Finally! We are back in action as college football returns to center stage this weekend. We have an amazing slate of games this weekend, so without further ado here are the staff’s week one picks! Let us know what you think in the comments below!
#1 Alabama vs #14 Miami
Bryce- Alabama is good…I mean really good. While the offense may be slow at first, the Crimson Tide’s defense will stymie the Canes long enough. Alabama 34, Miami 17.
John- The Hurricanes are trying to return to a standard of excellence. Alabama is the Standard. Tide Rolls 35-17.
Will- Is it even worth the time and effort to doubt Nick Saban anymore? In 13 season openers, Alabama is undefeated and only not covered the spread once (2013 vs. West Virginia). D'Eriq King and Miami will be able to back up some of their smack talk, but I'm taking Alabama to win and cover the 19.5 point spread. Alabama 48, Miami 21.
Ralph- Alabama returns to defend their championship with new quarterback Bryce Young. Miami returns Heisman hopeful D’eriq King. Alabama rolls 38-24.
#19 Penn State vs #12 Wisconsin
Bryce- The Badgers are positioning themselves for a Big Ten title run and it starts here in Week One with a late defensive stop. Wisconsin 27, Penn State 20.
John- A slobber knocker in the Big 10. Surprise. Low scoring win for the Badgers 23 - 17!
Will- Another big matchup with big implications in Week 1. Penn State returns more talent than almost every team in FBS. That doesn't mean we know what we are going to get from the Nittany Lions. We know what we are getting in Wisconsin: hard-nosed, downhill running game. In addition to a great running game, dynamic sophomore QB Graham Mertz returns as the starter for Wisconsin. I like Wisconsin to cover the 5.5 point spread at home. Wisconsin 31, Penn State 17.
Ralph- Wisconsin is looking to take the Big Ten by storm this season and hopefully make a playoff run. Penn State is turning heads this season with a hopeful win over the Badgers. Wisconsin wins 48-20.
#16 LSU vs UCLA
Bryce- Ed Orgeron’s Tigers have much to prove after a sub-par 2020 season. However, will a cross-country road trip to open the season against Chip Kelly and the Bruins be too much? The Bayou Bengals hold off a late rally against a much-improved UCLA. LSU 30, UCLA 24.
John- The Tigers will travel over 1,800 miles to start off 1-0 for 2021. Tigers are better than last year. LSU wins 31-23.
Will- UCLA balled out against Hawaii. Who thinks of defense when they think of Hawaii? LSU should still be concerned by the output Chip Kelly's offense put up in Week 0. Last year was a nightmare for LSU on defense. Ed O changed his Defensive Coordinator, but I'm still not sure they can stop UCLA enough to keep their offense in the game. I'm taking the home underdog Bruins. Jump on the bandwagon before it's too late! UCLA 31, LSU 27.
Ralph- - LSU looks to return to glory after 2020’s downfall. UCLA will be looking to turn their season around with a big win at home. LSU wins 45-21.
#9 Notre Dame vs Florida State
Bryce- The Irish kick off a new era at QB as they enter Tallahassee. The ‘Noles look to come up with a program-defining win, but fall just short in a heartbreaker. Notre Dame 27, Florida State 16.
John- The Leprechauns will be too much for Chief Osceola and Renegade. Fighting Irish by double digits, 37-24.
Will- What a fun matchup we get on Sunday night. The best story in this one is the contribution Mackenzie Milton will make for Florida State. Just coming back to get healthy enough to practice is an incredible feat by Milton. He hasn't been announced as the starter for the Seminoles, but it's not going to matter who is playing QB. Notre Dame is just better and deeper than Florida State. Jack Coan comes in from Wisconsin and won the starting job for Notre Dame, and he will have them on the doorstep of another Playoff berth. Notre Dame 38, FSU 24.
Ralph- FSU will look to defend their home turf hosting a tough Notre Dame team who is now entering a new quarterback into their system. Notre Dame 31-24.
#5 Georgia vs #3 Clemson
Bryce- Already tabbed the best non-conference game of the season, this matchup features two teams with title aspirations. I think JT Daniels establishes himself with an early season “Heisman Moment” and Georgia wins narrowly. Georgia 31, Clemson 27.
John- Now the Dawgs and Clemson Cats. The long haired wonder is now in Jacksonville, JT Daniels has another year with Georgia’s offense and he starts the season healthy. Dawgs come out on top in this one. The Cats punch early but not for 4 quarters. Dawgs in a close one 34 - 30!
Will- In early December, we will be looking back to this game to decide who makes the Playoff. Georgia can afford to lose this game, Clemson cannot. Georgia is the only ranked team Clemson will play, barring some unexpected games in the ACC, until the ACC Championship. Clemson enters as a 3 point favorite, and I like them to cover the spread. Clemson returns the majority of their defense from last season, and that defense has a chip on their shoulder after their poor performance against Ohio State in the CFP. With no George Pickens and no Darnell Washington, Georgia is going to have to have someone step up at receiver. Todd Monken has only had two seasons in his entire career as an Offensive Coordinator or head coach at any level when he ran the ball more than threw it, and last year was one of those years. Monken is going to want to air it out, but the concern for me is who is JT Daniels going to get the ball too? Too many question marks for Georgia on offense for me to pick them in this one. Clemson 37, Georgia 31.
Ralph- Georgia returns most starters on both sides with JT Daniels leading their offense. Clemson is now without Trevor Lawrence and enters a new era of quarterback. Georgia wins 31-28.