Welcome in, fellow degenerates for the first full week of college football. It’s time to get rich, kids!
Tomorrow I’ll hop in a car and drive to Knoxville for the Bowling Green State vs. Tennessee game and then from there we will be setting up the OutKick bus for the Georgia-Clemson game in Charlotte on Saturday. Next week, we’ll be in Fayetteville, Arkansas for Texas-Arkansas and then the week after that, down in Gainesville for Alabama-Florida. We will have an awesome tailgate set up and I’ll be doing hits for Big Noon Saturday, so I hope to meet as many of you as possible this fall.
There’s also a great offer right now — bet $5 on either Clemson or Georgia to win and you get back $150 if you’re right, that’s a 30-1 payout. You and a friend or family member can each take the opposite side on these bets, and for $10, you’re guaranteed a $150 win. That’s not a bad deal at all. So go get your bets in now.
Without further ado, it’s time to go 11-0.
I know, I know. Josh Heupel is supposed to be an offensive wizard, and Bowling Green stinks.
But the last time Tennessee beat an FBS team by over 35 points was in 2015, when Tennessee walloped Northwestern 45-6.
So maybe it’s just battered Vol syndrome, but needing 36 points to cover in the first game of a brand new offensive regime feels like way too many points.
So give me Bowling Green to cover tomorrow night in Knoxville.
Last year, Minnesota’s boat ran aground. The Golden Gophers, coming off an 11-2 season, went 3-4. Meanwhile, Ohio State managed to advance to the Big Ten title game because the Big Ten was desperate to ensure a team made the Playoff and didn’t care what the rules were.
This year, the Buckeyes are remaking their offense on the fly as Justin Fields is off to Chicago. Meanwhile, Minnesota feels like they are laying in the weeds here as a double-digit home underdog. Fleck is 7-4 straight up and 7-4 against the spread in his last 11 home games. I feel like this one is close into the fourth quarter and the Gophers put a bit of a scare into Ryan Day and Ohio State.
That’s especially the case because there are finally fans in Big Ten stadiums again!
We’re rowing, baby, grab and oar and climb on board Minnesota +14.
Last year, Penn State started 0-5 before reeling off four straight wins to finish the year. Meanwhile Wisconsin, who entered the season with high expectations, stumbled through two no-contests to finish 4-3 amidst COVID positive hell. The result? For all intents and purposes, both Nittany Lions and Badger fans want to pretend the 2020 season never happened.
So who bounces back first? I like Penn State to cover here and potentially steal this game late as I think Penn State found something down the stretch run of their season.
Give me the Nittany Lions plus the points.
It’s time for Alabama to reload after six first round picks were drafted this past May and yet another Nick Saban national championship, his sixth, was added to the trophy case. The Bryce Young era is officially underway, come Saturday in Atlanta.
Wildly, many people believed Young would beat out Mac Jones last year for the Bama job. Instead Mac Jones was nearly flawless for the perfect Tide, who were never seriously challenged all of last season, and now Mac is going to be starting Week One for the Patriots while Bryce Young attempts to be the fourth straight starting quarterback for the Tide to become an NFL starter.
On the other sideline, Miami quarterback D’Eriq King, who has rehabbed from his injury, will attempt to make a major statement for the Hurricanes under Manny Diaz, who posted a solid 8-3 season last year.
So what’s the play? You always take a Nick Saban team in Week One contests. They win and they cover.
Roll Tide by 21 or more.
I believe the SEC East outside of Georgia this year is really weak. That means the Gators without Kyle Trask and Kyle Pitts will return to the pack.
That’s especially the case because I’m not sold on Emory Jones as a high level quarterback in Dan Mullen’s offense. Is that unfair? Maybe, especially since we’ve only seen him come in and run a handful of plays over the past couple of seasons. And we also know that, generally speaking, Dan Mullen’s offense has been fantastic for pretty much all quarterbacks. But I’m just not sold on Jones to execute the offense like Trask did. Plus, this is a sneaky good FAU defense that for the most part hasn’t allowed anyone to run away from them.
