It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No, not Christmas! After a two game slate of College Football in Week 0 teased us, the greatest game in the world is properly back! To celebrate, our College Chaps are giving you an extra special present. “Pick 6” will be a season long game where we choose 6 games each week, predict the winners, and fight it out to crown the ultimate College Football genius.
As an additional bonus, each week we’ll be joined by a special guest! Their score will count towards a guest total for the season but they also get their own guest leaderboard.
For week 1, we are joined by Trevor Sikemma. If you’re not familiar with his work, he’s a Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter for Pewter Report but most importantly from a College Football perspective, he is an NFL Draft analysis for The Draft Network. You can find him on Twitter at @TampaBayTre and you can find in depth NFL Draft analysis from Trevor and the rest of The Draft Network team at @DraftNetworkLLC or thedraftnetwork.com.
Now, to this week’s “Pick 6” games:
UCLA @ Cincinnati – Friday 30th August 00:00
The Bruins travel to Cincinnati to take on the Bearcats in the opening clash of Week 1. It’s a repeat of last year’s opening day matchup, which the Bearcats won 26-17 on their way to an 11-2 record. UCLA struggled their way to a 3-9 record, leaving Chip Kelly on one of the hottest seats in College Football. The Bruins return their brightest spark from 2018 in running back Joshua Kelley. He accounted for 1436 yards and 12 TDs last season. Cincinnati return their own star running back in the underrated Michael Warren II. The bookies make the Bearcats a slight favourite.
George Somerville: Cincinnati
I think UCLA’s woes aren’t quite over yet, so a Wildcat victory here isn’t the shock it suggests.
Alex Chinery: Cincinnati
Cincy is at home, coming off a stellar season last time out with a stronger roster. Big week one upset on the cards here!
Oliver Hodgkinson: UCLA
I’m not sure that the Bearcats winning is the upset here. The bookies have them as favourite. I’m taking the Joshua Kelley led Bruins for the win.
Trevor Sikemma: UCLA
UCLA has some hidden talent on that team and I think Chip Kelly will finally get into the swing of what he really wants to do with that offence.
Colorado State @ Colorado – Saturday 31st August 03:00
The Denver Broncos’ Mile High Stadium plays host to the 91st edition of the Rocky Mountain Showdown. Colorado holds the advantage in the showdown and it isn’t close. In fact, every statistic you could think of is in the favour of the Buffaloes. It comes as no surprise that the bookies make Colorado an overwhelming favourite. The game gives fans their first glimpse of Laviska Shenault in 2019. The Buffaloes star wide receiver is set for a standout season on his way to the 2020 NFL Draft.
George Somerville: Colorado
Colorado are just too strong for their inter state rivals. Next week’s rivalry game for the Buffs (v Nebraska) will be a much sterner test.
Alex Chinery: Colorado
The tandem of Shenault and Montez will be too much for State. An easy win for the Buffaloes.
Oliver Hodgkinson: Colorado
As much as the underdog rises to the occasion in a rivalry game, I expect Shenault to show why he’s a first round draft pick in the making.
Trevor Sikemma: Colorado
This game is simply a measure of how many ways can Buffs WR Laviska Shenault score. Give me Colorado!
Northwestern @ Stanford – Saturday 31st August 21:00
Northwestern were the surprise winners of the Big Ten West in 2018. Led by the solid if not spectacular Clayton Thorson, and anchored by a top 50 defence, they ground out an 8-4 regular season record, losing just one in-conference game. The Stanford Cardinals also finished 2018 with an 8-4 regular season record. Unlike Northwestern, they return their starting QB in K.J. Costello, and that consistency should give them the edge in this matchup. Having one of the best tackles in College Football, Walker Little, should help too.
George Somerville: Northwestern
This game is at Palo Alto, so the Cardinals should be hot favourites. But I have a feeling that Pat Fitzgerald’s Wildcats pull off a sneaky win here and run all the way back to the Windy City.
Alex Chinery: Stanford
Stanford will be too good in this one, with a solid returning quarterback and always good line play. I expect them to have too much for Northwestern.
Oliver Hodgkinson: Stanford
K.J. Costello is the difference maker here. Hopefully his connection with Colby Parkinson gives Stanford a win, and a much needed points boost for our College Chaps fantasy team.
