College football is officially here! One day of the big bonanza of five straight days of NCAA football is in the books, but there are still scores of games left to be played, giving players a lot of opportunities to make some headway in our college football pick ’em games. There aren’t a ton of huge matchups in the first week of the season, but all of the games count exactly the same to us, and there are some juicy spots for picks.
Alabama vs. Florida State (+7) – It’s basically a given assumption that Alabama is going to win this game as it seems to do in every single one of these big spots early in the year. One only needs to look at what the Tide did to USC to see what’s possible against Florida State. The Seminoles, though, have a slew of top talent coming back from last season’s team. Sure, Dalvin Cook is gone, but Cam Akers is here to take his spot, and we have to imagine that the Noles will be a great replacement at tailback. Deondre Francois grew up in a hurry against Ole Miss at the start of last season, and this is an even bigger spot for him. It’s entirely possible that Francois could have a coming of age and make himself a Heisman Trophy candidate. The Crimson Tide always graduate out a ton of talent, but 10 NFL players were on last season’s team that are no longer back. Opportunity is knocking.
Kent State at Clemson (-39.5) – It’s really hard to lay five and a half touchdowns in any game, especially with a Clemson team that has lost so much talent to the NFL from last season. The Tigers, though, are out to prove a point. The cupboard is far from bare even though the offense is going to have to be rebuilt. Kelly Bryant is set to take over, and he gets a really easy draw in this first game against Kent State. The Golden Flashes have absolutely nothing right now on the offensive side of the ball, and we wouldn’t be stunned if they were shutout. It’s easy to shy away from the Tigers after they were pressed by Troy last year, but there’s a big difference between that Troy team that won 10 games and this Kent State team that could have 10 losses.
Wyoming at Iowa (-11.5) – Josh Allen has come from nothing to be a man who could contend for a Heisman Trophy this year if things go well for his Cowboys. The big problem Wyoming has, though, is that it just doesn’t have as much talent as it did last year when it upset Boise State, Air Force, Colorado State and Northern Illinois. This just isn’t a friendly matchup for the Pokes. Their defense is good enough to slow down a poor Iowa offense, but offensively is where we have a big problem. Last year against Nebraska, Allen threw for 189 yards and five interceptions. That’s not to say that Allen is going to get picked off a million times by the Iowa defense on Saturday, but we have a hunch he is set to struggle. Iowa has come down from -13.5 to -11.5, but we think that betting line has been misguided because of the presence of Allen. It’s going to take a whole team to beat the Hawkeyes, not just a fringy Heisman contender.