Articles By Steven Lassan

All taxonomy terms: ACC, Air Force Falcons, Akron Zips, Alabama Crimson Tide, Appalachian State Mountaineers, Arizona State Sun Devils, Arizona Wildcats, Arkansas Razorbacks, Arkansas State Red Wolves, Army Black Knights, Army West Point Black Knights, Auburn Tigers, Ball State Cardinals, Baylor Bears, Boise State Broncos, Boston College Eagles, Bowling Green Falcons, Buffalo Bulls, BYU Cougars, California Golden Bears, Central Michigan Chippewas, Charlotte 49ers, Cincinnati Bearcats, Clemson Tigers, College Football, Colorado Buffaloes, Colorado State Rams, Connecticut Huskies, Duke Blue Devils, East Carolina Pirates, Eastern Michigan Eagles, FAU Owls, FIU Panthers, Florida Gators, Florida State Seminoles, Fresno State Bulldogs, Georgia Bulldogs, Georgia Southern Eagles, Georgia State Panthers, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Hawaii Warriors, Houston Cougars, Idaho Vandals, Illinois Fighting Illini, Indiana Hoosiers, Iowa Hawkeyes, Iowa State Cyclones, Kansas Jayhawks, Kansas State Wildcats, Kent State Golden Flashes, Kentucky Wildcats, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, Louisville Cardinals, LSU Tigers, Marshall Thundering Herd, Maryland Terrapins, Memphis Tigers, Miami Hurricanes, Miami Ohio RedHawks, Michigan State Spartans, Michigan Wolverines, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Missouri Tigers, MTSU Blue Raiders, Navy Midshipmen, NC State Wolfpack, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Nevada Wolf Pack, New Mexico Lobos, New Mexico State Aggies, North Carolina Tar Heels, North Texas Mean Green, Northern Illinois Huskies, Northwestern Wildcats, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Ohio Bobcats, Ohio State Buckeyes, Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Old Dominion Monarchs, Ole Miss Rebels, Oregon Ducks, Oregon State Beavers, Penn State Nittany Lions, Pittsburgh Panthers, Purdue Boilermakers, Rice Owls, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, San Diego State Aztecs, San Jose State Spartans, SMU Mustangs, South Alabama Jaguars, South Carolina Gamecocks, South Florida Bulls, Southern Miss Golden Eagles, Stanford Cardinal, Syracuse Orange, TCU Horned Frogs, Temple Owls, Tennessee Volunteers, Texas A&M Aggies, Texas Longhorns, Texas State Bobcats, Texas Tech Red Raiders, Toledo Rockets, Troy Trojans, Tulane Green Wave, Tulsa Golden Hurricane, UAB Blazers, UCF Knights, UCLA Bruins, UConn Huskies, UL Lafayette Ragin Cajuns, UL Monroe Warhawks, UMass Minutemen, UNLV Rebels, USC Trojans, Utah State Aggies, Utah Utes, UTEP Miners, UTSA Roadrunners, Vanderbilt Commodores, Virginia Cavaliers, Virginia Tech Hokies, Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Washington Huskies, Washington State Cougars, West Virginia Mountaineers, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, Western Michigan Broncos, Wisconsin Badgers, Wyoming Cowboys, American Athletic, Big 12, Big Ten, Conference USA, Independents, MAC, Mountain West, Pac 12, SEC, Sun Belt, News
Path: /college-football/5-college-football-teams-quietly-impressed-week-1
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The first week of every  season always generates overreaction on both sides of the talking point. If a team lost by a bigger margin than expected or struggled, it’s easy to say that team is worse than anticipated. But if a team wins in an upset or is more impressive than the preseason projections expected, the reaction is this team should be better than we thought.

 

There could be some truth in both arguments. However, the real truth rests somewhere in the middle. No team is as good (or bad) as they play in Week 1. After all, it’s just the first game of the season.

 

With overreaction in mind, here are five schools that quietly impressed in Week 1. What does it mean for the rest of the year? We’ll find out.

 

5 CFB Teams That Quietly Impressed in Week 1

 

Duke

David Cutcliffe has transformed Duke into a consistent bowl team, and the Blue Devils are coming off their best two-year stretch (19 wins) in school history. But despite the recent success and 12 returning starters, Duke was picked (by some) near the bottom of the ACC Coastal for 2015. However, if Thursday night’s win over Tulane is any indication of what to expect from this team this fall, Duke should be in the mix for a finish in the top half of the Coastal. The Blue Devils dominated the Green Wave, winning 37-7 thanks to strong performances on both sides of the ball. New quarterback Thomas Sirk completed 27 of 40 passes for 289 yards and two scores and added 68 yards on the ground. The junior also guided the Duke offense to an average of 5.7 yards per play. The defense limited Tulane to just 4.2 yards per play, 25 rushing yards and forced four sacks. The Green Wave did not score until the fourth quarter and managed only two drives longer than 50 yards. Duke still has its share of question marks to answer on the defensive side when it takes on better offenses. However, Thursday night’s showing was a good sign for the Blue Devils.

 

Iowa

We don’t want to overreact to Week 1 with any of the teams on this list, but Iowa has a good shot to be 4-0 headed into its Oct. 3 game against Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes easily dispatched Illinois State – last year’s FCS title runner-up and an upset pick by some in Week 1 – 31-14 on Saturday. C.J. Beathard was picked over Jake Rudock at quarterback to generate more big plays for an offense that ranked seventh in the conference in scoring last season. So far, so good. Beathard led Iowa’s offense to an average of 6.2 yards per play and passed for 221 yards on 15 completions. The Hawkeyes held the Redbirds to just 231 total yards, 14 first downs and generated 10 tackles for a loss.

 

NC State

The Wolfpack ended 2014 by winning four out of their last five games, and coach Dave Doeren’s team picked up where they left off in the opener. NC State handled Troy 49-21 on Saturday with an impressive showing by both sides of the ball. The Wolfpack defense gave up a few big plays, but held the Trojans to 13 first downs, 1 of 9 on third-down attempts and forced two turnovers. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett was almost perfect, completing 21 of 23 throws for 196 yards and two scores. Additionally, Matt Dayes, Reggie Gallaspy and Jaylen Samuels picked up the ground attack with Shadrach Thornton suspended. NC State generated 251 rushing yards and scored five scores on the ground. 

 

Ole Miss

As expected, Ole Miss had zero trouble in its opener, dominating UT Martin in a 76-3 rout on Saturday afternoon. The quarterback position was under the spotlight throughout the offseason, and all three quarterbacks vying for the job in fall camp performed well. Chad Kelly took the first snap over DeVante Kincade and Ryan Buchanan and finished with 211 passing yards and two scores on just nine completions. Kelly also added a touchdown run in the third quarter. The former Clemson and junior college quarterback has solidified his place at the top of the depth chart since spring ball, and the Rebels also showcased some punch on the ground in Week 1. Four players rushed for at least 50 yards, with the offense averaging 9.4 yards per rush against the Skyhawks. Yes, the quality of opponent has to be considered, but there were some positive signs for the Ole Miss offense in Week 1.

 

West Virginia

One of the weekend’s most overlooked performances has to be West Virginia’s 44-0 victory over Georgia Southern. While beating a team from the Sun Belt may not seem like a big deal, the Eagles are one of the preseason favorites in the league and nearly defeated NC State and Georgia Tech in 2014. The Mountaineers dominated from the start, never allowing Georgia Southern’s offense to get on track. West Virginia’s defense limited the Eagles to 74 yards in the first half, forced five turnovers and limited their rushing attack to just 3.4 yards per carry. In addition to a dominant showing on defense, the Mountaineers had zero trouble moving the ball on Georgia Southern. Dana Holgorsen’s group averaged 8.2 yards per play, which was the first time West Virginia eclipsed over eight yards a play since 2012. Quarterback Skyler Howard completed 16 of 25 passes for 359 yards, while receivers Shelton Gibson (3 for 130 yards, 1 TD) and Jovon Durante (3 for 121 yards, 1 TD) impressed as pass catchers.

 

Six Teams from the Group of 5 Ranks

 

Appalachian State

The Mountaineers picked up where they left off last season, and as expected, easily handled Howard (49-0). The Week 2 test against Clemson will be an interesting game to watch.

 

Hawaii

Is this Norm Chow’s best team since taking over as head coach? Possibly. USC transfer quarterback Max Wittek guided the Rainbow Warriors to a 28-20 upset over Colorado in Week 1.

 

New Mexico

Mississippi Valley State isn’t the best judge of where New Mexico is, but the Lobos have enough pieces to push for a bowl this season.

 

USF

We will have a better idea of where USF stands in Week 2 against Florida State, but the Bulls’ new offense averaged 7.7 yards per play, while the defense held Florida A&M to 182 total yards (2.5 ypp).

 

UNLV

One of the weekend’s most overlooked games might have been Northern Illinois’ 38-30 win over UNLV. Again, it’s the opener so we have to be cautious with observations, but the Rebels – projected to be one of the worst teams in the nation – nearly knocked off last year’s MAC champion. That’s a good start for new coach Tony Sanchez.

 

UTSA

Yes, the Roadrunners lost to Arizona, but for a team returning just three starters, UTSA gave the Wildcats all it could handle in a 42-32 defeat.

Teaser:
5 College Football Teams That Quietly Impressed in Week 1
Post date: Wednesday, September 9, 2015 - 09:30
All taxonomy terms: ACC, Air Force Falcons, Akron Zips, Alabama Crimson Tide, Appalachian State Mountaineers, Arizona State Sun Devils, Arizona Wildcats, Arkansas Razorbacks, Arkansas State Red Wolves, Army Black Knights, Army West Point Black Knights, Auburn Tigers, Ball State Cardinals, Baylor Bears, Boise State Broncos, Boston College Eagles, Bowling Green Falcons, Buffalo Bulls, BYU Cougars, California Golden Bears, Central Michigan Chippewas, Charlotte 49ers, Cincinnati Bearcats, Clemson Tigers, College Football, Colorado Buffaloes, Colorado State Rams, Connecticut Huskies, Duke Blue Devils, East Carolina Pirates, Eastern Michigan Eagles, FAU Owls, FIU Panthers, Florida Gators, Florida State Seminoles, Fresno State Bulldogs, Georgia Bulldogs, Georgia Southern Eagles, Georgia State Panthers, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Hawaii Warriors, Houston Cougars, Idaho Vandals, Illinois Fighting Illini, Indiana Hoosiers, Iowa Hawkeyes, Iowa State Cyclones, Kansas Jayhawks, Kansas State Wildcats, Kent State Golden Flashes, Kentucky Wildcats, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, Louisville Cardinals, LSU Tigers, Marshall Thundering Herd, Maryland Terrapins, Memphis Tigers, Miami Hurricanes, Miami Ohio RedHawks, Michigan State Spartans, Michigan Wolverines, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Missouri Tigers, MTSU Blue Raiders, Navy Midshipmen, NC State Wolfpack, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Nevada Wolf Pack, New Mexico Lobos, New Mexico State Aggies, North Carolina Tar Heels, North Texas Mean Green, Northern Illinois Huskies, Northwestern Wildcats, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Ohio Bobcats, Ohio State Buckeyes, Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Old Dominion Monarchs, Ole Miss Rebels, Oregon Ducks, Oregon State Beavers, Penn State Nittany Lions, Pittsburgh Panthers, Purdue Boilermakers, Rice Owls, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, San Diego State Aztecs, San Jose State Spartans, SMU Mustangs, South Alabama Jaguars, South Carolina Gamecocks, South Florida Bulls, Southern Miss Golden Eagles, Stanford Cardinal, Syracuse Orange, TCU Horned Frogs, Temple Owls, Tennessee Volunteers, Texas A&M Aggies, Texas Longhorns, Texas State Bobcats, Texas Tech Red Raiders, Toledo Rockets, Troy Trojans, Tulane Green Wave, Tulsa Golden Hurricane, UAB Blazers, UCF Knights, UCLA Bruins, UConn Huskies, UL Lafayette Ragin Cajuns, UL Monroe Warhawks, UMass Minutemen, UNLV Rebels, USC Trojans, Utah State Aggies, Utah Utes, UTEP Miners, UTSA Roadrunners, Vanderbilt Commodores, Virginia Cavaliers, Virginia Tech Hokies, Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Washington Huskies, Washington State Cougars, West Virginia Mountaineers, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, Western Michigan Broncos, Wisconsin Badgers, Wyoming Cowboys, American Athletic, Big 12, Big Ten, Conference USA, Independents, MAC, Mountain West, Pac 12, SEC, Sun Belt, News
Path: /college-football/predictions-every-college-football-game-week-2
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Week 2 of the 2015 season kicks off on Thursday night with WKU hosting Louisiana Tech in a potential preview of the Conference USA Championship in December. The slate continues on Friday with Utah hosting Utah State and Miami traveling to FAU. On Saturday, Michigan State-Oregon, Oklahoma-Tennessee and LSU-Mississippi State round out the key games for Week 2.  

 

Conference Predictions for Week 2

 

 

College Football Week 2 Predictions
 Steven
Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

Mark

Ross

John

Gworek

La. Tech at

WKU

Miami at 

FAU

Utah State at

Utah

USF at 

Florida State

Army at

UConn

Houston at

Louisville

BGSU at

Maryland

Oregon State at

Michigan

Buffalo at 

Penn State

Indiana State at

Purdue

Jacksonville State at

Auburn

Western Illinois at

Illinois

Kansas State at 

UTSA

Miami, Ohio at

Wisconsin

Presbyterian at

Charlotte

Appalachian State at

Clemson

Wake Forest at 

Syracuse

Howard at 

Boston College

UMass at 

Colorado

Sacramento State at

Washington

Liberty at 

West Virginia

UTEP at 

Texas Tech

Monmouth at 

CMU

Tulane at

Ga. Tech

Hawaii at 

Ohio State

Wash. State at

Rutgers

Notre Dame at

Virginia

Furman at

Va. Tech

Fresno State at

Ole Miss

Step. F. Austin at

TCU

Georgia at 

Vanderbilt

Minnesota at

Colorado State

Austin Peay at

Southern Miss

Murray State at

NIU

MTSU at

Alabama

Toledo at

Arkansas

E. Illinois at

Northwestern

EMU at

Wyoming

Iowa at 

Iowa State

SDSU at

California

Pittsburgh at 

Akron

NC Central at

Duke

North Carolina A&T at

North Carolina

EKU at

NC State

Oklahoma at

Tennessee

WMU at

Georgia Southern

Delaware State at

Kent State

East Carolina at

Florida

Missouri at

Arkansas State

Memphis at

Kansas

Ball State at

Texas A&M

Arizona at

Nevada

Norfolk State at

Old Dominion

Nicholls State at

ULM

Prairie View A&M at

Texas State

C. Southern at

Troy

North Texas at

SMU

NW State at

ULL

Marshall at

Ohio

Kentucky at

South Carolina

Lamar at

Baylor

Central Arkansas at

Okla. State

FIU at

Indiana

Oregon at

Michigan State

S. Alabama at

Nebraska

Rice at 

Texas

Idaho at

USC

Temple at

Cincinnati

Tulsa at 

New Mexico

Georgia State at

NMSU

LSU at

Miss. State

Boise State at

BYU

SJSU at

Air Force

UCF at

Stanford

UCLA at 

UNLV

Cal Poly at

Arizona State

 

Teaser:
Predictions for Every College Football Game in Week 2
Post date: Tuesday, September 8, 2015 - 13:17
Path: /college-football/virginia-tech-rb-jc-coleman-wears-gold-watch-against-ohio-state
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Virginia Tech running back J.C. Coleman made quite a fashion statement during Monday night’s game against Ohio State.

 

Normally, jerseys or helmets are the choice for making a fashion statement, but Coleman wore a gold watch – yes a gold watch – while playing the Buckeyes.

 

The image was captured on Twitter by a couple of users:

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, September 7, 2015 - 20:32
Path: /college-football/ohio-state-buckeyes-vs-virginia-tech-hokies-preview-and-prediction-2015
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The first week of the 2015 season concludes with a marquee matchup on Monday night, as Ohio State begins its run at back-to-back national championships with a trip to Blacksburg to take on Virginia Tech. In addition to beginning the quest for another national title, the Buckeyes have revenge on their mind. The Hokies upset Ohio State 35-21 in Week 2 last season.

 

The Buckeyes won’t be at full strength for this matchup, as four players were suspended earlier this offseason for the opener. Standout end Joey Bosa and receivers Dontre Wilson, Jalin Marshall and Corey Smith were suspended for violation of team rules. Bosa is the biggest loss out of this group, but the three receivers will be missed. With Ohio State missing a few experienced options in the receiving corps, converted quarterback Braxton Miller will be a key piece of the passing attack on Monday night.

 

Related:

 

This is only the second meeting between Ohio State and Virginia Tech. The only previous matchup between these two teams? The oft-discussed 35-21 matchup in Columbus last season.

 

Ohio State at Virginia Tech

 

Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET (Monday)

TV Channel: ESPN

Spread: Ohio State -14

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Cardale Jones or J.T. Barrett versus Virginia Tech’s Secondary

Who will take the first snap of the year for Ohio State? That’s been the big question since the end of the national championship win over Oregon, as the Buckeyes had three candidates in the mix before Braxton Miller decided to move to receiver. With Miller changing positions, the two-man battle between Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett continued into the fall. There’s been little out of fall practice to suggest which quarterback is in the lead. However, there’s a good chance both quarterbacks play on Monday night. And regardless of who starts or plays, this won’t be an easy matchup. Virginia Tech’s defense is arguably one of the best in the nation and held the Buckeyes to just 4.8 yards per play last season. With Marshall, Wilson and Smith sidelined, who will step up to win one-on-one battles in the passing attack? Keep an eye on the matchup between Virginia Tech cornerbacks Kendall Fuller and Brandon Facyson against Ohio State receivers Michael Thomas and Miller. 

