Tulsa @ #18 Michigan State – 23.5 o47.5 Friday 7:00PM FS1
Last season the Spartans were ranked No. 1 in the country against the run and are returning two standouts, Kenny Willekes and Raequan Williams on their defensive line. There is cause for concern on offense, as MSU only scored 32 points in their final four games. East Lansing has also been home to victories in 20 straight home-openers. Last season’s Golden Hurricane defense ranked No. 8 against the pass, and MSU QB Brian Lewerke returns after throwing only 8 TDs and 11 INTs last season.
Pick: Michigan State UNDER 47.5
Score: MSU 27 Tulsa 13
“Lewerke has something to prove but can be hit or miss. Too risky against a school that usually plays well against the pass. The Spartans defense will suffocate the Tulsa ground game, and make it very unlikely the Golden Hurricanes have time to pass while MSU loads up the box.”
Duke @ #2 Alabama -33.5 o57 Saturday 3:30PM ABC
Saban and company have won every home opener since he arrived on campus. QB Tua Tagovailoa returns to helm offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian’s offense. Defensive leader LB Dylan Moses is out for the year. Duke graduated QB Daniel Jones to the NFL after last season, and they return 8 starters from a suspect defense.
Pick: Alabama -33.5
Score: Alabama 48 Duke 10
“Saban’s team heads into the year ranked below rival Clemson. The team has a chip on it’s shoulder and an improved Tua will light it up with Sarkisian calling the plays. Duke is breaking in a new QB and doesn’t stand a chance against the depth of the Tide’s defense.”
#11 Oregon @ #16 Auburn -4 o55 Saturday 7:30PM ABC
Ducks coach Mario Cristibal is bringing his SEC background to the Pac 12. In his second season at the helm, he is building his team just as Alabama and Clemson have, up front with the “big nasties” on both offense and defense. The Ducks return QB and potential NFL top draft-pick Justin Herbert. Auburn will start true freshman QB Bo Nix behind an offensive line comprised of five, fifth-year starters.
Pick: Oregon -4; OVER 55
Score: Oregon 37 Auburn 23
“Auburn HC Gus Malzahn is on the hot seat after an 8-5 record last year. Cristobal has everything in place and is ready to show the entire nation why Oregon will now be considered “SEC West”. Herbert will move the chains consistently, as the Ducks defense give’s Auburn’s Nix his welcome to college football moment.”
Middle Tenn. @ #7 Michigan -34.5 o54 Saturday 7:30PM BTN
Michigan Offensive Coordinator Josh Gattis has revamped the Wolverines’ offense, bringing a hurry-up, no-huddle scheme with him from Alabama. UM is set to show they are worth the hype, and hope to make a statement that they are the favorites to win the Big Ten this year. QB Shea Patterson returns and has a trio of talented receivers to get the ball to. The only real question marks for the Wolverines are in the backfield, and if Harbaugh can finally get his team over the hump.
Pick: Michigan -34.5
Score: Michigan 48 Middle Tenn. 12
“Middle Tenn. won’t cross the goal-line against a dominant Michigan defense, and will have to settle for, four field goals. QB Shea Patterson will dazzle in a similar offense to the one he ran at Ole Miss. Harbaugh will spike his headset because of a botched play call that wastes a timeout in the third quarter. ” #GoBlue!
La. Tech @ #10 Texas -20.5 o55 Saturday 8:00PM LHN
After upsetting Georgia in the Sugar Bowl last season, Texas made a statement that the Longhorns are back. This warm up against the Bulldogs is just what they need after losing their opener to Maryland the past two seasons. Texas QB Sam Ehlinger is the “new” Tim Tebow BUT he can pass.
Pick: Longhorns -20.5
Score: Texas 49 La. Tech 27
“Ehlinger had his coming-out-party against Georgia during last year’s bowl season. Look for him to enter the Heisman conversation this year as his play brings back memories of Vince Young and that Rose Bowl Texas team that beat USC for the national championship in 2005.”
Header Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated