Saturday, September 1
Florida Atlantic at Oklahoma
Lane Kiffin’s team will be even better than it was last season, and it’ll stroll into Norman with a big-time attitude. The Owls will be feisty, but the Baker Mayfield-less Sooners will keep on rolling as if they picked up where they left off.
Predicted Line: Oklahoma -24
May Prediction: Oklahoma 44, Florida Atlantic 17
Current Actual Week 1 Line: Oklahoma -21
Houston at Rice
Rice has to undergo a whole slew of big changes from a team that struggled to do much of anything right last season. It’ll be an inner city rivalry game, but Houston will call its shot.
Predicted Line: Houston -27.5
May Prediction: Houston 38, Rice 13
Current Actual Week 1 Line: Houston -21
Oregon State at Ohio State
How much has Oregon State improved? Not enough to get by an Ohio State team that will run at will. The Beaver offense will struggle to get anything going after the first quarter.
Predicted Line: Ohio State -35
May Prediction: Ohio State 45, Oregon State 10
Current Actual Week 1 Line: Ohio State -38.5
Appalachian State at Penn State
Appalachian State is good enough to win the Sun Belt title, and Penn State will be in rebuilding mode – at least a little bit. But the Nittany Lions will want to flex a little muscle, proving that the offense with Saquon Barkley still works.
Predicted Line: Penn State -24
May Prediction: Penn State 37, Appalachian State 10
Current Actual Week 1 Line: Penn State -26
Army at Duke
Army needs to get its quarterback situation straight, and the defense will be a little sketchy, but it’s the option offense – good luck, Duke. The Blue Devils, though, have the experience and talent to come out hot, even if they won’t have the ball all that often.
Predicted Line: Duke -7.5
May Prediction: Duke 27, Army 17
Current Actual Week 1 Line: Duke -10.5
UMass at Boston College
Be very, very careful with this one. The Boston College quarterback situation could be a problem if Anthony Brown’s knee isn’t ready, and the UMass offense will be sneaky-nasty. The Minutemen will make this more of a fight than you might think.
Predicted Line: Boston College -23
May Prediction: Boston College 34, UMass 20
Current Actual Week 1 Line: Boston College -20
Kent State at Illinois
Kent State might be improved under new – and very young – head coach Sean Lewis, but this is when Illinois has to come up with a big performance, just to show that it can. The Golden Flash offense will be better this season, but not yet.
Predicted Line: Illinois -13.5
May Prediction: Illinois 34, Kent State 10
Current Actual Week 1 Line: Illinois -14.5
Texas State at Rutgers
Rutgers won’t necessarily make a statement with an opening week blowout over Texas State, but it’ll start to look the part with more downfield passing and an improved offense. The Bobcats won’t be able to keep up.
Predicted Line: Rutgers -20
May Prediction: Rutgers 45, Texas State 10
Current Actual Week 1 Line: Rutgers -18
Indiana at FIU
Yeah, it’s a road game in Miami on the first day of September, but Indiana won’t melt in the heat. FIU needs a whole lot of reworking, and it’ll show in the second half.
Predicted Line: Indiana -13.5
May Prediction: Indiana 38, FIU 17
Current Actual Week 1 Line: Indiana -12
Northern Illinois at Iowa
Northern Illinois walked into Iowa City to open up the 2013 season and left with a 30-27 win. This Huskie team might just be the best in the MAC, and it’ll give the Hawkeyes a nightmare of a battle.
Predicted Line: Iowa -11
May Prediction: Iowa 31, Northern Illinois 26
Current Actual Week 1 Line: Iowa -13
Texas at Maryland
Can Texas return the favor? Maryland won in Austin last year, and it’ll have a healthy quarterback – something it didn’t have over the second half of last year – to give the Longhorns a rough time. At home, the Terps will get it done again in a big season-opening shocker.
Predicted Line: Texas -13
May Prediction: Maryland 31, Texas 27
Current Actual Week 1 Line: Texas -10.5
Boise State at Troy
In a mediocre Week 1 slate of games, this might be the best of the bunch between two teams that should hit the double-digit win mark. Troy might have to reload the offense a wee bit, but it’ll still be terrific. At home, the Trojans will keep it close, but Boise State is going to be New Year’s Six-good. Expect a fantastic battle.
Predicted Line: Boise State -10
May Prediction: Boise State 27, Troy 23
Current Actual Week 1 Line: Boise State -9
Louisiana Tech at South Alabama
It’s a new era at South Alabama with Steve Campbell taking over. At home, the Jaguars will probably be undervalued early on against a dangerous Louisiana Tech team that will be better than it was in 2017, but will need all four quarters to get by.
Predicted Line: Louisiana Tech -13
May Prediction: Louisiana Tech 34, South Alabama 30
Current Actual Week 1 Line: Louisiana Tech -10
Marshall at Miami University
Just how good will Miami University be after a rocky season and with so many good parts returning? The RedHawks will be in for a good year, but they won’t be able to keep down a Marshall offense that will get up early, and then hang on. Expect a low-scoring battle, even with a good Herd first quarter.
Predicted Line: Marshall -6
May Prediction: Marshall 23, Miami University 20
Current Actual Week 1 Line: PICK
SMU at North Texas
Shootout, shootout, shootout, shootout, shootout. The two teams will combine for close to 800 passing yards and a whole lot of fun in Sonny Dykes’ SMU debut. But Seth Littrell’s North Texas team and offense will be just a wee bit better. The team with the ball last wins.
Predicted Line: North Texas -3
May Prediction: North Texas 45, SMU 40
Current Actual Week 1 Line: North Texas -3
Middle Tennessee at Vanderbilt
Middle Tennessee and QB Brent Stockstill is used to coming up with big performances against Power Five teams, and he’ll have a huge game against the team from down the road. Vanderbilt’s offense will keep up, but it’ll need a late scoring drive to get out alive.
Predicted Line: Vanderbilt -5
May Prediction: Vanderbilt 27, Middle Tennessee 23
Current Actual Week 1 Line: Vanderbilt -6
BYU at Arizona
It’s the Kevin Sumlin debut and the debut of the Khalil Tate fun show. BYU will be better than it was last year, and there will be a little bit of an offense now. There won’t be enough of one – the Wildcats will roll.
Predicted Line: Arizona -15
May Prediction: Arizona 38, BYU 17
Current Actual Week 1 Line: Arizona -17
UTSA at Arizona State
No, the UTSA defense won’t be quite as good, but can the offense start to score after a rough season putting points on the board? Herm Edwards needs a nice and easy opener, but he won’t get it – the Roadrunner defense will keep this in check until late.
Predicted Line: Arizona State -14
May Prediction: Arizona State 34, UTSA 17
Current Actual Week 1 Line: Arizona State -17.5
UNLV at USC
As bad as this might be for UNLV, it won’t be any worse than the 2017 opener, turning into a national punchline with the loss to Howard. The JT Daniels quarterbacking era will get off to a rollicking start as the Trojans roll on both sides of the hall.
Predicted Line: USC -35
May Prediction: UNLV 48, UNLV 10
Current Actual Week 1 Line: USC -27