 

2. Ezekiel Elliott versus Virginia Tech’s Front Seven

In last year’s matchup, Virginia Tech’s defense held Elliott to just 32 yards and one score on eight attempts. Additionally, Ohio State’s offensive line had trouble containing the Hokies’ defensive line in pass protection and allowed seven sacks. The Buckeyes’ offensive line significantly improved after the loss to Virginia Tech last season and is one of the best in the nation in 2015. Will this unit and Elliott have better success against the Hokies on Monday night? This should be the matchup to watch, as the Virginia Tech defensive front has two ends capable of wreaking havoc off the edge (Dadi Nicolas and Ken Ekanem) and talented tackles in Corey Marshall and Luther Maddy. Elliott finished 2014 by running for at least 200 yards in each of his last three games. Will he pickup where he left off? Or will Virginia Tech win the battle at the point of attack?

 

3. Virginia Tech’s Offense

There’s no question Virginia Tech has one of the best defenses in the nation. But contending for the ACC Championship resides on how much the offense will improve after a sluggish 2014 campaign. The Hokies averaged only 24.1 points per game and just 4.7 yards per play in ACC games. While last year wasn’t overly successful, eight starters are back, including quarterback Michael Brewer and three starters up front. Will this group take a significant step forward? Ohio State’s defense won’t have Bosa coming off the edge, but there’s no shortage of talent in the front seven. Linebackers Darron Lee and Joshua Perry are among the nation’s best, and the Tyquan Lewis and Sam Hubbard are slated to pickup the slack at defensive end for Bosa. If Virginia Tech is able to contain the Ohio State pass rush, will its young receivers – Cam Phillips, Isaiah Ford and tight end Bucky Hodges – win one-on-one matchups against a good secondary? And don’t forget about running back J.C. Coleman. The senior emerged as the clear No. 1 option in the ground attack at the end of last season, recording at least 95 yards in each of his final four games.

 

Final Analysis

 

This is one of the toughest games on Ohio State’s 2015 schedule. Blacksburg isn’t an easy to place to play, and the Hokies should have confidence after last season’s win in Columbus. Regardless of who starts at quarterback, the biggest concern for Ohio State has to be its ability to block Virginia Tech’s defensive line and the receiving corps against a good secondary. Expect the Hokies to win their share of battles up front and limit some of the big plays for the Buckeyes. Converted quarterback Braxton Miller is the x-factor here. However, keeping Ohio State’s offense under wraps for four quarters is too much to ask. Elliott eventually finds running room in the second half, and the Buckeyes leave Blacksburg with a hard-earned victory.

 

Prediction: Ohio State 30, Virginia Tech 20
Teaser:
Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Virginia Tech Hokies Preview and Prediction 2015
Post date: Monday, September 7, 2015 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: ACC, Air Force Falcons, Akron Zips, Alabama Crimson Tide, Appalachian State Mountaineers, Arizona State Sun Devils, Arizona Wildcats, Arkansas Razorbacks, Arkansas State Red Wolves, Army Black Knights, Army West Point Black Knights, Auburn Tigers, Ball State Cardinals, Baylor Bears, Boise State Broncos, Boston College Eagles, Bowling Green Falcons, Buffalo Bulls, BYU Cougars, California Golden Bears, Central Michigan Chippewas, Charlotte 49ers, Cincinnati Bearcats, Clemson Tigers, College Football, Colorado Buffaloes, Colorado State Rams, Connecticut Huskies, Duke Blue Devils, East Carolina Pirates, Eastern Michigan Eagles, FAU Owls, FIU Panthers, Florida Gators, Florida State Seminoles, Fresno State Bulldogs, Georgia Bulldogs, Georgia Southern Eagles, Georgia State Panthers, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Hawaii Warriors, Houston Cougars, Idaho Vandals, Illinois Fighting Illini, Indiana Hoosiers, Iowa Hawkeyes, Iowa State Cyclones, Kansas Jayhawks, Kansas State Wildcats, Kent State Golden Flashes, Kentucky Wildcats, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, Louisville Cardinals, LSU Tigers, Marshall Thundering Herd, Maryland Terrapins, Memphis Tigers, Miami Hurricanes, Miami Ohio RedHawks, Michigan State Spartans, Michigan Wolverines, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Missouri Tigers, MTSU Blue Raiders, Navy Midshipmen, NC State Wolfpack, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Nevada Wolf Pack, New Mexico Lobos, New Mexico State Aggies, North Carolina Tar Heels, North Texas Mean Green, Northern Illinois Huskies, Northwestern Wildcats, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Ohio Bobcats, Ohio State Buckeyes, Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Old Dominion Monarchs, Ole Miss Rebels, Oregon Ducks, Oregon State Beavers, Penn State Nittany Lions, Pittsburgh Panthers, Purdue Boilermakers, Rice Owls, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, San Diego State Aztecs, San Jose State Spartans, SMU Mustangs, South Alabama Jaguars, South Carolina Gamecocks, South Florida Bulls, Southern Miss Golden Eagles, Stanford Cardinal, Syracuse Orange, TCU Horned Frogs, Temple Owls, Tennessee Volunteers, Texas A&M Aggies, Texas Longhorns, Texas State Bobcats, Texas Tech Red Raiders, Toledo Rockets, Troy Trojans, Tulane Green Wave, Tulsa Golden Hurricane, UAB Blazers, UCF Knights, UCLA Bruins, UConn Huskies, UL Lafayette Ragin Cajuns, UL Monroe Warhawks, UMass Minutemen, UNLV Rebels, USC Trojans, Utah State Aggies, Utah Utes, UTEP Miners, UTSA Roadrunners, Vanderbilt Commodores, Virginia Cavaliers, Virginia Tech Hokies, Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Washington Huskies, Washington State Cougars, West Virginia Mountaineers, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, Western Michigan Broncos, Wisconsin Badgers, Wyoming Cowboys, American Athletic, Big 12, Big Ten, Conference USA, Independents, MAC, Mountain West, Pac 12, SEC, Sun Belt, News
Path: /college-football/10-amazing-college-football-stats-week-1-2015
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Numbers and statistics are a huge part of . Every Sunday, reading updated box scores and stats is like Christmas for fans and media members. Some stats like total offense and total defense are overrated, but each help paint a picture for a team or particular game.

 

Whether the stats are historic, advanced or just an observation from a box score, Athlon Sports brings the most intriguing, important, historic and bizarre stats from around the weekend of college football action:

 

10 Amazing College Football Stats from Week 1

 

10.5: Baylor’s Average Yards Per Play Against SMU

As expected, Baylor’s offense didn’t miss a beat with Seth Russell under center. The Bears scored 56 points, accumulated 723 overall yards and set a school record by averaging 10.5 yards per play against the Mustangs. Russell’s final stat line was also impressive, averaging 25.1 yards per completion on 30 attempts and hitting on five passing plays of 40 yards or more.

 

Related:

 

9: Sacks Generated by Texas A&M Against Arizona State

Texas A&M’s offseason hire of John Chavis as its new defensive coordinator was arguably the best in the nation. And the Aggies wasted no time showcasing how much the addition of Chavis will mean to this group. Texas A&M wreaked havoc against the line of scrimmage all night against Arizona State, recording a whopping nine sacks and 14 tackles for a loss in the 38-17 victory over the Sun Devils. The Aggies struggled in recent years at giving up big plays, but Chavis’ group allowed only two of 20 yards or more to the Sun Devils. Texas A&M’s defensive effort was arguably one of the best performances of Week 1. 

 

8-8: Record by College Football’s New Coaches for 2015 in Week 1

College football’s new coaches had a mixed bag of success in Week 1. Interim coach Bill Cubit guided Illinois to an easy 52-3 win over Kent State, while Gary Andersen (Oregon State), Pat Narduzzi (Pittsburgh), Tom Herman (Houston), Lance Leipold (Buffalo), Mike Bobo (Colorado State) propelled their teams to wins over FCS opponents. Jim McElwain (Florida) and Philip Montgomery (Tulsa) were victorious against FBS foes, while Jim Harbaugh (Michigan), Chad Morris (SMU), Mike Riley (Nebraska), Paul Chryst (Wisconsin), Neal Brown (Troy), David Beaty (Kansas), Tony Sanchez (UNLV) and John Bonamego (Central Michigan) lost their debuts with their new teams. 

 

Related:

 

351: Passing Yards by UCLA Freshman QB Josh Rosen

As a true freshman making his first start for a Pac-12 title contender, all eyes were on Josh Rosen in Week 1. The freshman isn’t short on confidence or ability, and Rosen was sharp in UCLA’s 34-16 victory over Virginia. He completed 28 of 35 passes for 351 yards and three scores. In addition to becoming the first true freshman to start at quarterback for UCLA in a season opener, Rosen also set single-game records for a freshman in completions, attempts and passing yardage. 

 

10: Sacks Allowed by Penn State Against Temple

Penn State’s offensive line was considered the weak link for this team last season. With better depth and the addition of junior college recruit Paris Palmer at left tackle, improvement was expected in 2015. However, Saturday’s matchup against Temple showed the Nittany Lions still have a lot of work to do in the trenches. Quarterback Christian Hackenberg was sacked 10 times, and the Owls generated 11 tackles for a loss. Additionally, Penn State never managed more than 19 yards on each of its last 12 drives.

 

Related:

 

29: Nebraska’s Streak of Wins in Openers Ends at 29

Nebraska’s 29-game winning streak in season openers was the best mark in the nation, but that run ended in stunning fashion on Saturday afternoon. BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum connected with Mitch Mathews on a 42-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass on the game’s final play to knock off the Cornhuskers 33-28. Florida now owns the nation’s longest winning streak in openers with a streak of 26 consecutive victories after defeating New Mexico State on Saturday night. 

 

7.8: Stanford QB Kevin Hogan’s Average Yards Per Completion

After a solid three-game finish to 2014, hopes were high for Stanford’s offense to pickup where it left off. However, the Cardinal managed only 240 total yards against Northwestern, averaging a paltry 3.9 yards per play. While blame has to be shared at each level on the offense, more big plays are needed out of the passing attack. Hogan connected on 20 of 35 throws for 155 yards and one interception, averaging just 7.8 yards per completion. Additionally, the longest passing play from Stanford was just 16 yards in Saturday’s loss. 

 

Related:

 

20: Points Scored by Texas in Last Three Games Under Charlie Strong

Texas finished 2014 ranked ninth in the Big 12 in scoring offense by averaging a paltry 21.4 points a game. While major improvement wasn’t expected this year, the Longhorns were expected to take a step forward on offense. However, if Saturday night’s game against Notre Dame is any indication, Texas’ offense is an even bigger concern than it was at the end of 2014. The Longhorns managed only three points against the Fighting Irish and have just 20 over their last three games. Additionally, Texas averaged 3.1 yards per play against Notre Dame and generated only two plays of 20 yards or more. Needless to say, coach Charlie Strong and coordinator Shawn Watson have a lot of work to do to get this unit on track.

 

233: Maryland CB William Likely’s Punt Return Yards Against Richmond

Likely set a Big Ten single-game record with 233 punt return yards in Maryland’s 50-21 victory over Richmond. The junior scored on a 67-yard return in the fourth quarter and finished Saturday’s action with a 29.1 average on punt returns. Likely is one of the Big Ten’s top defensive backs, but he’s also solidifying his place among the nation’s best on returns.

 

12-1: The SEC’s Record in Week 1

After a sluggish bowl season, the SEC had its share of doubters and took plenty of criticism in the preseason. While it’s only Week 1 and there’s plenty to be decided in the next few months, the SEC turned in a strong opening performance. Vanderbilt was the only SEC team to lose its opener, while LSU’s matchup against McNeese State was canceled due to weather. Alabama, Auburn, South Carolina, and Texas A&M headlined the weekend action from this league, scoring key non-conference victories at neutral sites. 

Teaser:
10 Amazing College Football Stats from Week 1 2015
Post date: Sunday, September 6, 2015 - 11:37
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Oregon Ducks, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/eastern-washington-linebacker-takes-cheap-shot-oregon-qb-vernon-adams
Body:

Vernon Adams made offseason headlines after deciding to transfer from Eastern Washington to Oregon. While a move from the FCS to FBS ranks is rare, Adams certainly has the talent to be an All-Pac-12 quarterback this season.

 

But there was a little awkwardness to the season opener, as Adams took on his former team. And there was a scary moment for the senior quarterback, as Adams was leveled on a late hit in the second half.

 

While it’s tough to judge intent, this certainly looks like a cheap shot against Adams by a former teammate.

Teaser:
Eastern Washington Linebacker Takes a Cheap Shot at Oregon QB Vernon Adams
Post date: Saturday, September 5, 2015 - 23:28
Path: /college-football/byu-defeats-nebraska-33-28-last-second-hail-mary-touchdown-pass
Body:

Nebraska’s 29-game winning streak in season openers ended in surprising fashion on Saturday. With just a second left (and the final play of the game), BYU backup quarterback Tanner Mangum connected with receiver Mitch Mathews on a Hail Mary touchdown pass to score a 33-28 upset in Lincoln.

 

Check out BYU’s touchdown pass on the final play to upset the Cornhuskers:

Teaser:
BYU Defeats Nebraska 33-28 on Last-Second Hail Mary Touchdown Pass
Post date: Saturday, September 5, 2015 - 19:28
Path: /college-football/bowling-green-defensive-lineman-mike-minns-loses-shoe-fakes-injury-get-timeout
Body:

Bowling Green defensive lineman Mike Minns had a little problem during Saturday’s game against Tennessee. With the Volunteers up 14-3 in the first quarter and driving for another score, Minns lost his shoe on first down and had to fake an injury to get a timeout.

 

Needless to say, this has to be one of the more humorous moments of Week 1, as Minns had to use a little acting to get the timeout. And as the video shows, Tennessee coach Butch Jones didn’t appear to be too happy.

Teaser:
Bowling Green Player Loses Shoe, Fakes Injury to Get Timeout
Post date: Saturday, September 5, 2015 - 16:55
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Oregon Ducks, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/oregon-unveils-new-yellow-helmets-week-1-matchup-against-eastern-washington
Body:

New helmets and uniforms are nothing new for Oregon, but the Ducks continue to come up with awesome color and design combinations.

 

For Saturday night’s matchup against Eastern Washington, Oregon has unveiled a new yellow helmet, which features gray wings on the side. The helmet also features a gray facemask.  

 

Here is the full image of Oregon’s helmets and uniforms for Saturday night: 

 

 

 

Teaser:
Oregon Unveils New Yellow Helmets for Week 1 Matchup Against Eastern Washington
Post date: Saturday, September 5, 2015 - 15:10
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Virginia Cavaliers, News
Path: /college-football/virginia-unveils-new-white-helmets-week-1-matchup-against-ucla
Body:

Virginia opens the 2015 season on the West Coast, taking on UCLA on Saturday afternoon. And judging by the photos from pregame warmups, the Cavaliers have a new helmet for their Week 1 matchup.

 

This photo from from the Rose Bowl shows the new helmets:

 

Teaser:
Virginia Unveils New White Helmets for Week 1 Matchup Against UCLA
Post date: Saturday, September 5, 2015 - 14:52
Path: /college-football/marshall-thundering-herd-vs-purdue-boilermakers-preview-and-prediction-2015
Body:

College football’s opening weekend continues on Sunday with Marshall looking to score a non-conference victory and respect for Conference USA in a matchup against Purdue. The Boilermakers rank near the bottom of most preseason power polls in the Big Ten, but coach Darrell Hazell heads into his third season in West Lafayette with optimism thanks to 16 returning starters.  

 

Marshall was one of the top Group of 5 programs last season but a late-season loss to WKU ended any hopes of playing in a New Year’s Six bowl. The Thundering Herd is among the favorites to win Conference USA once again this season, but prolific four-year starter Rakeem Cato must be replaced at quarterback. While Cato will be missed, Marshall is still a touchdown favorite for Sunday’s contest.

 

On the other sideline, it’s critical for Purdue to take a step forward in 2015. Hazell’s team increased its win total from one in 2013 to three last season. The Boilermakers still have several question marks to answer, but there’s a young core to build around and hope to push for five or six wins this season.

 

Purdue and Marshall have met only one previous time. The Boilermakers defeated the Thundering Herd 51-41 in 2012.

 

Purdue at Marshall

 

Kickoff: 3 p.m. ET (Sunday)

TV Channel: Fox Sports 1

Spread: Marshall -7

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. New Marshall QB Michael Birdsong

Rakeem Cato leaves big shoes to fill in Huntington. In four years as the starter for the Thundering Herd, Cato threw for 14,079 yards and 131 scores. James Madison transfer Michael Birdsong won the job in the spring, and the junior should keep the offense on track. As a freshman with James Madison in 2013, Birdsong threw for 2,728 yards and 22 scores. With a solid offensive line, one of the top Group of 5 running backs in Devon Johnson leading the way on the ground, and a talented receiving corps at his disposal, Birdsong won’t have to carry the offense on his own. However, this won’t be easy matchup. The Boilermakers return two starters in the secondary, including All-Big Ten candidate Frankie Williams. Birdsong’s first start with the Thundering Herd should be a good barometer test and provide the coaching staff with an idea of where this offense is after losing Cato.

 

2. Offensive Improvement at Purdue?

Purdue’s offense has struggled to get on track under Hazell, ranking near the bottom of the league in scoring offense in back-to-back seasons. With nine starters back, how much improvement will this unit show in 2015? Austin Appleby has settled into the starting role and is supported by a veteran offensive line and promising young running backs in Markell Jones and D.J. Knox. Marshall’s defense was vulnerable against the run last season (53rd nationally) and the pass rush is a concern. Will all of the experienced pieces start to come together for Purdue?

 

3. Stopping Marshall RB Devon Johnson

Johnson’s path to a place among the nation’s best running backs has been an interesting one. After two years as a tight end, Johnson was converted to running back and finished 2014 with 1,767 yards and 17 scores. The most impressive part of Johnson’s 2014 campaign has to be his 8.6 yards per carry, which was the best in the nation among running backs with at least 200 carries. Purdue struggled to stop the run last season, allowing 192.1 yards per game. Additionally, starting end Gelen Robinson is suspended. With Marshall breaking in a new quarterback, Johnson should be slated for a heavy workload to take the pressure off of the new signal-caller. Can Purdue keep Johnson in check?

 

Final Analysis

 

There’s no question Cato will be missed, and the passing attack will be a work in progress until Birdsong gets a few starts under his belt. However, the Thundering Herd offense can lean on Johnson, and the defense should make just enough plays to pull out a close win. Purdue is improving, and an upset here wouldn’t be a surprise. But the Boilermakers also have question marks on both sides of the ball as well, and the homefield advantage swings this one slightly in favor of Marshall.

 

Prediction: Marshall 31, Purdue 27
Teaser:
Marshall Thundering Herd vs. Purdue Boilermakers Preview and Prediction 2015
Post date: Saturday, September 5, 2015 - 10:00
Path: /college-football/texas-am-aggies-vs-arizona-state-sun-devils-preview-and-prediction-2015
Body:

Offensive fireworks are expected on Saturday night in Houston, as Texas A&M and Arizona State clash in one of Week 1’s must-see matchups. The Aggies and Sun Devils were mentioned throughout the offseason as dark horse candidates to earn a spot in the College Football Playoff. A win on Saturday night would provide an early boost for one team’s early playoff resume, but both programs have question marks and personnel concerns that won’t be answered or solidified until a few games into this season.

 

Arizona State is a program on the rise behind coach Todd Graham. The Sun Devils won the Pac-12 South title in 2013 and have claimed back-to-back 10-win seasons. And the arrow on this program continues to point up, as Arizona State is picked by many to win the Pac-12 South. Similar things can be said about Texas A&M. The Aggies have won 28 games over the last three years and made a splash in the offseason by hiring John Chavis away from LSU to coordinate the defense. With a favorable schedule and a promising core of young talent, Texas A&M could be poised to make a move in the SEC West.

 

This is the first meeting between Texas A&M and Arizona State. Additionally, this is the only matchup between a SEC and Pac-12 team this season.

 

Texas A&M vs. Arizona State (Houston)

 

Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: ESPN

Spread: Texas A&M -3.5

 

1. Texas A&M’s Defense

Coach Kevin Sumlin’s hire of John Chavis to coordinate the Texas A&M defense was one of the best assistant moves of the offseason. The Aggies have lagged on defense since joining the SEC, but Chavis is one of the best in the nation and should turn this unit around in the next few years. Improvement should be noticeable in 2015, especially if Chavis finds a way to eliminate some of the big plays allowed in the secondary. In 13 games last season, the Aggies surrendered 14 plays of 40 yards or more. Changes were made to improve the pass defense, as converted running back Brandon Williams is penciled in at one cornerback spot, and junior college transfer Justin Evans is expected to start at strong safety. While the coverage has to get better, the success of this unit still rests in the front seven. Ends Daeshon Hall, Myles Garrett and Qualen Cunningham should generate a pass rush against Arizona State’s offensive line, which is breaking in two new starters at the tackle positions. But how will the linebackers perform if A.J. Hilliard and Otaro Alaka sit out due to injury? Keep an eye on the health of the linebackers, as well as the overall progression of this group on Saturday night.

 

2. Arizona State’s Dynamic Offense

Arizona State’s offense has a couple of new faces stepping into key roles, but don’t expect this unit to slow in terms of production. New quarterback Mike Bercovici shined in limited action for the Sun Devils after Taylor Kelly missed a couple of games due to injury last season. The receiving corps is revamped, but converted running back D.J. Foster and UCLA transfer Devin Lucien should provide Bercovici with plenty of options. With Foster moving to receiver, the focus at running back shifts to Demario Richard and Kalen Ballage – two players on the verge of a breakout year. The skill talent and quarterback position should be a strength for Graham’s offense, but there’s concern up front with new starters and left and right tackle. Bercovici isn’t as mobile as Kelly was, which means protection is critical to attacking the Texas A&M secondary. There’s a lot of promise for Arizona State’s offense, and Saturday night’s matchup is the first look at Bercovici and Foster in their new roles.

 

3. Kyle Allen Versus Arizona State’s Aggressive Defense

It’s no secret Graham and coordinator Keith Patterson will be aggressive with their defensive approach. Last season, Arizona State forced 27 turnovers, generated 39 sacks and 98 tackles for a loss. However, an aggressive approach also lends itself to big plays. The Sun Devils ranked 12th in the Pac-12 by allowing 40 plays of 30 yards or more last season. Texas A&M quarterback Kyle Allen is one of the SEC’s rising stars, and the sophomore showed progress over the final few games of 2014. The former five-star recruit held off touted freshman Kyler Murray in the fall and could have an All-SEC season at the controls of one of the league’s top offenses. Can Allen find time to throw against the Sun Devils’ pass rush? Will the Aggies mix in the run more this year? If Allen has time to throw, his receiving corps is among the best in the nation and should find a way to hit on big plays against an Arizona State secondary that allowed 27 plays of 30 yards or more in 2014.

 

Final Analysis

 

This one should be high in entertainment value and points. Both offenses are capable of generating big plays, and the defenses should make their share of stops or turnovers. Don’t be surprised if the last team with the ball wins on Saturday night. Getting Chavis to call the defensive signals was a huge boost for Texas A&M. Combine Chavis’ arrival with the growth of Allen this offseason, and the Aggies should have just enough to knock off the Sun Devils in Week 1.

 

Prediction: Texas A&M 34, Arizona State 31
Teaser:
Texas A&M Aggies vs. Arizona State Sun Devils Preview and Prediction
Post date: Friday, September 4, 2015 - 13:30
Path: /college-football/auburn-tigers-vs-louisville-cardinals-preview-and-prediction-2015
Body:

The Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Classic in Atlanta is once again host to one of the opening weekend’s best matchups, as Louisville and Auburn meet in a huge non-conference game. This ACC-SEC matchup is the second meeting between these two leagues in Week 1, with South Carolina edging North Carolina 17-13 on Thursday night.

 

The Cardinals finished 9-4 in coach Bobby Petrino’s return to Louisville and open 2015 looking to push Florida State and Clemson for the ACC Atlantic title. On the other sideline, Auburn hopes to rebound into playoff contention after an 8-5 mark last season. Fixing the defense was a priority for coach Gus Malzahn, and new coordinator Will Muschamp should help this unit take a significant step forward in 2015.

 

Related:

 

Louisville and Auburn have played only one previous time. The Cardinals and Tigers met in 1974 in Birmingham, with Auburn winning 16-3 at Legion Field.

 

Louisville vs. Auburn (Atlanta)

 

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: CBS

Spread: Auburn -10.5

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Louisville’s Quarterback Battle

Louisville coach Bobby Petrino isn’t tipping his hand at quarterback, as four players – Reggie Bonnafon, Kyle Bolin, Will Gardner and Lamar Jackson – were separated by an or on the first depth chart. While Petrino isn’t giving Auburn any clues to his starter, all signs point to Bonnafon or Gardner taking the first snap. Bonnafon showed promise as a true freshman in 2014, completing 61 of 120 passes for 864 yards and five scores. He also added 164 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. Bonnafon’s mobility should be a valuable asset for Louisville, as its offensive line is the biggest question mark, and the sophomore is facing an improved Auburn pass rush with the return of end Carl Lawson from a torn ACL. Assuming Bonnafon gets help from his offensive line, big plays could be there against the Tigers’ secondary. In 13 games last season, Auburn surrendered nine plays of 40 yards or more. Can the Cardinals find a new big-play threat to replace DeVante Parker? That’s just another subplot to the intrigue surrounding Louisville’s offense on Saturday. The guess here is Bonnafon takes the first snap, but will he play the entire game if the offense sputters?

 

2. Auburn QB Jeremy Johnson

Jeremy Johnson has just two career starts under his belt, but the hype machine for the junior wasn’t tempered in the offseason. Johnson has been mentioned as a Heisman candidate, and the limited sample size suggests why the junior could lead Auburn to a playoff spot. In seven appearances last season, Johnson threw for 436 yards and three scores. The Montgomery native is a physically impressive quarterback at 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds with a huge arm. Coach Gus Malzahn’s offense is also one of the nation’s most explosive attacks, which should give Johnson plenty of opportunities to shine this year. Of course, it doesn’t hurt his cause All-America candidate Duke Williams is back at receiver. Will Johnson live up to the hype this season? Saturday’s matchup against a good Louisville defense is a huge barometer test.

 

3. Louisville’s Defense

The matchup between Johnson and Louisville’s secondary is among Week 1’s most intriguing battles. The Cardinals have four new starters in the defensive backfield, including Georgia transfers Josh Harvey-Clemons and Shaq Wiggins. Will this secondary pickup where last year’s group ended? Having a stout front seven should take some of the pressure off of Louisville’s pass defense. The Cardinals own one of the top defensive lines in the ACC, and the linebacking corps is arguably the league’s best with Keith Kelsey and James Burgess leading the way. Can this unit carry the team in this game? With Louisville’s offense breaking in new starters up front and at receiver, the defense has to lead the way and keep Petrino’s team in this game. While Johnson and the passing attack will receive most of the pregame attention, Auburn’s offensive line and rushing attack is also among the SEC’s best. If the Cardinals win the battle up front and force Johnson into obvious passing situations, the pass rush will have opportunities to disrupt the Tigers’ attack. Junior college recruit (and former TCU) defender Devonte Fields is a name to watch in pass-rush situations.

 

Final Analysis

 

Louisville’s defense versus Auburn’s offense is the matchup to watch on Saturday afternoon. The Cardinals have more than enough on defense to hang around, but can they force a turnover or two to give their building offense a chance? Regardless of whether Bonnafon or Gardner starts, Louisville has to take pressure off its quarterbacks with a successful ground attack. Will the offensive line hold up against Auburn’s defensive front? That’s a key question to be answered on Saturday. Johnson and the Tigers’ offense is held in check in the first half against the Cardinals’ salty defense, but Auburn has too much firepower and wins in the fourth quarter.

 

Prediction: Auburn 31, Louisville 20
Teaser:
Auburn Tigers vs. Louisville Cardinals Preview and Prediction 2015
Post date: Friday, September 4, 2015 - 12:30
Path: /college-football/boise-state-broncos-vs-washington-huskies-preview-and-prediction-2015
Body:

Washington coach Chris Petersen returns to familiar surroundings on Friday night, as the Huskies take on Boise State in one of the top matchups from Week 1. Petersen guided the Broncos to 92 wins from 2006-13 and left to take over for Steve Sarkisian prior to the 2014 season. Petersen’s debut wasn’t quite the year most expected (8-6), and the Huskies are in rebuild mode with only eight returning starters this fall.

 

On the other sideline, Bryan Harsin was tapped to replace Petersen, and the former Boise State quarterback and assistant is off to a great start after guiding the program to a 12-2 record and a Fiesta Bowl win last season. Despite breaking in a new quarterback and running back to replace Jay Ajayi, the Broncos are projected by most to be the top Group of 5 team in 2015.

 

Washington and Boise State have played three times, with the Huskies holding a 2-1 edge. The last meeting between these two programs came in 2012, and this will be the Huskies’ first trip to the blue turf for a regular season matchup.

 

Washington at Boise State

 

Kickoff: 10:15 p.m. ET (Friday)

TV Channel: ESPN

Spread: Boise State -13

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Who Starts for Washington at Quarterback?

Washington ended fall camp with three players locked into a tight battle for the starting job. True freshman Jake Browning, redshirt freshman K.J. Carta-Samuels and junior Jeff Lindquist battled all offseason for the No. 1 spot, and a clear frontrunner did not emerge prior to game week. Browning has the most talent, but Carta-Samuels and Lindquist bring more mobility to the offense, which could be a valuable asset behind a revamped offensive line. Regardless of which quarterback takes the first snap, they will be going against a tough Boise State defense and a raucous home crowd in Albertsons Stadium. This is not the ideal scenario for breaking in a new quarterback.

 

2. Ryan Finley’s First Start at QB/New RB for Boise State

Boise State usually has no trouble reloading at quarterback. Will that be the case once again in 2015? With Grant Hedrick departing, Finley is set to make his first start for the Broncos on Friday night. In limited action last season, Finley completed 12 of 27 passes for 161 yards and two scores. The Arizona native is surrounded by a strong supporting cast up front and has proven weapons in Thomas Sperbeck and Shane Williams-Rhodes to target in the passing attack. Similar to the quarterback spot, finding the next standout at running back usually doesn’t present many headaches for Boise State. While Jay Ajayi’s production (1,823 yards) will be missed, there are capable candidates in the mix. Jeremy McNichols is the frontrunner for carries, followed by Stanford transfer Kelsey Young and Devan Demas. Who will emerge as the clear No. 1? Or will this be a committee approach?

 

3. Washington’s Revamped Defense

An overlooked aspect of Washington’s offseason has to be the new faces stepping in on defense after the departures of standouts Shaq Thompson (LB), Danny Shelton (NT), Hau’oli Kikaha (DE/LB) and Andrew Hudson (end). That’s a lot of key pieces to replace in one offseason from a group that allowed 24.8 points per game in 2014. This unit returns four starters for 2015, including standout safety Budda Baker. But the front seven must be revamped, and the Huskies lost virtually their entire pass rush with the departures of Kikaha, Hudson and Shelton. While this unit must be revamped, there is talent in the mix – it’s just inexperienced. Will this unit quickly find the right mix? Or will the Huskies’ defense struggle on the road at Boise State?

 

Final Analysis

 

Chris Petersen and his return to Boise State will get most of the attention in this game. While Petersen seems to be the right coach for Washington, it’s going to take some time to rebuild the depth chart after heavy offseason departures. And it certainly doesn’t help the Huskies’ upset bid to enter this matchup with uncertainty at quarterback. Washington has too many new faces to win this one, but this team will get better as the year progresses. Finley and McNichols turn in a solid performance in their debut, and the Broncos begin their run to another New Year’s Six bowl game with 14-point victory.

 

Prediction: Boise State 34, Washington 20
Teaser:
Boise State Broncos vs. Washington Huskies Preview and Prediction
Post date: Friday, September 4, 2015 - 10:15
Path: /college-football/cincinnati-unveils-alternate-uniforms-celebrate-100th-year-nippert-stadium
Body:

Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium is one of college football’s oldest playing venues, and after a year away due to renovations, the Bearcats are set to return to campus in 2015. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati and Under Armour unveiled a new alternate uniform on Thursday.

 

The red jerseys aren't drastically different, but the helmets are unique. 

 

Needless to say, these are pretty interesting:

Teaser:
Cincinnati Unveils Alternate Uniforms to Celebrate 100th Year of Nippert Stadium
Post date: Thursday, September 3, 2015 - 18:25
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/predictions-college-football-every-game-week-1
Body:

The 2015 season officially begins on Thursday, Sept. 3 and it's time to put aside the preseason predictions and pick the upcoming slate of action. The Week 1 schedule starts with a neutral site affair between North Carolina and South Carolina in Charlotte, and the opening night action concludes in Hawaii as the Rainbow Warriors host Colorado.

 

Several marquee games dot the schedule for Week 1, including Texas A&M-Arizona State, Louisville-Auburn, Boise State-Washington and Virginia Tech-Ohio State on Monday night.

 

Each week, Athlon Sports’ editors will pick every game in the FBS ranks. Follow us on Twitter: ()

 

Conference Predictions for Week 1

 

 

College Football Week 1 Predictions

 

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

Mark

Ross

John

Gworek

UNC vs. 

S. Carolina

FIU at 

UCF

Elon at 

Wake Forest

VMI at 

Ball State

Okla. State at

CMU

Stony Brook at

Toledo

Alcorn State at

Georgia Tech

Villanova at 

UConn

WKU at 

Vanderbilt

Michigan at 

Utah

TCU at 

Minnesota

Ohio at 

Idaho

Southern Utah at

Utah State

Duke at 

Tulane

UTSA at 

Arizona

N. Hampshire at

SJSU

UC Davis at

Nevada

Ab. Christian at

Fresno State

Colorado at 

Hawaii

Charlotte at

Georgia State

Michigan State at

W. Michigan

Fordham at 

Army

Baylor at 

SMU

Rhode Island at

Syracuse

Weber State at

Oregon State

Kent State at 

Illinois

Washington at

Boise State

ULM at

Georgia

Richmond at

Maryland

Norfolk State at

Rutgers

Illinois State at

Iowa

South Dakota State at

Kansas

Stanford at 

Northwestern

UT Martin at 

Ole Miss

Colgate at 

Navy

Wofford at

Clemson

Maine at

Boston College

Youngstown State at

PIttsburgh

Portland State at

Wash. State

Old Dominion at

E. Michigan

Louisville at

Auburn

Penn State at

Temple

UTEP at

Arkansas

BYU at 

Nebraska

SHSU at

Texas Tech

Virginia at 

UCLA

Wagner at

Rice

Howard at

App. State

Presbyterian at

Miami, Ohio

FAU at

Tulsa

Albany at 

Buffalo

Morgan State at

Air Force

Southern Illinois at

Indiana

SE Missouri State at

Missouri

BGSU vs. 

Tennessee

Savannah State at

Colorado State

North Dakota at

Wyoming

Grambling State at

California

Bethune-Cookman at

Miami

Troy at 

NC State

Gardner Webb at

South Alabama

Towson at 

East Carolina

UL Lafayette at 

Kentucky

Arizona State vs.

Texas A&M

Florida A&M at

South Florida

Southern at 

Louisiana Tech

Jackson State at 

MTSU

Akron at

Oklahoma

Alabama A&M at

Cincinnati

Missouri State at

Memphis

South Dakota at

Kansas State

NMSU at

Florida

Texas at

Notre Dame

Georgia Southern at

West Virginia

McNeese State at

LSU

UNLV at

N. Illinois

Texas State at

Florida State

Wisconsin vs.

