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Every Friday, Braden Gall picks his top college football games against the spread.
Every Friday for entertainment purposes only, I will bring you my top college football picks against the spread. I do not condone, approve or encourage gambling on sports in any way. Playing a $50 Texas Hold 'Em cash game with your buddies every Wednesday's is more about the experience than the net revenue. At least, that is the case for me.
But if you are a fan of football — college or pro — and you don't think gambling has played a huge role in the growth and popularity of the sport, then you are simply being ignorant. And behind closed doors, the powers that be understand the impact betting has had on the game of football.
2012 Record Against The Spread: 0-0
Last night I took the Gamecocks over the Dores, the Gophers over the Rebels and the Cougars of Pullman to pull the upset against the Cougars of Provo. Which means, the only two people with a worse start to the '12 season was Rick Stockstill and Robb Akey.
Note: All lines are as of date of publication
Boise State (+7.5) at Michigan State (Fri.)
Chris Petersen and the Broncos have been great against BCS conference foes in Week 1. But Oregon, Georgia and Virginia Tech weren't true road games and this season opens against one of the best-coached teams in the Big Ten in East Lansing. This is the best offensive line Mark Dantonio has had since taking over MSU and could have the top defense in the Big Ten. Without Kellen Moore, Doug Martin and a host of elite defensive talents, Boise State will be hard-pressed to rebuild with a quarterback who has never started a game. The line of scrimmage will determine this game and Sparty has the clear advantage in the trenches. Prediction: Michigan State (-7.5)
Miami (-2) at Boston College
This game was a 24-17 grind-it-out victory for Boston College in South Florida last year. And likely one out of every three Hurricanes had already mentally checked out. Mass departures through the draft and dismissals have turned the Canes roster over, and it could eventually work out to be a good thing for The U. Meanwhile, the Eagles have major issues on offense and will struggle to move the ball whatsoever (take the under), so the key becomes Al Golden's freshman-laden offense and their ability to move the football. Miami will win a close game on the road, so laying a pair of points for a team that has a distinct talent advantage — both on the field and on the sidelines — seems like a low-risk proposition. Miami is 7-1 in its last eight trips to Chestnutt Hill. Prediction: Miami (-2)
Miami (Ohio) (+23.5) at Ohio State
Urban Meyer has returned to The Buckeye State with trumpets blaring and it has fans boiling over in anticipation. Star quarterback Braxton Miller fits the spread scheme perfectly and fans can bet that Meyer wants to make a big early statement. Look for the Buckeyes to make a concerted effort to develop the offense as questions loom for this team at many positions. This means the starters could be on the field deep into the game in order to give the coaches a clear picture of the O-Line and receivers. This also means the Bucks could post a big, crooked number. Miami was 4-8 last fall and won't be dramatically different this time around as Athlon has them picked 99th in the nation. The OSU defense will push Michigan State as the best unit in the Big Ten and it will stymie the Redhawks attack, so 31-35 points on offense could easily deliver the cover. Prediction: Ohio State (-23.5)
Auburn (+3) vs. Clemson (Atlanta, Ga.)
The Auburn Tigers have not won a non-conference, road/nuetral site regular-season game since 1997. And it lost to Clemson last fall 38-24 on the road. This game shifts to Atlanta and the focus shifts to the Clemson offensive line and how they will hold up against Auburn's new defense. Under Brian VanGorder and there are some intriuging pieces in the front seven for the SEC Tigers, however, Kiehl Frazier will have to score at least 20 points to win this game. Gene Chizik is dealing with major issues off the field at Auburn and will be without Michael Dyer, Reese Dismukes, DeAngelo Benton and Jovon Robinson for a variety of reasons. Tajh Boyd will make just enough plays to get the ACC a key win over the SEC. Predictions: Clemson (-3)
Tulsa (-1) at Iowa State
The Cyclones aren't a great team, but this is a BCS conference team with back-to-back bowl trips under Paul Rhoads. The offense has questions, but the defense will be solid as two of the top linebackers in the nation return in Jake Knott and A.J. Klein. Tulsa was good against bad teams (8 wins) and really, really bad against good teams (5 losses). The Hurricane got hammered by the three BCS teams it played as well as Houston and BYU. This one will be much closer, but ISU should win at home. Prediction: Iowa State +1
SMU (+10) at Baylor
Gone is Robert Griffin III but Art Briles and his ingenious gameplanning has plenty of toys to play with on offense. Nick Florence takes over at quarterback with plenty of starting experience and a host of talented options in the backfield and receiving corps. This team will score early and often against June Jones' bunch. The key will be can the return of Zach Line bolster the 101st ranked rushing offense from last fall. This is the one area SMU should be able to attack Baylor. Briles knows SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert from his time at Texas and that should help the gameplan somewhat. Baylor feels like the much better all-around team and they will win with relative ease in a high-scoring affair. Prediction: Baylor (-10)
Others to watch:
Michigan (+13) at Alabama
Kentucky (+13) at Louisville
Ohio (+6) at Penn State
- by Braden Gall
College Football Week 1 Previews and Predictions:
ACC Week 1 Predictions and Preview
Big 12 Week 1 Predictions and Preview
Big East Week 1 Predictions and Preview
Big Ten Week 1 Predictions and Preview
Pac-12 Week 1 Predictions and Preview
SEC Week 1 Predictions and Preview