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Beat The Spread: Week 1

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Can you feel the excitement in the air?!  Football is back baby!!! We had our first college game of the season last night, but the real games start today, and I for one can't wait.  Now this year I have talked to the NotBs guys and it looks like we will be doing our NFL picks against the spread as a group.  But I know that there is a good chunk of people that prefer the college game, so I figured why not doing college picks as well?  So check this out every week where I will give you my weekly picks.  

Now the NCAA isn't like NFL where there is at most 16 games in a week, so I'm not going to give you a pick for every game.  Instead I'm going to give 5-7 picks a week depending on the schedule and the games I like.  So without further adieu, here are my picks.  Home team is in caps.

* This won't be posted before the SC kick off but I will be tweeting this pick out to verify it

SOUTH CAROLINA (-10.5) over Texas A&M

I would be lying if I didn't say A&M scared me a little bit.  The South Carolina defensive backfield projects to be a little shaky, and the Aggies have some talented offensive talent.  But I feel like SC is just too good for A&M to keep it close, and I have a few reasons for that.  First, as shaky as SC could be defensively, A&M will be much worse.  They had the worst rush defense in the SEC last year, and face a back in Mike Davis who I think is one of the best backs in college football.  And the Gamecocks, coached by Steve Spurrier, haven't lost at home since 2011, and are typically pretty strong on season openers due to having one of the best coaches of our generation.  I think they are a dark horse to win the SEC, and should win this by a good margin.  Prediction SC wins 38-24.

Penn St (+2) over University of Central Florida

This game is being played on neutral ground over in Ireland, so no home field advantage here.  The Knights may have squeaked out a 3 point win last year, but Blake Bortles isn't walking through that door.  Instead PSU faces a red shirt freshman in Pete Dinova, and although Penn State is missing depth most places, the D-line isn't one of them.  With a strong pass rush and more experience in the secondary this season, don't expect UCF to throw the ball nearly as well last year.  The same could be said about Penn State, who lost a whole lot of offensive talent, but something tells me Christian Hackenberg finds a way to get it done, proving he is the best young QB in college football.

UMASS (+17) over Boston College

I'm a huge BC fan, so I hope I'm wrong, but I think BC could struggle a bit in the season opener.  This doesn't mean I think they are a bad team or will have a bad season, in fact it's actually the opposite.  I project BC to make a bowl game this year.  But there was ALOT of turnover at the skill positions.  The leading passer, rusher, and reciever are all gone, and there are no relevant returning receivers on the roster.  It may take a week or two for this team to click on all cylinders, so 17 points is a bit to much to give in my opinion.

Clemson (+7.5) over GEORGIA

I wish somebody could explain to my why Georgia is such a lock over Clemson.  A whole touchdown?  I actually think Clemson has a good chance to win this game.  I understand that Todd Gurley is a beast and Hiesman hopeful, but I don't think that's enough.  Both teams lost QBs who were long time starters, but Clemson has a pretty solid replacement in Cole Stoudt.  This guy, granted in limited action, had just under 80% completion rate last season, and should be able to expose a shaky Georgia secondary.  Georgia was the 78th ranked scoring defense last year.  They are going to let up points.  Clemson on the other hand is one of the best defensive teams in the country, led by Vic Beasely and Grady Jarrett.  I really like Clemson to win straight up, but if they don't win they will keep it close.

LSU (-5) v Wisconsin (Neutral ground)

So this game may be on "neutral ground", but let's not kid ourselves.  Texas is a whole lot closer to Louisiana than Wisconsin.  This is going to be a pro LSU crowd and that matters.  Both teams lost some offensive talent after last season, but unlike Wisconsin the Tigers don't rebuild, they reload. They are going to be explosive on offense, going against a Badgers defense that has only 3 returning starters.  On the other hand, LSU has 7 returning starters and more speed than should legally be allowed.  I think LSU wins by more than a touchdown Saturday night.

So there you have it, my picks for Week 1.  And don't forget gambling on sports isn't legal outside of Vegas, this is just for recreational purposes.

Big Country

Thursday, August 28, 2014 

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