Each week, during college football season DPB’s Kyle Magin and Andrew J. Pridgen pour on the prose with Pints and Picks™. Who to wager and (sometimes) what to drink while doing it. This week: #CFBkickoff:
We’re here again, on the precipice of another college football season. Before we proceed to ND-Texas, Oklahoma-Houston or SC-Bama, let’s unpack a few things we’ve been dealing with since 2015 wrapped up:
- My season effectively ended with Michigan State getting strangled 38-0 at the hands of Alabama in the Cotton Bowl. I watched the game from a chilly basement in Traverse City, Michigan, trying to pretend like I didn’t forget every inane re-wrack rule of beer pong with guys five years younger than me. It’s not a treasured memory.
- College football’s offseason scandal mill, which includes:
- A revolting Baylor scandal regarding the institutional cover-up of campus rapes.
- Former Ole Miss tackle Laremy Tunsil in a funny scandal involving weed, and a sad scandal involving him asking a coach for rent and some money for his mom’s utility bill. But free educations are enough for the desperately poor, right?
- Weed and a gun in South Bend. You might need one of those to deal with life in South Bend, but clearing its chamber should not kill you.
- A gun and a knife in Kalamazoo. You actually don’t need either of those in that fair city, unless you’re going to ride in an Uber.
- AJ, you let us know how you felt about Oregon’s college football team in no uncertain terms. College football’s big money era is still on its ascent, which is terrifying.
Anyway, there’s a lot not to like about college football right now. It’s led by wickedly rich individuals who are fighting tooth and nail to keep labor from getting anything like fair compensation. Those leaders are in turn committing or looking the other way on some of the most evil crimes on the books in order to stay wickedly rich. The pursuit of all this cash also means you’re likely enjoying fewer fall afternoons than ever and instead lowering yourself onto a cold bleacher hours after the sun sets so TV execs can sell the advertising they need to throw weekend-long bacchanals at NFL stadiums. Fun sport!
But, AJ, I’m determined to get stoked for this season, if only because watching a college football game is the most entertaining way I know to spend three hours. Let’s go to the Buzzfeed machine to spit out a list of reasons why college football should still get you pumped…
7 Reasons You Should Be Stoked For Guys From My State Concussing Guys From Your State in College Football:
- Fat Guy Touchdowns.
- The fans. AJ, for as much as you and I bag on the sport, it excites me to be around other college football fans. I like the weird traditions I’ve participated in–singing the Eyes of Texas, taking a photograph with touchdown Jesus, picnicking along the Red Cedar River and tailgating on the Brookside Golf Course in Pasadena. I like the idea of traditions I haven’t taken in yet–Sailgating in Seattle, The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, Jumping in Camp Randall. These people, their traditions, their fandom, stretches long before anyone running their programs today was there, before every game was on TV and more often than not in prime time.
- South Bend. Seriously, there’s no place like it in college football on game day. It’s home to the sports’ smartest fans, much like St. Louis and Oakland host baseball’s finest and anywhere in Canada can say the same about their hockey fans. Institutional knowledge and a collective memory as long as college football’s history makes Notre Dame’s environs the greatest place to catch a game amongst like-minded fans.
- The Rose Bowl. If South Bend is college football’s home, Pasadena is its resort. The stadium, by today’s standards, is more or less bespoke for its ability to look 80 years old and still seat 92k in the sunlight in a true bowl while the rest of America shelters in behemoth multi-level monstrosities in the cold.
- Big 12 night games. God, these are fun. There’s nothing like watching Billy Bob Bumpkin sling it around 40 times in a 55-48 shootout on Fox. It’s like showing up to a house party with your towniest friends and a keg of bud light. Somebody’s gonna throw something in a deep fryer, and you’ll like it.
- Hating the SEC. In a sport full of bad guys, it really should not be this easy to pick out the worst one. But, it is, and it’s fun.
- Mismatches. Not the 60-20 variety, mind you, but the Cadillac, 6’4” wide receiver with 4.3 speed getting audibled into the sights of a tryhard safety with no NFL hopes. Great players make themselves abundantly known in college football, and it’s fun as hell to watch.
Alright, AJ, I’ll toss it back to you before we kick off the picks. Are you a little excited?
