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The Big E College Football Picks: Week 1

College GameDay is at Jerry World this weekend.

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports


I'm excited, you're excited, everyone is excited. Football is back! Well, by the time you read this some real college football will already have been played. Now we look toward the big opening weekend full of wonderful awesomeness.


Remember, NDZibby is the defending champ so take aim. Now to this week's picks...

*Remember I don't talk about the games with no spread due to FCS teams but we all still have to pick them.

No. 5 Michigan State (-17) at Western Michigan

Pick: Michigan State

Only 17 points for the Spartans against a MAC team seems like nothing. But P.J. Fleck's gonna row that boat and the Broncos will be frisky. WMU is definitely getting a lot of respect as the home team (one of a number of super weird games with major teams visiting small schools) and need 4 strong quarters to hang with a title contender.

No. 4 Baylor (-36) at SMU

Pick: Baylor

Can Chad Morris fix the SMU so quickly where they'd be able to cover against Baylor in his first game. Remember, the Mustangs averaged 11.1 points per game last year. 133 points all season!

Washington (+12) at No. 23 Boise State

Pick: Washington

Boise State should out-class Washington at most positions (probably not what Husky fans were imagining when Petersen was hired) but an entire off-season to prepare makes this closer than the two teams relative strengths. Plus, Petersen probably gets a magic moment or two in his return home.

No. 21 Stanford (-11.5) at Northwestern

Pick: Northwestern

Stanford traveling back east for their opener is intriguing. I'm more focused on their defense, though. I think we'll see a little closer game than expected and some mild success for the Wildcats by whomever starts at quarterback.

Louisiana-Monroe (+33.5) at No. 9 Georgia

Pick: ULM

Monroe has athletes and really needs to improve things on offense in 2015. Defensively things are looking pretty good for the Warhawks and Georgia's selection at quarterback has me thinking they'll run the ball 95% of the time (or thereabouts), shorten the game, and not quite cover.

BYU (+7) at Nebraska

Pick: BYU

Oh! The rare non-Notre Dame non-ranked independent game that pops in our league totally worth talking about. I've got red flags all over this with the Huskers being such a large favorite. I think these two are a lot closer as programs right now, plus NU is breaking in a new coach.

Virginia (+20) at No. 13 UCLA

Pick: UCLA

We'll spend most of next week annoyed at the Josh Rosen Heisman campaign after he throws for 4 touchdowns and the Bruins easily dispatch the Cavaliers inside the Rose Bowl.

UTEP (+33) at No. 18 Arkansas

Pick: UTEP

The Hogs lost one of their two dynamic running backs before the season and don't have a hugely dynamic passing game. Also, UTEP shouldn't be awful. I'm taking the points.

Louisville (+10) at No. 6 Auburn [Georgia Dome]

Pick: Auburn

I've fretted over this game for a number of weeks. I truly feel like Louisville has enough talent to win this outright. Then I think about Coach Boom taking command of the Auburn defense and I don't feel so great about those prospects anymore. Petrino can call a great game but he'll need more from his quarterbacks in this one.

Bowling Green (+21.5) at No. 25 Tennessee [Nissan Stadium]

Pick: Bowling Green

The Falcons are a favorite in the MAC and should have an explosive offense. They also get the benefit of not having to play inside Neyland Stadium. The Vols should not have much trouble scoring, though. Still, this is a lot of points for a possibly overrated pre-season team against a top 50-ish opponent.

Akron (+31.5) at No. 19 Oklahoma

Pick: Oklahoma

The Zips were frisky last year (beat Pitt, lol) but do have to replace quite a bit on defense. The Sooners are known for jacking up some opponents early in the year and with a new offense I expect plenty of fireworks.

No. 15 Arizona State (+3.5) at Texas A&M [NRG Stadium]

Pick: Arizona State

Someone try to convince me why the Aggies are favored in this game. This line has been around here for months and it makes no sense to me.

Texas (+9.5) at No. 11 Notre Dame

Pick: Notre Dame

I've got the Irish just barely covering.

Texas State (+28.5) at No. 10 Florida State

Pick: Florida State

Prepare yourself for disparaging comments on the strength of Texas State because Golson is about to light them up. That should be a theme for a few weeks at least. "He hasn't played anybody big deal!"

No. 20 Wisconsin (+10.5) at No. 3 Alabama [AT&T Stadium]

Pick: Alabama

The uncertainty at quarterback for Alabama is an issue. Potentially a major issue when trying to beat a ranked team by double digits. My God, am I putting faith in Lane Kiffin here!?!?

Arkansas State (+27) at No. 8 USC

Pick: USC

The Red Wolves can give up points in bunches. Not good when facing Kessler, Jackson, and JuJu.

No. 1 Ohio State (-13) at Virginia Tech

Pick: Virginia Tech