Welcome everybody to a brand new football season. This year, as I have tried to keep up with in the past, I will be sharing my six pack of picks every Friday right here. Because this is my personal blog, I’ll be making my official picks for some of the teams with a personal interest for my friends and family while also picking out some of the more notable games from the weekend.
This year in addition to picking the winners straight up I will also be attempting to see how I do against the spread, for you degenerate gambling types out there. I have no idea how I will do so please do not place your more detailed bets based on my input until I prove I am worthy of your gambling needs (or not)!
As usual, I will be picking the results for the Philadelphia Eagles, Penn State and Shippensburg when appropriate. The remaining three slots will be up for grabs between big NFL or college games as I see fit. I’ll also be sharing a suicide pool pick for college and the NFL, and we’ll see how long I can go in to each season.
This week there is no NFL action (I’m not wasting time on preseason games) and Shippensburg does not start for another week so we have a full slate of big time college games to kick off with. Ready? Let’s begin!
Penn State vs. Syracuse (MetLife Stadium)
Line: Penn State -8
Penn State has plenty of talent on the first string offense and defense to take care of the Orange in the season opener. I will be there covering the game for Nittany Lions Den. What worries me this season is the depth issue. Maybe it will loom large later on but maybe not so much this weekend. Still, I feel weird about this one. Eight points to a team with no certainty under center with depth issues feels like a lot. Syracuse has issues too, but I’m going with my gut here and taking Syracuse outright.
The Pick: Syracuse straight up
Fresno State vs. Rutgers
Line: Fresno State -10
Fresno State has plenty of offensive firepower with Derek Carr (David’s brother) a potential Mountain West MVP candidate, but Rutgers tends to play well defensively. I think ten points could be high here given the Rutgers defense, but I could see Fresno State pulling away with this one late. I’m just not sold on that enough to feel confident with the spread.
The Pick: Fresno State wins, but Rutgers covers the spread
Note: This pick was drafted before this game was played. I thought it was a Friday game instead of a Thursday game. I got the pick right on both accounts, but for the sake of it I’ll keep this one off my official record this year.
Florida vs. Toledo
Line: Florida -23.5
If there is one line that screams at me, it may be this one right here. This line seems to suggest Florida will have the offensive talent to bury a team like Toledo, but I happen to have much more faith in Toledo’s offense than I do the Gators. I think the Sugar Bowl loss serves as a bit of a wake-up call, but Toeldo is certainly not the type of program that will curl up and roll over for the Gators.
The Pick: Florida gets the win, but I take Toledo and the points all day long.
Notre Dame vs Temple
Line: Notre Dame -30
This is another game that just feel too high of a spread to me. Notre Dame is not exactly the same team they were last fall, but they are significantly better than Temple. That said, are they 30 points better in week one? If I had faith in Tommy Rees as a quarterback, perhaps. But I don’t, so I think Temple makes for a decent bet here.
The Pick: Notre Dame wins, but Temple manages to cover.
Clemson vs. Georgia
Line: Georgia – 2
This is the toughest pick of the opening week for me. Both teams present some potent offenses and neither team seems like they will be capable of shutting down the other on defense. This is probably why the game has an over-under set at 72.5. That still seems high to me, and I think rather than gamble on the point spread you are better off taking a shot against the point total.
The Pick: Clemson straight up, but the wise play is to take the under.
Pittsburgh vs. Florida State (Monday)
Line: Florida State -10.5
This game worries me when discussing the point spread. I don’t think Pitt stands much of a chance this year in the ACC and opening against Florida State seems daunting. But Pitt tends to play ugly games and there may be no team in the ACC more prone to playing down to the level of the opponent on the road than the Seminoles. No matter the talent advantage, I just have little faith in Florida State to cover a double digit spread in this situation. I would advise just staying away from this one entirely, but I’ll go on the record with it anyway.
The Pick: Florida State straight up, but hedging on the points with Pitt.
The way a suicide or survival pool works is you pick one team to win each week, but you can only pick a team once. This should prove to be easier to do in college than it is with the NFL due to there being nearly four times as many options. To whittle it down I will limit myself to teams from the larger conferences (ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC) and two overall picks from the other conferences. To add another challenge, I will keep myself from picking from the same conference in consecutive weeks. That means if I pick a team from the SEC one week, I cannot choose another SEC team the following week. this should add another challenge for me over the long haul.
Once the NFL season kicks off, I will play by standard rules for NFL pools.
This week’s pick…
Nebraska (vs Wyoming): I really like the Huskers this year as far as the Big Ten is concerned but they are a team that could be capable of losing a number of games just as easily as they could win them. This is why I’ll get the season started by picking Nebraska right off the bat, at home against Wyoming. It feels like one of the safest bets to advance to week two of the college football season and allows me to skip having to pick them later on in the fall when questionable games pop up.