Well, I believe we could have done our preseason podcast between the hours of 1:37 and 2:41 a.m. last Saturday morning. After enjoying a delicious grilled cheese late supper from Mel’s on Sunset (the one most of the patrons apparently recognize from the opening credits of Entourage) I believe you or the surrogate you were around for some of my screed, but the points being made — over and over and over — at that late (early?) hour are/were:
- College football is basically the modern-day extension of indentured servitude/Jim Crow laws. The majority of players are black. The majority of schools don’t graduate the majority of players (so there goes the “free education” argument.) The majority of coaches are white and make more money than the God they pretend to pray to. To wit, the highest paid employee for the state of California is a man named Sonny Dykes who averages just under $2.5 million a year for barking out country-fried cliches at the greatest public university in the land…all in the name of a 15–23 career record at Cal. Your taxpayer dollars hard at work. Fewer than 2 percent move on to the NFL to earn a real paycheck for the sacrifice of their bodies, souls, morals and …brains. And those who do, average 2.5 seasons. Not a lot of time to earn enough to take you through all the rehab and meds and day-to-day (wives/kids/long CTE-induced absences from the workforce.) To pretend the “amateur” sport that generates more than $5 billion annually in ticket, merch (see: This week’s cover boy Josh Rosen’s take on UCLA’s new $280 million Under Armour deal) and TV rights and the lambs led to the sacrifice get nothing but a guaranteed C- in Western Civ, is not just disingenuous, but it eats at my very fiber.
- Floods and football — that’s what the South/the SEC is good for.
So where does that leave me what with participating in the most popular portion of this website (and frankly, its most successful) year over year?
I think by the end of last season, I took what we do in this space — essentially giving informed gaming advice, as an enterprise completely separate from the actual goings on on (and off) the field — and really had to shift the way I look at it.
Maybe it’s because I’ve been forced to endure one too many house flipping shows, but I’ve come to see this endeavor as exactly that. Home ownership used to be an earned, prized privilege of most folks who followed the slow, grinding path to the actualization of the American Dream. Work hard, be good to your neighbor, be an OK spouse/parent/wingman …and try to give back a little more than you’ve taken from your community and you’ll be rewarded with a 3/2 jumbo loan with a wood paneled basement with which to stash your children to play beer pong when they get too old to cuddle. Football Collegio Americano fit squarely in with that narrative. And, for many of the reasons you penned above, the nostalgia and sepia-toned influence of the sport is something that I’m sure will somehow permeate my candy coated shell of disgust at some point this season, maybe.
But if it does not, that’s OK too. I simply am making an all-cash offer for a 4/2 in Palos Verdes on a 5,000-square-foot lot just blocks from the beach that has been in foreclosure for almost a half-decade. I’m going to throw in the granite, the tile backsplash, the double vanity in the en suite right off the master. I’m going to blow out the small guest room and turn that into a giant closet and I’m going to take down a few non-load-bearing walls so I can have an open concept floorplan, the kind where you walk right in through the front door, stare directly at the flat screen above the reclaimed redwood mantle and to your right is a center island complete with farm basin sink and a stack of antique looking books next to some hand spun white washed candlesticks on the extra shelving.
In other words, though I want to see the job done right, I’m not going to get emotionally attached. As a flipper’s job is to get in, discover the unseen problems hiding in the walls and subfloor, cover it all up with chemically treated hardwood and drought-tolerant landscaping, make a small profit and get the heck out. To complete the analogy, my job one is to figure out what teams don’t have termites or severe water damage against the spread — and pass that on to you.
So there you have it Kyle. If my numbers are correct, you and I still have above a lifetime .625 winning percentage in a pair of seasons. That means if you’ve been playing along at home, you’ve probably pocketed enough for at least a couple rounds of Shock Top and some double-dipped wings. And not caring about the outcome beyond the numbers has actually raised my wagering acumen. As long as I can continue to pick ‘em, I’ll continue to pretend to care.
After all, that’s the New American Way now, isn’t it?
USC/Bama on the other side — get ready for a Week 1 SHOCKER in Texas. Yee Haw!
THERE HE IS. Gambling has and always will be the moral north star of this exercise, our beacon in the night. I’m glad that it can still get you and I out on the front lines. Let’s make some f*cking money.
Regarding that throwdown in Texas—I’ll have a lot of friends and family in attendance in Austin—let’s break it, and weekend one, down a bit. Of this absurdly good weekend of college football—and really, noon PST Saturday is the only slot without at least one ranked-on-ranked kickoff, plus the primetime ND-UT and FSU-Ole Miss matchups on Sunday and Monday—the Irish and ‘Horns may well be my most-anticipated.
