After the tantalising whetting of our college football appetite that was week zero, week one is finally upon us. With a lack of preseason tilts and limited conference match-ups early in the season week one often features many games that aren’t close. However, this year we have several quality match-ups, including more than one blue blood school on upset alert.
Thursday Nights Alright for Upsets
Georgia Tech @ #1 Clemson
Number one ranked Clemson come into the season riding the national title wave and ready to defend their crown. They replace many key pieces across the team, with an historic defensive line class leaving for the NFL. Week one could pose Clemson some problems as the new pieces in this team gel together. Sophomore quarterback Trevor Lawrence is regarded as a generational talent, whilst junior running back Travis Etienne is a home run hitter in the backfield. This offense should have enough to top a Georgia Tech team that is in transition to a new style under new head coach Geoff Collins.
Score Prediction – Georgia Tech 14 – 56 Clemson
UCLA @ Cincinnati
Chip Kelly’s rebuild of one of the true blue chip programs in the sport got off to a rocky start last season. The team lacked the offensive verve that defined Kelly’s time at Oregon and without a passer of the calibre of Marcus Mariota hopes are not high for 2019. This opener against a strong Bearcats outfit will provide a stern test for the Bruins. Cincinnati had a strong year last season, pushing UCF all the way in the AAC. The team has improved through the offseason and could pull off a huge statement with a week one win. For UCLA, a loss week one to a group of five opponent would cause panic in the athletic department and put Kelly firmly on the hotseat, even though he’s only been in charge a short time.
Score Prediction – UCLA 20 – 21 Cincinnati
#14 Utah @ BYU
A trendy pick for the college football playoff Utah faces off against an in-state rival in week one. Utah’s mean defense should be able to shut down anything BYU throw at them in what should be a routine win for the number fourteen ranked team. However, in-state games are often tough affairs and given week one’s potential for good teams to come in rusty, you can never rule out an upset.
Score Prediction – Utah 35 – 0 BYU
Friday Night Rivalry
Colorado State @ Colorado
Colorado return the stellar offensive duo of quarterback Stephen Montez and star wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jnr. Keeping Shenault healthy will be key to the performance of this team. When he was healthy last season, Colorado were a real threat. State will come into this game trying to spring a week one upset in a big rivalry game. Given the talent gap between the two teams, it shouldn’t be close. However, should the Buffaloes have an eye on week two’s huge rivalry game against Nebraska, State might be able to catch them off guard.
Score Prediction – Colorado State 10 – 63 Colorado
Saturday Nights Main Event
#11 Auburn vs #16 Oregon
Senior quarterback Justin Herbert returns to Oregon squarely in the race for the Heisman trophy this season. He is surrounded by weapons and a stellar all senior offensive line that might be the best in the country. On the opposing side-line, Auburn will start true freshman Bo Nix at sports most important position. The lack of college experience gives Oregon the edge, however the quarterbacks aren’t going to be the deciding factor in this game. Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown would have been a first-round pick had he not elected to stay in school. He is joined by more talent on an Auburn defensive line that is scary. The battle between the Oregon offensive line and the Auburn defensive line will decide this game. If Auburn are to win, they will need to bring lots of pressure at Herbert and hope he makes mistakes. This game is must watch.
Score Prediction – Auburn 17 – 35 Oregon
Ole Miss @ Memphis
Memphis was a standout in the group of five conferences last season. However, they lost star running back Darrell Henderson who was a huge part of their offense. Much of the talent on both lines returns and with it so do hopes of another successful season. Ole Miss is still emerging from the NCAA sanctions that dominated the programs recent past. The rebels have talented athletes on both sides of the ball; however they haven’t been able to put it together in recent years.
Score Prediction – Ole Miss 17 – 14 Memphis
Duke vs #2 Alabama
The Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta is the venue for the Crimson Tide’s first game of the season. My pre-season tip to win it all, Alabama should crush a Duke side that lacks talent. It will be interesting to see how the defense adjusts to losing linebacker Dylan Moses. The junior tore his ACL in practice in a huge blow to the Tide. Can Alabama fill the hole in the middle of their defense? College offensive co-ordinators from around the country will be watching and hoping to find an edge.
Score Prediction – Duke 10 – 53 Alabama
Sunday’s Sneaky Good Game
Houston @ #4 Oklahoma
A Sunday night offensive explosion to finish off a stellar week of the college game! Houston’s quarterback D’Eriq King is a potential star in the making. An ability to make plays using both his arm and his legs makes this Houston offense dangerous under new head coach Dana Holgerson. On the other sideline, Oklahoma has its third new quarterback under centre in as many years. Former National Champion Jalen Hurts has a stellar CV, but the jump to Lincoln Riley’s offense will take some time to bed in, if Houston can start like a house on fire, they may force an upset.
Score Prediction – Houston 44 – 49 Oklahoma
Image – NBC Sports