Against a Florida International team that has played tough to some quality opponents over the past few years, I see the small home underdogs.
Recommended NCAAF Week 1 pick: Florida International (+3)
Michigan Will Win, but Hawaii Will Cover the Spread
Okay, you guys are taking this thing about Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines a bit too far. Yes, the Wolverines were a surprisingly good unit in Harbaugh’s first year and the team looks primed for even a better year in 2016. But I just don’t see Michigan blowing out Hawaii by as many as 35 plus points. This is a team that is still rebuilding and there are questions about who will be the starting QB for Michigan in the upcoming season, meaning trusting them to win by that many points would be ill-advised. So, although this game will offer the Wolverines an easy Week 1 victory, I strongly believe that Hawaii will do enough to cover the spread, be it by playing tough at the start of the game or by scoring some decent points in garbage time to narrow down Michigan’s win margin.
Recommended NCAAF Week 1 Pick: Hawaii (+41)
Alabama Will Beat USC By 15-plus Points
If this game was being played at the start of 2015, backing USC to at least cover the spread would have made a lot of sense, as the Trojans had their deepest squad while Alabama was just getting started on its rebuilding agenda. Unfortunately for the Trojans, they lost a lot of talent in the offseason, including their standout starting QB Cody Kessler. Also, USC will be a newly-coached team in 2016 after Steve Sarkisian was fired in the course of the season, meaning the players will be under a new regime. Now, don’t get me wrong, the Wolverines will still be a good team, but it’s beats logic to expect them to stop the Championship-winning Crimson Tide that are miles ahead in terms of talent and coaching. Oh, and playing in Texas should be an added advantage for Alabama, so expect a win of 15-plus points in favor of the Crimson Tide.
Recommended NCAAF Week 1 Pick: Alabama (-10)
Wisconsin Will Cover the Spread vs. LSU
Yes, the Leornard Fournette show is set to continue for at least one more collegiate season and the Badgers will be the unlucky team to face him in first 2016. After totaling a whopping 1953 rushing yards and 22 TDs on 300 rushing attempts in 2015, the expectation is that the #7 LSU player will be having another stellar Heisman-worthy season as the face of the Tigers’ offense. Unfortunately for Fournette, the Badgers won’t be the easiest of opponents for him. For starters, Wisconsin will be bringing back the majority of the pieces from its stellar rushing defense—including stalwart linebackers Vince Biegel and T.J. Edwards—that ranked fourth-best in the nation in 2015, allowing just 95.4 YPG and 13 rushing TDs all season. This is bad news for the LSU’s run-reliant offense that often relies on Fournette finesse in running with the ball. In the offense, the Badgers will also be getting some much-needed boost from the return of an experienced O-line and a healthy RB in Corey Clement, who figures to bounce back from his injury-plagued 2015 campaign. Therefore, though LSU is the trendy pick here and breaking in a new quarterback may pay dividends for the Tigers, I highly expect Wisconsin to hold its own quite well to cover the spread. Heck, if the Tigers are not careful, the Badgers could even deliver an outright Week 1 upset at the Lambeau Field in Green Bay.
Recommended NCAAF Week 1 Pick: Wisconsin (+10)
Florida State Will Beat Mississippi By At least a Touchdown
It’s really hard to pick against the Seminoles these days… Even after Jameis Winston was drafted in the NFL and FSU was pegged to disappoint in their rebuilding 2015 campaign, the team still finished the year on a stellar 10-3 record, getting bested in the conference only by Clemson’s undefeated regular-season campaign. With FSU’s vibrant squad from 2015 returning all 11 starters on offense, including stud running back Dalvin Cook, along with 6 more starters in the defense; the Seminoles could easily be the team to beat in the ACC and not Clemson. Conversely, the Rebels equally return a decent number of starters, including starting QB Chad Kelly who is coming off a solid season and is largely prdicted to continue his efficacy, given the talent that surrounds him in the offense. The challenge, though, is that famed Land Shark defense in Mississippi looks to take a step back after losing some of its key pieces, led by star defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche. This, along with the advantage of playing in the friendly confines of Tallahassee, should give the edge to Florida State, allowing the Seminoles to win this thrilling Monday Night Football game by at least a touchdown.
Recommended NCAAF Week 1 Pick: Florida State (-5)