#1 Alabama (-20) at Texas - Saturday, September 10th 11:00 am Fox
This weekend the Crimson Tide will travel to DKR for a Saturday morning rematch of the 2009 National Championship against the Longhorns of Austin.
Alabama returns Heisman winner Bryce Young at quarterback as well as potential top 3 draft pick edge rusher Will Anderson. After losing the national championship game to Georgia last year, Nick Saban went to work in the transfer portal bringing in wide receiver Jermaine Burton from Georgia, former freshman All American corner Eli Ricks from LSU, and offensive weapon/running back Jahmyr Gibbs from Georgia Tech. Burton and Gibbs should slot in as leading threats to take over for Jameson Williams, John Metchie III, and Brian Robinson Jr. who all were picked in the 2022 NFL draft. Burton has already made an impact with two touchdown receptions a week ago in a blowout win over Utah State. Gibbs also had a very solid game with 93 rushing yards on just 9 attempts. Expect to see his workload increased this week against a Texas defense that struggled against the run last year. Saban did an excellent job of reloading with weapons on offense for Bryce Young. The defense for the Tide should be dominant this year with Dallas Turner joining Anderson at edge rusher. Turner had 8.5 sacks last season as a freshman and projects to be a very high draft pick in 2024 when he is eligible. Jordan Battle is back for his senior season as the latest in a long line of NFL caliber safeties Nick Saban has produced at Alabama. The Tide got their leading tackler from a season ago in Henry To’oto’o back to lead the linebackers as well. To’oto’o navigates through blocks in the run game very well and has solid athleticism to make an impact in pass defense too. With stars at every level of the defense, it will be a trial by fire for Longhorn quarterback Quinn Ewers making his first big start at the collegiate level.
Steve Sarkisian has a difficult task ahead of him, leading his team into a game against the number 1 team in the nation after a 5-7 season in 2021. That being said, there are a lot of new faces for the Longhorns as Sarkisian picked up a number of solid players from the transfer portal himself. The starting quarterback Quinn Ewers transferred in from Ohio State this offseason as a former 5 star recruit, number 1 player in his class, and 1.000 rated player by 247 sports. Ewers has all the potential in the world and will have plenty of help on the outside. Xavier Worthy returns after a true freshman campaign where he earned first team All-Big 12 honors and racked up 12 touchdowns and 981 yards through the air. Worthy has world class speed and is a threat to spring a big play every time he touches the ball to go along with solid route running skills as well. Joining Ewers in the backfield is star running back Bijan Robinson. Robinson also received a first team All-Big 12 selection after a dominant 2021 season on the ground averaging over 100 yards per game on the ground and a ridiculous 5.8 yards per rush on almost 200 carries. The offensive line is the wildcard for UT on that side of the ball as it was not very good a year ago. Sarkisian did a good job bringing in a number of blue chip offensive line recruits but the unit still remains unproven. The defense for Texas is a question mark as well after a 2021 season that left a lot to be desired. The Longhorns gave up over 200 yards on the ground per game a year ago and over 400 total yards a game.
I think the Longhorns will be an improved team this year but an unproven offensive line going up against the scariest pass rushing duo in college football along with the reigning Heisman winner going up against a defense lacking playmakers is not a recipe for success. Expect a big game from Jahmyr Gibbs and Will Anderson. Roll Tide.
My pick: Alabama wins (-1400) Alabama covers (-20) Full game over (65.5)
#20 Kentucky at #12 Florida (-6.5) - Saturday, September 10th 6:00 pm ESPN
After a dream start to the season for Anthony Richardson and the Gators against Utah last week, Mark Stoops and the Wildcats of Kentucky visit the Swamp for a primetime top 25 matchup. Richardson was all over social media with a highlight reel pump fake/spin move on a two point conversion. Richardson finished 17-24 with 168 yards passing as well as leading the Gators in rushing with over 100 yards on the ground and 3 touchdowns. New head coach Billy Napier has an absolute stud at quarterback in Richardson who has the potential to cover up for some of the holes on the roster around him. Running back Montrell Johnson had a strong game against the Utes as well with 12 carries for 75 yards and a touchdown. All in all, the rushing attack is the strength of this Florida offense and the matchup between them and the front seven of the Wildcats will be an interesting one to watch this Saturday. The Wildcat defense will be getting outside linebacker Jordan Wright back against Florida after having to sit out the season opener due to an eligibility issue with the NCAA. Wright played only 6 games due to injury last season but managed to rack up 7.5 sacks and over 100 tackles in that time. On offense, the Wildcats have a star quarterback of their own in potential 2023 first round NFL draft pick Will Levis. Levis has all the physical tools you could want in a quarterback standing at 6’4” and a very strong arm. He also has very good speed and is a threat to hurt teams with his legs. This game projects to be a thriller on Saturday night and the atmosphere in Gainesville after a win over Utah will be electric.
