It’s been a long offseason, but we are one Saturday away from some great matchups. The weekend of September 3rd will feature a slate of great games; this makes for one of the best opening weekends in recent memory. I’ll be making a few predictions for the opening weekend.
Oklahoma-Houston (Saturday, September 3rd, 12:00 on ABC in NRG Stadium)
I picked Houston and Tom Herman to take down Florida State in Atlanta on New Year’s Day last year, and the Coogs took care of business in convincing fashion. The day before that, Oklahoma was sent home by Clemson in the CFP. I’m picking Houston again to shock the world, the rest of you should take note of Tom Herman and his boys.
Houston- 35, Oklahoma- 31
Wisconsin-LSU (Saturday, September 3rd, 3:30 on ABC in Lambeau Field)
College Gameday will be here for this game (for some reason), and I’m sticking with LSU and Leonard Fournette to start the year off right. Fournette will go for 180 & 3 scores , and there is nothing Wisconsin can do about it. Badgers get beat badly in what is basically a home game.
LSU- 45, Wisconsin- 24
Georgia-North Carolina (Saturday, September 3rd, 5:30 on ESPN in Georgia Dome)
This one will not be close. North Carolina had a good year last year, but with all the talent they lost, the Kirby Smart era at UGA will start with a bang. Georgia should go undefeated until their matchup with Tennessee on October 1st. Don’t get too excited over this one, Dawg fans.
Georgia- 28, North Carolina- 10
Alabama-USC (Saturday, September 3rd, 8:00 on ABC in AT&T STadium)
USC has a lot of confidence that they can hang with Alabama. I don’t. Alabama has a rich history of tough opening games under Saban. They’re undefeated. Michigan, Virginia Tech, and Wisconsin have all tried and failed. USC has fallen to being a mediocre program at best, and their brand name is the only reason they’re in this game. Tide roll, by a lot.
Alabama- 31, USC- 10
Clemson-Auburn (Saturday, September 3rd, 9:00 on ESPN in Jordan-Hare Stadium)
Auburn still doesn’t have a Quarterback, and Clemson has the best one in the country. I call that a recipe for disaster for the 2nd ACC/SEC matchup. Auburn could come away with one of their classic “look what I found” victories in Jordan-Hare, but I’m not buying it this week. Dabo will have Clemson ready to play.
Texas-Notre Dame (Sunday, September 4th, 7:30 on ABC in Darrell K Royal Memorial Stadium)
Ah yes, the matchup of the two best uniforms in college football. This game will be aesthetically pleasing to watch, and will also be fun to watch if you’re a Texas fan. Notre Dame has a good team this year, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say Shane Buechele has a big first game for the Horns, and Charlie Strong’s seat cools off a little bit.
Texas- 24, Notre Dame- 21
Ole Miss-Florida State (Monday, September 5th, 8:00 on ESPN in Camping World Stadium)
Probably the hardest game to judge this weekend. The Seminoles seem to be re-tooled, and Ole Miss lost a lot of key players on both sides of the ball. $wag Kelly will have his hands full with Derwin James and Company, and without Robert Nkemdiche, Dalvin Cook should feast on this defense. Noles bounce back from a bowl loss to Houston with a victory to start 2016.
Florida State- 38, Ole Miss- 28
My picks for the playoffs and Heisman are pretty vanilla, but until these teams prove me otherwise, this is how I think it will shake out.
(1) Clemson v. (4) Ohio State
(2) Alabama v. (3) Stanford
(4) Ohio State v (2) Alabama
Heisman Finalists (Winner is Italicized):