Another football season, another year of weekly picks. For the last few years, this has been a staff-only exercise on my end, simply because of time constraints. However, this season we’re opening the picks back up to all folks who wants to participate. Here’s how it’ll work.
- Each week the staff will make their picks, and they’ll appear in a post like this one.
- Any readers who want to participate will pick the same games, and leave their picks in the comments.
- I’ll have a running google sheet with the weekly results (if I could get a reader volunteer to help maintain that spreadsheet, that would be lovely), that everyone can view - so we keep track of who picks who.
- Every week, an updated standings will be posted at the top of the picks article.
So, if you want to show us how good you are at picking winners, drop your picks in the comments below! And here. we. go.
Big 12 Games
Oklahoma State vs. Missouri State (Thursday, 7pm, FS1)
Jamie Plunkett: Oklahoma State 63, Missouri State 10 - The Cowboys are known for unloading on weak opponents early in the season, and this shouldn’t be any different.
Melissa Triebwasser: Oklahoma State 52, Missouri State 13 - I think Gundy is going to come out and try and make a statement behind his new/old QB, and they’ll pour it on early and often.
Grant McGalliard: Oklahoma State 45, Missouri State 7 - Missouri State went 3-8 in the FCS last year and gave up at least 20 points in every game. Good luck, Bears!
Parker Fleming: Oklahoma State 70, Missouri State 13 - Missouri State is a baseball school.
Dean Straka: Oklahoma State 55, Missouri State 10 - If Gundy is going to experiment with the Taylor Cornelius-led offense, this is the game to do it. Even if there are hiccups, the talent mismatch between the Pokes and Bears is too much for a Central Michigan-esque miracle in Stillwater.
Chris Conaty: Oklahoma State 49, Missouri State 10 - The post-Rudolph era gets off to a slow start early in the game but before soon the talented WRs and Justice Hill get things going for the Cowboys.
Mason BDchrEene: Oklahoma State 42, Missouri State - I think we’re going to see a lot of running from the pokes this year in a year without Washington and Rudolph, so I don’t expect them to drop a 50 burger here. Then again, I’ve been wrong before...all hail the Gundy Mullet.
Deanna Rust: Oklahoma State 58, Missouri State 10- Meh, the Cowboys will cowboy. But Missouri State will manage a touchdown and a field goal at some point.
No. 7 Oklahoma vs. Florida Atlantic (11am, FOX)
Jamie Plunkett: Oklahoma 42, FAU 39 - A missed FG late keeps Florida Atlantic from sending the game to overtime, and Sooner fans breathe a sigh of relief, as they turn their sights to UCLA.
Melissa Triebwasser: Oklahoma 48, FAU 42 - LANE TRAIN BABY! I have a feeling ol’ Kiffy is going to have his Owls ready, and they’ll give the Sooners (and that Sooners ‘defense’) all they can handle. But Murray will make it happen late with a long run to seal the win.
Grant McGalliard: Oklahoma 49, FAU 35 - Lane Kiffin and the Owls lead at the half. Twitter burns. I ascend to a higher plane of existence. Oklahoma wins by two touchdowns anyway.
Parker Fleming: FAU 52, OU 49 - Why not? The Owls bring a ton of talent to the field, and although it took them a few weeks to hit their stride, they certainly hit that stride. The Owls bring back 72% of last year’s production to OU’s 53%, and the Owls have had the Sooners on the bulletin board since last October.
Dean Straka: Oklahoma 48, FAU 38 -- Lane Kiffin, Lincoln Riley and Gus Johnson all in the same building? Sign me up. This will be an intriguing one as Kyler Murray plays in his first full game as Oklahoma’s starting quarterback, and you better believe the Owls are amped up for the challenge that lies in front of them. This one is close for three quarters, but the Sooners’ firepower is just too much for FAU to overcome. Riley & Co. pull away late for a 10-point victory.
Chris Conaty: Oklahoma 45, FAU 27 - No doubt this will be a tough test for the Sooners and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Owls get out to an early lead. However, Rodney Anderson will steal the show and keep Oklahoma from being upset by Lane Kiffin and co.
Mason Chreene: Oklahoma 44, FAU 37 - *Grabs car keys, pokes large hole in red bull can, pours out half of the red bull, pours in titos, proceeds to shotgun the contents of said redbull can*
LAAAANE TRAIN COMING OFF THE RAILS THIS YEAR!!! This game is really close for about 3 quarters and then Kyler Murray uses his elite speed to outrun all of the FAU defenders, but I’m so tempted to drop the “the superior coach lost” gem here...but the superior coach is going to lose here.
