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Staff Picks - College Football Week 1

Last year we all did exceptionally poorly, but 2019 is looking up!

Florida State v Notre Dame Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

You ready to see exactly how to pick games in 2019? Last year’s champ AU Nerd has the bragging rights for this season, but we’ve added two new entrants to this year’s bonanza (both named Josh — official fan name of College and Magnolia, by the way), so the fray gets even more intense.

Week 1 is upon us, so who do we like to win, cover, all that jazz?

Alabama (-34.5) vs Duke (O/U 58)

Alabama is eleventy touchdowns better than Duke. However, garbage points are a thing. Duke gets blown out but covers. Alabama 42, Duke (+34.5) 14. - Josh Dub

You can’t make this line high enough. And the total is basically “do you think Alabama will score 45?” I do. Alabama 52, Duke 10. - James Jones

This game has all the makings of a total bloodletting. Alabama is stacked again this season, has the best QB in the conference, and the best WR in America. Duke is a private school in a Basketball state. The best DL on Duke’s campus last year was drafted #1 overall by the New Orleans Pelicans after never playing football for Duke. Needless to say, Duke has no shot.THAT’S WHY I’M PICKING DUKE! You guys just imagine how great it would be! Dream with me for one second and imagine if the Universe was fair and kind. DUKE 35, Alabama 34. - Son of Crow

Just got announced that Najee Harris and Brian Robinson are out for the 1st half. So a 3rd, maybe 4th string back if you believed Trey Sanders was going to get into the mix, in Jerome Ford will be the guy running out with the 1st team for a half for the Tide. Won’t matter.

Alabama doesn’t lose openers, and often has one of their better performances of the season when they get to hit someone other than themselves. There will be 30+ passes from Tua who only plays a half as Alabama rolls, leaving poor Duke’s trail of blood behind. Alabama 51 Duke 14. - Josh Black

Why Duke? Why on earth did you think this was a good idea? Granted Alabama has suspended a few guys for a half which probably means Tua will just air it out even more. And maybe only a 40-point win instead of 50. Alabama 48 Duke 7. - Will McLaughlin

Alabama is winning this one but maybe Duke takes advantage of the rash of injuries and suspensions enough to cover? This could be one of those dumb 17-10 games at the half where the final is 48-10. That gives me Bama covering, and a push on the O/U. - Ryan Sterritt

Alabama wins but does not cover. Under. 38-14. UAT is missing their top two running backs and their middle linebacker. It won’t matter but it will cost Bama the cover. - Drew Mac

What a lame kickoff game matchup. Tide 42-3. - AU Chief

You know how you get like 10 seasons into an NCAA14 dynasty and you start getting bored from dominating so you come up with challenges for yourself to make the game still seem fun? It feels like maybe Nick Saban is doing some of that right now. The Tide will be down four top players in the first half plus have suffered some major injuries specifically at ILB. They will be on their like 4th or 5th string RB to start the game Saturday.

Won’t matter... I expect the Tide to spread Duke out & throw it around the yard in the 1st half. Maybe Duke hits a big play or two early while this Bama defense get their feet under them but in the end it’s all Tide. 52-13 - AU Nerd

I bet we see Duke make a big move early and maybe even take the lead on a kick return/long pass/fluke play. Tua may even throw a pick. Still, without running backs or linebackers, it won’t matter. The most important players on that Alabama team are the freaks at receiver, because nobody except Clemson can handle all of them at once. They show out big time and the Tide win easily, 45-14. - Jack Condon

Houston @ Oklahoma (-24.5) (O/U 83)

I caught myself rooting for Jalen Hurts against Georgia last year. Only Jalen though. I think he’s going to shine, and Sunday night, the whole country will be watching. Oklahoma by a ton. Oklahoma (-24.5) 45, Houston 7. - Josh Dub

This is all we get for Sunday? Lame. I mean I’m still going to watch it, but I’m not going to be happy about it. I think OU figures things out late, but not enough to pull away and hit the over and cover the number. Oklahoma 41, Houston 21. - James Jones

Houston is a pesky team that wants to be P5 so bad it hurts. OU is the team to beat in the Big12 as long as Lincoln Riley is there. I think OU boatraces the Cougs and I think this is the first step on Jalen Hurts’ Heisman campaign. OU 45 UH 14. - Son of Crow

Dana Holgerson was smart to get out of West Virginia and will have a lot of success at Houston. Just not against Oklahoma. Biggest storyline of this game is the arm of Jalen Hurts and how he works in an Air Raid offense, or how Lincoln Riley adjusts his offense to match Hurts’ strengths. My guess is it’s a mixed bag, and while Jalen plays well, he will show he’s got work to do to make it 3 straight Heisman in Norman. Oklahoma 38 Houston 24. - Josh Black

The Jalen Hurts Redemption Tour begins Sunday evening in Norman. Look, I like the guy and if Auburn doesn’t go to the College Football Playoff, the next thing I hope happens this year is Jalen gets a crack at Bama and beats them. Oklahoma 48 Houston 28. - Will McLaughlin

