College Football is only a few days away. If you are oblivious to everything going on in the college football world, head on over to our preview of the upcoming season, but for those that are up to speed, let′s take a look at the top 5 games this upcoming weekend.
#3 Oklahoma (-11) v. #15 Houston
Saturday 12pm @ NRG Stadium
The Sooners are looking to enter the college football playoffs this season and they need a convincing win against Houston since the BIG 12 does not have a conference championship game. The Sooners haven′t loss a season opener since 2009, when Max Hall and the BYU Cougars accomplished the upset, 14-13. The Sooners entered the season3rd that year also and the game was in neutral stadium. While coinencedensce may be on the Cougars side, they will need to play a pretty good football game in order to achieve the upset. Sooners returns 2nd team All-American QB, Baker Mayfield, who will have a new receiver corps to work with. The Sooners will rely on the run game early on, returning Semaje Perine and Joe Mixon to the backfield. Houston will have an opportunity to score the ball against the Sooners young and inexperience defense. Greg Ward Jr. is a preseason Heisman hopeful, and a win against Oklahoma to begin the season will surely put him ahead of the competition.
Prediction: The Sooners run game will be too much for the Cougars, opening things up for Mayfield and the passing game, but the Cougars will keep the game close coming down to their final possession, covering the spread.
#5 LSU (-10) v. Wisconsin
Saturday 3:30pm @ Lambeau Field
When LSU and Wisconsin played two years ago, it came down to the final possession. Wisconsin blew a 24-7 lead in the second half while the Tigers scored 21-unanswered points, walking away with a 28-24 victory. Wisconsin had a much better squad then and LSU didn′t have Leonard Fournette. Fournette began his sophomore season with some of the most memorable runs in college football history and he could possibly do it again to start his junior season. If Wisconsin wants to win this game, they will have to contain Fournette and force Brandon Harris throw the ball. Harris was not very consistent last year, so it could help the Badgers create scoring opportunities. The only problem with that is, they have to find a way to contain Fournette, which is not easy.
Prediction: The Tigers and Fournette will blow the Badgers out the water. Fournette will become the leader in the Heisman race early, possibly rushing for 200+ yards. Pick the Tigers to cover the spread.
#1 Alabama (-11) v. #20 USC
Saturday 8pm @ AT&T Stadium
Alabama always come to play the first game of the season. Since 2008, Bama is 7-0 in season openers, outscoring their opponents 308-108. Out-of-conference opponents have not fared well against Bama, one of the main reasons why everyone believes the SEC is king. USC is still recovering from the hammer the NCAA dropped on them a couple years back, reason why they are a three-possession underdog. The Trojans will have to find a way to take advantage of Bama′s inexperience at the quarterback position. Coach Saban has yet to announce a starter but whether Blake Barnett or Jalen Hurts, Bama will need a solid game from them. While this may not be the USC of 2004, it′s still USC with top-notch talent. I don′t expect Bama to come out slow because history shows they will end up 1-0, but this is will be an opportunity for the Trojans to remind the country why they are still one of the top programs in the country.
Prediction: Bama will rely on the two-headed in the backfield. Bo Scarbrough and Damien Harris will test the Trojans front-seven and make life easier for either Hurt or Barnett. History shows the Bama always cover the spread in the season opener, so go with history.
#2 Clemson (-7.5) @ Auburn
Clemson is a favorite to return back to the National Championship due to their fairly easy schedule. Auburn may not be ranked but this will not be an easy game for Clemson. Playing on the road in a season opener, in a loud Jordan-Hare Stadium, is a tough challenge for anybody. Luckily for Clemson, they have the 2015 Heisman runner-up to run an offense full of deadly weapons. Nick Saban said Deshaun Watson is the best player since Cam Newton, who led Auburn to a national title. Watson and the Tigers will score a lot of points this season but it will be interesting to see how the manage the crowd noise at Auburn. Sean White will start at quarterback for War Eagle, beating out Josh Johnson for the job. White was named the starting quarterback after week three last season due to Johnson inconsistent play. While Clemson may be one of the best teams in the country, their defense could be a liability.
Prediction: If Clemson can jump on Auburn early, then Clemson will walk out of Jordan-Hare 1-0. College Football doesn′t work that way though. Clemson will be in a fight, it′s just how much fight does Auburn have in them. Clemson will win this game but I′m not sure if it will be 8-points. Expect this one to go to the final possession.
#4 Florida State (-4.5) v. #11 Ole Miss
Monday 8pm @ Citrus Bowl
Another ACC v. SEC matchup with the ACC team being the favorite. Florida State is looking to get back into the college football playoffs. The Noles will start the season with a redshirt freshman at quarterback, Deandre Francois. Last time a redshirt freshman started at QB for the Noles, they ended up winning the National Championship. Francois has already received Winston comparisons but only time, a Heisman, and national title will tell if those comparisons are valid. Luckily for Francois he has a Heisman-caliber running back in Dalvin Cook and a stifling defense to back him up. Ole Miss has lost a lot of players on both sides of the ball but they will still have senior quarterback, Chad Kelly. Kelly will have to lead the Rebels this season and his first test will be against a very fast and athletic Seminole′s defense.
Predictions: Francois will be playing in his hometown of Orlando which should give him added confidence. This will be a tough game for both sides but the Noles should be able to cover the spread, winning by 7-points.