Thursday, August 22, 2013

Week 1 2013 College Football FBS Game Predictions by SportPundit

Week 1 2013 College Football FBS Game Predictions by SportPundit

As of today, August 22, 2013, the college football season begins in one week! Here are our College Football Predictions for Week 1 2013 relying on YPPSYS, our Yards Per Play System.

Last season we were 628-183 in calling the winner, 365-354-13 against the line and 278-269-1 against the CFPT average computer spread for the ten weeks that we kept track + bowl games.

What makes a good prognosticator? Confidence and/or Accuracy?
And how about keeping all those conference changes straight?

Caveat emptor (Buyer beware): We make this material available in good fun out of interest for the sport of college football. Please do not rely on our material to place bets or wagers of any kind. No one knows the exact outcome of a game or a season before it is played and that is what makes it so interesting. We disclaim any and all liability for the consequences of anyone relying in any way upon our postings, analysis, links or reasoning - for which we make no warranty of accuracy. May the best team win.

Our game predictions for the 1st week of College Football 2012 (Week One) rely in large part on our YPPSYS Preseason College Football Rankings 2013, as based largely on our YPPSYS Final 2012 Rankings, but also involving biased and subjective judgment on our part. YPPSYS means "yards per play system", as that is our main ranking component, based primarily on stats at, but we also use schedule difficulty and conference rankings as based on calculations e.g. at Massey Ratings. At YPPSYS, we regard a difference of one rating point to be worth about 7 points on the scoreboard, a calculation, of course, that is not absolute, given home field advantages, etc. We calculate the home field advantage at an average of about 3 points.

The betting lines ("odds" or "spread") used here are taken from the College Football Prediction Tracker as of Friday, August 16, 2013, 2:42:02 PM. Please be aware that odds change over time, but we do not change them here, using the above time and date as our comparison odds!

The opening week of the 2013-2014 season in NCAA Division I FBS college football in this, the last year of BCS prior to a playoff system in 2014-2015, promises to be a real blockbuster, with numerous great matchups unusually early in the season.

Those matchups could lead to an upset or two, because teams are not fully developed yet and many players still lack the experience they gain later in the season. Moreover, team opponents do not know what to expect in the first game. There can be surprises if the team talent levels are not too imbalanced. As the season wears on, of course, gauging opponents and also game prediction becomes easier based on the track record of previous game results.

In the first week, experience suggests that last year's performance is the most valuable gauge of team strengths and weaknesses (see our year-end Rankings and Ratings). However, also important are media reports about coaches, coaching changes, recruitment, and team and player status, including training injuries. Essential is also a glance at the stats, e.g.

We include links to Division I FBS head coaching changes in our predictions below, because they clearly add an "unknown" but important factor to possible team performance in 2013. Some teams will definitely be better because of head coaching changes, others will be worse. Indeed, one can expect other staff coaching changes at positions such as QB coach, offensive or defensive coordinator, to make a difference at some schools. Look, e.g. at Utah, where the Utes hired Dennis Erickson as co-offensive coordinator, which should make a substantial difference to a team that last year had a terrible offense.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Liberty at Kent State
Our call: 38-14 for Kent State
Paul Haynes has replaced Darrell Hazell, who was hired away from the Golden Flashes by the Purdue Boilermakers. Kent State should win here easily against the crew of Turner Gill, but the Flashes may be weaker this year than last.
North Carolina at South Carolina
The Gamecocks are favored by 11 points.
Our call: 37-21 for South Carolina
Here is how we calculate the projected score based on our YPPSYS system. South Carolina finished the season last year with an YPPSYS rating of -0.3 whereas North Carolina finished the season last year with an YPPSYS rating of -2.2, a rating difference of 1.9 points x 7 = 13.3 points plus the home field advantage = 16.3 points. There are numerous ways to arrive at an approximate predicted score. The average score for all games at Massey Ratings that we took as an approximate gamescore benchmark some years ago  was something like 35-16. That corresponds to an average team which gains ca. 5.4 yards per play on offense and also allows 5.4 yards per play on defense. Last year, South Carolina was 5.7 and 4.6 ypp respectively, for a total of 10.3 ypp (below the average of 10.8 ypp, i.e. 5.4 plus 5.4) and North Carolina was 6.5 and 5.2 ypp respectively on offense and defense, a total of 11.7, i.e. more than the average of 10.8. An average matchup would give 5.4+5.4+5.4+5.4=21.6 ypp total corresponding to an average of 51 points scored. Here the total matchup is thus 5.7+4.6+6.5+5.2=22.0 ypp, suggesting that more points could be scored than 51. According to cfbstats, last year the Gamecocks at home averaged 37.6 points on offense and 13.6 points on defense, whereas the Tar Heels on the road averaged 29.2 points on offense and 25.4 points on defense. Based on all that one picks a typical score close to the expected winning spread.

Presbyterian at Wake Forest
Our call: 49-7 for the Demon Deacons
Last year the Blue Hose were 2-9.

Indiana State at Indiana
Our call: 31-13 for the Hoosiers
Last season the Hoosiers struggled to pull out a 24-17 win over the Sycamores.

UNLV at Minnesota
The Golden Gophers are favored by 14 points.
Our call: 37-17 for Minnesota. 

Tulsa at Bowling Green
The Falcons are favored by 4 points.
Our call: 24-21 for the Golden Hurricane. 

Illinois State at Ball State
Our call: 38-17 for the Cardinals. 

Akron at Central Florida (UCF)
The Knights are favored by 21.5 points.
Our call: 38-14 for the Knights. 

Southern Utah at South Alabama
Our call: 31-14 for the Jaguars  

Towson at Connecticut
Our call: 28-7 for the Huskies

Western Carolina at Middle Tennessee
Our call: 42-14 for the Blue Raiders

Utah State at Utah
The Utes are favored by 2.5 points.
Our call: 31-28 for Utah.
For the Aggies, Matt Wells replaces Gary Andersen, who took over the head coaching job at Wisconsin. Wells has 18 returning starters, including 3rd-year starting quarterback Chuckie Keeton, and expects to win every game this season, so this game against state rival Pac-12 Utah is a good opening test. The Utes were awful last year, going 5-7 and losing to the Aggies on the road 27-20 in overtime in a wild game in which Utah lost its starting quarterback to an injury in the second quarter. Can Utah State do it again on Utah's home turf? We doubt it, given Utah's new co-offensive coordinator, Dennis Erickson, formerly of Arizona State, and winner of two national championships at Miami in 1989 and 1991, who  has helped to install a new up-tempo spread offense to replace the meek offense that marked the Utes last year.

Jackson State at Tulane
Our call: 35-17 for the Green Wave   

Ole Miss at Vanderbilt
The Rebels are favored by 3 points over the Commodores.
Our call: 31-27 for Ole Miss.
Last year the improving Rebels under Hugh Freeze lost to Vandy 27-26 at home. Both teams finished last season with impressive bowl wins over Pittsburgh 38-17 and NC State 38-24, respectively. Our rankings make Pitt 1.1 rating points or 7.7 scoreboard points stronger than the Wolfpack, so we think Ole Miss could win this one.
Sacramento State at San Jose State
Our call: 38-7 for the Spartans.
For the Spartans, who nearly knocked off Stanford last year, Ron Caregher takes over for a very successful Mike MacIntyre, who moved to Colorado after turning a 1-12 program into a 12-2 winner last year.

Rutgers at Fresno State
The Bulldogs are favored by 10 points.
Our call: 27-26 for Rutgers.  
The Bulldogs thrived last year to 9-4 record under then first year head coach Tim DeRuyter, who came from Texas A&M. However, they were dominated by SMU's Margus Hunt and lost post-season 43-10, so nothing is certain, especially against an always rugged Scarlet Knights team that was 9-4 last year and lost by 21 to Pittsburgh, but only by three to Louisville and Virginia Tech and 2 to Kent State. Moreover, Rutgers is moving to the Big Ten in 2014 and the program is on the rise recruiting-wise.

USC at Hawaii
The Trojans are favored by 22.5 points.
Our call: 41-17 for USC
The Trojans always have many talented players.  

Friday, August 30, 2013

Morgan State at Army
Our call: 56-7 for the Black Knights.  

