Monday, August 31, 2015

College Football 2015 Week One: Games of the Week

Welcome to the first full week of the 2015 College Football season. Every week, we will take a look at the best possible matchups in the upcoming slate of games, and discuss what their impacts could potentially be for the teams involved in both FBS and FCS football.
Of course, last weekend was the official kickoff of the FCS slate with the amazing FCS Kickoff Classic, where the Montana Grizzlies overcame a 14.5 point spread as the dog and upset four time champ North Dakota State. If this week's slate can even get close to matching that great game, then we're in for quite a ride.
Here are our games of the week:


TCU at Minnesota
Sure, TCU blasted Minnesota in Fort Worth last fall, but the Gophers are a better team heading into the 2015 season, and have a real shot at winning the Big Ten West. That being the case, TCU has to come into Minneapolis and crush the Gophers once again, because the rest of their non-con slate is weak as vanilla pudding.
Our Pick: TCU

Villanova at U Conn
Here is our first real shot at what would be an FCS upset win over an FBS opponent. The Huskies are absolutely one of the worst teams in the country right now, and the Wildcats are an FCS power looking for a title run. Look out for the upset in East Hartford.
Our Pick: Villanova

Western Kentucky at Vanderbilt
Vandy was supposed to clean up on Temple last season in their opener, and the Hilltoppers are a much better football team than Temple was then. Look for WKU to go to the air quicky with 2014 leading passer Brandon Doughty leading the Toppers to an upset over an SEC team on the road and cement their path to a double digit win season.
Our Pick: Western Kentucky

Michigan at Utah
It's the debut of the Jim Harbaugh show at Ann Arbor, but a road opener awaits in hostile Salt Lake City. The Utes handled the Wolverines last season, but we're looking for signs of improvement early on from UM. The Utes should still be clearly favored, but the Wolverines need to make a show of it.
Our Pick: Utah

New Hampshire at San Jose State
UNH is looking to make it Colonial Athletic Association 2, FBS schools 0 in this long road trip to play an undermanned Spartan club. UNH, like Villanova, is a likely playoff contender, and a win here would not be unusual.
Our Pick: New Hampshire

Kennesaw State at East Tennessee State
We are looking at this game from a different perspective other than a landscape changer. Both programs are starting fresh, and will both be playing their first games. This should be an interesting show put on by two infantile programs.
Our Pick: East Tennessee State

North Greenville at Charleston Southern
CSU broke through last fall in a big way, and they could be every bit as good or better in 2015, but they cannot ignore the threat posed by rising D2 power North Greenville, as the Crusaders could rain on the Buccaneers opening parade.
Our Pick: Charleston Southern


Michigan State at Western Michigan
It would be very easy for the Spartans to go on the road and look past the Broncos, but that would be very bad for the Spartans to do. Look for WMU to keep it interesting early before Sparty pulls away late.
Our Pick: Michigan State

Washington at Boise State
The only thing interesting to me about this game is how badly the Broncos could beat the Huskies at home Friday night, but everyone else is all hyped up about Chris Petersen coming home. He may regret doing so when this one is all over.
Our Pick: Boise State

Jacksonville at Delaware
JU is on a one year postseason ban, so every game is like a playoff date to them. Senior QB Kade Bell is special, and Delaware isn't who they once were. JU is still looking for a major win against an FCS power league...could this be it?
Our Pick: Delaware


Illinois State at Iowa
Looking for another huge upset pick? Look no further than this Saturday early thriller as the FCS runner-ups travel to Iowa City to take on the vulnerable Hawkeyes. Iowa probably thinks they should win this by just showing up, and that would be their worst mistake. All the Redbirds need are a few early breaks, and it's upset city.
Our Pick: Illinois State

South Dakota State at Kansas
SDSU is one of the best of the FCS, and Kansas is one of the absolute worst in FBS football. Kansas also loves losing to FCS teams early in the season, so here's what could be Missouri Valley Conference 2, FBS 0.
Our Pick: South Dakota State

Youngstown State at Pittsburgh
The Penguins will be yet one more MVC team looking for an upset, and Pitt is starting a new era with Pat Narduzzi at the helm. We like Narduzzi quite a bit, but Pitt is vulnerable here.
Our Pick: Youngstown State

BYU at Nebraska
The Cougars are coming back with Taysom Hill, quite possibly the most dynamic QB in the country, and the Huskers begin the Mike Riley era. The Huskers defense will have one heck of a time handling Hill in this one.
Our Pick: BYU

Arizona State vs. Texas A&M at Arlington, TX
The Sun Devils are getting a ton of love from the press, but I find them overrated. Texas A&M was expected to fall flat last season, and blew out South Carolina on the road last fall. This is virtually an Aggie home game. Expect fireworks, but A&M looks stronger.
Our Pick: Texas A&M

Texas at Notre Dame
The Longhorns will be tested on the road against Notre Dame, who bettors in Las Vegas are considering one of the most overvalued teams in the nation this fall. Malik Zaire will start against Tyrone Swoopes, and we'll get to see two young QBs who have a ton of pressure riding on their shoulders.
Our Pick: Notre Dame

Wisconsin vs. Alabama
Both teams have more questions than answers, so this will be a measuring stick on what we can expect from either side. I see a war coming in this game, but Alabama may still be Alabama to some measure here.
Our Pick: Alabama

Northern Iowa at Iowa State
The Panthers are looking to pick up yet another MVC win against the FBS. The Cyclones are a mess right now, so this is more likely than not.
Our Pick: Northern Iowa

Jacksonville State at Chattnooga
This kickoff pits the favorite from the OVC against the favorite of the SoCon. This could be a game that could be repeated in the FCS playoffs later this fall. Expect a great preview.
Our Pick: Jacksonville State


Ohio State at Virginia Tech
Ohio State's only loss was an inexplicable fail at home against the Hokies last fall. The Buckeyes are looking for revenge and a perfect season. The Hokies likely will have to play over their heads to win this game at Lane Stadium, but that's what they did a year ago.
Our Pick: Ohio State

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