Hi all, and welcome to the Week One edition of Black Shoe Degenerates!
I’m planning on doing things a little differently than Eli did last year.
This year, I plan to give my picks based on the time of the game. I’ll make sure I pick 2-3 games in each time slot every week, so you can ridicule me all day instead of just early or late. One of the picks will always be the Penn State game, and Patrick Koerbler will also be making a guest pick every week.
This week’s different, though. Since there are games spread throughout the weekend, I picked one Friday game and one Sunday game as well. Now, let’s get into it.
Utah State at Michigan State, Friday 7:30 p.m.
My pick: Utah State +23.5
It’s not that I anticipate Sparty having a problem here, as the team has won its last nine straight season-openers, but Michigan State traditionally starts relatively slowly in its first game. In games against a FBS opponent, the Spartans have only won by an average of 15.6 points, with the maximum margin at 25 last year vs. Bowling Green. It’s a Friday night game before a long weekend... Go with the ‘dog.
Texas vs. Maryland, Saturday 12 p.m., FedEx Field in Landover, MD
My pick: Texas -13.5
Two main factors here: The Longhorns will come out strong after being upset at home last year by Maryland, and the situation surrounding Terps head coach DJ Durkin makes me think Maryland plays sluggish. This one seems relatively easy.
Florida Atlantic at Oklahoma, Saturday 12 p.m.
My pick: FAU +21
Oklahoma is, and should be, the Big 12 favorite for a reason. I just don’t think Lane Kiffin will be intimidated by the hostile environment. Plus, with the Sooners breaking in a new quarterback after Baker Mayfield’s departure, I think this will be closer than most anticipate.
Tennessee vs. West Virginia, Saturday 3:30 p.m.
My pick: West Virginia -9.5
I saw Will Grier in person last season -- he’s the real deal. West Virginia is going to have an insane offense this year, and I don’t think the Vols will be able to stop it in new head coach Jeremy Pruitt’s first game. Tennessee has talent, but the Mountaineers will expose its defense.
Appalachian State at Penn State, Saturday 3:30 p.m.
My pick: Penn State -24
Like I said on this week’s pod, App State will probably come out and attempt to punch the home team in the mouth. The Mountaineers always schedule big-time opponents, and are used to intimidating atmospheres. Expect it to be a little closer than anticipated in the first half, but the talent will win out in the end and Penn State will pull away.
Michigan at Notre Dame, Saturday 7:30 p.m.
My pick: Notre Dame pick’em
Even if Notre Dame is -1 or -2 in your favorite hypothetical bookmaker of choice, I would take it. Both teams NEED this win, and if Michigan was home I’d probably make it the pick. But the game is in South Bend, and while Brandon Wimbush didn’t light the world on fire last year, he won’t have to learn a new system like the Wolverines’ new transfer quarterback Shea Patterson.
Miami vs. LSU, Sunday 7:30 p.m., AT&T Stadium in Dallas
My pick: Miami +3.5
Miami looked bad in its final games last year, but like Notre Dame, at least it has a quarterback. Has LSU had a half-decent quarterback since Jamarcus Russell? I’m anticipating the Turnover Chain to come out at least once or twice before the game is over.
Pat’s Lock of the Week — Auburn vs. Washington, Saturday 3:30 p.m. in Atlanta
Pat’s pick: Washington +2
Two things I like about this:
- Chris Peterson is a really good coach that had an entire offseason to prepare for this game. He’s shown multiple times in the past that his programs can win big time opening weekend games.
- Gus Malzahn just got a fat contract which means he’s going to lose this game and place himself right back on the hot seat. The SEC — it just means more.