Samford at Georgia State
Our call: 31-24 for Samford.  
The Panthers of Georgia State enter FBS competition and the Sun Belt Conference this year after closing FCS competition last year with a 1-10 record. They have a new head coach in Trent Miles who at Indiana State in 2009 broke the school's 33-game losing streak and in 2010 led the team to a winning record, then topped it all with a 2012 season upset of FCS top-ranked North Dakota State, as the Bison nevertheless ultimately won the FCS in the playoffs. They are unlikely to beat Samford, 7-4 last year, but with a coach like Miles, the team should improve quickly, and improve they must! They play Alabama on October 5.

Western Michigan at Michigan State
The Spartans are favored by 27.5 points.
Our call: 34-14 for Michigan State.   
P.J. Fleck, football veteran and marathon runner, the youngest head coach in FBS and first ever head coach in FBS born in the 1980s, takes the place of Bill Cubit, who was 51-47 for the Broncos over eight seasons, with 3 bowl games, and who has moved on to become the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Illinois.

Florida Atlantic at Miami (FL)
The Hurricanes are favored by 32.5 points.
Our call: 41-24 for the Hurricanes  
Under first-year coach Carl Pelini, the Owls had early season losses by 36 and 33 points to Georgie and Alabama on successive weekends. After one year of substantial program improvement through Pelini's tutelage and the knowledge of Husker football traditions, it seems improbable that the Owls now could lose to the Hurricanes by the current line of 32.5 points.

Texas Tech at Southern Methodist (SMU)
The Red Raiders are favored by 5.5 points.
Our call: 51-44 for Texas Tech. 
After the 43-10 SMU thrashing of Fresno State post-season, this became a much tougher game to call. Former Red Raider quarterback Kliff Kingsbury, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Heisman Trophy winning Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M last season, takes over as Texas Tech head coach for Tommy Tuberville, who is now head coach at Cincinnati. Red Raider freshman QB Davis Webb could get the starting call. Former Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert threw for 2932 yards and 15 TDs and added 8 TDs running last year for SMU. This looks like a scoring duel.

Southern University at Houston
Our call: 61-7 for the Cougars.
The Jaguars lost to New Mexico 66-21 to open last season.   

North Dakota State at Kansas State
Our call: 24-14 for the Wildcats  
The Bison won the NCAA Division I FCS Football Championship last year for the second straight season with a convincing 39-13 win over Sam Houston State, which had lost, e.g. by only 47-28 to Texas A&M in the regular season. The K-State Wildcats lost only two games last year, to Baylor and Oregon 35-17 in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

Northern Arizona at Arizona
Our call: 48-14 for the Wildcats   
The Lumberjacks lost to Arizona State 63-6 to open last season and then won eight straight before losing close games to Southern Utah and Cal Poly.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Elon at Georgia Tech
Our call: 49-7 for the Yellow Jackets  
The Phoenix opened last season with a 62-0 blowout loss to North Carolina and finished the season 3-8, while the Yellow Jackets finished 7-7 after surprisingly beating USC 21-7 in the Hyundai Sun Bowl.

Villanova at Boston College
Our call: 38-7 for the Eagles  
Villanova finished last season 8-4 while the Eagles were 2-10 and hired Steve Addazio, formerly of the Florida 2006 and 2008 national championship coaching staffs, head coaching the last two years at Temple, to take over for Frank Spaziani.

Buffalo at Ohio State
The Buckeyes are favored by 36.5 points.
Our call: 49-7 for the Buckeyes.  
The Bulls were 4-8 in 2012 while the Buckeyes went undefeated 12-0 (with numerous close wins) but were not eligible for a bowl game or for the national championship in Urban Meyer's first season as Ohio State head coach. Arguably, Ohio State should be stronger as a team this year. Buffalo opened last season with a 45-23 loss to Georgia.

Massachusetts at Wisconsin
The Badgers are favored by 54 points on the updated line. The opening line was 45 points.
Our call: 70-7 for Wisconsin.
A very successful Bret Bielema left the Badgers to become head coach at Arkansas, and is replaced by Gary Andersen, whose success at Utah State was remarkable. A betting line this high could be problematical because a coach could choose to play reserves early and not run up the score against a Minuteman team that ranked last of 124 teams in our FBS rankings last year.

William & Mary at West Virginia
Our call: 51-7 for the Mountaineers  
The Tribe was 2-9 last season, while the Mountaineers posted a 7-6 record, losing in the snow 38-14 to Syracuse in the postseason.

Southern Illinois at Illinois
Our call: 41-14 for the Illini
Bill Cubit
, who was 51-47 for the Western Michigan Broncos over eight seasons, with 3 bowl games and a powerful offense, has taken over as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Illinois, and it shows, as Illinois produced 757 total yards in the spring game. The Salukis of Southern Illinois were 6-5 last season, losing 30-14 to Miami of Ohio.

Purdue at Cincinnati
The Bearcats are favored by 10.5 points.
Our call: 31-28 for Cincinnati
A tough opener in which one new head coach will have to lose. The Boilermakers, 6-7 last year with a 58-14 thumping at the hands of Oklahoma State post-season, have Darrell Hazell taking over the reigns at "the Cradle of Quarterbacks". Maybe not as much yet this year, but surely next year, based on Hazell's track record at Kent State, Purdue will surely be a much improved team. Cincinnati, 10-3 last year with a 48-34 win over Duke in the postseason, this year will be led by Tommy Tuberville, who left Texas Tech to replace Butch Jones and interim bowl coach Steve Stripling.

Toledo at Florida
The Gators are favored by 24 points.
Our call: 34-14 for the Gators 
The Rockets closed out 9-4 last year with a 41-15 loss to Utah State postseason. Florida finished the season with only one loss, 17-9 to Georgia, and then was upset 33-23 by Louisville in the postseason bowl. The Gators under defensive guru Muschamp excel at defense but have a weak offense.

Florida International (FIU) at Maryland
The Terrapins are favored by 20 points.
Our call: 24-17 for the Terps 
Ron Turner has replaced Mario Cristobal as the head coach of the Panthers, who enter Conference USA in 2013.

Louisiana Tech at North Carolina State (NC State)
The Wolfpack are favored by 14 points.
Our call: 31-24 for NC State. 
Another tough matchup in which one new head coach will have to lose.
Skip Holtz, who was 16-21 at South Florida the last three years, takes over for Sonny Dykes, who moved to the Cal Bears for the 2013 season, while Dave Doeren of Northern Illinois, 12-2 last year and 12-1 under Doeren, formerly on the coaching staff of Wisconsin, takes over for Tom O'Brien at NC State. 

Rice at Texas A&M
The Aggies are favored by 27.5 points.
Our call: 46-7 for Texas A&M  
The Heisman did "Johnny Football" no favor by awarding him the Trophy last year as a freshman. Texas A&M will perhaps find it difficult to duplicate last year's superior season.  

Colgate at Air Force
Our call: 38-14 for the Falcons. 

Temple at Notre Dame
The Fighting Irish are favored by 30 points.
Our call: 42-10 for Notre Dame  
The Owls will be led by Matt Ruhle, replacing Steve Addazio, who took over the reigns at Boston College.

Central Michigan at Michigan
The Wolverines are favored by 31.5 points.
Our call: 42-17 for the Wolverines.   

Penn State vs. Syracuse at MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ.
The Nittany Lions are favored by 7.5 points.
Our call: 24-23 for the Orange
Doug Marrone, hired away from Syracuse by the NFL Buffalo Bills as head coach, is replaced as head coach this year by Scott Shafer for the Orange, who joined the ACC this year. Shafer has a great defensive mind, so it will be interesting to see the head coaching style.

Mississippi State vs. Oklahoma State
The Cowboys are favored by 12.5 points.
Our call: 38-31 for Oklahoma State

BYU (Brigham Young University) at Virginia
The Cougars are favored by 8 points.
Our call: 28-24 for BYU
Both teams are hard to gauge because of inconsistent play game to game.

Northern Illinois at Iowa
The Hawkeyes are favored by 3 points.
Our call: 31-27 for Iowa  
With Dave Doeren departed to NC State, Rod Carey, offensive coordinator for Northern Illinois last year, takes over the helm for the Huskies. The likelihood that they will be as strong this year as last, even with many returning starters, is small. Iowa is almost always an overachiever, given their material.

