Our College Football Preview: Week One Starts with the omnipresent leader Tom and ends with his stand in Stocks. With College Football fully back here are the games we think you should be looking out for.
College Football Preview: Week One – SEC
There are no in-conference games being played in Week 1. The first SEC program to play in the 2021 college football season is Tennessee, who face Bowling Green (1am GMT, Friday 3rd September). Kentucky and Arkansas will hope to open with home wins against UL Monroe and Rice respectively. Expect home comforts also for Auburn (against Akron), Missouri (Central Michigan) and Mississippi State (Louisiana Tech). Texas A&M should power past Kent State. South Carolina and Vanderbilt had miserable records in 2020 – wins should come in early season cupcakes against Eastern Illinois and East Tennessee State.
There should be some interesting games involving Florida teams: The Gators face Florida Atlantic at The Swamp, whilst Alabama faces Miami (FL) in Atlanta, Georgia.
LSU faces the longest trip of any SEC program in Week 1 of the 2021 college football season. They travel to the west coast to take on UCLA of the Pac-12 conference.
Game of the Week: Georgia v. Clemson
Undoubtedly the game of the SEC in Week 1, possibly in the entirety of college football altogether, is Georgia’s match up with reigning ACC champions Clemson. It is one of the must-watch games of the 2021 college football season. Hopes are high for The Bulldogs going into 2021, especially surrounding Quarterback JT Daniels. The road to the college football playoffs for Kirby Smart could begin in Charlotte, SC. It is the toughest Week 1 imaginable for any SEC team. It will likely be Clemson’s fiercest test of the entire 2021 college football season. A win here for either side will be a statement of intent to go all the way to the playoffs in 2021.
College Football Preview: Week One – Big XII
Kansas’ game at home to South Dakota represents the Jayhawks best chance of notching a win on their schedule. Coach Klieman will want to get off to a good start after finishing the 2020 season with five straight losses. Their visit to Kansas State is nonetheless an intriguing match-up.
The Sooners should roll Tulane, where we are likely to see Caleb Williams get some garbage time snaps to prioritise Rattler’s health for the November stretch. Mike Locksley’s Maryland should immediately put West Virginia up to the test in a tough first game of a pretty testy schedule for the Mountaineers.
There is a nice comfortable home game to begin for Iowa State at home to Northern Iowa. Texas Tech faces Houston at The NRG Stadium in what is likely to be the stadium’s biggest crowd of the year in a must win for the Red Raiders. Missouri State should be a walk in the park for Gundy’s Oklahoma State Cowboys. Baylor had a torrid 2020 season, and a solid win over Texas State will do for Dave Aranda’s Bears. TCU Horned Frog fans will be looking forward to seeing QB Max Duggan and former number-one RB recruit Zach Smith in a cake walk at home to Duquesne.
Game of the Week – Louisiana @ Texas
This one might be one of the toughest opening day match-ups for a first time Head Coach we’ve seen in years.
Ragin’ Cajuns’ Head Coach Billy Napier is 28-11 in three seasons in Lafayette and has turned down multiple offers from Power 5 schools, including SEC powerhouse Auburn. This team beat Iowa State on the opening day of the last season, and do not believe themselves to be underdogs here whatsoever. The Ragin’ Cajuns offence returns largely intact behind star quarterback Levi Lewis. They should be an immediate test for this strong Texas defence.
Steve Sarkisian has always had thousand-yard rushers in his offences and we should expect Bijan Robinson to get off to a good start. He’ll likely shoulder the load as Thompson or Card find their footing. The Texas defence will see this as an opportunity to make an early statement. Star defensive lineman Alfred Collins returns as the jewel in the Longhorns front. DeMarvion Overshown will be looking to continue his excellent progress last time out against Louisiana. This unit has the pieces to limit the Ragin’ Cajuns, but meeting expectations has not been Texas’ strength in recent years.
This game means a hell of a lot to both teams. If Napier were to walk out of Darrel K Royal with a Week One victory, he would become the most sought-after small school Head Coach on the market. The Ragin’ Cajuns would also be well on their way to their first New Year’s Six bowl. Sark needs the win just as much. Starting off with a convincing win against a very tough Louisiana team would do wonders for the team’s confidence after poor opening day losses of previous years.
College Football Preview: Week One – Pac-12
The rest of the Pac-12 teams get their 2021 season underway in Week One, a week after UCLA opened their account last Saturday. All of this week’s matchups are out of conference. That will not stop the drama. All Pac-12 teams will want to kick off their 2021 season with a win.
Utah gets the Week One Pac-12 fixtures underway in the early hours of Friday 3rd September (12:30am GMT) at home to Weber State. Arizona State hosts Southern Utah. Colorado starts a packed Saturday at home against Northern Colorado. Stanford coach David Shaw wasn’t happy about their early start in Week One. They play Kansas State in Arlington, Texas at 9am PDT.
Both Washington teams have gimme games at home.The Huskies play Montana while the Cougars take on Utah State. Oregon State has the difficult task of overcoming Purdue. Arizona will look to break their 12 game losing run against BYU, but it isn’t likely. The Golden Bears have a potential top 2022 NFL Draft prospect in QB Carson Strong. His Nevada Wolf Pack visits Berkley.