Let’s pause, though, and remind our younger readers that opening weekend hasn’t always been this way. Money and the playoffs have conspired to bring you massive matchups to start the season off, instead of most everyone outside of Notre Dame (and an occasional Pac 10-Big Ten throwdown) feasting on cupcakes before the season starts. In my opinion, scheduling big cross-sectional games—Bama-SC!?!?—plus conference grudge matches in week 1 is glorious. In my youth, you had to wait for football to really pick up steam. By Tuesday of next week, we’ll know who’s in title contention and who’ll need to go undefeated for the honor of debasing themselves on national television programs in a last-minute let-us-in campaign. Sports are best when they’re contested frantically, like single elimination tournaments or stretch playoff runs in baseball. For college football to light itself on fire to start the season is a stroke of genius, especially when a single loss can throw any team’s future into doubt. Welcome to Thunderdome.
OK, back to Austin.
Notre Dame @ Texas +3.5
AJ, I wanted no part of this damn game. Texas returns an experienced roster from a pretty crappy 5-7 squad that lost some bad games… but beat No. 10 Oklahoma and No. 12 Baylor, the latter to finish the season. Notre Dame returns far fewer starters off a far better 10-3 team which struggled against good squads on the road. When assessing returning squads, I look at the two units who need a massive amount of snaps to improve: defensive backs and offensive line. Outside of quarterback, DBs and OLs, the rest of American college football could more or less be taught to a sentient tumbleweed if it could keep its 40 until 4.6 and squat 500 lbs. But OL requires a total knowledge of the playbook plus some familiarity with the sort monsters who come off the defense’s edges these days–and both opposing defenses have that with UT LB Malik Jefferson and Irish DT Isaac Rochell. Notre Dame and Texas each bring back three on the O-line, so it’s a draw there. The defensive backfield is another place where understanding ‘game speed’ as it’s played at 300 mph in today’s offensive is helpful. Texas returns its entire defensive backfield, and Notre Dame returns just half of its DBs. So, based on the evidence at hand and the fact that is being played in the friendly confines of Royal Stadium, I’m saying the Horns keep it close and cover.
Now off to you before I come back with Ole Miss-FSU, Georgia-North Carolina and then bring it back to Texas for Oklahoma-Houston.
I too am sticking in the Lone Star State and the dogs or whoever with my first pick of the season, albeit reluctantly (…let this also be the last time I mention I’m doing something around college football reluctantly, I believe that is implicit at this point.)
So it’s going to be USC/Bama which is EXACTLY the big money/big matchup you referenced above. And the exact “what’s wrong” with today’s college football that I mentioned above that. They’re playing at AT&T Stadium (Jerryworld — Disneyland for the terminally void of ideas who also have access to company cards) in whatever the fuck soul patch version of a suburb Arlington is to the brawny sprawl of Dallas. It’s a national travesty. And when it all invariably comes crumbling down, including that giant fucking three-story guillotine-looking, punt-blocking Vizio that hangs menacingly from that stadium’s ceiling like a hospital TV reminding you, me and the rest of us that it doesn’t matter how many $17 beers you down, we’re all going to fucking die, I’ll hopefully be the one twirling around the parking lot laughing maniacally and shooting off flare guns into the smoke-filled permanent night sky.
But before we get to USC/Bama 2016, a quick look back at this storied rivalry — and the Great Beer Chug Championships of 1980 between the two rival institutions:
Now fast forward to present day: This game alone in tickets and TV revenue (billed as a possible National Championship preview, but since it’s week one and is sort of a mulligan game — especially if Bama is to lose — carries no real implications other than what’s printed on your betting slip) will probably generate close to $100 million for the schools, greater Dallas and the stadia. That’s a lot at the box office, even for a three-day weekend.
All that notwithstanding, I too can’t resist calling this game as it is the easiest to call for the week.
USC +11.5 @ Alabama
The line is Bama -11.5 (and crawling up in Bama’s favor — it started at -9) which I find insane. I know the storyline: Alabama is your preseason no. 4 which is EXACTLY where Alabama wants to be — in the spotlight, but slightly underestimated. They are a strange mix of NFL-ready defenders who opted out of their first year of getting paid to play to come back for a shot at the repeat and up-and-coming but unproven talent.