Louisiana-Lafayette at Arkansas
The Razorbacks are favored by 10.5 points.
Our call: 41-14 for Arkansas  
Last year's head coach at Wisconsin, Brett Bielema, replaces John L. Smith as head coach. There is no question that the Razorbacks will be vastly improved this year, but no one knows yet whether they can become competitive in the SEC again in such a short span of time.
NC Central at Duke
Our call: 49-14 for Duke   
The Eagles lost to the Blue Devils 54-17 last year.

Nicholls State at Oregon
Our call: 70-0 for the Ducks.  
Mark Helfrich, the previous offensive coordinator, replaces head coach Chip Kelly, who took a job in the NFL as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. Oregon State beat the Nicholls State Eagles 77-3 in the closing season game last year and we rate the Oregon Ducks ca. 10 points better than the Beavers.

Alabama vs. Virginia Tech
The Crimson Tide are favored by 21 points.
Our call: 38-14 for the Crimson Tide  
It has been four years since the Crimson Tide beat the Hokies 34-24 in the season opener in 2009 in the days when Virginia Tech still produced top football teams and finished the year 10-3. Last year Virginia Tech was 7-6, and three of those wins were in overtime. If a BMW is a "beamer" then head Hokie coach's "Beamer Ball" has become an underpowered VW.

Eastern Washington at Oregon State
Our call: 35-28 for the Beavers   
The Eagles are one of the top teams in the FCS. They lost 24-20 to Washington State last season, so Oregon State should win but encounter some stiff opposition here and there under way.

Howard at Eastern Michigan
Our call: 33-24 for the Eagles.
You all know where Howard University is located, right?
How about 2400 6th St NW, Washington D.C., right in the nation's capital.
The Bison of the MEAC were 7-4 last season with a respectable 26-0 loss to 9-4 bowl-bound Rutgers, who we rank 20 points better than the MAC Eagles.

Austin Peay at Tennessee
Our call: 39-7 for the Volunteers
Butch Jones arrives from Cincinnati as the new Vol head coach to try to resurrect a once proud football program that has fallen on hard times. Jones will surely start with a convincing win over the Governors, 2-9 last season, who lost e.g. 42-7 to Virginia Tech.   

Washington State at Auburn
The Tigers are favored by 15.5 points.
Our call: 42-24 for Auburn  
Gus Malzahn replaces Gene Chizik as head coach at Auburn. Malzahn as offensive coordinator led the Tigers and Cam Newton to a 14-0 record and a national championship in 2010 and Malzahn's reinstatement of the "go-go" style of play will produce a team that will have no resemblance to the subsequent struggling, stuttering Chizik-led Tiger teams. How quickly Auburn can rebound under Malzahn is not clear, but rebound Auburn it will a lot by the end of the season, when the Tigers play Alabama on November 30. Saban does not like fast-paced play. Malzahn will surely give him a double dose of it.

At Washington State, Mike Leach is in his second year and the 3-9 team of his initial year improved visibly given the 31-28 upset win over Washington to close out last season. The defense is surely better this year through Mike Breske, formerly of Montana, and Leach is known for installing a dangerous passing offense, so we expect some scoring against Auburn, whose defense will have to develop during the season to keep pace with the progress of the new speed offense.

Based on last year's stats, the two teams would be regarded as virtually even, but under Malzahn last year does not really count.

McNeese State at South Florida
Our call:  31-17 for the Bulls
Willie Taggart comes to USF as the new head coach, formerly head coach at Western Kentucky, and before that assistant to Jim Harbaugh at Stanford.

Kentucky vs. Western Kentucky (in Nashville)
The Hilltoppers are favored by 1 point in the updated line.
Our call: 27-24 for the Hilltoppers   
The Wildcats were favored by 5 in the opening line. The Hilltoppers are coached this year by former Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino, and he has a good base to work on, provided by former head coach Willy Taggart, hired away by South Florida. Taggart moved Western Kentucky from an 0-12 record to two 7-5 winning seasons, including a 32-31 win over the Wildcats last year. Mark Stoops is the new coach at Kentucky, replacing Joker Phillips, whose squad went 2-10 last year. One should not attach too much importance to the winner of this game, unless the score is lopsided. Both teams still have a long way to go in the season and both teams should be improved as they go along.

