Calling your shots against the spread in the first weekend of the college football season can be tricky, but half the fun is calling your shots and seeing how they land. This weekend sees teams from the Group of 5 take center stage, and there are some pretty heavy favorites looking to set the tone for the anything-goes 2020 college football season.
The two biggest favorites this weekend reside in the American Athletic Conference, with SMU and Memphis each hoping to get the season off on the right foot with some dangerous offenses. The weekend will draw to a close with the closest game on the board, with Navy hosting BYU in Annapolis on Labor Day as a one-point favorite. Can the AAC's three favorites manage to not only pick up a win but also cover the spread?
Southern Miss (-14.5) over South Alabama (Thursday)
Last year saw the Southern Miss offense face some issues with consistency, but the Golden Eagles have what appears to be a good matchup in their favor to get the season started. South Alabama faces some questions up front with the defense, which should lead to the Eagles making some plays and pull away in the second half to win one against the spread. Expecting South Alabama's offense to keep pace is a tall order in Week 1. Southern Miss 38, South Alabama 20
Both teams took a step back last season and missed the bowl season. Army will get the benefit of playing at home, and its signature option run game should be able to wear down the Blue Raiders. And unless Middle Tennessee can find some skill position players capable of making some big plays, expect Army to control the game from start to finish and easily pick up a win against the spread. Army 28, Middle Tennessee 20
When these two programs met on the field last season, SMU sent the Bobcats home with a 30-point setback. Expect the Mustangs to have little program lighting up the scoreboard once again in this year's showdown. Shane Buechele should be in for a big night with his arm as SMU should cruise to a victory to get the year started. SMU 45, Texas State 24
Memphis may be without star running back Kenneth Gainwell Jr. this season, but do not expect the Tigers to be skipping too many beats on offense this season. Brady White should lead a very potent Memphis offense once again. Arkansas State can put up some points as well, but their defense will struggle to prevent Memphis from scoring regularly. Still, Arkansas State may be able to hang close enough to get a cover on the road. Memphis 49, Arkansas State 30
Navy (-1) over BYU (Monday)
The first weekend of the season concludes with Navy hosting BYU, a late addition and adjustment to the 2020 college football schedule this year. BYU's defense should fare well enough against the Navy triple-option to prevent Navy from running wild, but Navy's ability to shorten the game could doom BYU. The Midshipmen defend their home turf in Annapolis and take care of the spread with relative ease. Navy 31, BYU 27
(Top photo courtesy of navysports.com)