Week 1 College Football

It doesn’t get any better than this. College Football cranks up tonight with several interesting contests and continues through Monday with excellent clashes that will make it almost impossible to leave the sofa. Can’t wait.

The No.2 Crimson Tide, which I’d debate with others as I like them at No.1, takes on the Duke Blue Devils at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. A lot happened in Tuscaloosa this August and especially this week, and not all of it was great. Still believe very much in this football team and I’ll tell you why below.

The No.16 Auburn Tigers square off with the No.11 Oregon Ducks Saturday Night in Arlington, Texas in what should be a fascinating game as Auburn breaks in 5 star freshman Bo Nix under center. He’s quite a talent. Can he handle the pressure he’ll be under in his first game in college football. I’d like to say yes on that. More on that below.

A key SEC contest kicks off in Nashvegas Saturday Night as the Vanderbilt Commodores host the No.3 Georgia Bulldogs, if you want to call it that, there’ll be more Georgia fans than Vandy. It’s a tall order for the Commodores. The Dawgs are loaded.

No.1 Clemson hosts the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and new coach Geoff Collins. The Ramblin Wreck has moved on from Paul Johnson’s (retired) triple option offense and will feature a pro style offense now. Like Vandy, Tech has their hands full.

Here’s a look at those key matchups along with many other key games involving SEC teams and national powers. Let’s get started.

Last week: 1-1

Florida 24, Miami 20

Florida is loaded with great athletes, but typically for a Gators team, they play sloppy football with a lot of undisciplined players. Two pass interference calls late in the game, both by Florida, one was on 4th and 33. You have got to be kidding me. Dan Mullen needs to figure out how to get his team from playing really stupid football quickly or it’s going to cost him in key games. On the other side, I thought Miami played a pretty good game to keep it very close. Dan Enos did throw his redshirt freshman quarterback, Jarren Williams, under the bus this week. It was really unbelievable what Enos said, pointing out that Williams didn’t play well at all. I heard that Jalen Hurts hated Enos and now I can see why. Pretty sloppy game overall, but there are athletes through the roof on both sides. Will see if Mullen or Manny Diaz can get their teams to play more disciplined football because if they can, their teams should have successful seasons.

Hawaii 45, Arizona 38

In an upset, Rainbow Warriors quarterback, Cole McDonald, threw 4 TDs, but was also picked off 4 times and was benched late in the game. Still, Kevin Sumlin proved once again that he can’t get it done most of the time.

This week

All games Saturday unless otherwise noted.

No.2 Alabama vs Duke

Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, 71,000

Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic

2:30 PM CT

ABC

Steve Levy, Grease, McShay, Molly McGrath

Bama by 34

A lot happened this month and particularly this week in Tuscaloosa and it wasn’t great stuff. First, earlier this month, inside linebacker Josh McMillan was lost for the season due to injury. 5 star freshman Trey Sanders, who was having an awesome camp, broke his foot and is also out indefinitely. Then this week, S suspended 4 key players for the Duke game. They’ll be out for a quarter I would suspect, maybe more, maybe less. The players suspended were starting running back Najee Harris, second string running back Brian Robinson, wide receiver DeVonta Smith, and outside linebacker Terrell Lewis. They missed a team function according to reports so S is going to sit them out for a little while. I thought S might be a little more understanding and just say as the great Doug Nedermeyer said, “Drop and give me 20” But he suspected these 4 needed a harsher punishment than Kent Dorfman got. So they’re out for a while in the game. Then, maybe the worst news happened Tuesday when Dylan Moses was lost indefinitely with a torn ACL in his knee.