Deanna Rust: Oklahoma 49, Florida Atlantic 27- I actually like Kyler Murray, and I’m curious to see how he leads the team, since Mayfield virtually carried them on his back last season and forced things to happen on the field (when he wasn’t grabbing his junk and cursing in front of children). Oklahoma will win this one, but I think it will tell us a lot about what to expect from them this year offensively.
No. 16 TCU vs. Southern (11am, Fox Sports Southwest)
Jamie Plunkett: TCU 56, Southern 3 - The Frogs will unload on Southern, simply by running their offense. If the Frogs want to get meaningful snaps for both Robinson and Collins, the result will likely be a ton of points on the board against a Southern defense that will be overwhelmed.
Melissa Triebwasser: TCU 42, Southern 17 - With both QBs expected to play early, there might be some wringing of hands in the first half of Saturday’s opener. But the Frogs are a better team and should have plenty of breathing room by the middle of the third.
Grant McGalliard: TCU 56, Southern 10 - This is not me being particularly high on TCU. But the Frogs typically handle these opening FCS games with ease, and I don’t see that changing Saturday.
Parker Fleming: TCU 48, Southern 3 - I wanted to go bigger here, but I think a combination of Gary’s reservations about TCU being “banged up” plus worrying about getting everyone’s reps keeps this from being too much of a barn burner.
Dean Straka: TCU 45, Southern 10 - While TCU was flawless the last time it played a SWAC opponent 12 months ago, I wouldn’t expect another 63-0 victory this Labor Day Weekend. The Horned Frogs should still win with ease, but with a revamped o-line, a new starting quarterback and a handful of players which Patterson has described as “banged up” entering this one, there will be some learning moments. Thankfully, the talent mismatch is too great for that to dictate the outcome.
Chris Conaty: TCU 55, Southern 3 - Let’s just hope this game is in the books early and we can get through the weekend healthy. FCS games have gone smoothly for TCU and although Southern was 7-4 last season, they lost their FBS games 45-0 at Southern Miss and 51-17 at UTSA.
Mason Chreene: TCU 50, Southern 9 - Shawn Robinson throws three deep touchdowns, the defense gets in a rhythm on the second drive and Sewo bulldozes some poor Southern defenders. Business as usual.
Deanna Rust: TCU 45, Southern 17- Horned Frogs will take this one, but Southern will get a few points on the board. Shawn Robinson has a lot of hopes sitting on his shoulders. I’m hoping this is the beginning of a great quarterback era for the Frogs.
No. 23 Texas vs. Maryland (11am, FS1)
Jamie Plunkett: Texas 30, Maryland 17 - We won’t learn anything about Texas from this game, other than they’re better than Maryland.
Melissa Triebwasser: Texas 27, Maryland 20 - Everything in me wants to pick the Terps, but that program is a mess. Herman gets a P5 win to kick off year two, and the Horns Hype Train rolls into week two.
Grant McGalliard: Texas 31, Maryland 17 - The ‘Horns show off a legitimately good defense, and Maryland can’t repeat last year’s performance. Ehlinger or Buechele or the Ghost of Vince Young or whomever starts at QB is serviceable.
Parker Fleming: Texas 24, Maryland 9 - Before the preseason news at Maryland, I would’ve picked the Terps. They were decent last year when healthy, but they stand no chance in their current state. Tom Herman goes for a big win, and “Texas is Back” starts knocking on our doors again. I expect an ugly start as Texas figures a few things out.
Dean Straka: Texas 35, Maryland 21 - The Terps may have emerged victorious over the Longhorns in Austin last September, but it’s a different story at Maryland now with the recent events plaguing the program. No doubt about it, Texas has plenty of questions looming overhead as they travel to FedEx Field, but they’ve caught a Maryland team that is dealing with issues bigger than football. The Terps may keep things close early with a home crowd behind them, but Tom Herman and the Longhorns ultimately win by a pair of touchdowns.
Chris Conaty: Texas 34, Maryland 24 - Texas is not back. However, it’s hard to pick the Terps given all the distractions they have had to deal with this offseason.
