2016 College Football Odds, Analysis & Free Picks
The 2016 College Football Season officially starts on August 26 with the most loaded opening week of football in a long time.
Last season ended with BAMA claiming the national championship after a 45-40 victory over the Clemson Tigers in the College Football Playoff National Championship. And then came sports’ cruelest offseason: 229 days without anything more than spring football, press conferences and Deflategate.
But, the real start day is Friday, Sept. 2 when Kansas State battles #11 Stanford. Often times the first weekend of college football is for the good teams to show how great they can be. Not so this season.
This season Week 1 could be a virtual bloodbath for teams with their sights set on the College Football Playoff. As many as 15 potentially ranked teams are scheduled to face Power 5 opponents, with three gigantic games turning Sept. 3 into an early New Year’s Day. Keep reading for the top matches during Week 1 of the 2016 College Football Season!
Friday, Sept. 2
Kansas State at #11 Stanford
Kansas State will be prepared to give Stanford all that it can handle. Northwestern upset the Cardinal in their first game last season. Will the Wildcats do the same to Stanford this season? Cardinal RB Christian McCaffrey is a solid Heisman Trophy candidate whom Stanford will try and ride to another Pac 12 Championship.
Saturday, Sept. 3
#3 Oklahoma vs #12 Houston
Houston coach Tom Herman was the offensive coordinator for Oklahoma. He’s turned Houston into a contender for a spot in the CFP. But if Houston doesn’t upset Oklahoma in the first game of the season, forget it. Houston won’t make it to the CFP. Oklahoma could lose this game and still make it to the College Football Playoff because of Houston’s high-ranking.
#6 LSU vs Wisconsin
This game will be played at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Badgers should have a big time home field advantage in this battle. LSU returns 10 starters on defense and top Heisman Trophy candidate RB Leonard Fournette. If QB Brandon Harris has improved at all for LSU, the Tigers should be in the CFP mix, which means beating Wisconsin shouldn’t be too difficult to do.
#24 UCLA at Texas A&M
UCLA coach Jim Mora has compared sophomore QB Josh Rosen to Peyton Manning. Uh…okay. Maybe, Rosen should just concentrate on not getting sacked by A&M defensive ends Daeshon Hall and Myles Garrett. The Aggies’ defense could be one of the best in the nation this season. If UCLA wins this game, Rosen is going to have to be Peyton-like.
#20 North Carolina vs #22 Georgia
There’s a lot of pressure on new Georgia coach Kirby Smart. Smart is the architect of Alabama’s ferocious, run-stopping, defenses. Smart doesn’t have the players at Georgia that he had at Alabama. He does have a great RB in Nick Chubb. North Carolina’s offense is stacked again. This could be the tightest game of the weekend.
#2 Alabama vs #19 USC
This has to be the marquee game of Week 1 in the 2016 College Football Season. It’s impossible to put into perspective how important this game is to USC. If USC were to upset Alabama in what’s essentially a road game, the game takes place at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, it would be a sign that the great and mighty Trojans have finally returned to prominence.
Beating Alabama is going to be tough. USC breaks in a new QB this season while Alabama’s defense could end up being one of the best units in college football history. Alabama’s offense always takes about 2 to 4 weeks to gel each season, meaning that USC’s D could look great at least for a half. I’ll be pulling for USC since I graduated from a Pac 12 school. But, man, Alabama is good!
#1 Clemson at Auburn
It’s always difficult to beat Auburn on the road. Dabo Sweeney isn’t taking this game lightly. Neither is QB Deshaun Watson who in some sportsbooks is at the same odds as Fournette to win the Heisman Trophy. Watson has the tools to be a dynamite player in the NFL. Auburn doesn’t project to be all that good, which is why Clemson is expected to win this battle between the Tigers. If Clemson were to lose, getting back to the College Football Playoff will be tough.