But the good news for Crimson Tide fans is this is probably the best recruiting class S has landed in his 13 years at the helm. There are 5 stars and highly talented 4 stars. Two 4 star freshmen will be starting at inside linebacker for S and the Tide. 6.0, 4 star (Rivals) Shane Lee (6’0” 235) will start along with 5.8 4 star Christian Harris (6’2”, 225). So while the Tide will miss Moses’ play and his leadership, these 2 players and the depth behind them are pretty solid. I watched both Lee and Harris in the spring and they’re exceptional players. So all is not lost. Good game for the freshmen to get their bearings straight. Taking Harris and Robinson’s spot at running back temporarily will be redshirt freshman Jerome Ford and 4 star freshman Keilan Robinson. Both are talented. And they’ll be running behind an o line that features left tackle Alex Leatherwood (6’6”, 310), left guard Emil Ekiyor Jr. (6’3”, 339) center Chris Owens (6’3”, 315) right guard and Florida State transfer Landon Dickerson (6’6”, 325) and right tackle Jadrick Wills (6’5”, 316). So S and the Tide are still in good shape with those guys, Tua, Jerry Jeudy, Jaylen Waddle and Henry Ruggs iii on the outside. I like 4 star freshman John Metchie as well. He was awesome in the spring game. Looks like Metchie could be an outstanding player.

On defense, the Tide looks stout. First year defensive coordinator Pete Golding really looked astute coaching his defense in the spring, he’s got a highly talented secondary with All Americans all over that group. I would debate that free safety Xavier McKinney, strong safety Shyheim Carter, corner Trevon Diggs and corner Patrick Surtain Jr would start for every team in the country. They will form a fantastic secondary. Linebacker, with Lewis out, will rely on talented sophomores Jaylen Moody and Markail Benton for however long Lewis is out. Up front, LaBryan Ray, Raekwon Davis, and D.J. Dale, who (Dale) dominated in the spring game, will be a tough, physical group for the Duke O line to handle. The kicking game will be manned by freshman Will Reichard, who is considered an excellent talent. Punter will be Skyler DeLong, the electric Waddle will return punts and Ruggs III and Trevon Diggs will return kickoffs.

All in all looks like a pretty phenomenal group to me. Duke will start Quentin Harris at quarterback. Harris has some experience and success. While he played behind New York Giants high first round draft choice Daniel Jones, who is doing very well in the preseason, he completed 34 of 68 passes for 437 yards, 7 TDs and 1 int in his action last season. He also ran for 195 yards and 5 TDs. So he’s a threat.

But I like the Crimson Tide to have a big day in Mercedes-Benz. Tua and the offense will have their way and the defense, to me, could be as good or better than any defense the Crimson Tide has had in spite of the injuries. I do like younger brother Taulia to be the backup if Tua gets nicked up. He’s sensational and more trustworthy than Mac Jones. I guess they’ll go with Jones if Tua gets hurt, but there will be a short leash on him. Know Crimson Tide fans will hope it doesn’t come to that.

But at 2:30 PM Saturday, my wife is going to get ready to crank out several of her “Go Dudes!” for her Crimson Tide.

Alabama 42, Duke 7

No.16 Auburn vs. No. 11 Oregon

Advocare Classic

AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas, Jerry’s presence will be felt.

6:30 PM CT

ABC

Chris, Kirk, Maria

Auburn by 3

The big news for Tigers fans is the emergence of 5 star freshman Bo Nix as the starting quarterback. I was surprised and impressed that Gus chose Bo. He’s a heckuva quarterback. Nix threw for over 12,000 yards and 161 TDs in high school at Pinson Valley. He was coached by his father, the renowned former Tiger quarterback Patrick Nix. There is chance Joey Gatewood, a talent, could come in for certain situations, but I would like to see Gus stick with Bo for the most part. One quarterback works a lot better than 2. You can’t worry about anybody’s feelings when you’re trying to win a football game.

While the line was 6 1/2 going in, it’s dropped to 3. Oregon was the preseason favorite to win the PAC 12, though I still like Washington, and quarterback Justin Herbert (240-of-404, 59%, 3,151 yards, 29 TDs, 8 ints) is a threat to the Auburn defense. He could have gone out for the draft. I don’t know how good he’s going to be against an excellent SEC defense though. I like Derrick Brown, Marlon Davidson, Nick Coe, that phenomenal Auburn front, and the rest of the Tigers defense to have their way with the Oregon offensive line. I like Bo to play well and the Tigers to emerge victorious in a key opening game for them.