Trevor Sikemma: Stanford
Even without receiver Arcega-Whiteside, I think Cardinal QB K.J. Costello can get it done with tight end Colby Parkinson.
Boise State @ Florida State – Sunday 1st September 00:00
If Chip Kelly is on a hot seat at UCLA, then Willie Taggart’s seat at FSU may well be made of flames. His situation isn’t helped by the absolute hot mess that he inherited from Jimbo Fisher. Regardless, he needs to see results this season after missing out on a bowl game for the first time in eternity. For Boise, it’s a transitional year as they replace QB Brett Rypien and leading rusher from 2018, Alexander Mattison. This, combined with their playing in the Mountain West Conference versus FSU’s position in the ACC gives the Florida program the edge in the eyes of the bookies.
George Somerville: Boise State
It will become apparent early on in the season that FSU don’t believe Willie Taggart is the man to take the Seminole’s forward. Starting with a Bronco’s win, the pressure is on Willie, early.
Alex Chinery: FSU
The athletic profile of the players on FSU will be too much for Boise State. Both teams are in transition and this game could be ugly…
Oliver Hodgkinson: Boise State
Boise without Brett Rypien could be like a broken cigarette lighter, no spark. However, I still expect them to overcome an FSU program that will struggle this season.
Trevor Sikemma: Boise State
Was initially supposed to be a neutral game in Jacksonville, but hurricane threats moved it to a home game for the Noles. Still, that offensive line for FSU is so bad, and Boise State pass rusher Curtis Weaver will have a field day.
Oregon @ Auburn – Sunday 1st September 00:30
Is 2019 the year that Oregon return to the College Football National Championship? The pieces are there. They have possibly the best offensive line in the nation. The Ducks have arguably the best quarterback in the 2020 NFL Draft class in Justin Herbert. They have a strong running game in C.J. Verdell. However, a defeat against Auburn could derail the dream before it’s even begun. Auburn are coming off the back of a below par 2018 campaign. They replace QB Jarrett Stidham with freshman Bo Nix. It’s the first time head coach Gus Malzhan has started a freshman QB to open the season. The Tigers are boosted defensively for 2019 with the return of Derrick Brown for his senior year. In Brown and Nick Coe, Auburn have two of the best defensive players in the SEC.
George Somerville: Oregon
This is an interesting one. But I think it’s too much to ask of a rookie QB so early on in the season. Auburn’s defence is good, but I suspect Oregon, many people’s dark horses for the Natty, prevails here. If not, chaos will reign in week 1!
Alex Chinery: Oregon
Oregon has experience all over the field and Justin Herbert is a Heisman contender. The battle between the Oregon offensive and Auburn defensive lines will be tantalising.
Oliver Hodgkinson: Oregon
Potentially season ending game in week 1?! I’m not prepared to let the pre-season Oregon hype die like that. Ducks all the way!
Trevor Sikemma: Oregon
One of the best offensive lines in the country (Oregon) versus one of the best defensive lines in the country (Auburn). Ducks QB, Justin Herbert, returns most of the offense around him. That will be enough to beat a true freshman QB starting for the Tigers.
Houston @ Oklahoma – Monday 2nd September 00:30
Oklahoma, and head coach Lincoln Riley, have produced the last two Heisman winners in Baker Mayfield and Kyler Muray. Now, Jalen Hurts gets his shot at transferring to glory. The majority of the offensive line that paved the way for success is gone. However, they do return Creed Humphrey who is one of the best offensive lineman in the game right now. The Sooners are huge favourites over a Houston team that gave up 122 points in it’s final two games of 2018.
George Somerville: Oklahoma
If this game was in Houston I would fancy the Cougars. But it’s not, so Lincoln Riley and Jalen Hurts get off to a winning start to their perfect season.
Alex Chinery: Oklahoma
As much as it pains me to say, OU will have too much for Houston in an offensive blowout! Expect a bucket load of points from this match-up between two high powered offenses.
Oliver Hodgkinson: Oklahoma
You heard it on our pre-season podcast, Hurts for Heisman is a thing. It starts week 1 with a commanding victory.
Trevor Sikemma: Oklahoma
I wish I could pick Houston QB D’Eriq King, but he just won’t have enough to keep up with Jalen Hurts and Lincoln Riley in Norman.
Photo Credit: Associated Press