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Week 1 College Football Predictions & Friday Night Open Thread

[Editor - this was done earlier, but I got caught up in saving the world from bad data backups. Sorry, the world took precedence. Right now Baylor is giving TCU a much better fight than you thought, so consider this a Friday night open thread... for those of us who don't have a real life whose lives revolve around college football.... ]

Week 1

Husker Mike: In the past, we've picked every game...but there are so many games off the board and so many mismatches, why bother.  So I'm excluding games against teams that no Husker fan cares about.

Jon: Hey! How could we forget Texas A&M vs SMU? That game will show just how much the Big 12 should drop in prestige after the Aggies beat the snot out of the Mustangs, given that A&M is leaving the conference and SMU will most likely join.

Minnesota (+23) at Southern Cal

Aaron: I think Jerry Kill will improve the Minnesota program over time, but I'm not ready to jump on the Gophers bandwagon yet. They might beat that 23-point spread but I'm going with USC. Talk about under the radar. Because they aren't eligible for the post season, most people have completely written them off. I the the PAC-12's south representative will be the second place team behind USC.

Mike: This is game one of the Gopher era, and while Kill should help, expecting a marked change in game one is probably expecting too much.  Trojans 42, Goofers 17

Jon: Tim Brewster said he'd take Minnesota to Pasadena and Jerry Kill does it in his very first game. Irony? No. Minnesota has already improved. USC didn't play well in this game last year, winning 36-21. Kill is trying to get the Gophers to play tough, so it's a good first test for them. They won't have the depth to keep it going, but I don't expect a blowout. Trojans 36, Gophers 17

Andy: Um, the Gophers suck. And Jerry Kill and a mobile QB aren't turning the tide anytime soon. USC 52 Minny 17

JLew: Of course Kill will improve them over time, they have no where to go but up. Still first games are rough. As much as I'd like to see USC go down to our new B1G brethren, I don't think that'll happen, but I think the spread is too large. Minn 17 U$C 35

Oregon (-3) vs LSU at Jerry World, Dallas

Jon: So many body bag games to start the season, and you end up with this game and the Boise St - Georgia game on at the same time, 7:00 Saturday night. I don't get it. I also don't get a guy who's the starting quarterback on a national title contender being anywhere near a bar right before the season opener - what an idiot.

LSU has the nation's longest non-conference winning streak at 33 games, dating back to 2002. It's still LSU's defense against Oregon's offense so expect a game in the 20s. Can LSU's offense score, say, 24 points? I don't think so. Oregon 27, LSU 21.

Aaron: This should be a good one. I'm not buying into the LSU hype yet. To me they were the SEC's "Michigan State" last year. I'm going with the Ducks and I think it will be a lot more than the three point spread.

Mike: Jon's right...this one should be on Sunday or Monday night. I think Oregon wins this one by double digits.  Oregon 35, LSU 21

Andy: In the land of Pac 12 vs. SEC, I'll start by giving the SEC team 10 points. And, not that it's long enough to be a trend, but Chip Kelly's teams have struggled early in seasons against non-fluff opponents. 2009 started w/ a loss to Boise and tight wins against Purdue & Utah. 2010 had them struggling early with a useless Tennessee squad and a close win against a so-so ASU team. LSU is better than any of these guys and has the team speed to ground the spread.
LSU 31 Ducks 17

JLew: It's been fun to watch these 2 teams go back and forth to see which team can get the most players suspended or in trouble, both giving the old college try and all that. Now for the game you have the speed of the Duck offense against LSU, which is from the SEC, which means they are awesome, why? Because SEC that's why. I don't buy it. LSU 38 Oregon 42

Northwestern (+3) at Boston College

Aaron: This will be my first upset pick. Last I checked (which was about a week ago) Dan Persa wasn't officially cleared to play, but I'm going to assume he will. Northwestern should be able to handle jBC.

Mike: Even if Persa plays, he'll be a shadow of his former self.  An Achilles injury takes more than a year to recover from, and even then, players rarely completely return to pre-injury performance. All you have to do is look at what happened to Northwestern after Persa's injury last season. BC 31, NW (we'll spare you the j, but you are NWu) 17

Jon: BC has the defense to keep Northwestern from scoring much, and that's the key to this game. If NWu (that's what we'll go with on CN for Northwestern) can't play better defense against the run than they did last year, the Eagles should win a close fought game. Which would you pick in a fight, an Eagle or a Wildcat? I'm going with the Eagle. BC 21, NWu 17

Andy: If there's nothing else on, I'll watch it, but I won't really give a shit. However, Persa's availability is key. Persa NW 27 BC 21, Persa-less NW 13 BC 27

JLew: I don't like what I'm hearing about this injury, I like Jon's pick.  BC 23, NWu 17

BYU (-3) at Ole Miss

Aaron: BYU. This is a toss up to me. There will be a lot of excitement around the program because of it's first year of independence and the possibility of joining the Big XII. Will it spread over to the football team?