Alabama

Northern Iowa at 

Iowa State

E. Washington at 

Oregon

Tennessee Tech at

Houston

Miss. Valley State at

New Mexico

San Diego at 

SDSU

Miss. State at

Southern Miss

Arkansas State at

USC

Purdue at

Marshall

Ohio State at

Virginia Tech

 

 

Teaser:
Predictions for Every College Football Game in Week 1
Post date: Thursday, September 3, 2015 - 12:30
Path: /college-football/pac-12-2015-week-1-predictions
Body:

The has its share of one-sided matchups in Week 1, but the conference also boasts intriguing games with Boise State-Washington, Oregon-Eastern Washington, Utah-Michigan and Texas A&M-Arizona State. Stanford is a dark horse pick to get to the College Football Playoff, but the Cardinal opens 2015 with a tricky road test at Northwestern.

 

Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams faces his former team (Eastern Washington) in his first start with the Ducks, which also happens to be the first game in the post-Marcus Mariota era. With a game against Michigan State up next, Adams has a chance to get acclimated to his new teammates and offense in live action.

 

On Thursday, the Pac-12 takes center stage with Michigan traveling to Utah, and Colorado visits Hawaii to close out the first night of action.

 

Athlon Sports offers its Pac-12 Week 1 predictions from three editors: Steven Lassan (), David Fox () and Mitch Light ().

 

Pac-12 Week 1 Game Power Rankings & Predictions

 

1. Arizona State vs. Texas A&M

Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: ESPN

 

David Fox:

Mike Bercovici could have an easy time against the Texas A&M secondary … provided his line can keep Myles Garrett from getting up field. 

Arizona State 35–28

 

Steven Lassan:

Easily one of the weekend’s most intriguing games and should be no shortage of fireworks between these two offenses. An underrated matchup to watch is the Arizona State offensive line against Texas A&M’s defense – under new coordinator John Chavis – with Myles Garrett coming off the edge. The Sun Devils will land their share of big plays, but the Aggies score a key non-conference win.

Texas A&M 34-31

 

Mitch Light:

John Chavis takes over an A&M defense that allowed a staggering 509.5 points per game against SEC opponents last season. The Aggies will be tested by strong-armed Arizona State quarterback Mike Bercovici. 

Arizona State 34-31

 

2. Michigan at Utah

Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET (Thursday)

TV Channel: Fox Sports 1

 

David Fox:

I’m not sure if Utah can contend in the Pac-12 South, but Devontae Booker, that defense and the home field advantage will help the Utes steal a game or two.

Utah 24–21

 

Steven Lassan:

Jim Harbaugh’s debut. Not much else needs to be said for the must-see value of this one. Wouldn’t expect a ton of points on Thursday night, as both teams are solid on defense and enter the season with question marks on offense. Utah’s defense is the difference in this matchup.

Utah 23-20

 

Mitch Light:

Michigan outgained the Utes 308-to-286 and held Devontae Booker to 34 yards on 11 carries in a 26–10 loss at home last season. The Wolverines will need to duplicate that defensive effort. 

Michigan 24-20

 

3. Washington at Boise State

Kickoff: 10:15 p.m. ET (Friday)

TV Channel: ESPN

 

David Fox:

Washington’s defense is rebuilding. So is Boise State’s backfield. I’ll throw my lot in with the Broncos. 

Boise State 35–28

 

Steven Lassan:

Chris Petersen returns to Boise with a young Washington team. Who will start at quarterback for the Huskies? Interested to see if Jake Browning gets the nod over K.J. Carta-Samuels and Jeff Lindquist. The Broncos are the top Group of 5 team this year, but they are breaking in a new quarterback and starting running back. However, Boise State’s defense is more than enough to win this Friday night matchup.

Boise State 34-20

 

Mitch Light:

Chris Petersen will get it done at Washington, but the program might take a small step back in Year 2. Boise State continues to rule the Mountain West and should open the season with a nice win against the Pac-12. 

Boise State 31-23

 

4. Stanford at Northwestern

Kickoff: Noon ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: ESPN

 

David Fox:

Stanford will have a lopsided advantage in the trenches and has the more experienced quarterback. The Wildcats could go 0-for-the-Bay Area the last two openers. 

Stanford 28–21

 

Steven Lassan:

Intriguing matchup between two academic powers. Lots of intrigue on both sides, as Northwestern breaks in a talented new quarterback (Clayton Thorson), and Stanford looks to build off last year’s late momentum. The 12-point spread seems too high.

Stanford 27-20

 

Mitch Light:

Stanford has emerged as a dark horse College Football Playoff contender by some college football observers — including one of my colleagues at Athlon Sports. I disagree. 

Northwestern 24-20

 

5. Eastern Washington at Oregon

Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: (Pac-12 Networks)

 

David Fox:

How often does a transfer start his first game with a new team against his old team? Vernon Adams will be under pressure in this one. 

Oregon 49–21

 

Steven Lassan:

There’s no shortage of storylines here, as new Oregon starter (and Marcus Mariota’s replacement) Vernon Adams makes his first start against his former team. With a trip to East Lansing against Michigan State next week, this is a critical game for Adams and the Ducks’ offense to get on track. Oregon keeps rolling with Adams under center.

Oregon 48-20

 

Mitch Light:

The real test for Vernon Adams and the Ducks will come in Week 2 when they visit Michigan State, but this game is loaded with intrigue. An upset is highly unlikely, but don’t be surprised if this is a bit closer than expected. 

Oregon 44-27

 

6. Virginia at UCLA

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: FOX

 

David Fox:

UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen’s first start comes against a team rebuilding the pass rush. 

UCLA 35–21

 

Steven Lassan:

Last year’s matchup was closer than most anticipated (28-20). Virginia’s defense can keep this one close for a while, but will the offense provide enough of a spark behind new starter Matt Johns to pull off the upset? All eyes will be on true freshman quarterback Josh Rosen for UCLA.

UCLA 31-17

 

Mitch Light:

UCLA’s 28–20 win in Charlottesville last season was far more difficult than expected. The Bruins, who will be starting true freshman Josh Rosen at quarterback, won’t have to work quite as hard this time around. 

UCLA 34-20

 

7. Colorado at Hawaii

Kickoff: 1 a.m. ET (Thursday night/Friday morning)

TV Channel: CBS Sports Network

 

David Fox:

This is actually an interesting late-night game. Well-traveled USC transfer Max Wittek might give the Warriors a chance, and those late games at Hawaii are always tricky.

Colorado 28–21

 

Steven Lassan:

Colorado is trending in the right direction, and a win over Hawaii would be a good way to bolster the bowl hopes in 2015. Intriguing quarterback battle between Sefo Liufau (Colorado) and USC transfer Max Wittek (Hawaii). Be sure to set the DVR for this one.

Colorado 38-24

 

Mitch Light:

Mike McIntyre appears to have things moving in the right direction at Colorado, but wins might be tough to come by in the difficult Pac-12 South. This is a an opportunity for the Buffs to steal a road win.

Colorado 38-27 

 

8. Arkansas State at USC

Kickoff: 11 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: Pac-12 Networks

 

David Fox:

Offseason drama gives way to a talented team that should be more than a match for Arkansas State. 

USC 42–10

 

Steven Lassan:

Red Wolves have some firepower on offense, but USC simply has too much on both sides of the ball. Keep an eye on the defensive line as it looks to find Leonard Williams' replacement.

USC 45-17

 

Mitch Light:

USC boasts as much top-end talent as any team in the college football. We’ll find out if the Trojans have the depth and coaching to contend for a national championship. 

USC 38-10

 

9. UTSA at Arizona

Kickoff: 10 p.m. ET (Thursday)

TV Channel: Pac-12 Networks

 

David Fox: 

UTSA has zero returning starters on offense. That seems tough to do.

Arizona 42–10

 

Steven Lassan:

Last year’s meeting in San Antonio went down to the wire (26-23). Don’t expect a repeat this season. UTSA returns only three starters, while Arizona is loaded with firepower on offense and one of the nation’s top defenders in linebacker Scooby Wright.

Arizona 45-13

 

Mitch Light:

The veteran Roadrunners put a scare into Arizona last year in Week 2, falling 26–23 at the Alamodome. Almost all of the key personnel are gone for UTSA. This will not be close. 

Arizona 41-10

 

10. Portland State at Washington State

Kickoff: 2 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: Pac-12 Networks

 

David Fox:

Washington State will start better than it did last year when the Cougars lost to Rutgers and Nevada. Wazzu’s first win in 2014 was, incidentally, over Portland State 59–21. 

Washington State 49–20

 

Steven Lassan:

The Cougars knocked off Portland State 59-21 last season. It won’t be close this time around either. Good opportunity for quarterback Luke Falk to build confidence before a road trip to Rutgers next week.

Washington State 51-17

 

Mitch Light:

Washington State led the nation in passing by more 100 yards per game — a staggering difference between the No. 1 (477.7 ypg) and No. 2 (374.3 ypg) teams in the nation. All the Cougars need is a running game and a defense.  

Washington State 41-17

 

11. Grambling State at California

Kickoff: 5 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: Pac-12 Networks

 

David Fox:

A nice stat-padding game for Jared Goff. 

Cal 48–14

 

Steven Lassan:

California’s high-powered offense should have no trouble putting points on the board in this one.

California 52-13

 

Mitch Light:

Expectations are high at California in Year 3 of the Sonny Dykes era. If the Bears can fortify what was an alarmingly bad passing defense, a bowl game is well within reach.

California 63-10

 

12. Weber State at Oregon State

 Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET (Friday)

TV Channel: Pac-12 Networks

 

David Fox:

Gary Andersen won’t have a ton of wins to savor in Year One. This could be one of them. 

Oregon State 35–14

 

Steven Lassan:

Gary Andersen’s tenure in Corvallis should get off to a good start. The quarterback battle is worth watching, as the Beavers expect to play at least two freshmen (Seth Collins and Marcus McMaryion).

Oregon State 40-10

 

Mitch Light:

Gary Andersen is a proven winner who has enjoyed success at Utah State and Wisconsin. However, his first season at Oregon State will be a challenge. Anything but a last-place finish in the Pac-12 North should be considered a success. 

Oregon State 28-13

Teaser:
Pac-12 2015 Week 1 Predictions
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The bowl season wasn’t kind to the , but just like every other team in the nation, all 14 teams in college football’s No. 1 conference are 0-0 and looking to start the year with a victory.

 

A couple of marquee non-conference matchups lead the way in the Week 1 slate for the SEC. In Atlanta, Auburn takes on Louisville, while Texas A&M and Arizona State meet in Houston for an anticipated high-scoring affair. Auburn has playoff aspirations, and this matchup against Louisville should be a good barometer test for coach Gus Malzahn and coordinator Will Muschamp on how far the defense has progressed in one offseason.

 

Elsewhere in the SEC this week, South Carolina-North Carolina and Vanderbilt-WKU play on Thursday night. Tennessee travels to Nashville to take on Bowling Green, and Mississippi State takes an in-state road trip to Southern Miss on Saturday night.

 

Athlon Sports offers its SEC Week 1 predictions from three editors: Steven Lassan (), David Fox () and Mitch Light ().

 

SEC Week 1 Game Power Rankings & Predictions

 

1. Louisville vs. Auburn (Atlanta)

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: CBS

 

David Fox:

Among Bobby Petrino, Todd Grantham, Gus Malzahn and Will Muschamp, a ton of the coaches in this game have crossed paths at one time or another. 

Auburn 31–21

 

Steven Lassan:

Easily one of the best games of Week 1 and a great matchup of Auburn’s offense versus Louisville’s defense. The Cardinals should present some problems for the Tigers at the line of scrimmage, but quarterback Jeremy Johnson hits a few plays in the second half to secure the victory.

Auburn 31-20

 

Mitch Light:

Auburn will turn to Jeremy Johnson, who has completed 73.1 percent of his passes with 11 TDs and two INTs in 11 career games. He will be tested by a Louisville defense that has been rebuilt by impact transfers. 

Auburn 27-20

 

2. Arizona State vs. Texas A&M (Houston)

Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: ESPN

 

David Fox:

This game could set up as a shootout. Arizona State will be the team that can make the critical stop or force the crucial turnover.

Arizona State 35–28

 

Steven Lassan:

Easily one of the weekend’s most intriguing games and should be no shortage of fireworks between these two offenses. An underrated matchup to watch is the Arizona State offensive line against Texas A&M’s defense – under new coordinator John Chavis – with Myles Garrett coming off the edge. The Sun Devils will land their share of big plays, but the Aggies score a key non-conference win.

Texas A&M 34-31

 

Mitch Light:

John Chavis takes over an A&M defense that allowed a staggering 509.5 yards per game against SEC opponents last season. The Aggies will be tested by strong-armed Arizona State quarterback Mike Bercovici. 

Arizona State 34-31

 

3. Wisconsin vs. Alabama (Arlington)

Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: ABC

 

David Fox:

Is it possible that quarterback could be a liability for Alabama? Guess we’ll find out.

Alabama 31–14

 

Steven Lassan:

Great name value in this matchup, but it’s tough to find a reason why Wisconsin can win this one. The Crimson Tide should be able to hold the Badgers’ rushing attack in check, which adds a lot of pressure on quarterback Joel Stave and an inexperienced receiving corps. Alabama won’t name a starter at quarterback until kickoff, but it shouldn’t matter which signal-caller takes the first or a majority of snaps this week.

Alabama 34-13

 

Mitch Light:

Alabama has concerns at quarterback and is inexperienced at wide receiver … but still has far more talent than Wisconsin. 

Alabama 28-13

 

4. North Carolina vs. South Carolina (Charlotte)

Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET (Thursday)

TV Channel: ESPN

 

David Fox:

South Carolina’s defense was abysmal last year, and I’m not sure what they’ve got on offense besides Pharoh Cooper. At least we know UNC can score.  

UNC 28–21

 

Steven Lassan:

Not sure what to expect in this one. North Carolina has one of the ACC’s best offenses, and Gene Chizik was hired to improve a struggling defense. South Carolina picked Connor Mitch as its starting quarterback, but he has only six career pass attempts. The Gamecocks also struggled mightily on defense last year.

South Carolina 31-27  

 

Mitch Light:

South Carolina lacks proven playmakers other than Pharoh Cooper. North Carolina is loaded with offensive weapons. North Carolina 37-30

 

5. Bowling Green vs. Tennessee (Nashville)

Kickoff: 4 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: SEC Network

 

David Fox:

Can Tennessee live up to the hype? The Volunteers might have to play through some nerves as they start the season. Tennessee 35–17

 

Steven Lassan:

Tennessee has momentum on its side entering coach Butch Jones’ third season. The Volunteers are heavy favorites here, but Bowling Green has enough firepower to make this one interesting for a half. Keep an eye on Falcons’ quarterback Matt Johnson returning to the lineup after missing most of last season with a hip injury.

Tennessee 38-17

 

Mitch Light:

Quarterback Matt Johnson returns to the Bowling Green lineup after missing all but one game with an injury last season. He will lead an offense that is good enough to score some points on Tennessee’s talented but young defense. Tennessee 41-22

 

6. WKU at Vanderbilt

Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET (Thursday)

TV Channel: SEC Network

 

David Fox:

Western Kentucky put up points on just about everyone last season. Derek Mason’s life won’t get any easier if his first game at DC is a showcase for WKU QB Brandon Doughty. 

WKU 35–21

 

Steven Lassan:

Vanderbilt needs this one. After a 3-9 debut, the pressure is already building on coach Derek Mason. WKU’s offense is explosive and is going to give the Commodores all they can handle. Expect Vanderbilt to use a heavy dose of running back Ralph Webb to avoid to the upset.

Vanderbilt 34-31

 

Mitch Light:

Vanderbilt is a home underdog to high-powered Western Kentucky. The Commodores will have a new look on defense now that head coach Derrick Mason is calling the shots. The plan: Put a ton of pressure on WKU quarterback Brandon Doughty.

Vanderbilt 38-30

 

7. Mississippi State at Southern Miss

Kickoff: 10 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: Fox Sports 1

 

David Fox:

Mississippi State will go as far as Dak Prescott can take the Bulldogs. 

Mississippi State 28–10

 

Steven Lassan:

Southern Miss is getting better under coach Todd Monken and hopes an infusion of transfers brings improvement to a defense that allowed 35.4 points a game last season. The Golden Eagles might hang around for a half, but Mississippi State won’t lose this one behind quarterback Dak Prescott.

Mississippi State 38-13

 

Mitch Light:

The Bulldogs make the short trip to Hattiesburg with a chip on their shoulder. Despite winning 10 games a year ago, most — including Athlon Sports — are picking Mississippi State to finish last in the SEC West. This, of course, is not a league game, but the Dogs will be eager to play well in Week 1.

Mississippi State 31-7

 

8. UL Lafayette at Kentucky

Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: ESPNU

 

David Fox:

Kentucky will be overlooked in Week 1, but this is a big test for a team hoping to return to the postseason. 

Kentucky 31–13

 

Steven Lassan:

This is a must-win game for Kentucky if it wants to go bowling. UL Lafayette running back Elijah McGuire is one of the top players in the Group of 5 ranks. Ragin’ Cajuns hang around, but Wildcats pull away late.

Kentucky 34-17

 

Mitch Light:

Kentucky’s march to bowl eligibility begins with a tough test against one of the Sun Belt’s top teams. UL Lafayette has won exactly nine games in each of the last four seasons. The Cats will have to earn this one. 

Kentucky 34-17

 

9. UTEP at Arkansas

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: ESPNU

 

David Fox:

Two grinding teams will try to keep possessions low. Arkansas, though, will run away with it. 

Arkansas 35–14

 

Steven Lassan:

These two teams are similar in style of play – strong offensive line and rushing attack – but there’s a clear edge in talent. Razorbacks continue the momentum from end of 2014 with an easy win on Saturday.