The elder statesmen are DE Jonathan Allen, LB Reuben Foster, LB Tim Williams, SS Eddie Jackson. Juxtaposed with this are 11 true Freshman who ALSO made the opening game roster as released by Forrest Gump’s alma mater on Tuesday including Jonah Williams (right tackle) and Trevon Diggs (kick return) who are top-line probables.
This is a team that has signed six straight no. 1 recruiting classes which means you get seasoned gridders with soon-to-be-known game-breaking talent and ridiculous depth (maybe the most for the Tide since 2009) this year especially in both the secondary and the receiving corps. On the latter, just think of the options either Cooper Bateman and Blake Barnett (Saban is going with two quarterbacks at least until conference play starts) are going to have with NFL-ready wideouts Calvin Ridley and Robert Foster listed as co-starters at X wide receiver spot along with returning senior TE O.J. Howard. This corps is better than the Eagles, Browns, Rams, Titans, Bills and Vikings — combined.
Though Trojan fans will love to to drop the M5 off at John Wayne and shoot a couple big squares over to North Dallas 40 for the weekend to check out what Texas-sized implants look like, this is essentially a Bama home game. And this, plus the above mentioned depth of the class of the SEC, automatically has bookmakers putting the 17th-ranked Trojans at double-digit dogs.
Which would make sense, if it weren’t for the fact that USC, only a year removed from the end of Pete Carroll-era sanctions lifting, is the most exciting and potential-laden team in all of college football.
Five-star senior QB Max Browne will bark under center with 10 returning starters on offense behind him, nothing more notable than a year-older (and bigger) O-line protecting both Browne and the best running back duo in the country in Ronald Jones and Justin Davis.
If Browne buys a little time and stays still in the pocket, he gets the privilege of throwing to the best wideout in the land, and maybe for SC since Keyshawn wore the cardinal and gold, JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Browne has limited experience under center in games of this scale in hostile environs which will, frankly, be 80 percent Trump supporters (enough to make anyone nervous.) But the senior is no rube. He has seen the program rebuild and has been the ultimate understudy, first at the side of Matt Barkley and then as Cody Kessler’s clipboard holder. Browne, by all signs, has the patience and poise to pull off the upset if he can somehow manufacture a second or two and get Smith-Schuster to break free down the sideline.
It is the home run play that ALWAYS takes Alabama down at least once a season, and usually in the starting week or two. Like any football factory, Saban knows he’s got the pieces in place to be formidable enough to dust off the engraving spot on the big CFP Vagina Trophy, but with the number of true freshmen he has rotating into pro sets even the Miami Dolphins never mastered, look for the first three quarters to be slower than usual play for a SEC team on offense…which means lots of trips to the fridge and ultimately the bathroom for you.
If Browne can overcome the inevitable mistake or two he makes in the first half and come up with a meaningful toss or two in the last eighteen or so minutes, you should see USC on top at the end of the game.
Final Prediction: USC 24, Alabama 18 Take the moneyline.
Kyle, with the big one out of the way, I have some down ballot picks for you on the other side.
You know I love the action on the backside of the William Hill gambling sheet. That said, let’s see what else is going on with the big boys for SEO purposes.
Georgia @ UNC +3
UNC’s defense was horrid last year, and I doubt they’ll be much better this year, but I do expect the Heels’ O-line (4 of 5 men back) to stick in its lines and march forward on a young Bulldogs defense with tons of holes in its first two levels. The Heels, led by new QB Mitch Trubisky, can be expected to make most of their hay on the ground, ditto Georgia, which has all-everything RB Nick Chubb–as good a reason as any to run–but also an unsettled situation at quarterback. Look for lots of wear and tear in the early quarters followed by long breaks in the late stages. Heels RB Elijah Hood is no slouch himself, and should be perfectly capable of keeping UNC within spitting distance of Georgia, especially at home, where they went 7-0 last year. Heels cover.
Ole Miss @ FSU -5
Florida State starts its title chase Monday. The entire offense and 8/11 starting defenders headed back to Tallahassee in the offseason. They’ll take a field they successfully defended in 7 tries last season. I’d take the ‘Noles at twice the line.
Oklahoma -10.5 @ Houston
I thought for awhile that Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops had reached his dotage. I figured he’d keep Texas honest, trade blows with Oklahoma State and mostly get the better of Mike Gundy. Then he’d generally ride off as one of those guys who you had to remember won a ring before winning a bunch of conference titles.
