Last year ATS: 103-107-6 (52-54-2 National, 51-53-4 B1G)
In case you missed yesterday’s Big Ten picks for the weekend, you can find them here.
National games (All games Saturday unless otherwise noted):
No. 3 Florida State v. No. 1 Alabama (-7.5) - 8:00 p.m. EST - ABC
As a college football fans we should be lucky to have gotten a matchup like this on opening week. Of course now that I say that, watch this game turn into a dud. Alabama has a habit of turning their high-profile openers into snoozers with the way they suck the life out of their opponents.
The best matchup of the night will see talented Florida State safety Derwin James and the rest of the Seminole secondary trying to slow down quarterback Jalen Hurts. The Seminoles might not want to key in too much on shutting down the passing game though, since we have seen what running back Bo Scarbrough can do when he gets the football.
The biggest goal of the Florida State offense on Saturday night is to not let quarterback Deondre Francois get killed by the Alabama defense. It seemed like about twice a quarter last year Francois was getting absolutely obliterated. If the Seminoles let that trend continue this year, Francois isn’t going to last the year. But if the offensive line can keep Francois clean, the sky is the limit for Florida State.
I really want to pick Alabama to run away with this game, but for some reason I do see the Seminoles giving the Crimson Tide their toughest test in a season opener in quite some time. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see these two teams meet up in the College Football Playoff, so hopefully we get a classic to truly ring in college football 2017.
Alabama 28, Florida State 24
BYU v. No. 13 LSU (-14.5) - 9:30 p.m. EST - ESPN
After originally scheduled to be played in Houston, earlier this week the game was moved to New Orleans because of the devastating flooding in Houston caused by Hurricane Harvey. While LSU might get a small advantage with the game being played in Louisiana, I can’t see this having much of an effect on the game.
BYU knew they were going to have to travel somewhere where it would be a largely pro-LSU crowd. At least the Cougars have an advantage of already having played this year. Last weekend BYU didn’t look all that impressive in a 20-6 win over Portland State. Even though they didn’t look great, the Cougars were able to knock some rust off at least before facing the Tigers.
After rushing for 1,387 yards last year, Derrius Guice returns for LSU, and this time he won’t have to share carries with Leonard Fournette. It’ll be interesting to see if the BYU defense can slow down Guice at all, because if they can they could have a shot at the upset since LSU doesn’t exactly inspire a ton of confidence with their passing game. I can definitely see this game staying within two touchdowns.
LSU 27, BYU 17
No. 22 West Virginia v. No. 21 Virginia Tech (-4) - Sunday 9/3 7:30 p.m. EST - ABC
THE BATTLE FOR ALL OF THE VIRGINIAS WILL TAKE PLACE ON SUNDAY NIGHT....in Maryland. After formerly being Big East foes, this marks the first time since 2005 that the Mountaineers and Hokies have squared off. Both teams will be breaking in new quarterbacks, except West Virginia might have an edge because they have a quarterback with previous college football experience.
Will Grier transferred from Florida to West Virginia after being suspended for PEDs. On the other side, redshirt freshman Josh Jackson will make his first start as Justin Fuente hopes Jackson has what it takes to replace Jerod Evans at quarterback.
This should be a fun back-and-forth affair, with both quarterbacks making big plays throughout the night. Even though the Mountaineers do have a little more experience with their quarterback, I think late in the game Bud Foster’s defense will make a play or two which will end up sealing a tight game for the Hokies.
Virginia Tech 38, West Virginia 31
Texas A&M v. UCLA (-4.5) - Sunday 9/3 7:30 p.m. EST - FOX
Could this be the year that Texas A&M doesn’t go 6-0 to start the season and then completely fall apart sometime in October? Seems to be the formula Kevin Sumlin likes to work with, and it’s a reason why he is on the coaching hot seat. Even worse for Sumlin is he won’t have the luxury of Myles Garrett lining up at defensive end, which would definitely help against UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen.
Much like Sumlin, Jim Mora isn’t exactly on good standing in Los Angeles right now, and another subpar season could see him get shown the door. Good thing Mora has Rosen to save his bacon. Without Rosen, there’d be no question Texas A&M wins this game, but with Rosen everything changes. This game comes down to the wire like last year’s in College Station did, but this time UCLA gets the victory.
UCLA 33, Texas A&M 30
No. 25 Tennessee (-3) v. Georgia Tech - Monday 9/4 8:00 p.m. EST - ESPN
This game has just as many questions as you’d expect there to be heading into it. Lets face it, both Tennessee and Georgia Tech are sorta weird teams. The Volunteers have Butch Jones at head coach, who obviously isn’t normal. On the other side, Georgia Tech runs the triple-option. Now factor in both teams are trying to replace their quarterback and running backs from last year, which makes this game even harder to get a read on.
One reason I’m leaning towards Tennessee in this matchup is they do have a lot of experience returning on defense, which could help them in trying to shut down the Yellow Jackets’ rushing attack. Other than that, I have no idea on what to expect with this game.
Tennessee 31, Georgia Tech 24