Arkansas 45-13

 

Mitch Light:

Arkansas’ rushing attack gets all the headlines, but UTEP boasts a quality running back of its own. Junior Aaron Jones rushed for 1,321 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2014. 

Arkansas 44-14

 

10. ULM at Georgia

Kickoff: Noon ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: SEC Network

 

David Fox:

Nick Chubb might be your Heisman front runner by the end of September. Of the first three opponents, ULM (86th in yards allowed per play) had the best rush defense. 

Georgia 42–14

 

Steven Lassan:

ULM has a good defense, but the offense is a work in progress. Bulldogs simply have too much defense and a deep stable of running backs to carry the workload on offense. Greyson Lambert earning the starting quarterback job over Brice Ramsey came as a surprise. How well will the Virginia transfer perform in his first game with the Bulldogs?

Georgia 44-13

 

Mitch Light:

Virginia transfer Greyson Lambert makes his first start at Georgia, but Nick Chubb is the main man for the Bulldogs’ attack. As a freshman, Chubb led the SEC with 7.1 yards per carry and averaged 172.9 yards over his final seven games against FBS foes. 

Georgia 41-13

 

11. New Mexico State at Florida

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: SEC Network

 

David Fox:

Treon Harris can prove why he held onto the starting job.

Florida 49–14

 

Steven Lassan:

Treon Harris gets the nod over Will Grier as Florida’s starting quarterback, but it won’t matter which signal-caller takes the first snap. The Gators should control this one from the start and open the Jim McElwain era with an easy win.

Florida 47-10

 

Mitch Light:

The Gators will play two quarterbacks in Jim McElwain’s debut. Both should have success against a New Mexico State team that ranked 116th in the nation in total defense in 2014. 

Florida 51-0

 

12. McNeese State at LSU

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: SEC Network

 

David Fox:

McNeese has former Kansas State quarterback Daniel Sams. LSU could be starting Brandon Harris. I’m still trying to figure out who has the QB advantage. 

LSU 35–10

 

Steven Lassan:

New quarterback Brandon Harris has an opportunity to build some confidence against McNeese State. Tigers should control this one from the opening snap.

LSU 45-9

 

Mitch Light:

Brandon Harris takes over an LSU offense that is desperate for adequate quarterback play. If he can deliver, this team has enough talent to contend in the SEC West. 

LSU 41-7

 

13. UT Martin at Ole Miss

Kickoff: Noon ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: SEC Network

 

David Fox:

I’m looking forward to seeing the Chad Kelly-Laquon Treadwell connection. 

Ole Miss 42–10


Steven Lassan:

Chad Kelly’s debut for Ole Miss makes this one worth a watch on Saturday. Rebels win easily.

Ole Miss 45-10

 

Mitch Light:

Led by a star-studded junior class, the Rebels have the talent to contend in the brutal SEC West. In the opener, all eyes will be on quarterback Chad Kelly.  

Ole Miss 34-11

 

14. Southeast Missouri State at Missouri

Kickoff: 4 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: SEC Network

 

David Fox:

Missouri’s young defensive line is worth watching here. Otherwise…

Missouri 42–7

 

Steven Lassan:

Look for quarterback Maty Mauk and his revamped receiving corps to work out a few kinks against Southeast Missouri State.

Missouri 40-7

 

Mitch Light:

The two-time defending SEC East champs being their season with a visit from an FCS foe for the fourth straight season. The Tigers won the last three by an average of 38.7 points. 

Missouri 48-10

Teaser:
SEC 2015 Week 1 Predictions
Post date: Thursday, September 3, 2015 - 10:15
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The ended the 2014 season in the spotlight with Ohio State’s national championship victory over Oregon, and the conference opens 2015 with two marquee games on Thursday night. Michigan travels to Salt Lake City to take on Utah in coach Jim Harbaugh’s debut, while playoff contender TCU makes the trek to Minnesota.

 

While both matchups are among the best of the weekend, the Ohio State-Virginia Tech showdown on Monday night is the most interesting contest of the Big Ten’s opening slate. Will the Buckeyes begin their title defense with a revenge victory over the Hokies? Or will the Hokies' defense lead the way for another upset?

 

Athlon Sports offers its Big Ten Week 1 predictions from three editors: Steven Lassan (), David Fox () and Mitch Light ().

 

Big Ten Week 1 Game Power Rankings & Predictions

 

1. Ohio State at Virginia Tech

Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET (Monday)

TV Channel: ESPN

 

David Fox: 

Virginia Tech’s win last year is eons ago. J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones have won the biggest of big games and will again in Blacksburg.

Ohio State 28-20

 

Steven Lassan:

This is the best game of Week 1, and so many intriguing questions will be answered. Who will start at quarterback for Ohio State? How will the defense perform with end Joey Bosa suspended? How much of an impact will Braxton Miller make at receiver? The Hokies’ defense should keep them in this game, but will the offense consistently move the ball or avoid big mistakes?

Ohio State 30-20

 

Mitch Light:

In last year’s loss to Virginia Tech at home, Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett completed 9-of-29 passes with three interceptions. It’s safe to say Ohio State will get better play at the quarterback position this time around.

Ohio State 27-13

 

2. Michigan at Utah

Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET (Thursday)

TV Channel: Fox Sports 1

 

David Fox: 

Jim Harbaugh may have won the offseason, but he’s going to need solid offensive line play to win his debut at Michigan. That’s been in short supply.

Utah 24–21

 

Steven Lassan:

Jim Harbaugh’s debut. Not much else needs to be said for the must-see value of this one. Wouldn’t expect a ton of points on Thursday night, as both teams are solid on defense and enter the season with question marks on offense. Utah’s defense is the difference in this matchup.

Utah 23-20

 

Mitch Light:

Michigan outgained the Utes 308-to-286 and held Devontae Booker to 34 yards on 11 carries in a 26–10 loss at home last season. The Wolverines will need to duplicate that defensive effort. 

Michigan 24-20

 

3. BYU at Nebraska

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: ABC

 

David Fox:

Nebraska’s 29-game season-opener winning streak might end if we see the same Taysom Hill we saw at the start of last season.

BYU 28–24


Steven Lassan:

This game isn’t generating the attention Ohio State-Virginia Tech or Louisville-Auburn are this week, but there’s intrigue here. BYU quarterback Taysom Hill is back after missing most of 2014 with a leg injury, and Nebraska opens the Mike Riley tenure looking to extend its winning streak in openers (29 consecutive victories).

Nebraska 31-27

 

Mitch Light:

Nebraska has won 29 straight openers, the longest such streak in the nation. The Huskers will make it 30 — but it won’t be easy.  

Nebraska 27-24

 

4. Wisconsin vs. Alabama (Arlington)

Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: ABC

 

David Fox:

Wisconsin’s normally stout offensive line is a question this year. Alabama will have a major edge.

Alabama 31–14

 

Steven Lassan:

Great name value in this matchup, but it’s tough to find a reason why Wisconsin can win this one. The Crimson Tide should be able to hold the Badgers’ rushing attack in check, which adds a lot of pressure on quarterback Joel Stave and an inexperienced receiving corps. Alabama won’t name a starter at quarterback until kickoff, but it shouldn’t matter which signal-caller takes the first or a majority of snaps this week.

Alabama 34-13

 

Mitch Light:

Alabama has concerns at quarterback and is inexperienced at wide receiver … but still has far more talent than Wisconsin. 

Alabama 28-13

 

5. TCU at Minnesota

Kickoff: 9 p.m. ET (Thursday)

TV Channel: ESPN

 

David Fox:

Trevone Boykin’s Heisman bid gets an early test in a rematch against the Minnesota secondary.

TCU 28–14

 

Steven Lassan:

Minnesota’s secondary could give TCU’s passing attack fits early on. However, can the Golden Gophers’ offense find enough firepower to match the Horned Frogs? Unlikely. TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin is the difference in this game.

TCU 34-17

 

Mitch Light:

Minnesota lost its two top offensive players in running back David Cobb and tight end Maxx Williams. The Gophers simply don’t have enough firepower to knock off the Frogs. 

TCU 30-13

 

6. Stanford at Northwestern

Kickoff: Noon ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: ESPN

 

David Fox:

Clayton Thorson is the future at quarterback for Northwestern. The Wildcats have to show signs they can turn things around, but it’s going to be tough against that Stanford D.

Stanford 28–21

 

Steven Lassan:

Interesting matchup between two academic powers. Lots of intrigue on both sides, as Northwestern breaks in a talented new quarterback (Clayton Thorson), and Stanford looks to build off last year’s late momentum. The 12-point spread seems too high.

Stanford 27-20

 

Mitch Light:

Stanford has emerged as a dark horse College Football Playoff contender by some college football observers — including one of my colleagues at Athlon Sports. I disagree. 

Northwestern 24-20

 

7. Michigan State at Western Michigan

Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET (Friday)

TV Channel: ESPNU

 

David Fox:

Western Michigan is a recruiting powerhouse (for a MAC team, relatively speaking). This could be a signature moment P.J. Fleck’s team. Could be.

Michigan State 38–17

 

Steven Lassan:

P.J. Fleck is a rising star in the coaching ranks, and a trip to Kalamazoo adds to the intrigue for the Broncos. However, the Spartans are balanced on offense, and the defense should do a good job of containing Western Michigan running back Jarvion Franklin.

Michigan State 34-17

 

Mitch Light:

The Broncos are vastly improved under P.J. Fleck, but they will have a tough time knocking off the mighty Spartans from East Lansing. 

Michigan State 38-21

 

8. Penn State at Temple

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: ESPN

 

David Fox:

Christian Hackenberg and P.J. Walker combined for six interceptions in this game last year. This game has to be better, right?

Penn State 24–14

 

Steven Lassan:

How much has Penn State’s offensive line improved since last season? That’s the big question in coach James Franklin’s second year. Led by standout linebacker Tyler Matakevich, Temple’s defense can present problems for the Nittany Lions.

Penn State 27-17

 

Mitch Light:

Temple is the home team, but there figures to be far more Penn State fans in this intriguing opener. Last year, the Nittany Lions scored 30 points — the most by James Franklin’s team in the regular season — in a win over Temple. 

Penn State 28-13

 

9. Purdue at Marshall

Kickoff: 3 p.m. ET (Sunday)

TV Channel: Fox Sports 1

 

David Fox:

Purdue may play a road game at Marshall only to get clobbered by its former offensive coordinator, Bill Legg.

Marshall 31–21

 

Steven Lassan:

The Boilermakers hope to show improvement in coach Darrell Hazell’s third season, but this team is nearly a touchdown underdog against Marshall. The Thundering Herd picked James Madison transfer Michael Birdsong to replace prolific four-year starter Rakeem Cato at quarterback. Even though Cato will be missed, Birdsong has a strong supporting cast to lean on, including running back Devon Johnson.

Marshall 31-27

 

Mitch Light:

Darrell Hazell is 4–20 in two seasons, and his team is a 7.5-point underdog in a Week 1 game against a team from Conference USA. 

Marshall 28-23

 

10. Illinois State at Iowa

Kickoff: Noon ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: Big Ten Network

 

David Fox:

Former Indiana quarterback Tre Roberson was tremendous for FCS runner-up Illinois State last season. Iowa should be worried. 

Illinois State 35–31.

 

Steven Lassan:

Former Indiana quarterback Tre Roberson leads an Illinois State team coming off a loss in the FCS Championship last year. This is a dangerous Week 1 opponent for Iowa. Hawkeyes avoid the upset.

Iowa 34-27

 

Mitch Light:

The Hawkeyes host one of the most powerful FCS teams in the nation. My advice to Kirk Ferentz: Don’t lose this game. 

Iowa 34-21

 

11. Kent State at Illinois

Kickoff: 9 p.m. ET (Friday)

TV Channel: Big Ten Network

 

David Fox:

I’m actually kind of interested to see Illinois respond to Tim Beckman’s firing.

Illinois 27–14

 

Steven Lassan:

There are a lot of distractions for the Fighting Illini right now after coach Tim Beckman was dismissed last week. However, I’m not sure Kent State has enough to pull off the upset.

Illinois 38-20

 

Mitch Light:

Just a hunch: The Fighting Illini will rally behind interim coach Bill Cubit and take out their frustrations on the Golden Flashes. 

Illinois 41-9

 

12. Richmond at Maryland

Kickoff: Noon ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: ESPN

 

David Fox:

Perry Hills’ journey back to the starting QB job after a two-year absence is an interesting storyline. 

Maryland 27–17

 

Steven Lassan:

With only nine returning starters and young talent stepping into the starting lineup, 2015 is shaping up as a rebuilding year for coach Randy Edsall. However, the Terrapins still have enough to win this one. Perry Hills is worth watching after he edged Caleb Rowe for the starting quarterback job this fall.

Maryland 34-13

 

Mitch Light:

Perry Hills earned the starting assignment at quarterback over preseason favorite Caleb Rowe. He takes over an offense that lost some key weapons at wide receiver. 

Maryland 33-13

 

13. Southern Illinois at Indiana

Kickoff: 4 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: ESPNEWS

 

David Fox:

Indiana has a chance to start 4–0. Will it be enough to save Kevin Wilson?

Indiana 35-17

 

Steven Lassan:

Quarterback Nate Sudfeld is back at full strength after missing most of last season with a shoulder injury. That’s good news for an Indiana team poised to challenge for a bowl bid in 2015.

Indiana 44-17

 

Mitch Light:

Conventional wisdom suggests Kevin Wilson will need to get Indiana to a bowl game to save his job. It will be tough for the Hoosiers to get to six wins without a victory in Week 1. 

Indiana 44-16

 

14. Norfolk State at Rutgers

Kickoff: Noon ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: ESPNEWS

 

David Fox:

What a miserable week for Rutgers with an academic scandal and suspensions. The Scarlet Knights will need to savor this week.

Rutgers 28–13

 

Steven Lassan:

It seems the question marks about Kyle Flood and an ongoing investigation into the academic handling of a player will continue into next week. Even though it’s a distraction, it won’t matter much on Saturday afternoon. Interested to see how well LSU transfer Hayden Rettig plays at quarterback for the Scarlet Knights.

Rutgers 45-10

 

Mitch Light:

Kyle Flood begins his fourth season in the middle of an academic scandal at Rutgers. Will the distractions affect his team’s performance? Stay tuned.

Rutgers 37-13

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Week 1 of the 2015 Big 12 season isn’t filled with must-see matchups. But there are a few games on the schedule to move the needle, including Texas-Notre Dame and TCU-Minnesota. Will the Longhorns improve in coach Charlie Strong’s second season? A win in South Bend would be a good place to start. Big 12 frontrunners TCU and Baylor are both on the road in Week 1, but both teams are double-digit favorites.

 

A few Big 12 teams have to be on upset alert this weekend. West Virginia hosts a dangerous Georgia Southern squad, while Iowa State plays in-state FCS foe in a must-win game for coach Paul Rhoads. New Kansas coach David Beaty inherited a massive rebuilding project, and Saturday’s game against South Dakota State is probably the only winnable game on the schedule this year. 

 

Athlon Sports offers its Big 12 Week 1 predictions from three editors: Steven Lassan (), David Fox () and Mitch Light ().

 

Big 12 Week 1 Game Power Rankings & Predictions

 

1. Texas at Notre Dame

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: NBC

 

David Fox:

Expect some nasty defense in this one. Notre Dame has the experience on defense and a functional offense, making this an easy pick for the Irish.  

Notre Dame 24–10

 

Steven Lassan:

Great matchup in terms of name value. How far has Texas improved this offseason under coach Charlie Strong? This is a great barometer test for the Longhorns. Quarterback play for both teams will be under the spotlight with Malik Zaire (Notre Dame) and Tyrone Swoopes (Texas).

Notre Dame 27, Texas 17

 

Mitch Light:

Texas struggled last season, but it wasn’t the fault of the defense. The Horns ranked No. 2 in the Big 12 in total defense and No. 1 against league opponents. This could be a struggle for the Irish.

Notre Dame 20-13

 

2. TCU at Minnesota

Kickoff: 9 p.m. ET (Thursday)

TV Channel: ESPN

 

David Fox:

Minnesota’s secondary had one of the better games against Trevone Boykin last season. If the Gophers had an above average offense, this would be more of a contest.

TCU 27–13

 

Steven Lassan:

Minnesota’s secondary could give TCU’s passing attack fits early on. However, can the Golden Gophers’ offense find enough firepower to match the Horned Frogs? Unlikely. TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin is the difference in this game.

TCU 34-17

 

Mitch Light:

Minnesota lost its two top offensive players in running back David Cobb and tight end Maxx Williams. The Gophers simply don’t have enough firepower to knock off the Frogs. 

TCU 30-13

 

3. Georgia Southern at West Virginia

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: FSN

 

David Fox:

For what’s supposed to be a good defense West Virginia got gashed in the run game A LOT last year. Does that worry anyone else?

West Virginia 27–17

 

Steven Lassan:

Georgia Southern is a dangerous opponent for West Virginia. The Eagles lost by one to NC State and by four to Georgia Tech last season. Starting quarterback Kevin Ellison is sidelined due to a suspension, but backup Favian Upshaw is a capable option. Having all offseason to prepare for Georgia Southern’s offense should benefit the Mountaineers. Keep an eye on the young West Virginia receivers and quarterback Skyler Howard.

West Virginia 38-24

 

Mitch Light:

Georgia Southern boasts one of the most potent running games in the nation but will be without standout QB Kevin Ellison, who is out with a suspension.

West Virginia 34-27

 

4. Baylor at SMU

Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET (Friday)

TV Channel: ESPN

 

David Fox:

A neat game for head coaches who worked their way from Texas high schools to being offensive masterminds. Unfortunately, it won’t be close.

Baylor 56–14

 

Steven Lassan:

Chad Morris is the right coach for SMU, and the Mustangs will be better in 2015. However, Baylor simply has too much firepower. Expect a big debut from quarterback Seth Russell.

