Who’s ready for the brand new season of college football? The first week of NCAAF action is loaded with salivating matchups featuring top 25 teams, major conferences title contenders, and a bunch of well-known programs all vying to get that sweet W no. 1 to start of their respective campaigns. With that said, let’s take a look at five of the best matchups for Week 1.
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NCAAF Week One Predictions and Preview
1. Alabama Crimson Tide vs. USC Trojans
Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington
Date and Time: Saturday, September 3, 8:00 PM ET
Line: Alabama (-10.5) vs. USC (+10.5) – view all NCAA Football odds and lines
Prediction: Alabama wins, but USC covers.
2. LSU Tigers vs. Wisconsin Badgers
Where: Lambeau Field, Green Bay
Date and Time: Saturday, September 3, 3:30 PM ET
Line: Ole Miss Rebels (-10) vs. Florida State Seminoles (+10) – view all NCAA Football odds and lines
LSU and Wisconsin lock horns at Lambeau Field right in the very first week of college football and that should get you really excited. For LSU, the Tigers will once again parade Leonard Fournette, a man-child of a running back capable of running through large human beings for a touchdown score. He’ll be the center of LSU’s offense that is also hoping to be more depended of its passing game. Wisconsin also has an elite running back of its own in Corey Clement though LSU figures to be do a better job in containing Wisconsin’s run game, considering the Tigers’ much solid defensive line in comparison to that of the Badgers’ defensive line.
Prediction: LSU wins, but Wisconsin covers.
3. Clemson Tigers vs. Auburn Tigers
Where: Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn
Date and Time: Saturday, September 3, 9:00 PM ET
Line: Clemson (-7.5) vs. Auburn (+7.5) – view all NCAA Football odds and lines
Deshaun Watson and crew want no less than an emphatic victory to open Clemson’s 2016-17 campaign following a runner-up finish last season. And the ACC Tigers will have the almost the same set of offensive pieces, led by potential Heisman Trophy winner Watson, to barrel through Auburn’s defense. Apart from Watson, Clemson also returns running back Gallman, who finished last season with 1,527 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. Auburn’s defensive line appears to be solid, but beyond that unit, Auburn’s back seven might have trouble containing Clemson’s attacks.
Auburn, however, is playing at home, where the crowd could be a notable factor. Still, Auburn will have to prove that it has the offense to keep in step with the high-powered attack of Clemson and the defense to stave it off. That’s unlikely to happen with Clemson having the decided advantage on both sides of the field.
Prediction: Clemson wins and covers.
4. Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Texas Longhorns
Where: Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin
Date and Time: Sunday, September 4, 7:30 PM ET
Line: Notre Dame (-3.5) vs. Texas (+3.5) – view all NCAA Football odds and lines
For the second year in a row, Notre Dame and Texas will meet in both team’s season openers. Last season, Notre Dame handed Texas a severe 38-3 beating. That was in South Bend, though. This time, the Longhorns will be the ones holding court in Austin.
Notre Dame’s offense lost a few pieces over the summer including wide receiver Will Fuller and offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley but those left behind on the unit are staring at Texas’ defense that allowed 452.6 total yards per game in 2016. Texas, however, added a number of top-flight prospects shore up its defense. The offense will break in a new quarterback in freshman Shane Buechele. Buechele ‘s drawing praises from head coach Charlie Strong, but he’ll be in a pressure cooker right away facing a legendary football program in front of a massive Texas crowd.
Prediction: Notre Dame wins and covers.
5. Ole Miss Rebels vs. Florida State Seminoles
Where: Florida Citrus Bowl, Orlando
Date and Time: Monday, September 5, 8:00 PM ET
Line: Ole Miss Rebels (+4.5) vs. Florida State Seminoles (-4.5) – view all NCAA Football odds and lines
Oh boy, the Seminoles have the makeup of a terrifying offense. Seven offensive line starters return to protect FSU’s quarterbacks and open up running gaps for Dalvin Cook and the backfield. Speaking of Cook, the running back is as explosive as they come and he’ll be a marked man by Ole Miss’ defense. Having a target on Cook’s back is different from actually stopping him.
Cook was a bad boy in 2015, racking up 1,691 rushing yards and 20 rushing TDs. Cook is also surrounded by other talented skill players who should open up opportunities for him. That’s what the Rebels and their defense that lost five starters have to deal with on September 5. Ole Miss has the offense to give Florida State troubles, though, with quarterback Chad Kelly back in the mix. Ole Miss was eighth last season in scoring with 40.8 PPG.
Prediction: Florida State wins and covers.
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