Texas and Notre Dame are playing each other on the first weekend of college football, and nobody cares. Heck, half of you didn’t know until you just read it. That says a lot about how far two of the sport’s standard bearers have fallen from the national consciousness. It also says something about a pretty good slate of first week games.
I’ll pick a dozen games in this space each week. Most of the SEC games will be in here, but I’m not promising all of them. They’ll simply be the 12 games I find most interesting this week. That starts this week with:
ARIZONA STATE VS. TEXAS A&M (-3), HOUSTON
This is a second-shelf game nationally this weekend, but it’s the one I am drawn to the most. The reason is I think either of these teams could be a surprise College Football Playoff team this year if things fall right. They could both also be average. We’ll find out quickly.
Against the Spread: Aggies
ALABAMA (-10) VS. WISCONSIN, ARLINGTON, TEXAS
Former South Carolina quarterback Tanner McEvoy has been a safety, quarterback and no wide receiver since transferring to Wisconsin. These aren’t Bret Bielema’s Badgers, though. The Crimson Tide might play four quarterbacks, and it won’t matter.
BYU AT NEBRASKA (-7)
The Cornhuskers are being taken over by former Oregon State coach Mike Riley, who seems like one of the nicest guys in college football. He should take it easy on the Cougars, who play at Nebraska, at UCLA and at Michigan and home against Boise State this month. Nebraska’s run defense has been pretty friendly of late.
AUBURN (10.5) VS. LOUISVILLE, ATLANTA
There is no better illustration of the uber-hype surrounding Tigers quarterback Jeremy Johnson than the fact that Louisville has a pretty fearsome defense and Auburn has a first-year starter at quarterback and the Tigers are double-digit favorites at a neutral site. I picked Auburn to win the SEC so I’m as guilty as anyone, but we’ll see.
OHIO STATE (-12) AT VIRGINIA TECH (8 P.M., MONDAY)
The Buckeyes haven’t announced whether they will start J.T. Barrett or Cardale Jones at quarterback, although most people believe it’ll be Barrett. Whoever it is, takes over what is the marquee team in college football at the moment. Not to mention one looking to avenge a loss to the Hokies last season.
Straight: Ohio State
ATS: Ohio State
VIRGINIA AT UCLA (-19.5)
The only real intrigue here is whether hotshot freshman Josh Rosen starts the first game for the Bruins. UCLA has a lot of pieces surrounding the quarterback position and could contend in the Pac-12 if Rosen is the real deal.
TEXAS AT NOTRE DAME (-9)
The Longhorns should never be as bad as they have been the last few years, but here they are. Where Notre Dame is is the subject of much debate. Some people believe this is a CFB contender. Some think it’s an also ran. Count me in for also ran.
Straight: Notre Dame
LA.-MONROE AT GEORGIA (-35)
So Greyson Lambert has now been the starting quarterback at Virginia and Georgia. If he doesn’t make a career of football, he’ll have a job at an Atlanta law firm waiting for him upon graduation. I’m guessing he’s handsome, too, although folks in Athens are worried that he can’t actually play quarterback very well. The guess here is that Lambert doesn’t finish this game as the starter.
EASTERN WASHINGTON AT OREGON
There’s no line on this game, and the only reason it’s interesting is grad transfer quarterback Vernon Adams will be starting for Oregon three weeks after arriving on campus and against the team he just left.
ATS: No line
NEW MEXICO STATE AT FLORIDA (-37)
The Gators will play quarterbacks Treon Harris and Will Grier in hopes of finding a starter. The offensive line is so bad neither might make it through the game.
ATS: New Mexico State
TEXAS STATE AT FLORIDA STATE (-30)
The Seminoles will be replacing Jameis Winston with Notre Dame transfer and Myrtle Beach native Everette Golson at quarterback. That will be interesting but not this week.
Straight: Florida State
ATS: Florida State
SOUTH DAKOTA AT KANSAS
Hopefully, we won’t have to pick a game this bad the rest of the season. The only intrigue here is can the Jayhawks win a game, any game.
ATS: No line