Baylor 51-17

 

Mitch Light:

This might end up looking like a decent win for the Bears if Chad Morris can work some magic in Year 1 at SMU.

Baylor 41-17

 

5. Northern Iowa at Iowa State

Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: Cyclones.tv

 

David Fox:

Iowa State has lost back-to-back season openers against FCS teams and could make it three in a row. 

Northern Iowa 17–14

 

Steven Lassan:

This isn’t a guaranteed win for Iowa State. Northern Iowa knocked off the Cyclones in 2013 and lost by eight to Iowa last season. Getting receiver Quenton Bundrage back, along with better luck in the health department on the offensive line should help Iowa State in 2015. The Panthers make it interesting, but Iowa State avoids the upset.

Iowa State 27, Northern Iowa 20 

 

Mitch Light:

The Cyclones have lost two of the last four to their friends from Cedar Falls. This is a game Paul Rhoads cannot afford to lose.

Iowa State 24-20 

 

6. Akron at Oklahoma

Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: PPV

 

David Fox:

I’m ready to see the Baker Mayfield-Samaje Perine-Lincoln Riley dynamic at work.

Oklahoma 42–10

 

Steven Lassan:

Akron has a handful of talented transfers from Power 5 programs, but the Sooners should win this one with ease. With a road trip to Tennessee up next, it’s a good opportunity for new coordinator Lincoln Riley and quarterback Baker Mayfield to build confidence in the offense.

Oklahoma 48-17

 

Mitch Light

Former Texas Tech walk-on Baker Mayfield is running the show for new offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley at OU. Akron continues to improve under Terry Bowden’s watch, but the Zips aren’t good enough to win in Norman. Oklahoma 43-20

 

7. Oklahoma State at Central Michigan

Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET (Thursday)

TV Channel: ESPNU

 

David Fox:

Every now and then Oklahoma State plays a weird road game. Every now and then, that road game bites the Cowboys (a 41–23 loss at Troy in 2007). That won’t happen here. 

Oklahoma State 31–10

 

Steven Lassan:

I’m interested to see how much sophomore quarterback Mason Rudolph has progressed for Oklahoma State since the end of last season.

Oklahoma State 41-20

 

Mitch Light:

Mount Pleasant will be rocking with Oklahoma State coming to town. Too bad Dan LeFevour isn’t under center for the Chips.

Oklahoma State 48-10

 

8. Sam Houston State at Texas Tech

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: FSN

 

David Fox:

Might be time to get to know Sam Houston State coach K.C. Keeler, who has played in eight national championship games (FCS and Division III), winning one. His up-tempo offense will give new Texas Tech DC David Gibbs a test.

Texas Tech 41–21

 

Steven Lassan:

The Bearkats – ranked as a top-five FCS team – could be a pesky opponent for the Red Raiders. Will it be Davis Webb or Patrick Mahomes at quarterback for Texas Tech? The guess here is Mahomes starts and delivers a solid performance, while the defense shows progress under coordinator David Gibbs.

Texas Tech 50-24

 

Mitch Light: 

Sam Houston State lost 56–0 last September at LSU in its only game against an FCS opponent. Texas Tech has more than enough weapons to score 50 as well. 

Texas Tech 50-20

 

9. South Dakota State at Kansas

Kickoff: Noon ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: FSN

 

David Fox:

If Kansas wins one game this season, this will be it.

Kansas 27–10

 

Steven Lassan:

This is the best shot Kansas has at winning a game in 2015.

Kansas 27-20

 

Mitch Light:

David Beaty begins his tenure as the boss at Kansas with arguably the least-talented Power 5 conference team in the nation.

Kansas 21-17

 

10. South Dakota at Kansas State

Kickoff: 7:10 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: K-StateHD.tv

 

David Fox:

Kansas State wised up and played one of the lesser Dakotas after losing to North Dakota State two years ago.

Kansas State 28–10

 

Steven Lassan:

Bill Snyder’s team is a bit of a mystery with Jesse Ertz replacing Jake Waters at quarterback. South Dakota went 2-10 last year and shouldn’t provide too many problems for the Wildcats.

Kansas State 45-10

 

Mitch Light:

Kansas State has to find some answers on offense to be a threat in the Big 12 this season. 

Kansas State 31-7

Teaser:
Big 12 Week 1 Predictions
Post date: Thursday, September 3, 2015 - 09:45
Path: /college-football/acc-2015-week-1-predictions
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With Clemson replacing several key starters from last year’s defense, along with Jameis Winston’s departure from Florida State, two of the ’s frontrunners open the 2015 season looking for answers at key positions. The Seminoles plan to turn to former Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson to replace Winston, while the Tigers will be focused on building the depth and talent up front before a key conference game against Louisville on Sept. 17.

 

While the Tigers and Seminoles should have easy wins in Week 1, the spotlight in the conference shifts to Blacksburg, Va. with Ohio State visiting Virginia Tech on Monday night. The Buckeyes-Hokies’ matchup is the marquee game in the ACC for the opening weekend of action, but Louisville has another chance to score a key win for the conference in a neutral site contest against Auburn.

 

Athlon Sports offers its ACC Week 1 predictions from three editors: Steven Lassan (), David Fox () and Mitch Light ().

 

ACC Week 1 Game Power Rankings & Predictions

 

1. Ohio State at Virginia Tech

Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET (Monday)

TV Channel: ESPN

 

David Fox:

The Buckeyes will be better prepared for anything Bud Foster throws at them this time around. 

Ohio State 28–14

 

Steven Lassan:

This is the best game of Week 1, and so many intriguing questions will be answered. Who will start at quarterback for Ohio State? How will the defense perform with end Joey Bosa suspended? How much of an impact will Braxton Miller make at receiver? The Hokies’ defense should keep them in this game, but will the offense consistently move the ball or avoid big mistakes?

Ohio State 30-20

 

Mitch Light:

In last year’s loss to Virginia Tech at home, Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett completed 9-of-29 passes with three interceptions. It’s safe to say Ohio State will get better play at the quarterback position this time around. 

Ohio State 27-13

 

2. Louisville vs. Auburn (Atlanta)

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: CBS

 

David Fox:

Jeremy Johnson might be the most hyped first-year starting quarterback in a preseason since Tim Tebow. Facing Louisville in an opener is an interesting test.

Auburn 28–21

 

Steven Lassan:

Easily one of the best games of Week 1 and a great matchup of Auburn’s offense versus Louisville’s defense. The Cardinals should present some problems for the Tigers at the line of scrimmage, but quarterback Jeremy Johnson hits a few plays in the second half to secure the victory.

Auburn 31-20

 

Mitch Light:

Auburn will turn to Jeremy Johnson, who has completed 73.1 percent of his passes with 11 TDs and two INTs in 11 career games. He will be tested by a Louisville defense that has been rebuilt by impact transfers. 

Auburn 27-20

 

3. North Carolina vs. South Carolina (Charlotte)

Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET (Thursday)

TV Channel: ESPN

 

David Fox:

Both teams need to re-boot their defenses under new coordinators. South Carolina has the stiffer test in the opener against Marquise Williams.

North Carolina 28­–21

 

Steven Lassan:

Not sure what to expect in this one. North Carolina has one of the ACC’s best offenses, and Gene Chizik was hired to improve a struggling defense. South Carolina picked Connor Mitch as its starting quarterback, but he has only six career pass attempts. The Gamecocks also struggled mightily on defense last year.

South Carolina 31-27  

 

Mitch Light:

South Carolina lacks proven playmakers other than Pharoh Cooper. North Carolina is loaded with offensive weapons.

North Carolina 37-30

 

4. Virginia at UCLA

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: FOX

 

David Fox:

The Cavaliers gave UCLA trouble in a 28–20 loss in Charlottesville last season. Can Virginia do it again when it faces a freshman quarterback for the Bruins?  

UCLA 35–21

 

Steven Lassan:

Last year’s matchup was closer than most anticipated (28-20). Virginia’s defense can keep this one close for a while, but will the offense provide enough of a spark behind new starter Matt Johns to pull off the upset? All eyes will be on true freshman quarterback Josh Rosen for UCLA.

UCLA 31-17

 

Mitch Light:

UCLA’s 28–20 win in Charlottesville last season was far more difficult than expected. The Bruins, who will be starting true freshman Josh Rosen at quarterback, won’t have to work quite as hard this time around. 

UCLA 34-20

 

5. Texas State at Florida State

Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: ESPNEWS

 

David Fox:

FSU won’t have much trouble, but Everett Golson’s progress will be worth watching.

Florida State 41–10

 

Steven Lassan:

Texas State could give the Seminoles a few headaches early, especially with dual-threat quarterback Tyler Jones leading the way on offense. All eyes in Tallahassee will be on Notre Dame transfer Everett Golson at quarterback, as well as a defense that ranked 11th in the ACC in points allowed last season.

Florida State 40-17

 

Mitch Light:

It’s strange, but it’s true: Everett Golson is the starting quarterback at Florida State. 

Florida State 41-14

 

6. Duke at Tulane

Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET (Thursday)

TV Channel: CBS Sports Network

 

David Fox:

Duke has won the last two matchups by a total score of 95–40.

Duke 38–20

 

Steven Lassan:

Interested to see new Duke quarterback Thomas Sirk on Thursday night. Think he has a chance to be a breakout star in the ACC this season. Tulane has some promising young talent and could make this one interesting.

Duke 31-20

 

Mitch Light:

The new-look Blue Devils will lean a bit more on the running game with Thomas Sirk now at quarterback. Tulane begins an important season for Curtis Johnson and his staff. 

Duke 28-17

 

7. Youngstown State at Pittsburgh

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: ESPN 3

 

David Fox:

DID YOU KNOW: Pat Narduzzi’s late father, Bill, was a former coach at Youngstown State and the predecessor to Jim Tressel. 

Pittsburgh 28–10

 

Steven Lassan:

You may have heard: Youngstown State hired Bo Pelini this offseason. And don’t forget, the Penguins won in Pittsburgh 31-17 in 2012. The Panthers won’t have receiver Tyler Boyd, but new coach Pat Narduzzi is a winner in his debut.

Pittsburgh 34-17

 

Mitch Light:

The Panthers will be out without All-America wide receiver Tyler Boyd for the first game of the Pat Narduzzi era. It won’t matter against Bo Pelini and the Penguins. 

Pittsburgh 37-7

 

8. Troy at NC State

Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: ESPN 3

 

David Fox:

NC State and Jacoby Brissett got a lot of mileage out of putting a scare into Florida State. We’ll have to wait until October to know anything new about the Wolfpack.

NC State 45–14

 

Steven Lassan:

NC State is an interesting team to watch this year. The Wolfpack played better late in 2014 and should continue that momentum into the opener.

NC State 45-17

 

Mitch Light:

Former Kentucky offensive coordinator Neal Brown has taken over at Troy. His task in Week 1 is simple: Slow down Jacoby Brissett, one of the nation’s most underrated quarterbacks. 

NC State 38-7

 

9. Wofford at Clemson

Kickoff: 12:30 p.m. (Saturday)

TV Channel: ESPN 3

 

David Fox:

Clemson’s rebuilding defense opens against an option team. Georgia Tech gives Clemson trouble Wofford should not. Clemson 42–21

 

Steven Lassan:

Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson’s Heisman campaign begins with a huge performance against Wofford.

Clemson 45-10

 

Mitch Light:

Deshaun Watson and the Clemson offense will roll up a big number against the Terriers from Spartanburg. 

Clemson 47-10

 

10. Alcorn State at Georgia Tech

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET (Thursday)

TV Channel: ESPN 3

 

David Fox:

Georgia Tech usually makes easy work of its FCS opponents, but Alcorn State can score a bit.

Georgia Tech 54–28

 

Steven Lassan:

Quarterback Justin Thomas and his new stable of running backs helps Georgia Tech cruise to an easy win.

Georgia Tech 40-7

 

Mitch Light:

Georgia Tech should barely break a sweat against Steve McNair’s alma mater.

Georgia Tech 48-10

 

11. Bethune-Cookman at Miami

Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: ESPN 3

 

David Fox:

Remember when Bethune beat FIU last season? Al Golden’s on the hot seat but not that hot.

Miami 42–10

 

Steven Lassan:

The Hurricanes open a potential make-or-break season for coach Al Golden with an easy win.

Miami 40-10

 

Mitch Light:

This is a critical season for Al Golden, who is 16–16 in the ACC in his four seasons at Miami.

Miami 41-13

 

12. Maine at Boston College

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: ESPN 3

 

David Fox:

DID YOU KNOW: Other than a two-year stint as an assistant at Boston College, Maine coach Jack Cosgrove has spent more than 40 years at Maine as a player, assistant or head coach. 

Boston College 35–14

 

Steven Lassan:

Maine and Howard are good opportunities for new Boston College quarterback Darius Wade to build confidence before the Sept. 18 game against Florida State.

Boston College 38-7

 

Mitch Light:

Boston College has far more “dudes” than Maine. Tailback Jon Hilliman might be the best of the bunch.

Boston College 33-13

 

13. Elon at Wake Forest

Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET (Thursday)

TV Channel: ESPN 3

 

David Fox:

Wake’s not going to win a ton this season, but the Deacs aren’t bad enough to lose to Elon. 

Wake Forest 35–10

 

Steven Lassan:

The Demon Deacons are headed in the right direction under coach Dave Clawson. But to escape the ACC Atlantic cellar in 2015, Wake Forest must improve in the trenches. This is a good opportunity to build confidence.

Wake Forest 34-10

 

Mitch Light:

Wake Forest still has some significant issues on offense, but the Demon Deacons will overwhelm Elon. 

Wake Forest 28-7

 

14. Rhode Island at Syracuse

Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET (Friday)

TV Channel: ESPN 3

 

David Fox:

I wouldn’t put it past Syracuse to lose to a Colonial Athletic Association team, but not Rhody (1–11 last year).

Syracuse 28–7

 

Steven Lassan:

Having quarterback Terrel Hunt healthy and back in the lineup should provide a little punch to Syracuse’s offense.

Syracuse 38-10

 

Mitch Light:

Rhode Island went 1–10 last season. This will not be too difficult for the Orange.

Syracuse 48-0

Teaser:
ACC 2015 Week 1 Predictions
Post date: Thursday, September 3, 2015 - 09:15
Path: /college-football/colorado-buffaloes-vs-hawaii-rainbow-warriors-preview-and-prediction-2015
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The first night of the 2015 season concludes with traveling to  in a critical non-conference matchup for both teams. The Rainbow Warriors and Buffaloes combined for a 6-19 record last season, and a win in this contest would help both teams build momentum for a run at a bowl game this fall.

 

Optimism was the offseason storyline for both teams. Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre enters his third season at the helm in Boulder, and despite last year’s record (2-10), all signs point to the program trending in the right direction. The Buffaloes return 14 starters, including rising star quarterback Sefo Liufau and receiver Nelson Spruce. Hawaii coach Norm Chow is squarely on the hot seat in 2015, but the Rainbow Warriors could challenge for a bowl appearance if USC transfer Max Wittek solidifies the quarterback spot.

 

Colorado and Hawaii have met four previous times, with the all-time series tied at two victories apiece. This will be the Buffaloes first trip to Aloha Stadium since 2011. Colorado knocked off the Rainbow Warriors 21-12 last season.

 

Colorado at Hawaii

 

Kickoff: 1 a.m. ET (Friday morning)

TV Channel: CBS Sports Network

Spread: Colorado -7.5

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Hawaii QB Max Wittek

The Rainbow Warriors have struggled to find the right answer at quarterback over the last three seasons. Could that change in 2015? USC transfer Max Wittek was a four-star recruit in the 2011 signing class but never earned the full-time starting job in Los Angeles. With one more year of eligibility, this is Wittek’s final opportunity to impress NFL scouts. All signs point to the senior emerging as one of the top quarterbacks in the Mountain West this season, and the Rainbow Warriors can support their quarterback with a solid receiving corps and running back Steven Lakalaka. Will Wittek have a breakout performance on Thursday night?

 

2. Sefo Liufau to Nelson Spruce

Hawaii’s pass defense surrendered 26 scores last season, and this secondary will be tested against Colorado. The Rainbow Warriors return three starters in the defensive backfield, including All-Mountain West candidate Ne’Quan Phillips at cornerback. While the secondary has to eliminate some of the big plays allowed last season (14 passing plays surrendered of 40 yards or more), the pass rush has to help the coverage. Liufau is a rising star in the Pac-12 after throwing for 3,200 yards and 28 scores in 2014. Expect to see the junior target receiver Nelson Spruce frequently on Thursday, as Spruce recorded 106 receptions last season. This prolific combination should have their share of opportunities to connect on big plays. Can Hawaii keep this duo in check?

 

3. Jim Leavitt’s Impact at Colorado

Colorado’s defense has been a major issue since the program joined the Pac-12 in 2014. Among Pac-12 teams, the Buffaloes have ranked 11th or 12th in scoring defense in each of the last four seasons. After Kent Baer left to call the defensive signals at UNLV, MacIntyre hired former USF coach Jim Leavitt to coordinate the defense. The Buffaloes have question marks at each level, starting up front for a unit that allowed 204.8 rushing yards per game last season. What type of impact will Leavitt have in 2015? This game should be a good barometer test for Colorado.

 

Final Analysis

 

This one isn’t slated for kickoff until 1 a.m. ET on Friday morning (or Thursday night if you are on the West Coast). Be sure to set the DVR. Both quarterbacks should make their share of plays, but Colorado is the better overall team. Liufau and Spruce open the 2015 season with a huge performance, while the Buffaloes get enough stops on defense to pull away in the second half.

 

Prediction: Colorado 38, Hawaii 24
Teaser:
Colorado Buffaloes vs. Hawaii Rainbow Warriors Preview and Prediction
Post date: Thursday, September 3, 2015 - 09:00
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and might not be at the top of the list for the best game in Week 1 of the season, but there’s no shortage of intrigue for the opener in Nashville. Led by prolific senior quarterback Brandon Doughty, the Hilltoppers are picked by some to win Conference USA in 2015 and could enter the conversation for the best team from the Group of 5 ranks. And according to the good folks in Vegas, WKU is a slight favorite in this matchup. 