I think that continues in Gainesville and, while the Gators get a win, the Owls notch a cover.
The day after Georgia lost the 2017 national title to Alabama, I remember being stunned by how optimistic Bulldog fans were when they called into my radio show and said they’d be back in the title game soon. They expected to be right back in the national title game the next year and believed their program was the new Alabama. Kirby Smart wasn’t going to just win a national title, Dawg fans believed he’d win a couple of national titles.
Well, that hasn’t materialized.
At least not yet.
Don’t get me wrong, Georgia’s been really good — 21-4 in the SEC since that title game loss — but they haven’t been able to get past Alabama or LSU. To a large extent, that’s because of quarterback play. Is JT Daniels finally the answer to the Bulldog woes? I think he just might be. (If he can get past the wide receiver issues, that is.)
Clemson, meanwhile, just keeps right on rolling along with Dabo. The Trevor Lawrence era is over though, and this game feels like it might have College Football Playoff implications late in the season. If Georgia wins this game and then runs the table and loses in the SEC title game to Alabama or Texas A&M, and Clemson loses this game and then wins out, as seems possible, could we end up deciding a Playoff team based on who wins this season opener? I think we could.
And the dogs are going to be barking, come Saturday night in Charlotte.
Give me Georgia not just to cover, but to win outright 31-28 over Clemson. Yep, take Georgia and the over. And go get your free money in by picking your own winner in Georgia-Clemson. A $5 bet on the winner gets you $150 back if you’re correct.
This may be the most fascinating game of opening weekend. Not the best, mind you, but the most fascinating. Chip Kelly was one of the best college football coaches in the country and then he went to the NFL and ended up taking the UCLA job when everyone thought he would run to Florida.
After going 46-7, 33-3 in the Pac-12 with Oregon, Kelly is starting his fourth year at UCLA, where the Bruins have gone 11-21, 10-15 in the Pac-12, removing much of the luster from Kelly’s once sterling resume.
But Kelly’s UCLA squad looked very promising in the opener against Hawaii.
On the other sideline, Ed Orgeron’s follow up to his 15-0 national title was a swan dive into mediocrity, finishing 5-5. (Thanks to Florida’s shoe toss, LSU at least got a big late season win, however.) Is Coach O, LSU’s own version of Gene Chizik, a national title winner who happened to ride the coattails of one of the greatest college football quarterbacking seasons ever and then returns to mediocrity, or has he built a stable winner that can compete for titles in the years ahead?
We’ll have a much better sense of the answer by late Saturday night in Los Angeles, as Coach O returns to the home field of his hated rival and tries to bury UCLA one more time.
Look out, there just might be more LSU than UCLA fans in this game too.
Give me the Bruins +3 and the over 65.5.
Look, here’s the deal. I’m betting Lane Kiffin’s Rebels team to go over until they show that they can play an iota of defense.
Will they be better on defense this year? I mean, how can they be worse? But I still think this game on Monday night will be played at warp speed. The result? Points will be more plentiful in this game than commas in a William Faulkner novel.
Take the over and enjoy the ride.
Florida State has vanished as a national power. After double digit wins in six of seven years under Jimbo Fisher, the Seminoles have suddenly found themselves with three straight losing seasons. The last time FSU had three straight losing seasons was 1974 to 1976.
Is Mike Norvell ready to show that FSU is on the comeback trail in season two? It’s still early, but I think he might well be.
The Fighting Irish under Brian Kelly, on the other hand, have been on an absolute roll posting four straight seasons of double-digit wins. But the talent is declining a bit, and this Notre Dame schedule is really, really tough.
So what gives in this match up?
I think the Seminoles find some magic in their first game since legendary head coach Bobby Bowden’s death and keep it close all the way late into fourth quarter.
Give me the Noles +7.5 to cover.
There you have it, respect the picks, we’re going 11-0!