Mason Chreene: Texas 31, Maryland 21 - I’m not really sure how to feel about the Terps considering all the drama that has gone on off the field and all of the concerns with that University’s football program at the moment. Maybe for the first time in 3 or 4 years, the team from Austin won’t have the most drama surrounding them for a football game. I think the Horns grab a W here and start one of the most important seasons in program history on the right foot.
Deanna Rust: Texas 42, Maryland 10- Please let me be wrong. Please let me be wrong.
Texas Tech vs. Mississippi (11am, ESPN)
Jamie Plunkett: Texas Tech 38, Ole Miss 35 - I think Tech helps Kliff get off the hot seat for a moment, but don’t worry, he’ll be thrown right back on once Big 12 season starts.
Melissa Triebwasser: Ole Miss 48, Texas Tech 30 - I have no idea. I just know that every year the Red Raider’s defense is going to be better and it never is.
Grant McGalliard: Ole Miss 38, Texas Tech 24 - This is going to be the dumbest game of the weekend. But I think McLane Carter will start for Texas Tech, and I don’t think he’ll have a strong debut. It’s also a neutral site game, which means both teams might come out flat.
Parker Fleming: Mississippi 21, Texas Tech 17 - Mississippi was a 6 win team last year that played like a 9 win team. Some injuries and lingering program instability probably won’t hit as hard this season. I expect they take advantage of Tech’s *checks notecard* ...offensive uncertainty?
Dean Straka: Texas Tech 27, Ole Miss 24 (OT) - It’s easy to overlook this neutral-site contest amid all the top-25 showdowns that headline Week 1. And in an entirely different narrative, it’s the Texas Tech offense -- not the defense -- that has questions entering the 2018 campaign. Nonetheless, this is a chance for the Big 12 to rack up another win against an SEC West school, and Kliff Kingsbury is savoring that opportunity. We may not be in Lubbock, but this is a wild one in the Lone Star State, with the Red Raiders emerging victorious in overtime.
Chris Conaty: Ole Miss 35, Texas Tech 20 - The Red Raiders somehow have 3 All-Big 12 defenders on the preseason team, but Ole Miss has what might be the most talented group of WRs in the nation. That, coupled with Texas Tech’s questions on offense, will turn up the pressure on Kliff Kingsbury early in the season.
Mason Chreene: Ole Miss 35, Texas Tech 24 - It’s Kilff’s last year in Lubbock more than likely, but don’t let that distract you from the fact that this may be the most fun game to go tailgate at. Very tempted to make the drive down to Houston just to hang with the Raiders and Rebels. Also, Ole Miss has a Hawaiian QB, Texas Tech does not. Ole Miss by 11.
Deanna Rust: Texas Tech 30, Ole Miss 28- This could honestly go either way. Both teams should be nervous about this one. Offensively, both teams struggled last season. I’m giving it to Tech purely because they have 10 starters returning on defense and proved last year that they can take advantage of turnover opportunities.
No. 17 West Virginia vs. Tennessee (2:30pm, CBS, Neutral Site)
Jamie Plunkett: West Virginia 35, Tennessee 20 - West Virginia starts their sleeper campaign to make the CFP with a dominant performance on national TV. A garbage-time TD from the Vols makes this game look closer than it actually was.
Melissa Triebwasser: West Virginia 31, Tennessee 24 - Tennessee will be better at some point, but the 2018 opener is not that time. Will Grier’s Heisman Hype Train leaves the station as he throws four touchdowns and leads his team to a neutral site win over an SEC opponent.
Grant McGalliard: West Virginia 42, Tennessee 17 - The West Virginia To The Playoff movement has its day. Tennessee fans remain mired in despair in the first game of the Pruitt Era.
Parker Fleming: West Virginia 38, Tennessee 17 - The Vols lost three straight to end last season, including getting overpowered by Vanderbilt (never a sentence you want written about your team). Coaching instability plus WVU’s pretty good offense make this entertaining, but Western Virginia puts itself on the playoff map in a primetime game.
Dean Straka: West Virginia 45, Tennessee 20 -- The Mountaineers may just have one of the most prolific offenses in the nation, and Tennessee...well...isn’t exactly thriving over on good ole’ Rocky Top. Country Roads is a far better song anyways, and we’ll hear John Denver’s voice ringing throughout Bank of America Stadium when this one is over.
Chris Conaty: West Virginia 48, Tennessee 24 - Tennessee will be playing their first game with a new coach against a team that has been hyped up all summer and gets back one of the top QBs in the nation. I think the Mountaineers will come out early and put this one away.
Mason Chreene: West Virginia 45, Tennessee 28 - Not really sure what to make of this one. I have a feeling that WVU is a bit overhyped…and since they are playing Tennessee this week, now is an apt time to use the greatest quote of all time:
“There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”
That being said, I think Metal Grier Solid and the Eers handle a rebuilding Volunteer squad in the battle of Eers.
Deanna Rust: West Virginia 31, Tennessee 21- I think West Virginia had a rough season last year, and I think they’ll be a little more of a threat this season. They’ll take this one from Tennessee and start their climb to the top of the Big 12. We’ll see how high they can get.
Kansas vs. Nicholls (6pm, ESPN+)
Jamie Plunkett: Kansas 31, Nicholls 10 - I don’t know what a Nicholls is, but surely they can’t beat Kansas, right?
Melissa Triebwasser: Kansas 17, Nicholls 10 - I do not care about this game unless the Jayhawks find a way to lose. They might.
Grant McGalliard: Kansas 28, Nicholls 24 - David Beaty gets what could very well possibly be his last win at Kansas.
Parker Fleming: Nicholls 21, Kansas 17 - At Big 12 media days, a Kansas player looked me straight in the eyes and said, “We’re going to a bowl game.” I’m sorry, friend.
Dean Straka: Kansas 24, Nicholls 21 -- Nicholls is a team that came two points shy of knocking of No. 9 Georgia between the hedges in Sept. 2016. If they can come that close against a Kirby Smart-led SEC powerhouse, they can certainly cause trouble for David Beaty and the Jayhawks. That said, enjoy the undefeated season for another week, Kansas.
Chris Conaty: Nicholls State 28, Kansas 20 - Is it still an upset if a ranked FCS team beats a team that wouldn’t be ranked in the FCS?
Mason Chreene: Kansas 35, Nicholls State 28 (OT) - Yes you were the only one that watched this game. You know who you are.
Deanna Rust: Kansas 17, Nichols 14- I still believe in Beaty.
Kansas State vs. South Dakota (6pm, ESPN3)
Jamie Plunkett: Kansas State 38, South Dakota 10 - The Wildcats only throw the ball 15 times in this one, but they still dominate an overwhelmed South Dakota.
Melissa Triebwasser: Kansas State 34, South Dakota 13 - this is 100% the kind of year where Bill Snyder wills his team to 10 wins and a Big 12 title game appearance. It starts Saturday.
Grant McGalliard: Kansas State 35, South Dakota 21 - This is going to be tremendously boring. But Bill Snyder doesn’t lose these games.
Parker Fleming: Kansas State 27, South Dakota 3 - Kansas State is going to tinker with QB (“should we play the big one who can throw a little better, or the big one who is a little faster?” a little bit, and so I can anticipate a slow start; that, coupled with a slow pace of play puts a ceiling on how badly the Cats can beat SD. Don’t forget that South Dakota is not South Dakota State, the team who wouldn’t go away against the Frogs in 2016.
Dean Straka: Kansas State 40, South Dakota 14 - If anything, this game is a chance for Bill Snyder to further evaluate the competition between Alex Delton and Skylar Thompson for full-time starting quarterback duties. As Grant put it, there’s not much else very intriguing about this matchup in the Little Apple.
Chris Conaty: Kansas State 31, South Dakota 17 - South Dakota will make things interesting, but the Wildcats should be solid and are always well-coached so it’s hard to see them losing this one.
Mason Chreene: Kansas State 34, South Dakota 20 - In a battle of fundamentals, the coach that has been at it longer is the one that takes the W. Trill Snyder ya’ll.
Deanna Rust: Kansas State 45, South Dakota 6- Bill Snyder is the GOAT.
Baylor vs. Abilene Christian (7pm, TV TBD)
Jamie Plunkett: Baylor 56, ACU 28 - Yes, Baylor is going to win this game, and Baylor is going to win more than one game this season. How far the Bears go this year depends on Charlie Brewer, though.
Melissa Triebwasser: Baylor 48, ACU 24 - Baylor does something they couldn’t do last September - win a game they’re supposed to win. More importantly, current Bear TE and former Oakridge Owl Christoph Henle gets his first career touchdown :)
Grant McGalliard: Baylor 55, Abilene Christian 20 - The Bears are going to exercise some demons here. Charlie Brewer might throw for 550 yards.
Parker Fleming: Baylor 45, ACU 21 - No comment. Tune up game, going to be ugly. Expect a lot of Matt Rhule positive quotes circulating after this.
Dean Straka: Baylor 48, ACU 24 - For the first time in nearly two years, Baylor will have a record above .500 after this one. Charlie Brewer will be a big reason for that. The real games begin after that, with a sneaky Week 2 road trip to UTSA on the itinerary.
Chris Conaty: Baylor 52, Abilene Christian 17 - I’m not going to go full Joey Galloway, but with one of the top QBs in the state, I expect the Bears to be significantly better than last year. Abilene Christian has struggled since moving up to FCS, so Baylor should get through this game with ease.
Mason Chreene: Baylor 41, ACU 13 - Alas, Baylor is probably not going 0-12 this year, and I do expect them to be significantly better coached this year...so brace yourself for a 6 win(?) Bears squad this year
Deanna Rust: Baylor 38, Abilene Christian 3- I respect Matt Rhule. I think they’ll have a better season than last year. Otherwise, I don’t care about this team.
Iowa State vs. South Dakota State (7pm)
Jamie Plunkett: Iowa State 42, South Dakota State 17 - SDSU isn’t NDSU, and just because they gave TCU problems two years ago doesn’t mean they’ll give Iowa State issues in 2018.
Melissa Triebwasser: Iowa State 31, South Dakota State 13 - don’t sleep on the Jackrabbits, or the Cyclones. Iowa State won’t surprise anyone anymore, but they’ll still win a ton of ball games.
Grant McGalliard: Iowa State 28, South Dakota State 7 - The Cyclones’ defense is good, y’all. And the Jackrabbits don’t have wide receiver Jake Wieneke, which TCU will remember as the Horned Frogs’ secondary’s worst nightmare from two years ago.
Parker Fleming: Iowa State 35, SDSU 13 - Same as above. South Dakota State is scrappy, and should be close until the half, but this won’t last; David Montgomery is too good.
Dean Straka: Iowa State 38, SDSU 28 -- Ah, the pesky Jackrabbits are going up against yet another Big 12 school. Shades of TCU’s season opener in 2016, South Dakota State could make some unexpected noise early in this one as they file into Jack Trice Stadium. But at the end of the day, Matt Campbell isn’t dropping the ball in this one. Just don’t expect it to be your typical FBS-FCS blowout.
Chris Conaty: Iowa State 42, South Dakota State 17 - Matt Campbell has created an incredible amount of buzz for the Cyclones and they should get what looks to be a promising year off to a strong start. The Jackrabbits are always going to make FBS squads nervous, but they have the tough task of replacing WR Jake Wieneke and TE Dallas Goedert, who hauled in 65 and 72 receptions last season, respectively. The next best receiver had 23 receptions.
Mason Chreene: Iowa State: 35, South Dakota State: 24 - The Jack Rabbits almost beat us at home 2 years ago, so my head is on a swivel this time. It’ll be closer than people expect, but Matt Campbell gets David Montgomery rolling and the cyclones roll.
Deanna Rust: Iowa State 27, South Dakota State 10- Iowa State will have a strong season, but I don’t think they’ll just run away with this game the whole time. I think SDSU will still put up a fight.
Around the Country
No. 6 Washington vs. No. 9 Auburn (2:30pm, ABC)
Jamie Plunkett: Auburn 38, Washington 28 - The Jarrett Stidham Heisman Hype Train leaves the station thanks to his performance in this game.
Melissa Triebwasser: Auburn 45, Washington 20 - I’m an unapologetic Washington non-believer. Auburn rolls.
Grant McGalliard: Washington 31, Auburn 17 - Jake Browning is the most unfairly maligned quarterback in the country. The Huskies get a big win in their opener, and the “Is Gus Malzahn Actually Good This Year?” question remains unanswered.
Parker Fleming: Washington 27, Auburn 26 - Auburn is 1-7 when opening a season against a ranked opponent. 1-7! I’m not sure that means anything, but this is going to be much closer than most anticipate. Washington steals one, but this game probably doesn’t matter for Auburn, similar to the Clemson game from last year.
Dean Straka: Auburn 34, Washington 21 - Jake Browning is among the most talented quarterbacks in the country, but I’m skeptical of the Huskies’ ability to upend the Tigers just 107 miles northeast of Jordan Hare Stadium. We saw what happened the last time Washington took on an SEC West powerhouse in Atlanta, and the Pac-12 hasn’t exactly improved in the time since. At the end of the day, Jarrett Stidham, Gus Malzahn and a sea of Auburn fans will be too much for the Huskies to handle at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Chris Conaty: Washington 38, Auburn 34 - This game will live up to expectations as the top game of the weekend. Despite travelling across the country, I think Jake Browning and Myles Gaskin will provide enough offense for the always well-coached Huskies to win this as they start off their Playoff campaign. I might be biased by the time I played against Jake Browning when he was a sophomore in high school and lit up my team, but he’s my pick for the Heisman this season.
Deanna Rust: Auburn 35, Washington 31- I think the upset is legitimately possible here. Also, I’m having dinner with an Auburn fan Saturday night, so I’m choosing them in the hope that we both have victories to celebrate that night. Otherwise, may the alcohol flow freely.
Mason Chreene: Washington 31, Auburn 30 - Jake Browning threw 43 touchdowns in 2016. He wasn’t bad last year, but he didn’t meet half that production through the air. However, him and Myles Gaskin are dawgs (literally) and I think the dogs beat the cats BEARLY (I am so sorry) in this one.
No. 12 Notre Dame vs. No. 14 Michigan (6:30pm, NBC)
Jamie Plunkett: Michigan 35, Notre Dame 31 - Is Shea Patterson the QB that finally helps Jim Harbaugh get over the hump? We shall see.
Melissa Triebwasser: Michigan 31, Notre Dame 28 - Harbro has his QB. Big Blue is going to be really good this season.
Grant McGalliard: Michigan 24, Notre Dame 21 - In the matchup of the most insufferable fans in the country, Michigan has the better defense. Brian Kelly turns four different new shades of purple.
Parker Fleming: Michigan 14, Notre Dame 10- Are we sure that Shea Patterson is good? Are we sure that Brandon Wimbush is good? Are we sure of anything other than the fact that Michigan’s defense is ridiculous?
Dean Straka: Michigan 28, Notre Dame 24 - In terms of making the playoff, history shows that a Week 1 victory is critical. Both the Wolverines and Irish are well aware of that as they enter what should be an electric atmosphere in South Bend. This game goes down to the wire, but Michigan ultimately prevails in Shea Patterson’s debut at quarterback for the Wolverines.
Chris Conaty: Michigan 30, Notre Dame 17 - This game will be won not by whichever QB makes the incredible plays, but by which QB takes care of the ball and completes the easy throws. I’m taking Patterson over Wimbush.
Deanna Rust: Notre Dame 28, Michigan 27- I literally had this “Michigan 28, Notre Dame 27” but changed it last minute. I can see this going both ways, but ultimately I think Notre Dame has a little more on their side. Then again, who knows what craziness Michigan will pull out of their helmets.
Mason Chreene: Michigan 24, Notre Dame 21 - Now that Jim Harbaugh has a real QB under center I think this could be the year that Michigan really gets one step closer to reaching it’s potential. I think the “Texas of the Big 10” comparisons are a bit unfair, even if I cannot deny some of the similarities. ANYWAYS, I think Notre Dame is headed for another 8-4 or 9-3 season and they take their first L of the year. So happy this game is back in all of our lives though.
North Texas vs. SMU (6:30pm)
Jamie Plunkett: SMU 35, North Texas 28 - The Ponies hold on in this one, as they get a scare from the Mean Green.
Melissa Triebwasser: UNT 34, SMU 31 - Mason Fine is really good. He leads the Mean Green to a week one upset.
Grant McGalliard: SMU 38, North Texas 24 - Yeah, the Mustangs don’t have Chad Morris anymore. But Ben Hicks is in his third year at quarterback, and James Proche at wide receiver is still really darn good.
Parker Fleming: North Texas 42, SMU 24 - North Texas scored 40 points 8 times last year! They return a well-oiled machine on offense with Mason Fine at the helm, and the defense is poised to be even more robust than last year. As SMU irons out some coaching transition wrinkles (the bowl game was ugly), UNT rolls.
Dean Straka: North Texas 40, SMU 30 - This game could theoretically go either way, but the Mustangs will be adjusting to life without head coach Chad Morris and standout receiver Courtland Sutton. And as Parker noted, the Mean Green scored 40 points on eight occasions in 2017 -- nothing short of impressive in the current age of college football. UNT for the win.
Chris Conaty: North Texas 49, SMU 45 - Seth Littrell has put a focus on recruiting Texas kids and he has built a strong program in Denton. Both teams will be led by talented QBs, Fine for UNT and Hicks for SMU, but I think the Mean Green will ultimately win the shootout.
Deanna Rust: North Texas 38, SMU 31- North Texas is the little brother than does a great job every year, given the size of the school and resources available. They’ll snatch this one from the My Little Ponies and send them back to Dallas.
Mason Chreene: SMU 42, UNT 28 - I honestly have no Idea.
No. 8 Miami vs. No. 25 LSU (Sunday, 6:30pm, ABC)
Jamie Plunkett: Miami 28, LSU 10 - LSU is not good, and they will show how not good they are when Miami completely shuts them down on Sunday night.
Melissa Triebwasser: Miami 35, LSU 17 - Hurricanes might be a run y’all. LSU isn’t very good, but this will look nice on the resume early.
Grant McGalliard: Miami 27, LSU 17 - I don’t see how LSU scores points this year. Miami isn’t a Top 10 team in my book, but I think they’ll beat the Tigers.
Parker Fleming Miami 24, LSU 17 - I’m not sure how firing Matt Canada makes you better on offense.Yes, LSU has a grad transfer QB, but they’ve underwhelmed in camp. I’m anticipating a shockingly boring game.
Dean Straka: Miami 30, LSU 14 -- The Tigers may have emerged victorious the last time they opened the season at AT&T Stadium (TCU fans are all too familiar with that one), but they aren’t going up against what turned out to be a 4-8 team this time around. Yes, Miami didn’t exactly end the 2017 campaign on a high note, losing three straight after a 10-start. But the power of the turnover chain will be propel the Hurricanes to victory over Coach O. & Co. in this one.
Chris Conaty: Miami 31, LSU 10 - We all make fun of the ridiculous hype that always surrounds Texas being back, but how is LSU ranked?
Deanna Rust: Miami 31, LSU 27- LSU could have a strong season, but I don’t think they’re as talented as Miami. It won’t be a huge spread, but Miami will get the win here to set the tone for a solid season.
Mason Chreene: Miami 27, LSU 24 - Miami has a turnover chain. LSU does not. There is a lot of raw talent on the field in this one, but I’m going to lean towards the team with the better coach. U by 3.
No. 19 Florida State vs. No. 20 Virginia Tech (Monday, 7pm, ESPN)
Jamie Plunkett: Virginia Tech 42, Florida State 27 - The Hokies start their bid to upend Clemson as the power in the ACC with a big win over Florida State.
Melissa Triebwasser: Virginia Tech 24, Florida State 20 - this should be a really entertaining game, but give the edge to Fuente and his veteran Hokies.
Grant McGalliard: Virginia Tech 35, Florida State 28 - This one isn’t decided until late. And while I think Willie Taggart is going to be very good with the ‘Noles, I think Virginia Tech is going to be awfully feisty this year and steal one in the first game of the season.
Parker Fleming: Florida State 28, Virginia Tech 13 - Va Tech’s attrition is too much to overcome, and if we are being honest, they weren’t all that talented before they lost starters. Willie Taggart’s rip-off Gulf Coast Offense comes flying out of the gate, and the Noles feel good about themselves for the first time in a long time.
Dean Straka: FSU 31, Virginia Tech 28 --This should be a great contest to conclude what should be a great opening-weekend of college football. Deondre Francois is back in action at quarterback after everything went wrong in the ‘Nole’s season-opener a year ago, and the arrival of head coach Willie Taggart only adds to the anticipation for FSU fans. But you better believe Justin Fuente and the Hokies will give them a good fight. Still, the ‘Noles have just enough to walk away with a season-opening victory in front of a home crowd in Tallahassee.
Chris Conaty: Virginia Tech 27, Florida State 23 - Virginia Tech had a rough offseason with multiple players being dismissed, but I think Fuente will have his team ready to make a run at a divisional title, starting with a win Monday.
Deanna Rust: Florida State 42, Virginia Tech 20- Florida State will run away with this in the end, but I think it goes back and forth until the second half.
Mason Chreene - Virginia Tech 38, Florida State 27 - VIVAAAA LAAAAA FUEEEENTEEE!!!! You all know who I’m riding with, give me the former TCU offensive coordinator over the Noles even with Deandre Francois back on the field. Call me biased, but I think VT is going to hand Florida State a loss in the season opener and begin the Willie Taggert era with more questions than answers.