 

The Commodores are coming off a disappointing 3-9 season, and the pressure is already building on coach Derek Mason. After struggling mightily last year, Mason made significant staff changes. Four new assistants roam the Vanderbilt sideline, including veteran play-caller Andy Ludwig.

 

Less than 75 miles separate these two programs. However, this is only the fourth meeting between Vanderbilt and WKU. The Commodores own a 3-0 edge over the Hilltoppers, with the last matchup in 1938. 

 

WKU at Vanderbilt

 

Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET (Thursday)

TV Channel: SEC Network

Spread: WKU – 2.5

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. WKU’s Rush Defense

Opponents certainly had their way against WKU’s front seven in 2014. The Hilltoppers allowed 220.8 rushing yards per game last season and gave up 33 rushing scores in 13 games. While last year’s totals weren’t pretty, there’s reason for optimism. Three starters are back, and UAB transfer Jontavious Morris (305 pounds) adds beef to the line of scrimmage. Quarterback play was an issue for the Commodores last season and remains a concern in 2015. Sophomore Johnny McCrary is considered the favorite over Wade Freebeck to take the first snap. However, Vanderbilt’s mission on offense is simple: Get the ball to running back Ralph Webb. The sophomore was one of the few bright spots for the offense last season, recording 912 yards and four scores. Considering the firepower on WKU’s sideline, along with the quarterback question marks, Webb should see a heavy workload on Thursday night. The Hilltoppers need to stop Webb and force Vanderbilt into obvious passing situations.

 

2. WKU QB Brandon Doughty

In three previous matchups against Power 5 opponents, Doughty completed 72 of 116 passes for 790 yards, four touchdowns and six interceptions. Those numbers are solid, especially when you consider five of those picks came in one game (Tennessee, 2013). Doughty will have to be at his best on Thursday night, as Vanderbilt’s defense has had all offseason to prep for the opener with Mason calling the plays and any mistakes in a close game will be magnified. Doughty’s supporting cast is among the best in the Group of 5 ranks, with running back Leon Allen returning after rushing for 1,542 yards last season, along with a receiving corps that returns three of its top four options. Tempo and getting out to an early lead could be a huge advantage for WKU. Vanderbilt isn’t build to rally from behind, and the Hilltoppers have the firepower to overwhelm an opponent if they can jump to an early lead.

 

3. Uncertainty on Both Sides of the Ball for Vanderbilt

As mentioned above, Vanderbilt made significant changes after a 3-9 record last season. This game is the first opportunity for Mason to show the changes have the program trending in the right direction. Mason plans on calling the defensive signals, which should help a unit that allowed 33.3 points per game last year. The Commodores return nine starters on defense, including rising star linebacker Stephen Weatherly. How will this group slow Doughty and the WKU offense? Can Mason’s defense get enough pressure on Doughty to eliminate the big plays? On the other side of the ball, Vanderbilt has to get better quarterback play in 2015. McCrary and Freebeck are locked into a tight battle to take the first snap. Regardless of which player starts, eliminating turnovers is a priority. With a favorable matchup against WKU’s defense (allowed 39.9 points a game last season), McCrary or Freebeck has a chance to build some confidence. Will the Commodores find a few answers to some of their preseason question marks on Thursday night? Or will this team end its opener with more uncertainty?

 

Final Analysis

 

Style of play will be important on Thursday night. Vanderbilt would prefer to keep this matchup from becoming a high-scoring affair. If the Commodores establish the line of scrimmage and Webb has a huge game, WKU’s offense won’t have a chance to jump out to an early lead. The Hilltoppers want to score in a hurry and make Vanderbilt play from behind. Doughty will make his share of plays, but the Commodores get just enough from Webb to win their first opener since 2011.

 

Prediction: Vanderbilt 34, WKU 31
Teaser:
Vanderbilt Commodores vs. WKU Hilltoppers Preview and Prediction
Post date: Wednesday, September 2, 2015 - 14:00
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The 2015 season starts on Thursday, Sept. 3 and concludes in early January with the national championship in Glendale, Ariz. With kickoff right around the corner, it’s time to fill up your Twitter timelines with information on all of the teams, players, coaches and latest news.

 

To help you prepare for the 2015 season, Athlon Sports has compiled the best Twitter guide on the web. Here’s 620 (plus a few more that came in after we posted this) Twitter accounts you need to follow to get the best information this year. We hope we covered it all here, but if we missed anyone that needs to be on this list, let us know via Twitter: and

 

 

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620 Twitter Accounts Every CFB Should Follow in 2015

 

National Media
AffiliationWritersAccount

Athlon Sports

()

 

 

Mitch Light

Steven Lassan

Jasmine Watkins

Braden Gall

Rich McVey

David Fox

Mark Ross

John Gworek

ESPN

()

()

Joe Schad

Brett McMurphy

Heather Dinich

Adam Rittenberg

Paul Finebaum

Kirk Herbstreit

Chris Fowler

Rece Davis

Ivan Maisel

Travis Haney

Mark Schlabach

Geno Wojciechowski

Brad Edwards

Danny Kanell

Chris Low

Yahoo Sports

Dr. Saturday Blog

Graham Watson

Nick Bromberg

Sam Cooper

Dan Wetzel

Pat Forde

Charles Robinson

Sports Illustrated

()

Zac Ellis

Campus Rush

Pete Thamel

Andy Staples

Lindsay Schnell

Brian Hamilton

SB Nation

()

Bill Connelly

Steven Godfrey

Jason Kirk

Spencer Hall

Dan Rubenstein

 

Ryan Nanni

Brian Floyd

Ian Boyd

USA Today

Dan Wolken

Nicole Auerbach

George Schroeder

Paul Myerberg

 

Sports On EarthMatt Brown

Fox Sports

()

Bruce Feldman

Stewart Mandel

Clay Travis

CBS Sports

()

Dennis Dodd

Jon Solomon

Tom Fornelli

Jerry Hinnen

Chip Patterson

NBC Sports

College Football Talk

Kevin McGuire

Bleacher Report

()

Barrett Sallee

Bryan D. Fischer

Michael Felder

Adam Kramer

Ben Kercheval

College Football Playoff 
Associated PressRalph D. Russo
Grantland

Chris B. Brown

Matt Hinton

Holly Anderson

CFB MatrixDave Bartoo
Coaching News

Football Scoop

Coaching Search

Coaches Almanac

Orlando SentinelMatt Murschel

NFL.com

()

ChaseGoodbread

Gil Brandt

Sporting News

()

 

Matt Hayes

Bill Bender

Ken Bradley

CFB HuddleKyle Kensing
The Student Section

 

Matt Zemek

College Football News

()

Rich Cirminiello

Russ Mitchell

Pete Fiutak

NewsweekJohn Walters
UproxxMartin Rickman
Los Angeles TimesChris Dufresne
Lost LettermenJim Weber
Today's UTyler Waddell
Reddit 
CFB Stats

Sport Source Analytics

ESPN Stats

College FB Reference

Pro Football Focus

CFB SchedulesFBSchedules.com
Recruiting

ESPN - Jeremy Crabtree

ESPN - Tom Luginbill

247Sports - Keith Niebuhr

247Sports - Barton Simmons

247Sports - JC Shurburtt

Rivals - MIke Farrell

Scout - Brandon Huffman

Uniform Info 

College Fantasy

Joe DiSalvo

Todd DeVries

Mike Bainbridge

 

 

ACC: 

AffiliationWritersAccount

ESPN ACC Blog

()

Andrea Adelson

David Hale

Jared Shanker

Matt Fortuna

ACC Sports Journal 

Daily Press

David Teel

Norm Wood

ACC Football News 
D1scourse.comPatrick Stevens
ACC Freelance WriterLauren Brownlow
WRALSportsFan.comJoe Ovies

 

TeamOfficial AccountMedia Follows

Boston College

Clemson

 

 

Duke

Florida State

Georgia Tech

Louisville

Miami

North Carolina

NC State

Pittsburgh

Syracuse

Virginia

Virginia Tech

Wake Forest

 

Big 12:

AffiliationWritersAccount

ESPN Big 12 Blog

()

Jake Trotter

Max Olson

Brandon Chatmon

Sports on Earth/

Freelance Writer

David Ubben
Dallas Morning NewsChuck Carlton
The OklahomanBerry Tramel

San Antonio Express-NewsTim Griffin
LandGrant Gauntlet 
TeamOfficial AccountMedia Follows

Baylor

Iowa State

 

Kansas

Kansas State

Oklahoma

Oklahoma State

TCU

Texas

Texas Tech

West Virginia

 

Big Ten: ()

AffiliationWritersAccount

ESPN Big Ten Blog

()

Brian Bennett

Mitch Sherman

Austin Ward

Josh Moyer

Dan Murphy

Jesse Temple

Big Ten Network

()

Brent Yarina

Tom Dienhart

Gerry DiNardo

Sean Merriman

Dave Revsine

Howard Griffith

Mike Hall

Chicago TribuneTeddy Greenstein
Chicago Sun-TimesSteve Greenberg
Saturday Tradition 

KnowItAllFootball/

Athlon Contributor

J.P. Scott
TeamOfficial AccountMedia Follows

Indiana

Illinois

Iowa

Maryland

Michigan

Michigan State

Minnesota

Nebraska

Northwestern

Ohio State

Penn State

Purdue

Rutgers

Wisconsin

 

Pac-12: ()

AffiliationWritersAccount

ESPN Pac-12 Blog

()

Kevin Gemmell

Ted Miller

Chantel Jennings

Kyle Bonagura

David Lombardi

Pac-12 Network

()

Yogi Roth

Michael Yam

Ashley Adamson

Matt Leinart

San Jose Mercury NewsJon Wilner

Pacific Takes

()

Avinash Kunnath

Jack Follman

TeamOfficial AccountMedia Follows

Arizona

Arizona State

California

Colorado

Oregon

Oregon State

Stanford

UCLA

USC

Utah

Washington

Washington State

 

SEC: ()

Affiliation Account
SEC CommissionerGreg Sankey

ESPN SEC Blog

()

Alex Scarborough

Edward Aschoff

David Ching

Greg Ostendorf

Sam Khan

SEC Network

 

Tony Barnhart

SEC Logo 
SB NationBrandon Larrabee
 David Wunderlich

Saturday Down South

()

Brad Crawford

Christopher Smith

Jon Cooper

Murf Baldwin

AL.comMatt Scalici
Southern PigskinMatt Smith
Sports Radio WNMLJosh Ward
Saturday BlitzChad Neipling
TeamOfficial AccountMedia Follows

Alabama

Arkansas

Auburn

Florida

Georgia

Kentucky

LSU

Missouri

Mississippi State

Ole Miss

South Carolina

Tennessee

Texas A&M

Vanderbilt

 

Independents/Group of 5 Follows

TeamOfficial AccountMedia Follows
Notre Dame

BYU

Boise State

Underdog Dynasty 

Mountain West 

Connection

 
Hustle Belt 

 

Teaser:
620 Twitter Accounts Every College Football Fan Should Follow (2015 Edition)
Post date: Wednesday, September 2, 2015 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/ranking-all-128-starting-quarterbacks-2015
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Quarterback play is always under the microscope for every team. Finding and developing a reliable starter isn’t easy for some programs, but for other schools, the next quarterback steps in and the offense doesn’t miss a beat.

 

With the 2015 season just days away, who has the best quarterback situations in college football? And which teams should be concerned? We ranked all 128 quarterbacks – with a few stipulations. This is not a list of career achievements or NFL Draft stock. Both of those elements were considered, but we also weighed value to the team, scheme, projection for 2015, recruiting background, talent and production so far. Anything you can think of to evaluate quarterbacks was used in this ranking. 

 

Best Units in CFB:

 

Ranking All 128 College Football's Starting QBs for 2015

 

1. J.T. Barrett/Cardale Jones, Ohio State

Urban Meyer isn’t going to name a starter for the opener against Virginia Tech, and both players are likely to see snaps against the Hokies. Regardless of who starts or finishes a game, this is the best quarterback situation in college football.

 

2. Trevone Boykin, TCU

Boykin was arguably the most improved quarterback in the nation last season. He’s a Heisman frontrunner in 2015.

 

Related:

 

3. Dak Prescott, Mississippi State

Prescott guided Mississippi State to just its third season of double-digit wins in program history in 2014 and earned first-team All-SEC honors. Prescott’s return for his senior year is a big reason why Mississippi State will remain a factor in the SEC West.

 

4. Connor Cook, Michigan State

Cook is 23-3 as a starter at Michigan State and will keep the Spartans in the mix for a playoff spot this fall. Cook is also regarded as one of the top quarterback prospects in next season’s draft.

 

5. Deshaun Watson, Clemson

Watson could rank among the top three quarterbacks on this list by the end of 2015. Injuries limited Watson to just eight games last season, but he finished with 1,466 yards and 14 passing scores.  

 

Related:

 

6. Cody Kessler, USC

Kessler closed 2014 on a high note by recording nine touchdown passes over the final two games and at least 300 yards through the air in four out of the last five contests. Additionally, Kessler’s 69.7 completion percentage ranked third nationally. 

 

7. Jared Goff, California

Sonny Dykes’ Bear Raid offense is in good hands with Goff at the controls. The junior is rising on NFL boards for next year’s draft after throwing for 3,973 yards and 35 scores last season.

 

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8. Jeremy Johnson, Auburn

High expectations surround Johnson. All signs point to a breakout year from the junior in coach Gus Malzahn’s high-powered offense.

 

9. Christian Hackenberg, Penn State

Didn’t have the best sophomore season, but there’s no question about talent. Hackenberg needs more help from his supporting cast. 

 

Related:

 

10. Taysom Hill, BYU

A leg injury sidelined Hill for the second half of 2014, but the senior is back at full strength this fall. While he’s always garnered attention for his rushing ability, Hill quietly showed marked improvement as a passer last year, completing 66.7 percent of his passes through five games.

 

11. Brad Kaaya, Miami

Kaaya was among the nation’s most impressive freshman quarterbacks in 2014, throwing for 26 scores and 3,198 yards. Expectations are even higher for the sophomore in 2015.

 

12. Justin Thomas, Georgia Tech

Thomas was nearly flawless in his first season as the starter in coach Paul Johnson’s option attack. He led the team with 1,086 rushing yards and connected on 14 passing plays of 30 yards or more.

 

13. Marquise Williams, North Carolina

North Carolina’s defense has been an issue in recent years, but the offense should be among the best in the ACC once again. Williams slightly averaged under 300 total yards (296.6) a game in 2014 and recorded 34 overall scores.

 

14. Gunner Kiel, Cincinnati

Kiel had a prolific debut as Cincinnati’s starter, throwing 14 scores in his first three games and finishing the season with for 3,254 yards and 31 touchdown tosses. With a loaded receiving corps, Kiel is poised for another huge year in 2015.

 

15. Jacoby Brissett, NC State

Brissett sparked a turnaround at NC State last season, guiding the Wolfpack to a five-win improvement in the win column. The Florida transfer tossed 23 scores to only five picks in 2014.

 

Related:

 

16. Keenan Reynolds, Navy

Reynolds is the perfect match for Navy’s option attack and has the Midshipmen among the favorites to win the American Athletic Conference this season. The Tennessee native has recorded back-to-back seasons of 1,000 yards on the ground and has 54 rushing scores in that span.

 

17. Vernon Adams, Oregon

Adams could be the most intriguing quarterback in college football this season. Replacing Marcus Mariota won’t be easy, but the senior had a prolific career at Eastern Washington and should be a good fit in Eugene.

 

18. Brandon Doughty, WKU

Doughty shattered the WKU single-season passing record by throwing for 4,830 yards and 49 scores last year. The senior enters 2015 as the nation’s leading passer among active quarterbacks (7,800 yards).

 

19. Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State

Rudolph had the redshirt removed in late November and started the final three games of 2014. A rising star in the Big 12 ranks.

 

20. Seth Russell, Baylor

Russell has only one career start, but coach Art Briles has a strong track record with quarterbacks and the supporting cast is among the nation’s best. The junior will try to become the fourth Baylor quarterback to throw for at least 4,000 yards in five years.

 

Related:

 

21. Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee

Dobbs’ late-season emergence is a big reason why Tennessee is on the rise in the SEC East. 

 

22. Kyle Allen, Texas A&M

Allen faced a challenge for the starting job from talented freshman Kyler Murray, but the sophomore was named the No. 1 quarterback and should build off a promising end to the 2014 season (four touchdowns in the Liberty Bowl).

 

23. Anu Solomon, Arizona

Solomon was steady in his first year as Arizona’s starter and recorded 4,084 total yards and 30 scores. A leg injury slowed Solomon at the end of 2014. He should benefit from another year under coach Rich Rodriguez.

 

24. Mike Bercovici, Arizona State

Led Arizona State to a 2-1 record in three starts last season. Strong-armed senior should thrive in his first full year as a starter. 

 

25. Everett Golson, Florida State

Golson left Notre Dame after spring practice and will spend the final year of his eligibility at Florida State. After guiding the Fighting Irish to an appearance in the national championship in 2012, Golson was ineligible in 2013 and threw for 3,445 yards and 29 scores last season. Coach Jimbo Fisher picked Golson as Florida State's No. 1 quarterback on Monday. 

 

Related:

 

26. Kevin Hogan, Stanford

Will Hogan pick up where he left off at the end of 2014? Over the last three games of last season, Hogan tossed only one interception and completed at least 70 percent of his passes in each contest. Here’s the most important stat for Hogan and coach David Shaw: Stanford went 3-0 in that stretch.

 

27. Malik Zaire, Notre Dame

With Everett Golson off to Florida State, Zaire is the unquestioned starter in South Bend. The sample size is limited, but all signs point to a huge year for the sophomore. 

