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College Football Picks: Week Zero

Get your TVs ready... Football. Is. Back.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 20 Purdue at Northwestern Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After a very, very long wait, college football is back. What a freaking time to be alive.

Obviously, it’s only week zero. But football is football in my book... even if it is an absolutely horrendous slate of games.

There are only 11 games that feature FBS teams and only 6 Power 5 teams are playing this weekend. While Florida State being one of them beefs up the weekend a bit more, it’s not exactly expected to be a competitive one. Plus, without many Power 5 teams on the roster, your guesses (and mine for that matter) are just guesses, but hey let’s have some fun.

Same as last year, this isn’t betting advice. I’m just a guy with a keyboard and access to the posting system trying to have some fun with MissouriNole, Ukedadnole, the rest of the crew from last year and any new friends who want to join in.

As always, if you want to play along, drop your picks in the comments. We’ll pick all 11 FBS games this week because why not.

All lines from because it tracks it easier for me so that’s what I’m rocking with again this year.

  • Austin Peay Governors (+27.5) at Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (Noon ET, CBSSN)

The college football season opens in Bowling Green, Kentucky! A legendary hotbed for the sports’ legacy (I’m being facetious). But it was the home of QB Bailey Zappe and that prolific Hilltoppers offense a year ago. Zappe finished the year 13 yards away from eclipsing 6,000 passing yards on the season. Pretty good. They’ve got to replace that production and they’ll try to do it with Austin Reed, a grad transfer from the University of West Florida. Hard to believe he’ll reproduce those numbers, but I have no doubts they can still sling it and post enough points to cover.

Brian’s Pick: Western Kentucky -27.5

We start the Power 5 college football season with... a B1G matchup on the Emerald Isle! Doesn’t get any more traditional than that right???? Wrong! But who cares! Nebraska spent the offseason wearing jokes as the “Greatest 3-9 Team of All-Time” after having an excuse for every loss they had a year ago. But Scott Frost has done a lot to improve this roster. They got Texas QB transfer Casey Thompson (Chubba as well!), his Texas teammate WR Marcus Washington and LSU transfer WR Trey Palmer to boost the passing game alongside WR Omar Manning who can stuff the stat sheet himself. There’s a lot to like with Nebraska. My strategy a year ago was fade Scott Frost and here I am already going against. Surely, it won’t blow up in my face.

Brian’s Pick: Nebraska -13

  • Idaho State Bengals (+20.5) at UNLV Rebels (3:30 p.m. ET, CBSSN)

Another great example of two bad bad teams with nothing to really point us in a good direction opening camp. UNLV’s most interesting spot is QB as they’ve yet to decide between the incumbent Doug Brumfield and Tennessee transfer Harrison Bailey. No matter who it is, I’m rocking with home favorites pretty heavy this week so I’ll follow my own lead.

Brian’s Pick: UNLV -20.5

  • UCONN Huskies (+27.5) at Utah State Aggies (4:00 p.m. ET, FS1)

Utah State was one of my favorite teams a year ago. Blake Anderson remains the head coach there (though I don’t expect that to much longer than this season as his star rises). He’s got a good chance to pad that resume this season with his QB Logan Bonner back as well. They’ll have to replace their receiving corps, but they also pulled some transfers to help in that realm. Also, UCONN was one of the worst teams from a year ago so let’s rock with my Aggies.

Brian’s Pick: Utah State -27.5

I know literally nothing about Wyoming. Not even gonna pretend. It’s week zero and, like I said earlier, I’m just a guy with a keyboard and access to this webpage (as long as Perry allows it). I felt like Bret Bielema had Illinois improving last season despite the 5-7 record. They were pretty solid, but they also couldn’t score — a key component to football. If they score slightly better, I feel pretty good about their chances to cover at home.

Brian’s Pick: Illinois -10.5

  • Duquesne Dukes (+38.5) at Florida State Seminoles (5:00 p.m. ET, ACCN)

My prediction and the rest of our staff’s picks for this one can be found here.

Brian’s Pick: Florida State -38.5

  • Charlotte 49ers (+7.5) at Florida Atlantic Owls (7:00 p.m. ET, CBSSN)

This is probably the game I’m most excited to watch (though I’ll likely be out at dinner and not watching). Charlotte had a pretty rough defense last season and fun enough offense to be interesting. On the other side, Willie Taggart’s crew wasn’t all that different. Former Miami QB N’Kosi Perry is still running the show — feels like he’s been in college for a decade. FAU faded last season but opened strong. I’m expecting a similar trend here, but it should be back and forth enough to be a fun watch.

Brian’s Pick: FAU -7.5

  • Florida A&M Rattlers (+34.5) at UNC Tar Heels (8:15 p.m. ET, ACCN)

This is the first game post-Sam Howell in Chapel Hill. The new starting QB is going to be Drake Maye after he beat out Jacolby Criswell for the job. But Mack Brown doesn’t seem all that settled on that decision as he’s reiterated that he’s going to turn to Criswell if there’s any sign of struggling from Maye. Not exactly the support Maye was hoping for I’m sure. FAMU shouldn’t be a challenge for UNC, but we’ll get our first look at the new look Heels.

Brian’s Pick: UNC -34.5

  • North Texas Mean Green (-1.5) at UTEP Miners (9:00 p.m. ET, Stadium)

I’m not even gonna waste your time with random words about football. I know zero. UTEP’s at home so let’s ride with that.

Brian’s Pick: UTEP +1.5

  • Nevada Wolfpack (-8.5) at New Mexico State Aggies (10:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

Nevada was pretty good last year, but they lost their head coach and a ton of players as well. So this could easily be a rough year for them. But New Mexico State was horrible last season. That’s enough to convince me Nevada could cover 8.5.

Brian’s Pick: Nevada -8.5

The stain of the SEC will get a cross country trip to Hawaii to open the year in nonconference play. I say that tongue in cheek of course because this is actually a smart move by the brains of the conference. Who wouldn’t like a few days in Hawaii right now? Plus Vandy’s football can’t get much worse than it was last season. UCONN was the only thing that separated them from a 1-win season. Only place to go from there is up, right?

Brian’s Pick: Vandy -7.5