Auburn 28, Oregon 20

No.3 Georgia @ Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt Stadium, Nashville

6:30 PM CT

ESPN

***moved to ESPN from the SEC Network due to the Hurricane Dorian threat that has forced Boise State vs FSU to move their game to Saturday at 11 AM CT and play in Tallahassee instead of Jacksonville. The Boise State-FSU game will now be broadcast by ESPNews***

Tom Hart, JRodg, Cole

Dawgs by 22 1/2

Derek Mason is doing a fine job for the Commodores, but he needs to win 6 games this season and WIN a bowl game, not just show up. He’s got a good team led by running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn, who rushed for over 1,200 yards last year and 12 TDs, wide receiver Kalija Lipscomb who caught 87 passes for 916 yards and 9 TDs in 2018, and tight end Jared Pinkney, who caught 50 passes for 774 yards and 7 TDs. All 3 are NFL players. But they’ll have a new quarterback as 4 year starter Kyle Shurmur is now trying to make the Kansas City Chiefs roster. Deuce Wallace or Riley Neal will takeover. That won’t be announced till Saturday.

Vanderbilt has about 9 or 10 guys on their team who can play in the NFL. The problem for the Commodores is Georgia has around 20 to 25 who can play in the National Football League. Jake Fromm and D’Andre Swift have their way with the Commodores.

Georgia 45, Vanderbilt 21

Tonight

Georgia Tech @ No.1 Clemson

Memorial Stadium, Clemson

7 PM CT

ACC Network, 336 on Charter Spectrum and 612 on AT&T DirecTV

Clemson by 37

Another long night for another team trying to scale Mt Everest in their respective conference. Tech, not known for their defense, will be chasing Justyn Ross and Tee Higgins, unsuccessfully, all night while those guys and Trevor Lawrence light up the scoreboard. Clemson seems hungry again.

Clemson 55, Georgia Tech 14

Georgia Southern @ No.6 L-S-U

Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge

6:30 PM CT

ESPNU

Tiguhs by 27 1/2

Another long night. Joe and O get started with their promising season.

LSU 41, Georgia Southern 7

South Carolina vs North Carolina

Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte

2:30 PM CT

ESPN

Gamecocks by 11

Will Muschamp says this is the best team he’s had at Columbia. He says that almost every year so I’m not sure if I trust that. Senior quarterback Jake Bentley is back and he can be really good at times and struggle at other times. I do like the Gamecocks to take care of business over aging first year coach Mack Brown and the Tar Heels.

South Carolina 28, North Carolina 10

Ole Miss @Memphis

Liberty Bowl

11 AM CT

ABC

Memphis by 5 1/2

I like the Rebs to pull off the upset here.

Ole Miss 34, Memphis 31

Tonight

Texas State @ No.12 Texas A&M

Kyle Field, College Station

7:30 PM CT

SEC Network

A&M by 33

Texas State, are you kiddin me? Sounds like a UAB opponent.

A&M 45, Texas State 3

Georgia State @Tennessee

Neyland Stadium

2:30 PM CT

ESPNU

UT by 26

Jeremy Pruitt will have a better team this season. Could very well win 7 possibly 8 games. He’s a good coach. There is a lot of potential in Knoxville with Pruitt in charge.

Tennessee 41, Georgia State 7

Mississippi State @ Louisiana

11 AM CT

ESPNU

State by 19 1/2

Penn State transfer Tommy Stevens takes over under center for Joe Moorhead and the Bulldogs. This team could be a sleeper in the SEC. I’m not saying they’re going to win it, but they’re a darkhorse to have a really successful season.

State 38, Louisiana 14

Toledo @ Kentucky

Kroger Stadium, Lexington

11 AM CT

SEC Network

KY by 11 1/2

Mark Stoops did an excellent job last season of leading his team to a 10-3 season and 5-3 in the SEC with a victory over Florida for the first time in 3 decades at the Swamp. That’s impressive. He’s got a younger group this season, but the talent is still good. Terry Wilson will be quarterback as he beat out Troy graduate transfer Sawyer Smith, who is a pretty good player. So if Wilson struggles, Smith could be called upon.

