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Staff Predictions - College Football Week 1

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Where do you put the money this weekend? Don’t listen to us.

NCAA Football: Michigan Spring Game Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

If you’re into gambling, please don’t take our advice on the following games. We have absolutely no idea what we’re talking about, but there’s never a bad time to speculate on the biggest matchups of college football’s real first weekend.

TENNESSEE vs WEST VIRGINIA

“As much as I think Will Grier is overrated, I *do* think he’s still a pretty good quarterback, and the Vols have nothing to keep up with him. ‘eers win this one 34-14.” - Ryan Sterritt

“I’ve heard a whole bunch about Will Grier and West Virginia. They are Cole Cubelic’s N.C. State (of last year) as his sleeper team to make the Playoff this year. I honestly don’t think Tennessee has a shot in this one. 38-13 West Virginia.” - Will McLaughlin

“Holgo the Great spoils Pruitt’s lid-lifter” - Drew McCracken

“WVU might struggle on defense, but Tennessee won’t be the one to challenge them. The Vols are starting two freshmen corners against Will Grier and David Sills. Yikes. WVU 37-17” - James Jones

“I think the Vols are just not going to be good. That said, I don’t know anything about either one of these teams. I think WV can score, which is at least one thing. Give me the ‘neers” - Son of Crow

“I don’t hate Tennessee. In fact, I know some very nice people that graduated from Rocky Top. Heck, I’m from those same hills, I grew up swimming in the same water that flows by Neyland. That being said, I’ll never stop telling everyone what a fraud I think Jeremy Pruitt is. I find it really hard to believe that his tenure in Knoxville ends in anything but disaster, and this game is just going to be the start. The Mountaineers are going to embarrass the Volunteers. West Virginia 48-14.” - AU Chief

“I am fascinated to see how the Jeremy Pruitt era unfolds. However, this is Year 0 and it’s going to be all about Pruitt figuring out who he can build around moving forward. WVU is gonna drop a bunch of points on this Vols squad though I think it’s closer at half than people expect. In the end, all Mountaineers 38-17” - AU Nerd

“I don’t think Tennessee is going to be as bad as people believe, at least not on defense, but they’re not going to be great out of the gate. WVU will make Jeremy Pruitt eat his vegetables (insert asparagus joke here) as they give him an opening day loss, but I think they hold Will Grier relatively in check. WVU 28, Tennessee 17” - Jack Condon

ALABAMA vs LOUISVILLE

“Bama is a four score favorite in this one and still covers.... At least this means Petrino is taking a whooping, and I don’t have to feel bad because Lamar Jackson isn’t there anymore. 35-7 Bama” - Ryan Sterritt

“Speaking of QB issues, they won’t matter here...yet.” - Drew McCracken

“Throughout the offseason, I didn’t think Louisville would keep this within 30. Then they started running their mouths about how they’re gonna beat Bama and how their DBs can’t stop them and now, I’ll be shocked if they keep it within 40. 48-7 Bama” - Will McLaughlin

“I think Jawon Pass might be pretty good, and I think Petrino will have him ready. Unfortunately Petrino also hired The Architect of the Worst Defense in Auburn History. Bama 52-24” - James Jones

“Maybe Jalen Hurts will play well when Bama’s up by 30 in the second half, thereby conjuring up a thought that he’s better than Tua, thereby conjuring up a quarterback controversy, thereby conjuring up strife and discord in the Tide locker room. Maybe. Bama 42-13” -

Note: AU Nerd and Son of Crow didn’t even pick this game because they hate Bama.

NOTRE DAME vs MICHIGAN

“I’ve been against the Michigan hype since Harbaugh arrived but I might be buying some of it now. I think if there was ever a year his team took the next step, this is it. However, I trust Bill Connelly more than myself & he has Wolverines with a 38% chance of winning. So how’s this for a pick. Notre Dame wins 24-20 but Michigan finally makes it to the Big 10 Championship Game.” - AU Nerd

“Michigan wins and there is so much harbaugh hype.” - Son of Crow

“If this game was in Ann Arbor it would be a slam dunk pick. As it stands I still think Michigan has too much for the Irish. Patterson acquits himself well, but it’s the Wolverine defense that pushes them through. Michigan 27-14” - James Jones

“Ah, an ON-CAMPUS matchup of 2 Top 15 teams to start the season, what an awesome concept! Really curious to see how Shea Patterson fits with Michigan and I feel like Harbaugh needs this game badly to silence some critics. I think they get it, but it will be a close one. 21-17 Michigan” - Will McLaughlin

“If Michigan goes out and wins this one in South Bend with Game Day in town, you can bet the hype train will be rolling. All the worse for Harbaugh when he doesn’t win the East. 24-20 Wolverines, and Shea Patterson has an average game statistically but still has a highlight “Heisman” moment when he scrambles for a 40 yard touchdown.” - Ryan Sterritt