 

28. Chuckie Keeton, Utah State

Knee injuries have sidelined Keeton for significant chunks of time in each of the last two seasons. Will the senior return to full strength and regain his form from 2012 (3,992 yards, 35 scores)?

 

29. Paxton Lynch, Memphis

Lynch was one of the nation’s most improved passers in 2014. After throwing for 2,056 yards and nine touchdowns as a freshman, Lynch threw for 22 scores and 3,031 yards last season.

 

30. Blake Frohnapfel, UMass

Graduate transfer provided an instant boost for UMass’ offense last season. Frohnapfel’s season was cut short by a leg injury, but he threw for 3,345 yards and 23 scores and earned first-team All-MAC honors. 

 

31. Maty Mauk, Missouri

Mauk had his share of ups and downs in his first full year as a starter but guided Missouri to the SEC East title. Needs to improve completion percentage in conference games (48.9 last year).

 

32. Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech

The next star quarterback at Texas Tech? Mahomes tossed 14 scores over the final three contests last season.

 

33. Fredi Knighten, Arkansas State

Dynamic dual-threat quarterback led the Sun Belt by averaging 312 total yards per game last season.

 

34. Kevin Ellison, Georgia Southern

Ellison is sidelined for the first two games due to suspension this year. Led all Sun Belt quarterbacks with 1,082 rushing yards last season and averaged 6.3 yards per carry.

 

Related:

 

35. Matt Johnson, Bowling Green

Johnson’s 2014 season was cut short after a hip injury in the opener. Expect a huge statistical season at the controls of coach Dino Babers’ “Falcon Fast” offense.

 

36. Zach Terrell, Western Michigan

Terrell led the MAC by completing 67.9 percent of his passes last season and should have a huge 2015 with one of the conference’s top receiving corps at his disposal.

 

37. Tommy Armstrong, Nebraska

How quickly Armstrong adapts to new coach Mike Riley and coordinator Danny Langsdorf will play a huge role in how high Nebraska climbs in the Big Ten West.

 

Related:

 

38. Sefo Liufau, Colorado

Rising star for coach Mike MacIntyre after throwing 28 touchdowns and completing 65.3 percent of his passes in his first full year as Colorado’s starter.

 

39. Chad Voytik, Pittsburgh

Quietly closed 2014 on a high note, finishing with seven touchdowns to just one interception over final five games.

 

40. Brandon Allen, Arkansas

Won’t post huge numbers in Arkansas’ run-first offense but poised for his best overall season.

 

41. Patrick Towles, Kentucky

Towles was steady as a passer last season (2,718 yards, 14 passing scores) and added 303 yards and six touchdowns on the ground. New coordinator Shannon Dawson is tasked with taking Towles’ game to the next level.

 

42. Drew Hare, Northern Illinois

Hare is poised to emerge as the next star quarterback at Northern Illinois. Threw for 18 scores and added 900 rushing yards and eight touchdowns in 14 games last year.

 

43. Wes Lunt, Illinois

Talented passer but has yet to start for a full season. Missed nearly half of 2014 due to a leg injury but passed for 1,763 yards and 14 scores in eight games.

 

44. Nate Sudfeld, Indiana

Missed half of 2014 due to a shoulder injury. Sudfeld’s return should be a huge boost for Indiana’s bowl hopes in 2015.

 

45. Joe Licata, Buffalo

Licata is one of the nation’s underrated quarterbacks, passing for 53 touchdowns over the last two years. Should thrive under new coach Lance Leipold.

 

Related:

 

46. Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

From walk-on at Texas Tech to earning the starting job at Oklahoma after leaving Lubbock, Mayfield has one of the most interesting backstories for a starter at the FBS level. Should be a good fit in new Oklahoma’s new offense under coordinator Lincoln Riley.

 

47. Travis Wilson, Utah

Returned from injury-shortened 2013 campaign to post career high in touchdown passes (18) last season. Working under new co-coordinators Jim Harding and Aaron Roderick this year.

 

48. Justin Holman, UCF

Emerged as a solid replacement for Blake Bortles last season and should take another step forward in 2015.

 

49. Skyler Howard, West Virginia

Junior college recruit showed promise as West Virginia’s starter at the end of 2014. Howard passed for 346 yards and three scores in the Liberty Bowl but needs to improve completion percentage (50.9 in 2014).

 

50. Reggie Bonnafon, Louisville

Bonnafon has yet to be named the starter, but the sophomore is the favorite to take the first snap of Louisville’s opener against Auburn.

 

51. Michael Brewer, Virginia Tech

Guided Virginia Tech to an upset win over Ohio State in early September but had an up and down debut. Should be better in his second season as the starter.

 

52. Josh Rosen, UCLA

There’s plenty of pressure on Rosen as a true freshman starter, but the five-star recruit isn’t lacking for confidence or talent.

 

Related:

 

53. Greg Ward, Houston

Started the final eight games of 2014 at quarterback and should thrive under new coach Tom Herman - if he wins the job over Adam Schulz.

 

54. Jake Rudock, Michigan

Rudock is making the rare intra-conference transfer from Iowa to Michigan. Expected to beat Shane Morris for the starting job.

 

55. Sam Richardson, Iowa State

Richardson should benefit from another offseason under coordinator Mark Mangino. Quietly threw for 2,669 yards and 18 scores last year.

 

56. Tyler Jones, Texas State

Jones nearly led Texas State to its first bowl appearance last season, recording 3,209 total yards and 28 overall scores.

 

57. Taylor Lamb, Appalachian State

Emerging star in the Sun Belt helped Appalachian State close 2014 on a six-game winning streak.

 

58. Thomas Sirk, Duke

Sirk is coach David Cutcliffe’s next star quarterback. 

 

59. Phillip Ely, Toledo

Alabama transfer was off to a solid start (4 TDs, 541 yards) but suffered a season-ending leg injury in Week 2.

 

60. Driphus Jackson, Rice

Jackson accumulated 3,243 total yards last season en route to leading Rice to its third consecutive bowl.

 

Related:

 

61. Mitch Leidner, Minnesota

Leidner is a good runner, but he has to progress as a passer for Minnesota to win the Big Ten West.

 

62 Cooper Rush, Central Michigan

Rush turned in a solid sophomore campaign and finished the season with seven touchdown tosses in the 49-48 loss to WKU in the Bahamas Bowl.

 

63. C.J. Beathard, Iowa

Iowa coaches hope the switch to Beathard gives the offense more big-play ability.

 

64. P.J. Walker, Temple

Walker had a solid freshman season (20 TDs, 8 INTs) but regressed in 2014 (13 TDs, 15 INTs). A better supporting cast in 2015 should help.

 

65. Nick Arbuckle, Georgia State

Solid junior college pickup for coach Trent Miles in 2014. Arbuckle recorded three games of at least four touchdowns for the Panthers last season.

 

66. Cody Clements, South Alabama

UAB transfer should have a seamless transition to South Alabama with Bryant Vincent (last year’s coordinator at UAB) calling the plays.

 

67. Ryan Finley, Boise State

New starter at quarterback? That's usually no problem for the Broncos. Finley completed 12 of 27 passes for 161 yards and two scores last year and will be tested right away with matchups against Washington and BYU to start the season.

 

Related:

 

68. Jaquez Johnson, FAU

Johnson was a bright spot for FAU’s offense last year, recording 2,728 total yards and 17 passing scores in 11 games.

 

69. Jeff Driskel, Louisiana Tech

Driskel’s career didn’t pan out at Florida, but he’s got one more opportunity after transferring to Louisiana Tech.

 

70. Jake Coker, Alabama

Alabama’s Week 1 starter is a mystery. However, Coker seems to hold a slight edge over Alec Morris and Cooper Bateman.

 

71. Chad Kelly, Ole Miss

Kelly was named the starter by coach Hugh Freeze on Monday. The former Clemson passer and junior college product is an intriguing talent. Can he put it all together in 2015?

 

72. Will Grier, Florida

While Grier – a redshirt freshman and four-star recruit – is considered the favorite to start, Treon Harris will also see time in the opener. New coach Jim McElwain should help the offense take a step forward after managing only 24.9 points in SEC games last year.

 

73. Brandon Harris, LSU

LSU’s passing attack is in desperate need of a spark. Talent certainly isn’t the issue for Harris, and he showed improvement throughout the offseason.

 

Related:

 

74. Luke Falk, Washington State

Should post huge numbers in coach Mike Leach’s offense. However, Falk also needs to take better care of the ball (seven picks in last four games of 2014).

 

75. Matt Davis, SMU

Breakout candidate to watch in new coach Chad Morris’ high-powered offense.

 

76. Clayton Thorson, Northwestern

Thorson was a huge catch on the recruiting trail for coach Pat Fitzgerald, ranking as a four-star recruit and the No. 188 overall player in the 2014 247Sports Composite. The redshirt freshman is an intriguing player to watch this fall.

 

77. Dane Evans, Tulsa

Evans had a nice statistical season last year (3,102 yards and 23 scores) and should thrive under new coach Philip Montgomery.

 

78. Tyrone Swoopes, Texas

Quarterback play will be under the microscope for Texas in 2015. Will Swoopes improve enough to hold off Jerrod Heard?

 

79. Terrel Hunt, Syracuse

Hunt never had a chance to build off a promising end to the 2013 season. A leg injury limited Hunt to just six games, while the rest of the Syracuse offense also had its share of issues. Despite playing in just six contests, Hunt finished 2014 as the leading passer for the Orange (983 yards).

 

80. Joel Stave, Wisconsin

Which Stave will Wisconsin get in 2015? The version that threw for 22 touchdowns and 2,494 yards in 2013? Or the one that struggled last year?

 

81. Perry Hills, Maryland

Hills started seven games for the Terrapins in 2012 but suffered a torn ACL and used 2013 as a redshirt. Edged Caleb Rowe and Daxx Garman for the job this fall.

 

82. Matt Johns, Virginia

Johns made three starts last season and edged Greyson Lambert for the starting job in spring ball. Willing to take chances downfield (seven passing plays of 30 yards or more) but also needs to raise completion percentage (54.9).

 

83. Nick Stevens, Colorado State

New coach Mike Bobo and coordinator Will Friend should keep Colorado State’s offense among the best in the Mountain West. Stevens only has 25 career pass attempts, but he has one of the best receivers in the nation at his disposal in junior Rashard Higgins.

 

84. Jack Milas, Ball State

Milas is a rising star to watch in the MAC this year. Threw for 1,302 yards and nine scores in six appearances in 2014.

 

85. John Wolford, Wake Forest

Wolford was placed into a no-win situation last season with a lackluster rushing attack and struggling offensive line. Threw for 2,037 yards and 12 scores in 12 games.

 

86. Darius Wade, Boston College

Promising sophomore with all of the necessary physical tools to thrive under coach Steve Addazio.

 

87. Jake Browning, Washington

Browning isn’t guaranteed to start the opener against Boise State. However, he’s the most talented quarterback on the roster.

 

88. Hayden Rettig, Rutgers

LSU transfer is slated to start the opener after Chris Laviano was suspended. Rettig ranked as a four-star recruit in the 2013 signing class.

 

89. Seth Collins, Oregon State

Collins and fellow freshman Marcus McMaryion will play in the opener against Weber State.

 

90. Greyson Lambert, Georgia

In a mild surprise, Lambert was picked as Georgia’s starter over Brice Ramsey. The Virginia transfer struggled with the Cavaliers last year (10 TDs, 11 INTs). 

 

Related:

 

91. Nate Romine, Air Force

Air Force doesn’t have much trouble replacing starting quarterbacks under coach Troy Calhoun. Romine is an interesting player to watch, as he is regarded as a better passer than runner.

 

92. Max Wittek, Hawaii

Big-time pickup for Hawaii coach Norm Chow. Will Wittek live up to his recruiting hype this season? Could be much higher on this list by the end of 2015.

 

93. Maxwell Smith, San Diego State

Kentucky transfer returns home for last season of eligibility. Started 11 games with the Wildcats and should be an impact addition for coach Rocky Long.

 

94. Cameron Coffman, Wyoming

Indiana transfer should be an upgrade for Wyoming’s quarterback spot in 2015.

 

Related:

 

95. Brooks Haack, UL Lafayette

Breakout candidate? Haack was solid in limited action last year (20 of 23 for 179 yards).

 

96. Michael Birdsong, Marshall

James Madison transfer has the tough task of replacing Rakeem Cato.

 

97. Connor Mitch, South Carolina

Mitch steps into the starting lineup under the watchful eye of coach Steve Spurrier. Keep an eye on true freshman Lorenzo Nunez

 

98. Lamar Jordan, New Mexico

Regarded as an excellent runner (612 yards last season), but Lobos hoping for more from passing attack. Junior college transfer Austin Apodaca – a better passer – is expected to see snaps in the opener.

 

99. Reginald Bell, Eastern Michigan

Promising sophomore emerged as playmaker for Eastern Michigan last season. Bell led the team with 562 rushing yards and threw for 409 yards in a loss to Ball State. Could be much higher on this list by the end of 2015.

 

100. Austin Appleby, Purdue

Purdue hopes to take a step forward in coach Darrell Hazell’s third season. The Boilermakers need better quarterback play to escape the Big Ten West cellar.

 

101. Brandon Silvers, Troy

New coach Neal Brown should help Silvers’ development. Threw for 1,836 yards and 11 scores last season.

 

102. Jesse Ertz, Kansas State

Mystery in Manhattan. Will Ertz, Joe Hubener, Jonathan Banks or Alex Delton start at quarterback? Ertz is the favorite to take the first snap and has yet to throw a pass on the FBS level.

 

103. Tanner Lee, Tulane

Lee had an up and down season as a freshman and did not throw a touchdown pass in the final three games after tossing eight in the first three weeks.

 

104. Nick Mullens, Southern Miss

Southern Miss is trending in the right direction under third-year coach Todd Monken. Mullens is also on the hot seat with TCU transfer Tyler Matthews also expected to play.

 

105. Brent Stockstill, MTSU

Son of the head coach (Rick Stockstill) edged Austin Grammer for the starting job this fall.

 

Related:

 

106. Kyle Pohl, Akron

Will Pohl hold onto the starting job? Former Pittsburgh signal-caller Tra’von Chapman is making a push for snaps.

 

107. Derrius Vick, Ohio

Ohio’s passing attack needs a spark after managing only 11 passing scores last season.

 

108. Shuler Bentley, Old Dominion

Taylor Heinicke won’t be easy to replace, but Shuler – the two-time Gatorade Player of the Year in South Carolina – is an intriguing replacement.

 

109. Alex McGough, FIU

McGough showed promise as a true freshman last season, throwing for 1,680 yards and 14 scores in 12 games. Should be better as a sophomore.

 

110. Tyler Stewart, Nevada

Inherits big shoes to fill in replacing Cody Fajardo.

 

111. Johnny McCrary, Vanderbilt

New play-caller Andy Ludwig should help a Vanderbilt offense that managed only 12.8 points in SEC games last year. McCrary is competing with Wade Freebeck for the No. 1 spot.

 

112. Quinton Flowers, USF

Beat Penn State transfer Steven Bench for the starting job this fall, only completed 8 of 20 passes for 111 yards last year.

 

Related:

 

113. Joe Gray, San Jose State

Gray finished 2014 as the starter, but junior college recruit Kenny Potter is making a push for the job this offseason.

 

114. Tyler Rogers, New Mexico State

Should have plenty of opportunities to throw the ball in 2015 (436 attempts last year) but needs to cut the interceptions (23).

 

115. Montell Cozart, Kansas

Pressed into starting role after Michael Cummings was lost for the year in the spring game. Has eight career starts.

 

116. Zack Greenlee, Fresno State

Greenlee started one game in 2014 and finished the year with 213 yards after completing 18 of 41 passes. Former West Virginia quarterback Ford Childress is also expected to see time for the Bulldogs this season.

 

117. Bryant Shirreffs, UConn

NC State transfer needs to spark a UConn offense that averaged only 15.5 points per game in 2014.

 

118. Colin Reardon, Kent State

Reardon has passed for 26 scores over the last two seasons and should benefit from the addition of Don Treadwell at coordinator and the return of Trayion Durham at running back.

 

119. Blake Decker, UNLV

Junior college transfer passed for 2,886 yards in his first season in Las Vegas.

 

120. Matt Linehan, Idaho

Getting receiver Dezmon Epps back, as well as another year of experience should help Linehan after he tossed 18 picks in 2014.

 

121. Andrew McNulty, North Texas

Three quarterbacks received snaps for the Mean Green last season. McNulty is expected to start over DaMarcus Smith this fall.

 

122. Blake Kemp, East Carolina

Projected starter Kurt Benkert suffered a torn ACL in fall practice. Kemp – a junior college transfer from Mesa Community College – is the new projected No. 1. He’s yet to throw a pass on the FBS level.

 

123. Mack Leftwich, UTEP

Started four games for the Miners in 2013 and used a redshirt year last season. Miners plan to lean heavily on one of C-USA’s best offensive lines and running back Aaron Jones.

 

124. Matt Johnson, Charlotte

49ers join the FBS ranks in 2015. Johnson threw for 1,941 yards and 13 scores before a season-ending knee injury.

 

125. Blake Bogenshutz, UTSA

Bogenshutz played in four games last season before taking a medical redshirt. Completed 8 of 14 passes for 82 yards against Oklahoma State in 2014.

 

126. Garrett Smith, ULM

Promising redshirt freshman topped senior Brayle Brown for the No. 1 spot this offseason.

 

127. Gus Ragland, Miami, Ohio

Redshirt freshman is locked into battle with Drew Kummer for the starting job.

 

128. Ahmad Bradshaw, Army West Point

Bradshaw did not play last season and passed A.J. Schurr for the top spot this offseason.

Teaser:
Ranking All 128 College Football Starting Quarterbacks for 2015
Post date: Tuesday, September 1, 2015 - 10:30

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