Kentucky 31, Toledo 14

Missouri @Wyoming

6:30 PM CT

CBS Sports Network

Mizzou by 18

Kelly Bryant will take over at quarterback for the Tigers. The Clemson transfer has impressive winning credentials from Clemson and looked very good in the spring game. Missouri can’t go to a bowl which is a shame because they have a good team (NCAA sanctions for tutor improperly completing course work for several football players), but they’ll have to make their regular season their postseason.

Mizzou 31, Wyoming 21

Portland State @Arkansas

3 PM CT

SEC Network

No line

This has got to be a joke, right Arkansas? This is worse than UAB’s opponents.

Arkansas 48, Portland State 10

Sunday

Houston @ No.4 Oklahoma

6:30 PM CT

ABC

OU by 23

This is a pretty electric Sunday Night matchup. Jalen Hurts gets the start for the Sooners so that’s exciting. Dana Holgerson has taken over at Houston and his offenses should be explosive. At OU, the offense is second to none, but it’s Always the defense that’s questionable. Alex Grinch came over from Washington State then Ohio State to take over the defense. He’s a good coach and will do a good job with the defense. But starting out, the Sooners will have to rely on their offense. The Cougars have a really good dual threat quarterback in D’Eriq King,

Oklahoma 45, Houston 34

Florida Atlantic at No.5 Ohio State

11 AM CT

FOX

Ohio State by 27 1/2

Another transfer takes over under center. Justin Fields, the 5 star transfer from Georgia, will lead the Buckeyes his sophomore year. It’ll be interesting to see how he does. Quite a contrast between Athens and Columbus. The culture could work there, we’ll see. Ryan Day takes over from Urb, thank God.

Ohio State 35, Florida Atlantic 21

Alabama State @ UAB

7 PM CT

ESPN+

No Line

What kind of game is this? If UAB wants to attract more fans they need to do better than this. Their first 7 games are this game, @Akron, off, South Alabama, @Western Kentucky, Rice, @Texas San Antonio, Old Dominion. They’re off a week, then they go to Knoxville, Saturday, Nov. 2nd. Before they go to Knoxville it’s a laughingstock of a schedule. If they want to be taken seriously, they need to schedule better opponents.

UAB 48, Alabama State 7

Boise State @FSU

11 AM CT

ESPNews

FSU by 6 1/2

This game has been moved from Jacksonville to Tallahassee due to the threat of Hurricane Dorian. I’m taking the upset here.

Boise State 28, FSU 24

Tonight

No. 14 Utah @BYU

9:15 PM CT

ESPN

Utah by 6 1/2

I like this game to be close. Zach Wilson is a really good quarterback for BYU. This is going to be a hard fought, physical game in Provo tonight.

Utah 23, BYU 20

Northwestern @ Stanford

3 PM CT

FOX

Stanford by 6 1/2

I’m taking an upset here as well. Northwestern won 9 games last season and hammered Utah in the Holiday Bowl, 31-20. The score didn’t indicate how dominant a victory that was for the Wildcats. I’m taking the tougher team here.

Northwestern 28, Stanford 27

Fresno State @USC

9:30 PM CT

ESPN

USC by 13 1/2

Fresno State went 12-2 last year, won the Mountain West title game at Boise State, where it’s next to impossible to win, then blasted Arizona State 31-20 in the Las Vegas Bowl. Give me Jeff Tedford and his Bulldogs over Clay Helton and USC any day.

Fresno State 30, USC 28

Other scores

Friday

Wake Forest 31, Utah State 24

7 PM CT, ACC Network

Wake by 5 1/2

Friday

Colorado State 30, Colorado 28

9 PM CT, ESPN

Colorado by 13 1/2

Friday

Wisconsin 28, South Florida 24

6 PM CT, ESPN

Whisky by 11

Friday

Oklahoma State 45, Oregon State 30

9:30 PM CT, Fox Sports 1

OK State by 14

Saturday

Virginia 35, Pittsburgh 24

6:30 PM CT, ACC Network

UVA by 2 1/2

Saturday

Virginia Tech 28, Boston College 23

3 PM CT, ACC Network

VA Tech by 4


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