College Football Picks Against the Spread: Week 1, 2015

(USA Today Sports)

Welcome back College Football! Oh how we have missed you. For those of you who didn’t follow along last season, each week on College Football Picks Against the Spread I will pick 5 or more games against the spread. I will also pick one underdog who I think can win outright in the Upset Special. Last season I hit almost 59% of my picks. While I was happy with that number, I’m looking to improve this season. Follow along all season as I make picks. I will also make NFL picks as well, so look for those too!

 

(Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)

(Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)

Thursday

Utah -5 vs Michigan

Utah is a really good team. They have a chance to win the PAC 12 and are on the same level as teams like USC, Arizona State and UCLA. Devontae Booker is a legit stud at running back. The Utes are facing a Michigan team that is getting a bump from adding Jim Harbaugh. I expect the Wolverines to get better as the season goes along but this early test on the road will be too much to handle. Utah should be strong on both sides of the ball. They should win this game at home pretty comfortably.

Saturday

Alabama Crimson Tide -10 vs Wisconsin Badgers

Alabama is going to roll in this game. Wisconsin will have Joel Stave, who is questionable at best under center. I expect Stave to play poorly on the big stage. For Alabama they will have a new quarterback under center but I don’t expect that to matter. Derrick Henry will tote the rock all day and the Crimson Tide defense will make the plays all over the field. Look for Alabama to cover with ease.

BYU +7 at Nebraska

This will be the first game for coach Mike Reilly in Lincoln. He left Oregon State during the offseason to take over the Cornhusker program. They will face a tough BYU Cougar team that is led by quarterback Taysom Hill. The senior quarterback suffered a season ending knee last season but all indications have him ready to pick up where he left off before the injury. He is the a dual threat quarterback that makes a ton of plays. Vegas believes he should be good to go, putting him at 33/1 to win the Heisman Trophy. Like Michigan, the Huskers will have some kinks to work out. I expect BYU to keep this game close and have a shot to win outright.

Temple +7 vs Penn St

The Temple Owls have a strong defense and will lean on it against Christian Hackenberg and Penn State. They were 4th in the nation in terms of points allowed at 17.5 points per game. The Owls have 17 starters returning this season. Consistency is often king when talking about early season success. The Owls also have four of their five starters along the offensive line returning. It might take a late field goal but Penn State should be able to do enough to get a win in this neutral site game. I do expect Temple to do enough defensively to keep the game tight. Take the Owls plus the points in this one.

**Upset Alert**

DJ Foster

Can DJ Foster get the Sun Devils off to a hot start? (Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports)

Arizona State +3.5 vs Texas A&M

This game is taking place at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas and will feel much like a home game for the Aggies. But the right side to be on in this matchup is with the Sun Devils. While Taylor Kelly graduated and is no longer under center, Mike Bercovici is stepping in. He is a better pure passer than Kelly and this was on display last season. The senior quarterback did have 186 attempts last season in spot duty. Bercovici completed 61.8% of those passes for 1445 yards. The Sun Devils also have D.J. Foster back, who is a dark horse candidate for the Heisman Trophy. Texas A&M is getting buzz as a contender in the SEC. I expect them to have talent and be well coached by Kevin Sumlin. Arizona State will be too much to handle this early for the Aggies. Not only do I expect the Sun Devils to cover the 3.5 point spread but they should win outright.

 

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