Murray State at Missouri
Our call:  41-7 for the Tigers
The Racers were 5-6 last season, losing 69-3 to Florida State, while Missouri was 5-7 with a 2-4 record in the SEC East, closing out their season with a 59-29 drubbing at the hands of Texas A&M.  

Old Dominion at East Carolina
Our call:  52-38 for the Pirates
The Monarchs are in FBS transition and this season play as an independent FCS team ineligible for the FCS playoffs. In 2014 Old Dominion joins the FBS in the C-USA. Last year the Monarchs were 11-2, scoring more than 60 points in 3 games, while the Pirates finished 8-5.

Louisiana-Monroe at Oklahoma
The Sooners are favored by 23.5 points.
Our call:  49-24 for Oklahoma.
Oklahoma was 29th nationally in pass defense last year while the Warhawks were 27th in the nation in passing yardage, finishing 8-5 with an overtime win over Arkansas and an overtime loss to Auburn. The Sooners finished 10-3 in a disappointing season, given the expectations, and were blown out by Texas A&M 41-13 in the AT&T Cotton Bowl, in spite of holding possession for nearly 37 minutes, as opposed to 23 minutes for Texas A&M. Not being able to turn that advantage into points might be a problem of timid coaching. The Sooners also lost in the regular season to Kansas State and Notre Dame.

Idaho at North Texas
The Mean Green are favored by 15 points.
Our call:  35-24 for North Texas
Paul Petrino, brother of former Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino, who takes over at Western Kentucky this year, takes over as head coach for the Vandals to replace Robb Akey and interim head coach Jason Gesser.

Miami (OH) at Marshall
The Thundering Herd are favored by 18 points.
Our call: 66-21 for the Thundering Herd
The Thundering Herd were first in the nation in passing yardage per game last year behind the arm of Rakeem Cato and placed in the top 10 nationally in scoring and total offense, but they were ALSO next to last in the number of points given up by the defense in stumbling to a 5-7 year. Nearly the entire defensive staff has been replaced under new defensive coordinator Chuck Heater, whose record includes a stint at Florida under Urban Meyer. When that defense is improved, as it surely will be this year, Marshall will be formidable.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Arkansas State
Our call:  48-14 for the Red Wolves
Bryan Harsin replaces Gus Malzahn and interim John Thompson as head coach.
You have to hand it to the Red Wolves players, who continue producing top seasons under different coaches who have been hired away by more prestigious institutions. 10-3 last year, with a bowl win over a strong Kent State team, two of those losses were to Oregon and Nebraska and a third to vastly improved Western Kentucky. The Golden Lions of Arkansas-Pine Bluff also had a banner season in 2012, going 10-2.

Texas State at Southern Miss
The Golden Eagles are favored by 7.5 points.
Our call: 41-14 for the Golden Eagles
Todd Monken, formerly offensive coordinator, is the new coach of the Golden Eagles, who in one season, incredibly went from 12 wins to a 0-12 record, guided by a one-year massively misplaced defensively minded head coach, so there is nowhere to go but up. The Bobcats were 4-8 under Dennis Franchione. This is a game almost impossible to call because of the many unknowns but Monken thinks Southern Miss can recover quickly from last year, even though three losses are all but assured (in early season road games at Nebraska, Arkansas and Boise State).

UAB at Troy State
The Trojans are favored by 5 points.
Our call:  38-28 for Troy
Wofford at Baylor
Our call:  38-24 for Baylor
The Bears were 8-5 last year, beating UCLA 49-26 in the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl and during the season knocking off then top-ranked Kansas State 52-24 in winning 5 of their last 6 games. The Wofford Terriers come off a 9-4 year in which they lost to South Carolina 24-7. They are ranked 8th in the preseason FCS. Wofford is in transition to the FBS.

Eastern Illinois at San Diego State
Our call: 51-7 for the Aztecs
The Aztecs were 9-4 last year including a 23-6 loss to BYU in the Poinsettia Bowl. The Panthers were 7-5 with a 52-21 loss to Western Michigan.  

