It’s a special day today, as relevant football begins in earnest. With a couple of decent games today and a slate of interesting tilts over the holiday weekend, there’s plenty to choose from. All lines are courtesy of VegasInsider.com.
Miami (+19.5) at Alabama. Bama’s history of blowing teams away in their opening game is well documented. Miami’s recent history of playing terrible after significant time off from a football field is also. Call this a gut feeling. Yeah, Miami has had bravado going into some pivotal games in recent years against highly-ranked teams where they’ve gotten their doors blown off (see Clemson x 2, LSU, UNC), but this just feels a little different. It feels like there are less questions at key positions - quarterback, offensive line, secondary - that we’ve seen in prior games. Bama’s defense will be nasty, but their offense is going through a massive turnover. Bama wins - because, I mean, come on......they have a roster of largely Top 100 recruits and the greatest coach of all time, but Miami covers.
Bowling Green (+37) at Tennessee. Bowling Green is baaaaaaaaad. Bad bad bad. Bottom of the barrel bad, or at least they were last year. And putting down action on them with points is absolutely nuts. But Tennessee lost just about anyone who mattered from last year’s team, with a number of key transfers now appearing on other rosters. They have a new staff and a new gameplan that they’re implementing with a new starting quarterback in Michigan transfer Joe Milton. I’ll believe Tennessee beats anyone by 37 points when I see it.
South Florida at NC State (-19). OK, Pack. If we’re supposed to believe you’ve taken a step forward this year as some predict, then you need to blow the doors off an overmatched South Florida team at home. I don’t know if they do that, but I think they find a way to cover this number.
Ohio State (-14) at Minnesota. The Buckeyes - even with the departure of Justin Fields and Trey Sermon - have way too much offensive firepower for a defense that’s better than last year, but still not capable of slowing the Buckeye offense enough to be able to keep pace.
UNC at Virginia Tech (+6). Spot the Hokies a tuddy at home on a Friday night? UNC hasn’t exactly been a world-beater on the road, and this will be a real challenge for Mack Brown’s squad that is replacing a ton of offensive playmakers. I’ll take the home squad getting significant points in a tight contest almost every time.
Notre Dame (-7.5) at Florida State. While it’s true the Irish lost a lot offensively, I still think their offense holds an edge over the Noles’ defense as far as being physical and controlling the game on the ground. Under 56 seems like a good play for this game, but I think the Irish pull away in the 4th quarter and cover the 7.5.
Georgia (+3) vs. Clemson. I have absolutely no idea who has the edge here, as these are two very talented squads with talented but still unproven QBs. I’ll go with the team getting points.
San Jose St. at USC (-14). Don’t know if I should be big on the Trojans, but I think they start the season off right this weekend. Kedon Slovis and the USC passing attack should be one of the best in the Pac-12, and it’ll show on Saturday.