The fall of the khaki pants begins in Ann Arbor” - Drew McCracken

“I’ve always liked Notre Dame the same way I’ve got a soft spot for the Boston Celtics: My Irish blood and their natural enemy status. Boston is the sworn enemy of New York, and for whatever reason, Bama fans feel like they have some sort of rivalry with Notre Dame. I’ve never gotten the vibe from Notre Dame fans that they feel the same, but whatever. The same goes for the Wolverines who are definitely the natural enemy of those dastardly Buckeyes, and for that I salute them. I have no clue who wins this. It’s hard for me to think of Notre Dame as anything but an erratic mess, which is what they’ve seemed like under Brian Kelly. I guess I just talked myself into Michigan. Michigan 34 - 21.” - AU Chief

“I think Notre Dame plays a little more exciting football than Michigan, and so I’m picking them for no real reason. Irish 23-16” - Jack Condon

LSU vs MIAMI

“Something named Joe Borrow is LSU’s starting QB, that’s enough for me!” - Drew McCracken (Editor’s note: I don’t know if this is an actual pick for LSU or what)

“Intriguing Sunday night matchup in Arlington. LSU fans will hope that Joe Burrows is their savior, ala Jarrett Stidham, at QB. Still, I really don’t expect a ton from LSU this year. I also don’t expect a lot of points in this one. Miami 20-13” - Will McLaughlin

“I don’t really trust either of the quarterbacks in this game. Both teams otherwise have plenty of talent, so let’s look at the coaching match-OH LAWD. Miami 24-10” - James Jones

“Miami has cool uniforms…so they win.” - Son of Crow

“Full Disclosure: I’m an unabashed Miami fan. One of my first memories is attending the Orange Bowl Parade in 1987 (for the 1988 Orange Bowl, which the Canes won, winning the national title). I love the U, warts and all. I know, I know, 1983. I get it. They have been, and always will be my 3rd love. (Auburn, Jacksonville State, Miami) I don’t love Mark Richt, but I really think he’s perfect for Miami. I also can’t ever pick a team to win anything that has Steve Ensminger involved in calling the plays. Miami 31 - 7.” - AU Chief

“No idea.... So in this case I’m gonna pick the coach I trust the most in the game. That coach is Dave Aranda. With Fulton back in the lineup too, I think LSU is gonna have a nasty defense. This is gonna be a painful offensive game to watch ala LSU/WISC 2016 but this time the Bayou Bengals get the W. Gimme LSU 13-9” - AU Nerd

“I’m hoping that LSU turns out to be pretty bad this year, so that we can whip them in week three as revenge for what they did to us in Baton Rouge last season. It’ll help if Miami can show that athleticism isn’t nearly enough to get the job done. Richt barely breaks a sweat outcoaching Ed O and the Hurricanes break out the Turnover Chain multiple times (that’s still a thing, right?) in a pretty decisive win. 31-9.” - Jack Condon

*Note: Ryan Sterritt did not make a pick because he forgot.

FLORIDA STATE vs VIRGINIA TECH

“Before the Hokies lost a number of crucial pieces due to transfers and suspension I had VT as the winner. But with the talent Jimbo left Taggart with along with Fuente’s squad having to plug a lot of holes late, I think the Noles take this in a shoot out. 34-31 FSU” - AU Nerd

“I’ll have to near-about flip a coin on this one. How far along is Florida State in their transition? How much does all of the defensive attrition affect Virginia Tech? I think this one is wild. Remember that Texas-Notre Dame Labor Day game that was back-and-forth and everybody loved it until we realized a month later that both teams weren’t very good? Yeah. FSU 36-31.” - James Jones

Willie Taggart makes his Seminoles coaching debut on Monday night. I think he’ll get the Seminoles turned around pretty quick. Also, Deondre Francois returns at QB and the Noles have a lot to prove this year. Give me the Noles 31-28.” - Will McLaughlin

Virginia Tech is THIN on defense, and I think Deandre Francois is going to have a pretty big year. It starts here. 40-28 FSU.” - Ryan Sterritt

Sure the game is at the Doak, but Willie Taggart has to show me something with a decent Noles team.” - Drew McCracken (again, not sure who he actually picks here)

“Are either of these teams any good? Who knows? Who cares? I sure don’t. FSU has got to be more talented, right? Despite what excuses might have been made for his disaster of a final season, I don’t think Jimbo left the cupboard anywhere close to bare. I guess I’m going Free Shoes University on this one, sorry if you’re reading this Ford Thompson. FSU 35, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University 34” - AU Chief

“Willie Taggart’s own mother wore a Florida State jersey to the game when Willie’s USF team played the Noles. Can’t let Mama down. FSU 33, Virginia Tech 24” - Jack Condon

I dunno. Tie?” - Son of Crow

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We’ll have our Auburn vs Washington predictions in a couple hours, so sit tight!