Northern Iowa at Iowa State
Our call: 35-21 for the Cyclones
The Panthers were 5-6 with strong games but losses versus Wisconsin 26-21 and Iowa 27-16. The Cyclones were 6-7 with a 31-17 loss to Tulsa in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl after beating Tulsa in the regular season.

Wyoming at Nebraska
The Huskers are favored by 28 points.
Our call: 52-7 for the Cornhuskers
Sports Illustrated leaves the Big Red out of their preseason Top 25, which could be a great mistake. As a Husker alum, we are of course biased for the Cornhuskers, but we can't see Nebraska losing more than two games during the regular season, and they have a good chance to go undefeated if the running game lives up to its potential and the defense plays decently. 

UTSA at New Mexico
The Lobos are favored by 3 points.
Our call: 27-24 for the Roadrunners
The Roadrunners were 8-4 last year under head coach Larry Coker. New Mexico thrived last year by running the ball and was ranked 5th nationally in rushing offense but UTSA ranked 20th nationally in rushing defense. UTSA has the better passing attack.

Georgia at Clemson
The Dogs are favored by 1.5 points.
Our call: 28-21 for Georgia
"Game Day" at ESPN. Both quarterbacks, Tajh Boyd and Aaron Murray, are counted to the ranks of Heisman Trophy contenders. Who will prevail here? The 25-24 win by Clemson over LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl was a shocker to this observer, given the Tigers losses to Florida State and South Carolina in the regular season. Georgia, on the other hand, was a few yards away from beating Alabama.

New Mexico State at Texas
The Longhorns are favored by 42 points.
Our call: 46-7 for Texas 
The weak Texas defense held the Longhorns to a 9-4 record last year.

The Tigers are favored by 4 points.
Our call: 28-21 for LSU.
The Horned Frogs will be improved over last year's 7-6 record, but probably not enough to beat the Tigers.

Nevada at UCLA
The Bruins are favored by 20 points.
Our call: 40-24 for UCLA 
Chris Ault, founder of  the "pistol offense", retired as head coach of the Wolf Pack. The new head coach is Brian Polian. At UCLA, Jim Mora last year brought in a high-tempo style of play and led the Bruins to a 9-5 record, which could improve this year if the defense improves.

Boise State at Washington
The Huskies are favored by 3 points.
Our call:  27-24 for the Broncos
The Broncos had a "down" 11-2 year last season while the Huskies were 7-6.

Northwestern at California
The Wildcats are favored by 6.5 points.
Our call: 31-27 for Northwestern  
Offensive guru Sonny Dykes did such a good job as head coach of the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs that he has been pegged as the new head coach at Cal this season, where the Golden Bears were 3-9 last year. The Wildcats had a very strong 10-3 year, losing to Nebraska by 1, to Penn State by 11, and to Michigan by 7 in overtime, beating Mississippi State 34-20 in the Gator Bowl. Cal nearly beat Ohio State, had an impressive win over UCLA, and then faded into oblivion last year with five straight losses. How they will play this year is anyone's guess.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Ohio at Louisville
The Cardinals are favored by 21 points.
Our call: 30-17 for Louisville.
The Cardinals were 11-2 last season, proving they were for real by knocking off Florida 33-23 in the AllState Sugar Bowl. Ohio started out with a win over Penn State, but was 9-4, fading at regular season end with three straight losses, rebounding to beat LA-Monroe 45-14 in the Independence Bowl.

Colorado vs. Colorado State
The Rams are favored by 2.5 points.
Our call: 31-30 for the Buffaloes. 
Mike MacIntyre moved to Colorado from San Jose State after turning a 1-12 program into a 11-2 winner last year, with losses to Stanford and Utah State. The Buffaloes have a program "in a big hurry" this season and we think they could win this game with a new up-tempo offense concentrated on scoring.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Florida State at Pittsburgh
The Seminoles are favored by 10 points.
Our call: 30-23 for the Seminoles.
The Panthers opened their season last year with a loss to FCS Youngstown State but later lost to Notre Dame only in overtime, then beat Rutgers, only to lose to Ole Miss in the Compass Bowl. Florida State went 11-2 against mostly weak competition, but beat Clemson, and then lost to NC State and Florida, beating Northern Illinois 31-10 in the Discover Orange Bowl.


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