My pick: Florida wins (-235) Kentucky covers (+6) Full game over (51.5)
#9 Baylor at #21 BYU (-3) - Saturday, September 10th 9:15 pm ESPN
The reigning Big 12 champion Bears travel to Provo, Utah to take on their future Big 12 foe Cougars. Baylor lost a lot of talent this offseason to the NFL draft including safety Jalen Pitre, leading receiver Tyquan Thorton, and running back Trestan Ebnar. Leading rusher Abram Smith signed as an undrafted free agent with the Saints after breaking the school’s single season rushing record in 2021. Last year’s starting quarterback Gerry Bohanon is now gone to the transfer portal and Blake Shapen takes his place in 2022. Shapen started a few games last year when Bohanon went down with an injury including the Big 12 championship game against Oklahoma State. Shapen was very efficient in that championship game going 23-28 with 180 yards and 3 touchdowns. The game plan did not involve a lot of deep shots against Oklahoma State and Shapen will be asked to do more in 2022. BYU is coming off of a solid year in 2021 where they finally secured a win in the Holy War over their rival Utah. The Cougars return starting quarterback Jaren Hall after an efficient 2021 throwing 20 touchdowns to just 5 interceptions. Hall is a mobile quarterback as well with over 300 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns last season. The matchup between Dave Aranda’s defense that is trying to replace a multitude of NFL talents and Hall is the key on Saturday night.
My pick: Baylor wins (+130) Baylor covers (+3) Full game under (53.5)
Group of Five Showcase:
Oregon State (-1) at Fresno State - Saturday, September 10th 9:30 pm CBSSN
The Beavers of Oregon State will travel to Fresno to face Jake Haener and the Bulldogs late this Saturday night. Oregon State is coming off of a very strange year in 2021 which included a win over Utah as well as losses to both Cal and Colorado. They finished 7-6 after a loss to Utah State in the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl. Their starting quarterback Chance Nolan who threw for over 2,600 yards and 19 touchdowns but was picked off 10 times. They are coming off of a solid 17 point win over Boise State where Nolan showed a lot of the same with over 250 passing yards and 2 passing touchdowns but was picked off twice. He will need to be more consistent to win on the road this weekend in Fresno. The Bulldogs are coming off of a 10 win season in 2021 including a thrilling upset victory at UCLA. Starting quarterback Jake Haener had an excellent season with over 4,000 yards passing with 33 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. Haener had a strong start to the season week 1 with over 370 yards passing and 2 touchdowns. Pac-12 after dark is back and this game could be another exciting one on Saturday.
My pick: Fresno State wins (+100) Fresno State covers (+1) Full game under (61.5)
Others Receiving Votes:
South Carolina at #16 Arkansas (-8.5) - Saturday, September 10th 11:00 am ESPN:
KJ Jefferson and the Hogs are coming off a top 25 win against Cincinnati where the back end of the defense looked vulnerable at times. Shane Beamer and Spencer Rattler will try to take advantage of that for the upset on the road.
#24 Tennessee (-6) at #17 Pitt - Saturday, September 10th 2:30 pm ABC:
Pitt is another top 25 team that looked shaky at times in their Week 1 matchup and will face what many expect to be a very good Tennessee team with Hendon Hooker at the helm.
#25 Houston at Texas Tech (-3.5) - Saturday, September 10th 3:00 pm FS1:
Houston played in a thriller against UTSA last Saturday and will travel to Lubbock to try and avenge their 2021 loss to the Red Raiders. Tech starting quarterback Tyler Shough will miss the game with a shoulder injury as new head coach Jerry McGuire tries to secure a top 25 victory at home.