by Matt Fischer
With spring football is full swing across the country, I decided to take an early look at the 2017 college football season.
I’ll preview and predict 13 games of week 1 of the 2017 college football season. If you think you can beat me, you can challenge me now here.
Week 1 is highlighted by some games that’ll have a big impact on the College Football Playoff including Florida St. vs. Alabama in Atlanta, LSU vs. BYU in Houston, Michigan vs. Florida in Arlington, Texas.
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Let’s get to my picks for 2017 college football week 1 :
Ohio State at Indiana
The Buckeyes visit the Hoosiers in a week 1 Big Ten conference game. Urban Meyer’s crew opens as our preseason #2 in our college football power rankings.
The crowd in Bloomington for this Thursday night opener should help the Hoosiers stick around but look for the Buckeyes to pull away for a win in the second half.
Washington at Rutgers
The Huskies will travel across the country for their opener, but Chris Peterson’s team is far superior talent wise and should roll at Rutgers.
Look for Washington to name their score in winning on the road to start the 2017 season.
Florida State vs. Alabama in Atlanta
The big game of opening weekend happens in Atlanta. The Crimson Tide look to start another season that ends with a trip to the College Football Playoff.
The ‘Noles look to get back in the title hunt. Are they ready for the big stage?
When Nick Saban has an offseason to prepare it usually means doom for the opposition. ‘Bama is our preseason #1, while the Noles are 14th.
The Tide wins by double digits.
Virginia Tech vs. West Virginia in Landover, MD
An intriguing match-up in week 1. The 15th ranked Hokies and 21st ranked Mountaineers face-off in a neutral site game.
This game should be high scoring. Justin Fuente’s team turned the corner late in his first year with VA Tech. Look for his Hokies to win week 1.
NC State vs. South Carolina in Charlotte
Will Muschamp starts his second season at South Carolina with a tough test. Being a SEC team, they should be ready for all comers. Is the Wolfpack ready to move forward and win close games? They had the opportunity last year to win some high games but came up short.
I see this game coming down to the wire and being decided by a Field Goal late. I think South Carolina can capitalize on the winning four out of their last five and can pull the upset here.
Colorado State vs. Colorado in Denver
The Buffs come off a breakout season that saw them win 10 games. They’re ranked 34th in our preseason rankings.
The Rams are looking for revenge after losing this game 44-7 a year ago. They’re 60th in our rankings this week.
BYU vs. LSU in Houston
Ed Orgeron had his interim title removed in the offseason and he’s official the head man at LSU. Gone is Leonard Fournette to the NFL but this roster is still stacked. We have them ranked 9th to open 27.
BYU was very competitive last season and will look to bring that to 2017. They were in every game they lost last year so look for them to be in this game until the end.
LSU is too talented but this one is going to be close. Look for the Tigers to win by less than a touchdown.
Florida vs. Michigan in Arlington, TX
A huge match-up for the Big Ten and SEC. Jim Harbaugh’s team enters with big expectations for 2017. The Wolverines enter the year ranked 3rd and the Gators 19th.
Jim McElwain will have his Gators ready for this game. Jim Harbaugh wants to beat the SEC to start the season. This will be a close battle for four quarters. I think it’s a low scoring game and the Wolverine win by a FG.
Texas A&M at UCLA
This is a rematch of last year’s opener that saw the Aggies win by 7. The Bruins went on to struggle all season losing 6 of their final 7.
The question for 2017 is can Josh Rosen make the difference? After an injury last season that led to an Bruins’ offensive sputter, will Rosen make them contenders?
A&M has several new starters on both sides of the ball making this a tough game to predict. A&M I think has the talent but I look for Rosen to lead a game winning drive to give the Bruins a 3 point win.
Temple at Notre Dame
Notre Dame looks to rebound from a season that some thought might cost Brian Kelly his job. They’ll break in a new signal caller against the Owls.
Temple has a new coach after Matt Rhule left for Baylor. They’re experienced but will have a new starting QB for 2017.
The Irish have superior talent and are at home. That should be the difference in a tight game.
Maryland at Texas
The question in Austin is how will Shane Buechele perform under new head coach Tom Herman? Herman proved he could win right away at Houston. Will he do the same at Texas?
Maryland comes off a bowl appearance and seems to be an improving program. They’ll be starting a new QB in 2017.
I think Herman takes advantage of the talent he has in Austin and wins by at least two touchdowns.
California at North Carolina
Larry Fedora has built a solid program at UNC. He’ll have to break in several new skill positions starters. The defense should be able to keep the team in games early in the season as the offense gels.
Cal has turned the program over to defensive minded Justin Wilcox. That’ll be quite an adjustment from the Sonny Dykes era.
North Carolina win this low scoring game.
Tennessee vs. Georgia Tech in Atlanta
This SEC vs. ACC showdown closes out opening weekend on Monday night. Tennessee comes off of a disappointing season.
Joshua Dobbs is gone for the Vols so they’ll have a QB battle. Brad Hoke was brought in to coach the D-Line. He’ll get a good test against the option attack of the Yellow Jackets.
Will Georgia Tech be able to balance the option with a passing game? Tennessee should be loading up to stop the run so the Yellow Jackets will need to hit some throws over the defense to win.
Butch Jones must win this game. A loss and the search for his replacement begins. Tennessee wins a close one.
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