2017 College Football Week 1 Preview and Picks

The 2017-2018 College Football Season is here. The season actually began this past Saturday. That’s when Week 1 started. This past Saturday was nothing like what happens beginning on Thursday, August 31. Keep reading for a run down of the biggest college football games of Week 1.

2017 College Football Week 1 Preview

Thursday, Aug. 31

Tulsa +18 at 10 Oklahoma State -18

The Oklahoma State Cowboys opened as a -17.5 favorite. As of Tuesday, August 29, OKST is a -18 favorite. I think when it’s all said and done the Oklahoma State Cowboys win the Big 12 Conference. QB Mason Rudolph is one of the best quarterbacks in college football. The Cowboys have an underrated defense.

Oklahoma State should beat Tulsa by at least 3 TDs.

Pick: Oklahoma State -18

2 Ohio State -21.5 at Indiana +21.5

Many college football experts have picked Ohio State to win the College Football Playoff. I’m not sure if they’re good enough. I’m definitely not sure if they’re good enough to cover a more than 3 TD spread against Indiana.

The Buckeyes are 0 and 6 ATS in the last 6 meetings between Ohio State and Indiana. The Hoosiers always play Ohio State tough. Taking the points is the way to go.

Pick: Indiana +21.5

Friday, Sep. 1

8 Washington -27.5 at Rutgers +27.5

Such is the allure of the University of Southern California Trojans that the best team in the Pac 12, the Washington Huskies, are ranked 8th while USC is ranked 4th. There’s no reason to believe Washington can’t get back to the College Football Playoff this season.

The Huskies march to the CFP starts by dominating the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Friday, Sept. 1. I believe Washington wins by at least 35 points. After USC squeaks by Western Michigan, maybe the two Pac 12 squads will switch rankings.

Pick: Washington -27.5

Utah State +28.5 at 9 Wisconsin -28.5

The Badgers field one of the top teams in the Big Ten each and every season. But, giving up more than 4 touchdowns to a tough Utah State team doesn’t seem wise. Utah State shouldn’t be close to the Badgers in this one. Okay, let’s say they lose by 25 points. The Aggies cover if that happens.

Pick: Utah State +28.5

Saturday, Sep. 2

Kent State +39.5 at 5 Clemson -39.5

No DeShaun Watson means that a lot of eyes are going to be watching Clemson battle Kent State this Saturday. The Tigers beat Alabama for the National Championship last season. They’ve got a chance to repeat as National Champions because Dabo Swinney, Clemson’s coach, has the program working like an atomic clock.

Clemson figures to make a statement on offense in Week 1. Don’t be surprised if Dabo’s bunch lays at least 60 on Kent State.

Pick: Clemson -39.5

Akron +30.5 at 6 Penn State -30.5

My pick to win the Big Ten is Penn State. I’m actually having trouble understanding how Penn State is ranked after Ohio State. The Nittany Lions return plenty of experience on defense. Trace McSorley is the best quarterback in the Big Ten. Saquon Barkley is the best running back in the Big Ten.

In any case, when it comes to Akron, forget it. The Nittany Lions beat the Zips by around 42 points.

Pick: Penn State -30.5

Maryland +18.5 at 23 Texas -18.5

I was hoping Texas might be favored by around 10 points in this game. At 10 points, Texas is a great play. The Longhorns should cover that. But, 18.5 points is a lot. Yes, Texas has the much better team on paper. Plus, new head coach Tom Herman knows what he’s doing.

But, Maryland is a scrappy bunch. The Terrapins can surprise you with their spread offense. The D should be better this season than it was last season. I must side with the Terps in this contest.

Pick: Maryland +18.5

UTEP +43 at 7 Oklahoma -43

I’m glad Bob Stoops retired. Although a great coach, his Oklahoma teams had started to become boring. There was nothing new year to year. Lincoln Riley brings a sense of urgency to the program. That’s going to bode well for Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield, a Heisman Trophy candidate.

43 point is a lot, but the Sooners should cover. UTEP’s going to be surprised by how much energy Oklahoma shows on the football field.

Pick: Oklahoma -43  

11 Michigan +4 vs 17 Florida -4

The Wolverines had to replace 9 starters on their defense. What’s worse is that the offensive line might play better this season? That’s the word out of Michigan where everyone keeps talking about what a great recruiter Jim Harbaugh is. Hey, I get it.

But, Jim McElwain at Florida is a heck of a recruiter as well. Whether he starts Malik Zaire, 6′ 5″ freshman QB Feleipe Franks, or Luke Del Rio, the Gators should have an edge at the most important position on the field. Yes, I know that 8 players from Florida’s squad have been suspended from playing in this game.

It doesn’t matter to me. I like Florida to upset Michigan straight up.

Pick: Florida money line 

Western Michigan +27 at 4 USC -27

USC is supposed to dominate Western Michigan on Saturday. The buzz about the Trojans has been deafening in Los Angeles. QB Sam Darnold already has the Heisman Trophy locked up. I’m not sold on USC because of one, simple, reason.

USC’s offensive line is young. The defense also lost some starters. Should USC win the game? Absolutely, the Trojans should. But, I’m not laying the 27 points against a team full of juniors and seniors.

Pick: Western Michigan +27

Appalachian State +14.5 at 15 Georgia -14.5

A great friend of mine, who happens to be an Alabama alum, works in Atlanta. Although Georgia Tech plays in Atlanta, everyone in Atlanta roots for the Georgia Bulldogs. I think Georgia should be a decent team.

The Bulldogs face an uphill climb against Appalachian State, though. The Mountaineers didn’t lose much from a team that played well last season. I question Georgia’s ability to be a good defensive team while their offense is suspect.

I think I’m going for the money again. App State on the moneyline is my pick.

Pick: Appalachian State money line

Georgia Southern +34 at 12 Auburn -34

Auburn and Georgia are almost the same SEC team. Every season expectations are high for both the Georgia Bulldogs and the Auburn Tigers. Every season, both teams fail miserably.

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn must do something this season to keep his job. I don’t know if he can. I’m not sure how talented War Eagle is this season. When I’m not sure how talented a Top 20 ranked team is, I always take the points versus their unknown Week 1 opponent.

Pick: Georgia Southern +34 

16 Louisville -24.5 vs Purdue +24.5

Last season, Louisville’s defense allowed more TD passes than any other team in the ACC. Purdue is a bad Big Ten squad. But, the Boilermakers should do enough to keep this one closer than the spread. Yes, the Cardinals project to score a lot of points. Louisville’s QB did win the Heisman last season.

But, Purdue should score a lot of points as well. The Boilermakers have a shot at the money line upset while taking the 24.5 points is a no-brainer.

Pick: Purdue +24.5 

3 Florida State +7 vs 1 Alabama -7

Saturday Night’s marquee game has Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide battling Jimbo Fisher’s Florida State Seminoles. No matter who wins this game, a rematch in the CFP seems likely.

Florida State is my pick. The reason is because of their quarterback, Deondre Francois. Francois might be the best quarterback in college football. He played most of his freshman year on his back because the Seminoles couldn’t pass protect.

With a much better offensive line, and one of the top defenses in the nation, I think FSU pulls off the upset. Don’t worry if you’re an Alabama fan. The Tide should still roll to the CFP at the end of the season.

Pick: Florida State money line

BYU +16 vs 13 LSU -16

The line before BYU only beat Portland State 20 to 6 this past Saturday was LSU -10.5. The Cougars looked horrible facing a non-FBS team. BYU was favored by 35 points.

If you like LSU jump on them right now. Don’t even finish reading this until you get action on the Tigers. LSU figures to end up a 20 to 21 point favorite.The 4 to 5 point swing from -16 could be the difference in this game although at no point should LSU be in any trouble.

Pick: LSU -16

Sunday, Sep. 3

22 West Virginia +4 vs 21 Virginia Tech -4

Of the two teams in this Sunday throw down, I much prefer Virginia Tech. Hokies coach Justin Fuente starts his second season in Blacksburg on Sep. 3. Fuente’s young team should be the surprise squad in the ACC. West Virginia? I like the Mountaineers. I just think this is a tough match up for them. VA Tech covers the 4 point spread.

Pick: Virginia Tech -4

Texas A&M +3.5 at UCLA -3.5

The UCLA Bruins have their own Heisman Trophy candidate at quarterback in Josh Rosen. Rosen’s going to jump to the NFL this season no matter what happens with UCLA. That’s not good news because Rosen doesn’t necessarily have to win football games. He might end up the first pick in the NFL Draft no matter if UCLA even makes it to a bowl game.

The Bruins must also replace 3 starters, one at each level, on defense. All of it adds up to Texas A&M covering the spread.

Pick: Texas A&M +3.5

Monday, Sep. 4

25 Tennessee -3.5 vs Georgia Tech +3.5

Monday Night Football kicks off with a college game between ranked Tennessee and unranked Georgia Tech. I don’t understand why Tennessee is ranked in the Top 25. The Vols were supposed to challenge Alabama for the SEC Championship last season.

How can they possibly beat a team like the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets this season? I don’t think they can. I’ll go G-Tech money line.

Pick: Georgia Tech money line

What do you think?

Written by D.S. Williamson