But, man, he guided the Sooners through a murderer’s row to finish 2015, recording wins over No. 4 Baylor, No. 11 TCU and the No. 9 Cowboys before faltering against Clemson in the playoffs. It was a hell of a run and one I think the Sooners have the talent to top this year. It’s also rare that a program of Oklahoma’s statute is the team coming into the game pressure-free; but here we are. Houston has traded up to NRG stadium from whatever they call their regular home turf. Their performative turn as a big boy is clearly a play to woo the expansion-minded Big 12, and you can bet the young Cougars know it. Boomer covers in a shootout that’ll ease into a blowout.
Alright AJ, what’s going on in the rest of college football?
Hey again Kyle,
CFB Week 1 is good for two things besides helping me (meekly) try to justify why we still haven’t cut cable: 1) Sorting out the too-big (I loooooove them double digit) spreads and 2) finding those developing diamond-in-the-rough underdogs that can catch those who are still on summer break unawares (See: Last year’s Northwestern takedown of Stanford.) As a rule of thumb, it’s my week to crack into the mid-majors as well as the bottom halves of big conferences and I usually place ‘em against the spread. It doesn’t work every time, but neither does porn.
With that in mind I’ve got a couple ???????????? (<– Ed Note: those were supposed to be thumbs up emojis, damn you WordPress) on the undercard, they are:
Oregon State + 14 @ Minnesota
After a strangely feel-good 2-10 debut season for OSU head coach Gary Andersen, the Beavs are back looking to shock the B1G by knocking off a knocking-on-the-door Golden Gophers.
Minnesota, for the debut of beloved now full-time head coach Tracy Claeys, are looking for a quick win at home to set the tone for a season that sees them emerge from out of the shadow of Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa and Ohio State.
Last year, the Beavs in the first year of a new regime were outmatched in PAC-12 play and averaged a conference-low 19 points per game. Unfortunately, they kick off this campaign by flying into the land of 10,000 lakes to face a Gopher defense that was ranked in the top 25 last year.
However, the Beavs are looking like dark horse bowl contenders based on a few key pickups and returners led by Utah State transfer quarterback Darell Garretson who started 11 games over two seasons in Logan and passed for 2,586 yards, 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions to mostly slow, cornfed Mos who got waitlisted in Provo.
Garretson is fitting well into the state of Oregon’s systemic philosophy to pick up post-grad transfers to call plays (down in Eugene, Oregon replaces grad transfer Vernon Adams Jr. with Montana State transfer Dakota Prukop.) And he should be a natural under center for the Beavs with both mobility and long-ball potential and gives OSU the boost they need as returning back Ryan Nall (455 yards, three touchdowns in 2015) and receivers Jordan Villamin (43 catches, 660 yards, five touchdowns) and Victor Bolden (46 catches, 461 yards, three touchdowns) form the most dynamic duo in the PAC-12 north this side of Seattle.
Kyle, as you mentioned, O-lines are incredibly important in the college game and can be the difference between 8-4 and 4-8 and this is where I see OSU stumbling a bit during game 1 and why I’m not picking them for the upset outright. Redshirt freshman Blake Brandel and sophomore Yanni Demogerontas will make their collegiate debuts as the Beavers’ starting left tackle and center respectively and with the Gophers’ returning linebacker Jack Lynn (76 stops, 1.5 sacks, one fumble recovery and two knock downs), looking for soft targets, Garretson may have to improvise more than he’d like during his PAC-12 debut.
Look for Gopher corner Jalen Myrick to also shut down at least one side of the field, maybe both — he’s just that good.
Oregon State also had a tough time last season surrendering fewer than 400 yards/game and Minnesota’s senior starter QB Mitch Leidner has first-round draft potential and portends to add to a quietly monster career in the B1G (5,118 passing yards, 1,129 rushing yards and 51 total touchdowns.) Sophomore RB Rodney Smith, who put up 600-plus in a shortened season as a backup last year, is also ready for a breakout season.
There’s no reason to think that the Gophers won’t put up 28 by the third quarter boasting 380-plus yards from their offense with the first 36 minutes expired; however, I don’t think there’s much scouting on the offense that OSU’s Anderson has managed to fashion in his second campaign and they should show some flash to keep things well within the spread and give the Beavs some confidence as they head into conference play.
Final Prediction: Minnesota 31, Oregon State 23
UCLA +3 @ Texas A&M
Kyle, I know you and I off the record have a huge love/hate when it comes to chipping in our weekly pittance for UCLA. Too often the Bruins look unbeatable on paper — especially with at least two or three skill players seemingly set for a bronze bust in Canton only to see the product fall apart on the field and wither in the Southern California Indian Summer heat.
