Hydrate and Stay Loose- College Football Week 1 Picks
Every single team in college football is saying the exact same thing right now. The team is closer than ever before. They had a great offseason. The participation of summer workouts was at an all time high. If there are any new coaches, they are bringing a lot of "Energy" to the program. The years change, the unbridled optimism continues.
Amidst all that optimism a couple things happen. First, there are going to be a bevy of players that don't "qualify academically" or are suspended for their offseason transgressions. This is an SEC specialty, especially Georgia, who often makes a sport of losing games in September that they shouldn't.
Second, Special teams on opening weekend is an absolute travesty. You are going to see muffed punts, blocked kicks, kicks returned for touchdowns and penalties galore.
Third, cramps. It's hot, especially in the south, and most players are out of shape. Come the 3rd and 4th quarter, you will see a bevy of players writhing around on the ground.
One last thing before we get to the picks. The beginning of college football season is an event. Over the offseason, you may have unwittingly, or drunkenly, committed to watching the games this season with a group of people. Watching football with the wrong group of people can be unbearable, and this is something we will address in a future column. For now at least, good luck, and stay strong.
Texas vs Notre Dame (-9)
I want to think Charlie Strong will turn Texas around, and I admire his willingness to be a little bit like Larry Eustachy in his attire. Last year was an offensive disaster, as they tried to fit spread offense talent into a pro style offense with predictable results. Brian Kelly has settled in at ND after taking over for the terrible coach/great businessman Charlie Weis. I think Texas covers, but Notre Dame wins.
Michigan vs Utah (-4 1/2)
Jim Harbaugh brings his love for trap plays and khaki's to Ann Arbor. In time, he will build that team back into the physical, slow footed monster it used to be. It will take some time to replenish the trenches that have been neglected for close to a decade. Utah has adjusted since it first arrived in the Pac 12 and have increased their team speed significantly. Should be a close game, but Utah will win and cover.
Washington vs Boise State (-12)
Chris Peterson returns to that hideous blue turf with a team replacing both of its lines, its quarterback and without its best offensive threat in John Ross. Boise is bringing almost everyone back. Taking Boise and the points.
Arizona State vs Texas A&M (-3)
Going to show off my Pac 12 bias right now. They've got the wrong team favored! ASU straight up.
Virginia Tech vs Ohio State (-14)
Ohio State is loaded, but, to tie this all together, they have players suspended and are going against Frank Beamer, in Blacksburg. Beamer makes a living off big special teams plays and is one of the few coaches that almost always has his special teams ready to go week 1. Virginia Tech covers, Ohio State wins.