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College Football Picks: Week 1

Let’s make picks and plot out our Labor Day weekend

Rose Bowl Game presented by Capital One Venture X - Ohio State v Utah Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

I hope you enjoyed the warmup weekend for our college football picks. There wasn’t much to get all excited about outside of Florida State’s opening win.

The big headliner was the Ireland game that allowed us to open the year celebrating Scott Frost’s inability to win any game that is close after 0-0. Truly incredible to see Northwestern’s strategy of punting 100 times just to let Nebraska choke away the game pay off the entire second half. But hey, that’s football right?

Week Zero went pretty well for me personally, starting the year above the .500 mark at 6-5. Our comment section leader was NoleOhana with a really impressive 8-3 on the weekend.

I’ll try to keep track of who wins the most weeks throughout the season and give them a shoutout at the end.

If you’re new to the proceedings (which many of you probably are because I’ve only done this for one season), drop your picks in the comments with the spread provided. The following week, I’ll tally up the wins and losses and give a salute to whoever dominates the weekend. Remember, that I’m just a guy with a keyboard, not a gambling pro, so this isn’t advice. Just giving all of us a viewing guide and rooting interest as we watch the football season.

This week being Labor Day, we get our traditional, larger Week One slate. Plenty of big games (including that one in the Caesar’s Superdome on Sunday Night) so let’s get to it.

Reminder that I pull all the lines from because they make it easier for me to track my picks.

  • TCU (-13.5) at Colorado (10:00pm ET Friday, ESPN)

Hope everyone gets their picks in early this week because we’re getting rolling on Friday night in Pac-12 country (LONG LIVE THE ALLIANCE!). New Big 12 power TCU — if we can call them that — heads west to meet former Big 12 power Colorado in a nonconference matchup. Conference realignment is fun! Of course, none of that matters once they kick off. The biggest realignment that’ll impact this one is Gary Patterson’s career realignment to retirement. The longtime TCU head man is gone and that’s enough to make me take some points in the Horned Frogs first game on the road with a new head coach.

Brian’s Pick: Colorado +13.5

  • No. 13 NC State (-11.5) at East Carolina (Noon ET, ESPN)

I’d love to know what the ACC’s North Carolina teams were doing when they made these schedules. Both NC State and UNC are playing in-state “rivals” on the road. It’s like Florida State playing at USF or FAU or something. Act like a bigger program. Please. ANYWELL, NC State has been a sneaky strong second-tier program in the ACC and looks poised to take a step up this year with a top-tier team. Devin Leary returns as one of the best quarterbacks in the conference surrounded by another really solid team. This could always be a trap spot in an opener against an in-state team filled with players that feel like they were overlooked by NCST. I’m not buying thinking it’s enough to dominate them.

Brian’s Pick: NC State -11.5

  • UNC (+0.5) at Appalachian State (Noon ET, ESPNU)

Same applies from the blurb above. And this team is definitely a lot more vulnerable. UNC didn’t look bad in their opener, but you would think they’d look a bit better against a FAMU team that was missing multiple starters. I feel like I should like this one as an upset spot more than I do, but I believe the talent edge is going to be squarely on UNC’s side and that should (key word should) carry them through.

Brian’s Pick: UNC +0.5

  • No. 11 Oregon (+16.5) vs. No. 3 Georgia in Atlanta (3:30pm ET, ABC)

The reigning champs are hosting Oregon in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in what will be a VERY-pro Georgia crowd. Former Florida State offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham is up in Eugene reunited with Auburn transfer quarterback Bo Nix. His first game with the Ducks is a nearly impossible task. Georgia does have to reload a lot of defenders, but they’ve been recruiting at an unreal rate for years and I have no doubts that they will.

Brian’s Pick: Georgia (-16.5)

  • No. 23 Cincinnati (+6.5) at No. 19 Arkansas (3:30pm ET, ESPN)

Was Cincinnati’s run last season legit? Are they the next mid-major power or will they fade back to the pack? The Bearcats were the surprise of the 2021 season earning their spot in the College Football Playoff where they were unceremoniously kicked to the curb by Alabama. It was a 27-6 game where Alabama just handled their business, but Cincinnati wasn’t as outmatched as they appeared to be. Repeating that won’t be easy. Meanwhile, Arkansas was underreported story last year. The Hogs were really strong and had an impressive season on the shoulders of QB KJ Jefferson. He’s a big guy that can run when needed and has a huge arm. The Razorback fans will give Cincy a crowd they’ve never seen before. I’ll easily lay a touchdown on this one.

Brian’s Pick: Arkansas -6.5

  • No. 7 Utah (-2.5) at Florida (7:00pm ET, ESPN)

I’ll be here to hate watch Florida. Go Utes.

Brian’s Pick: Utah -2.5

This should be the game of the weekend. The Buckeyes were an absolute cash factory in DFS last season. CJ Stroud returns to lead this booming offense once again and, while some of the top receivers are gone, they return a lot of strong production that you can be confident in. JSN and Marvin Harrison Jr. will be the next Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson and they still have elite running back TreVeyon Henderson. I think Ohio State might be the best team in the country, but I expect Notre Dame to be competitive enough to cover even if it’s a late gross score to get across the point line.

Brian’s Pick: Notre Dame +17.5

I know nothing, but let’s root for anarchy. Boise rolls.

Brian’s Pick: Boise State +2.5

  • Florida State (+2.5) vs. LSU in New Orleans (7:30pm ET Sunday, ABC)

You can find my pick and the rest of our staff predictions.

Brian’s Pick: LSU -2.5

  • No. 4 Clemson (-22.5) vs. Georgia Tech in Atlanta (8:00pm ET Monday, ESPN)

This one feels like an incredibly lame Monday game. I know it’s in-conference, but yuck. Clemson will be head and shoulders better than Georgia Tech if DJ Uiagalelei can be even close to the quarterback he was supposed to be. He was far from that a year ago, coming off as a poor game manager. Clemson expects better from their quarterback and DJ absolutely needs to take a step forward — if not multiple steps — if he wants to keep the job. The first test won’t require him to be great, just competent.

Brian’s Pick: Clemson -22.5