And this may well happen once more this year — I just don’t think it’ll happen week 1. And I DEFINITELY don’t think it’ll happen against a Texas A&M team that ultimately will have a transition year with a new offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone whom the Aggies cherry picked from Westwood in January …even if they are at home. (It is important to note: Mazzone is much more into the running game than the Aggies are used to and will have a lot more high school-, for lack of a better term, looking dumps from Trevor Knight to the slot and to the tight end. So, A&M, maybe ultimately to their advantage, won’t be a “big play” offense.)
OK, where was I? Most of the talk around this game (because, let’s face it most of the talk comes east of the Mississippi) is about how much pressure sophomore top-of-the-draft-board Bruin QB Josh Rosen is going to do when he faces the wrath of 100k-plus the Aggies’ Kyle Field.
My answer is, he’s not going to care.
And, no, it’s not because Rosen’s home field in Pasadena holds 90k plus (anyone who’s ever been to a Bruin’s game in the last decade knows the only time the Rose Bowl fills up is for the USC game or the swap meet on Sundays…) but it’s because, frankly, I don’t think Rosen gives a damn regardless of how many borrowed memes the Aggie faithful dredge up and tweet. (Also, Rosen said after 50k fans it doesn’t matter, meaning you can’t hear anything so 100k/200k…plus everyone who’s ever felt like shit after eating Papa John’s — is a moot point.)
The flip side of a rowdy 100k (which they’ll invariably become kickoff Saturday) is a deathly quiet 100k, which if Mora/Rosen’s game plan comes to fruition in the first half, should leave the place half empty or more dulcet than Duncan Dining Hall after a Legionnaires’ breakout Saturday evening.
For A&M, the offense is already lacking its biggest spark plug as Junior WR Speedy Noil will miss the game as he closes out a two-game suspension rolled over from the Music City Bowl last year. Christian Kirk and Ricky Seals Jones should make up for Noil’s absence as they can both stretch the field, but UCLA has the much more seasoned secondary bringing back three returners (juxtaposed with A&M lost both its corners which will be a factor in the second half especially.)
UCLA’s receiving corps on the other hand is not the go-up-and-get-it beasts of the southern wild that Rosen will be throwing to at the next level, but they’re a physical bunch and more than up to the task should Rosen find a way to avoid formidable DE Myles Garrett, who led the SEC with 12.5 sacks last year. This Rosen/Garrett showdown may well be a battle between the top two draft picks next April when they finally get paid to turn their brains into Cream of Wheat. Garrett is complemented by bookend DE Daeshon Hall (seven sacks last year) and those two, if they can penetrate early, should have Rosen wishing for a Calgon moment back in his inflatable dorm hot tub, stat.
The only thing standing in their way is a revamped UCLA O-Line (they lost three starters from last season: Rimington semifinalist Jake Brendel and juniors Caleb Benenoch and Alex Redmond. The Bruins also lost promising true freshman Fred Ulu-Perry to homesickness for the Aloha State. But in their place UCLA has left tackle Conor McDermot who protects Rosen’s blindside and is an absolute monster at 6’8” and is a probable first-rounder. Center Scott Quessenberry, who redshirted last year after two shoulder surgeries, looks game and NFL-ready and UCLA is also dipping into the grad transfer pool PAC-12-style with the addition of graduate transfer Jake Raulerson from Texas who can play center and tackle.
If Rosen can get a little time before Garnett and Hall make their way into the backfield then all of a sudden the crowd goes away, the dumb tweets stop and the Heisman talk starts. I expect UCLA’s re-tooled O-line to outperform somewhat low expectations and the Bruins to keep it exactly within a field goal. A&M gets the home win and a little momentum for what should be a pretty eventful Aggie season, but they’re going to have to earn every inch starting week 1.
Final Prediction: Texas A&M 21, UCLA 18
Last Season Overall: 27 for 43 (.628)
Texas +3.5 vs. Notre Dame
UNC +3 vs. Georgia
FSU -5 vs. Ole Miss
Oklahoma -10.5 @ Houston
Last Season Overall: 26 for 39 (.666) (The number of the Beast!)
USC +11.5 @ Alabama (in Texas – gross.) MONEYLINE!
Oregon State + 14 @ Minnesota
UCLA +3 @ Texas A&M