The champions of the North and South have games against teams that they should beat. The Oregon Ducks play Fresno State, while USC takes on San Jose State.
Game of the Week: LSU @ UCLA
This is a big game for both programs. It is also an historic meeting. This is the first time both teams have met. The Week Zero win over Hawaii was the Bruins’ first out of conference victory in 7 attempts under Chip Kelly. Following that up with a win against top SEC opposition would be huge. Expect a better LSU Tigers team in 2021. This really is a classic “anything can happen” Week One matchup.
College Football Preview: Week One – Big Ten
The Big Ten opens with 4 in-conference matchups and each of them should have you excited to tune in! The #17 and #18 ranked teams face off at Kinnick Stadium in what will be a real test of both Indiana and Iowa’s aspirations for the 2021 season. Indiana will be hoping Michael Penix Jr is healthy and can pick up where he and the team left off in 2020. Michigan State travels to Northwestern – the only way is up for Mel Tucker and Co. after last year. Minnesota’s defense had a down year in 2020 and has the toughest of tests to open the season in the form of new Ohio State QB CJ Stroud and a star-studded receiver core.
Rutgers gets a chance to open the year with a win as they head into their game with Temple as big favourites. Michigan welcomes Western Michigan to Ann Arbor. Nebraska are playing an out of conference game against Fordham, who are playing a Power 5 opponent for the first time since 1954! West Virginia certainly isn’t a gimme for Maryland but I do expect them to knock off the Mountaineers in Week One to start the season on the front foot. Illinois and Purdue face UTSA and Oregon State respectively in intriguing matchups. In short, it’s a really exciting opening weekend in the Big Ten!
Game of the Week – Penn State @ Wisconsin
A fun Week One in the Big Ten is epitomised by this clash of two teams with lofty aspirations for 2021. Both Wisconsin and Penn State will want to leave 2020 firmly in the rearview. Game postponements, poor performances and disappointing records blighted both teams that many thought would end the year challenging for the Big Ten title.
Wisconsin begin the year ranked #13 in the country on the back of a mean defense and strong running game. The Badgers will be keen to assert dominance upfront early in this one to control the clock and pound the ball on the Penn State defense. There is a lot of excitement around Jalen Berger this year and he will be out to make an early statement on the ground for Wisconsin. Penn State will be looking to their strong linebacker core to bring the Badgers ball carrier down early. They in turn will be assisted by the 6”4 324lbs Defensive Tackle PJ Mustipher who eats up blockers, allowing the linebackers to swarm to the ball.
Penn State themselves will be looking to improve their rushing stats and the return of Noah Cain from injury is a big boost. Add in the pass-catching threat of Jahan Dotson and Parker Washington and you get a fascinating battle with the strong Wisconsin defense. Penn had 17 turnovers in just seven games last year. If they cough up the ball in this one, the Badgers will punish them and run away with it. A tight, hard-fought battle will give the victors extra satisfaction at the end of this one.
College Football Preview: Week One – ACC
The ACC season starts early in week one on Thursday evening as NC State welcomes USF in what should be an easy win for The Wolfpack. North Carolina is my sleeper pick in the ACC this year and can get off to a flying start early for us on Friday. Friday evening sees a trio of games starting with my Virginia Tech Hokies are at home against South Carolina in what should be a tight affair in Blacksburg, however, I feel The Tar Heels come out just on top. Wake Forest should pick up an easy win against Old Dominion in a run of three easy games for The Deacons. Duke should also get off to winning ways in a cupcake matchup against The Charlotte 49ers.
After Friday Night Lights
Saturday sees seven games for ACC teams and the first is a cakewalk for Boston College against Colgate in which The Eagles are huge favourites and I couldn’t even find a betting line for this game. Miami faces a huge challenge week one as they welcome The Crimson Tide into Hardrock stadium. Even with D King returning I think Bama whacks the Hurricanes in true Nick Saban style. UMass travels to Pitt in a game that Pitt should walk away heavy winners. Syracuse travel to Ohio in a game they should and really need to win to help get some positive traction to start the season.
Georgia Tech starts the year with a visit from Northern Illinois in which The Yellow Jackets should walk away winners. The last game of Saturday sees a Virginia derby as William & Mary walk into Scott Stadium to face Virginia. The Cavaliers will blow away their neighbours in comfortable style. Former ACC big dawgs Notre Dame travel to Florida State in a game that they should win. The Seminoles may well be on the up and up but I think The Irish are too good and win this one by a score. FInally on Monday night The Louisville Cardinals and Ole Miss play at a neutral ground in Atlanta. This game should be superb as both teams are huge offences and weak defences but I think The Rebels will come out on top.
Game of the Week – Georgia v. Clemson
As Tom wisely said this game is a belter. I’ll keep this short, Clemson win and go undefeated all the way to the Natty. This is undoubtedly the best Week one fixture of all the games available . It should be superb and I think The Tigers win in a close one,