Chris Carlson – The College Football season is back and all is right in my world. 153 years of the greatest regular season of any team sport shows us why this game has so many rivalries, well before the NFL started to peak in popularity. Putting week zero behind us, Week 1 has 3 ranked versus ranked matchups and a variety of very interesting games to sink our teeth in.
#2 Ohio State vs. #5 Notre Dame: The Ohio State Buckeyes have a track record of starting the regular season slow only to find their form in the closing weeks when it really counts. The Irish have a brand spanking new head coach Marcus Freeman so his players will want to show everyone they made the right decision. This College Football junkie does believe Notre Dame can keep this thing competitive enough to sneak under the sizable point spread. However, we still don’t know if preseason AP All-American center/guard Jarrett Patterson will play as he is listed as questionable.
The Pick: Notre Dame +17 assuming Patterson plays.
#3 Georgia vs. #11 Oregon: The returning National Champs Georgia lost 9 defensive starters to the NFL Draft, 5 in the first round alone. The Ducks went into enemy territory of the ‘Horseshoe’ and took down Ohio State last September. Will the Bulldogs take a miniscule step back from what was hands-down the #1 defensive units in the country? Can Oregon pull off a major upset or at least not get beat by the 17-points Vegas is calling for? Bo Nix is an upgrade for the Ducks from the up and down Anthony Brown but will it be enough? Georgia signal caller Stetson Bennett had to earn his keep and last year he did exactly that by efficiently leading the Bulldogs to a chip. Flashbacks from to sound beatings Utah put on Oregon last year are stuck in the back of my head.
The Pick: Georgia -17 The Bulldogs eventually wear down Oregon in 2nd half
Under The Radar
#19 Arkansas vs. #23 Cincinnati: Cincinnati finally got their shot to win a title last year falling short but still putting in a helluva effort overall. The Razorbacks had a crazy tough schedule in 2021 unfortunately the slate of opposition in 2022 won’t get any easier. The Bearcats will be good on defense no doubt but losing 6 starters to the NFL including D-Linemen Myjai Sanders not to mention a dynamic duo at cornerback in Sauce Gardner and Coby Bryant will be tough to replace. Arkansas QB KJ Jefferson really turned the corner last year but the Hogs did lose 6 out of their top-10 tacklers on defense.
The Pick: Arkansas -6 The Hogs close this one out in the 4th quarter
#7 Utah vs. Florida: The Utes are led by an underrated head coach in Kyle Whittingham and return 14 starters off a team that dominated Oregon twice to win the PAC-12 outright. QB Cameron Rising will have 6 out of their top 7 pass catchers back along with RB Tavion Thomas giving Utah a legit chance to build on their 2021 and 2019 successful seasons. For a few years in a row it appeared Florida was on the uptick peaking at 11-2 in 2019 and went toe-to-toe with Alabama in the SEC Final in 2020. In 2021 the Gators took a large step back going 6-7. QB Anthony Richardson and the Florida defense will have to play lights out to get what would be a phenomenal start in 2022.
The Pick: Utah -3 The Utes keep their good vibes going in the right direction
Saturday Upset Special
Army +2 pulls a minor upset on the road at Brooks Stadium the home of the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers.
LSU vs. Florida State: In recent years the Seminoles have a habit of giving a good effort in Week 1 only to fall apart as the season goes on. New Tigers head coach Brain Kelly is keeping his quarterback starter close to the vest between ASU transfer Jayden Daniels and sophomore Garrett Nussmeier. It’s not ‘Death Valley’ but this game will be played in New Orleans which favors LSU to an extent anyway.
The Pick: LSU -3
Penn State vs. Purdue: This is a must win for Penn State if they want to have a bounce back season & get back to the team they looked like before QB Sean Clifford got injured. What will Purdue’s offense be like without a standout like WR’s Rondale Moore and David Bell to throw to for QB Aidan O’Connell? The Nittany Lions find a way to earn a solid road victory.
The Pick: Penn State 3.5
Against The Spread
Illinois has a shot to win outright but I’ll gladly take the -3 points Las Vegas is giving Indiana at home as the favorite.
Don’t be shocked if Minnesota keeps their playbook vanilla and defeats New Mexico State by less than the 36.5 points the Gophers are the favored.
Podcast Link: tobtr.com/12138914
Quick Hits Recap
-Heisman Trophy Candidates: QB CJ Stourd, WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, QB Bryce Young, & QB Caleb Williams.
-Heisman Trophy Darkhorses: QB Dillon Gabriel, QB Tyler Van Dyke, RB TreVeyon Henderson, & QB Sam Hartman.
-Nebraska already found a way to lose a winnable game against Northwestern as part of week zero.
-What will come of the PAC-12 now that USC and UCLA will be moving to the Big Ten? Where does Oregon, Stanford, Utah, Washington, ASU among others go? My guess is some of those programs will choose between the Big-12 and Big Ten as the best case scenario financially.
Written by Chris Carlson Host of The College Ball Show Podcast available at blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio & Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio