College Football is here and I’m here to give you my weekly take on six games in the college football world. Some of these picks against the spread may be some of the premier headline games of the day. Some of these may be completely off the radar. Whatever the case, I hope you enjoy and come back weekly. Welcome to Carey’s Pick 6 – Week 1!
Carey’s PREMIER GAME OF THE WEEK
Texas at 11 Notre Dame (-9.5)
It’s so hard to believe that this game between these two traditional powers isn’t more on the radar. But, it isn’t. It’s not the fault of the Irish. That’s for sure. The Irish would easily be on my radar as a team that I think could make it to the College Football Playoff. It’s just hard for me to actually predict them to be there due to their schedule. When you think of a team matching up against the once mighty Texas Longhorns, you don’t usually think of that game being one of the easier games on the schedule. But, the fact of the matter is Notre Dame has one of the toughest schedules in the nation. Games at home against Georgia Tech and USC, games on the road against Clemson, Stanford, and even Pittsburgh are all possibly tougher than today’s matchup against Texas. Charlie Strong, is in year two at Texas, and the pressure is already on. The Horns were very good defensively in a very offensive-minded league in 2014. But, in that same not very defensive-minded league, the offense was beyond pathetic, scoring only 21 points per game. I look for improvement from Texas this season, but it’s probably a bit too early for that improvement to show week one, and probably not in front of Touchdown Jesus. 2014, was a big decline for Notre Dame defensively (29 ppg) from where they had been in past years under Brian Kelly. But, with ten returning starters, I expect the Irish to get their defensive mojo back. I also look for Malik Zaire to have a nice sophomore season. The last time these two met was 1996. The ninth-ranked Irish beat the sixth-ranked Longhorns that day 27-24. The Irish are 15-4 in both home and season openers since 1995. That, along with the Irish just simply being the better team are enough for me. Take the Irish to cover the -9.5 over the Longhorns….
Carey’s SECOND TIER GAME OF THE WEEK
21 Stanford (-10) at Northwestern
The last time these two met was 1994 when then wide receiver – now head coach, David Shaw, and the Bill Walsh coached Cardinal fought Northwestern to a 41-41 tie. The Cardinal are my pick to win the PAC-12 this season. Senior QB, Kevin Hogan may just be the difference in the PAC-12 race that looks like it will be one of the best in the nation. Hogan, is not going to wow you with his arm or his athleticism. But, he’s been pretty consistent and he doesn’t get the Cardinal beat. However, the Stanford offense isn’t exactly dynamic, and making a trip across country to play the Wildcats in Illinois won’t make things easier. We’ve seen in games so far, that the offense has a tendency to be behind the defense early in the season. Look for that to be the case in this one. Expect this to be a low-scoring game. Until last season, the Wildcats had won their last seven season openers under the watch of head coach, Pat Fitzgerald. The Cal Bears spoiled that last season. Look for the Cardinal to make that two consecutive season opening losses. But, I like Northwestern to keep it under the number. Take the Wildcats in a tight battle right down to the wire…..
Carey’s WRONG TEAM FAVORED GAME OF THE WEEK #1
15 Arizona State vs Texas A&M (-3)
The Sun Devils are another popular pick to win the PAC-12 South, and possibly represent the conference in the College Football Playoff. Not sure I see them being in the playoff, but with their experience and depth, they are a threat to win the league. A&M comes in off a sub par season where their defense took a pounding week after week. New defensive coordinator, John Chavis was brought in from LSU to change all that. But, it’s probably a bit early for those changes to take effect. Look for an experienced ASU QB, Mike Bercovici, and a nice set of skill players to take advantage. This game is being played in A&M’s backyard – that’s the reason the Aggies are the slight favorite, but it’s definitely not Kyle Field. Look for a tight high-scoring affair, but take the Sun Devils Straight Upover the Aggies…
Carey’s WRONG TEAM FAVORED GAME OF THE WEEK #2
BYU at Nebraska (-5.5)
The schedule makers gave new Nebraska head coach, Mike Riley no favors. The Cougars are a fringe top 25 ball club and could win 10 games or more this season. Nebraska’s Tommy Armstrong has lots of experience, but not any of it is in the Huskers’ new offensive system. Look for BYU to take advantage with their blitzing style implemented by head coach, Bronco Mendenhall. Aside, from him having one of my favorite names in all of college football, Mendenhall is a heckuva coach. He’ll have the Cougars ready, even though there will be some suspensions as the result of a brawl that took place in their Miami Beach Bowl appearance last season. Mendenhall, has not announced which players will be suspended. Nonetheless, expect the Cornhuskers to have issues in their first game with a new coach. Take BYU to not only cover, but win the game Straight Up over the Cornhuskers.
Oh by the way……
Louisville vs 6 Auburn (-9.5)
Most everyone has an opinion of just how good new Auburn QB, Jeremy Johnson will be in Gus Malzahn’s offense. I think he’ll be outstanding, even if today’s game won’t necessarily be a determining factor. Look for Johnson to have a big game, and for the Heisman hype to begin. Take the Tigers as they deny Bobby Petrino redemption for ‘JetGate’.
Virginia at 13 UCLA (-17.5)
The Hoos played a heavily favored Bruins team to the wire last season in Charlottesville. Look for the opposite today, as the Cavaliers make the return trip to California. Jim Mora’s Bruins are very talented and experienced. Freshman QB, Josh Rosen gets his first start against a decent Cavs defense from last season. That defense, however, only returns five. Look for some UCLA struggles early, but don’t expect Virginia to capitalize. Take the Bruins, as they pull away in the second half to cover the 17.5.
Thanks for reading!