College Football is back and so are my weekly picks against the spread. I will do my best to give sage and timely advice every Friday morning… for entertainment purposes only, of course.
Week 1 is the best week of the year as so much is unknown about most teams and spreads are generally off kilter.
Look for programs you think are underrated in the preseason and are facing young teams with lots of new starters. Public perception is further askew this week than any other week of the year.
You’ll notice — like every year — I like the favorites in the opening week.
Last Week: N/A
Kent State (+14.5) at Illinois (Fri.)
Most will be automatically down on the Illini because, well, they’ve already fired their head coach. However, Bill Cubit takes over with lots of head coaching experience and they return a quarterback in Wes Lunt who may be the Big Ten West’s best signal caller. This offense can score and this team could reach a bowl. Prediction: Illinois -14.5
Podcast: Week 1 Preview w/ Rece Davis
Michigan State (-17.5) at Western Michigan (Fri.)
I love rowing my boat and the job P.J. Fleck has done at WMU, both on the field and recruiting. But this Spartans team is another beast and the crowd will be mostly green and white despite the locale. Take Sparty to make a statement in a warm-up for Oregon. Prediction: Michigan State -17.5
Louisville (+10.5) vs. Auburn
The Cardinals have some nice pieces on defense and Bobby Petrino on offense. But this team is replacing a ton from last year and is trying to mesh a lot of new faces into key roles. Doing that against the SEC front-runner and elite Playoff contender is extremely dangerous. Jeremy Johnson, Will Muschamp and Carl Lawson will debut in style. Louisville can’t score with War Eagle. Prediction: Auburn -10.5
Wisconsin (+12) at Alabama
The Badgers defense is legit behind coordinator Dave Aranda, but the UW offense will have to find balance if it wants to move the ball on arguably the best defensive front in the nation (which it won’t be able to do). The talent, experience and coaching differential is vast despite the national stature of Wisconsin. Prediction: Alabama -12