Mike:  Big XII talk is more of a distraction than anything.  Sometimes you feel like a Nutt, sometimes you don't.  Ole Miss 28, BYU 17

Jon: It's the first-ever meeting between these two schools. Ole Miss returns their top four rushers,  their top three receivers, and all five offensive line starters but has another first-year starter at quarterback. Can Houston Nutt screw that up? Possibly, because BYU will score and they'll have just enough defense to win. BYU 24, Ole Miss 20
Andy: Jim McMahon ain't comin' through that door! Robbie Bosco ain't comin' through that door! And those plucky Mormons are about to get their ass handed to them by a team that went 4-8 last year. Even with Houston's Nutts dangling on the Rebel sideline.
Ole Miss 41 BYU 27

JLew: Ahhhh Nutt jokes never stop being funny. It'll be sad when he leaves us much like when Mangino left Kansas, a dark day indeed. Hmmm I know nothing about BYU, other than Mormons, and that Mormon girls are supposed to be smoking hot. What, Ole Miss is from the SEC? Well then they'll roll to an easy victory. Why? Because SEC. Ole Miss 28 BYU 24

Boise State (-3) vs. Georgia at Georgia Dome, Atlanta

Aaron: Boise State. This one will be close up until halftime, but I think the Broncos pull away in the second half.

Mike:  Let's not forget that Georgia went 6-7 last season. Boise will get an SEC pelt though it's really a home game for the Dawgs.  Boise 27, Georgia 13

Jon: Georgia's quarterback Aaron Murray was a first-year starter last season so should improve a lot this season, but the Bulldogs are going against a sixth-year senior quarterback (Kellen Moore) and a very experienced offensive line.

Interesting note - first time Georgia has played a regular season game in a domed stadium since 1967. I know Georgia is putting a lot of hope in this game, but I hope they're not expecting it to make or break their season. Broncos 31, Bulldogs 21

Andy: Georgia's already been through this in 2005, the 1st of what seems like a 100 straight years of "Boise WILL shock the world!!!" talk and every talking head gamely declaring that Boise would storm into Athens on the heels of of their OU Fiesta Bowl shocker and rock the Dawgs. Halftime: UGA 24 BSU 0, End of 3rd: UGA 45 BSU 7, hello scrubs. The last two season openers, Boise caught Oregon sleeping and nicked VaTech a week before James Madison did the same.
Georgia finished strong after a horrid start and this will be played in front of SEC fans, not a bunch of genteel Virginia pansies. Georgia 35 Boise 26. And if Boise wins, I drink myself to the vomit horizon.

JLew: I don't like Boise St. Can we have a new underdog team? Not TCU we had them last year as well. You know what if NU can't win all it's games I want every other good to team to lose. Oh and I think Andy should do a running diary of this game, I want to see the approach of the vomit horizon. Boise 37 Uga 21

Colorado (+7) at Hawai'i

Aaron: Colorado has a football team? I thought they stopped playing after the Nebraska game last year. I think the buffaloes will score a few upsets this year. This will be one of them. Colorado over Hawaii.

Mike: Anything  is an improvement over Dan Hawkins...but Hawai'i is one heck of a road trip. And frankly, I haven't seen much of anything out of the Buffs to suggest they can win this one.  Hawai'i 38, Buffies 20

Jon: It's on very late, so I'll probably watch it. Everything about Colorado says it will take them years to get their program straight and Hawaii (however you spell it) is a tough road trip. Hawaii 36, Colorado 17

Andy: Don't the Buffs always find a way to gag something like this? Maybe not this time. The Buffs pull one out in the islands and unleash false hope in Boulder before finishing 4-8.  
Buffs 33 Rainbow Warriors 30

JLew: I think Colorado should get the cob of the week.... wait? Which article am I on? Crud. CU 28 UH (or is it HU? no I will not google it, my mouse is waaay over there and it's friday) 38

Tennessee-Chattanooga (NL) at Nebraska

Aaron: I'll be at this one. It will be interesting to see the new offense and how the new players on defense perform. Nebraska big over UT-Chattanooga 48-10.

Mike: 1-AA opponent..albeit a solid one, but the result should be the same.  Huskers 56, Mocs 10

Jon: The Huskers will play a gob of new players, so I don't expect the high scores Aaron and Mike are predicting. I'd expect something in the range of Nebraska winning 38-3 as I don't expect us to give up a cheap touchdown during the game.

Andy: Pain.

JLew: I love not debating about whether to buy this on PPV or not, ultimately to and being pissed at half because the game as gotten ridiculous. Huskers 41 Mocs 10