As much as I want Houston to compete in this game, I think their chance to win this one was about three years ago. Jalen Hurts isn’t perfect, but he’s good enough to pummel bad defenses. Sooners 41-24. Houston covers and they stay under. - Ryan Sterritt

Oklahoma wins but doesn’t cover. Over. 58-38. Nothing in-depth here...but the Sooners will win this. - Drew Mac

Ugh. I can’t muster up a care here. University of Oklahoma 38-17 - AU Chief

Can Lincoln Riley pull off the 3 straight Heisman winners with transfers? Very possible because that offensive system will continue to put up gaudy numbers. However, wild man Dana Holgerson makes his debut as the Cougars head man and I would not at all be surprised if this game is close at halftime. But not sure Houston has the firepower to contend with the Sooners. Gimme Oklahoma to barely cover after a strong 2nd half. 48-23 Sooners - AU Nerd

People are going to have Oklahoma fatigue when it comes to award winners, but Jalen Hurts is going to do something fun to the Big 12. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them discover his running ability and put it to use a la Cam Newton a few games in. No defense here, though. 39-24 Sooners. - Jack Condon

Boise State @ Florida State (-5.5) (O/U 53.5)

Folks, Florida State is not a good football team. They’ll win, but they won’t be the better team. I see a lot of turnovers. Florida State 23, Boise State (+5.5) 20. - Josh Dub

Florida State has more talent on paper, but I have a feeling they sleepwalk into this. Boise catches them napping and lights a fire under Taggart’s seat. MURDERRRRRRRR! ALL HAIL THE MURDER SMUUUUURRRRRFFFFS. Boise State 23, FSU 21. - James Jones

I think Boise wins this game and i think it makes everyone really mad in tallahassee. I really don’t think Taggert makes it all the way to the end of the year which is sad because he didn’t have a lot to work with. Boise 24, FSU 21. - Son of Crow

Boise is a sexy pick here, yet here’s another situation where a freshman QB is starting for the first time against a P5 team. FSU has enough talent to beat this team, but their offensive line issues aren’t going away. FSU 21 Boise State 20. - Josh Black

Interesting matchup in Jacksonville Saturday evening. Florida State will start James Blackman at QB. Boise has a history of traveling to the East Coast and winning these games as underdog and I just don’t know what to expect from the Noles this year. Give me Boise! Boise State 28 Florida State 23 - Will McLaughlin

I want the Smurfs to come in and rub the Noles’ nose in it. I think ultimately it ends up a super drunk back and forth game that will be great channel flipping during Auburn/Oregon commercials, and I’m going to take Boise in an upset, 21-18. Boise wins outright and they hit the under hard. That is, if they even get this game in. - Ryan Sterritt

Boise State wins outright. Over. 35-21. SMURF KILLAS!!! If this game even happens because mother nature just wants to ruin our fun...PLAY THIS GAME IN AUBURN!!! - Drew Mac

I guess the Noles are more talented? Fresno won’t be in their late season form. I actually think Free Shoes University gets this one done but it won’t be fun to watch. Seminoles 22-17. - AU Chief

Right now it looks likely that the hurricane will win Saturday but if this game does get in it’s probably the 2nd most interesting contest outside of Auburn/Oregon. The Seminoles were baaaaaadddd last year and it feels like it might take a little more time than one offseason to rebuild that woeful offensive line. Boise State always has a tough squad though they are breaking in a new DC (Auburn will face the old one). It feels like everyone is picking this to be the upset which makes me wary. SP+ has Boise State ranked slightly ahead of FSU while FPI likes FSU a lot more than the Broncos. Because I just want it to happen I will go with Boise doing a Boise thing and pulling off a week one upset vs a well known P5 ACC school. Broncos 28 FSU 24. - AU Nerd

This is not a good Florida State team, and I think their offense is way over-valued even with that knowledge. Boise lost their defensive coordinator to Oregon, but the Broncos still win and it’s not really close. Boise 21, FSU 13. Brutal game. - Jack Condon

Fresno State @ USC (-13.5) (O/U 53)

It is wild that Fresno State/USC will forever be associated with Reggie Bush doing Reggie Bush things. And yet, this game will be the beginning of the end for Clay Helton. They’ll win, but USC boosters will shift uncomfortably in their chair the whole time. USC 28, Fresno State (+13.5) 24. - Josh Dub

While I think USC will struggle this year, I’m not quite jumping on the 0-6 bandwagon yet. There’s just too much of a talent gap between these two for USC to fall outright. No way they cover a 2 TD spread though. USC 30, Fresno State 24. - James Jones

Southern Cal wins a squeaker at the end. SC 21, Fresno 20. - Son of Crow

SPEAKING OF SEXY PICKS, WHY HELLO THERE FRESNO STATE! Jeff Tedford is a damn good football coach and USC is reeling. Hiring Graham Harrell was a smart move after Kliff Kingsbury stopped by in LA for a cup of coffee. The Air Raid offense can mask a lot of deficiencies. The question for this season is how long does USC’s football team stay engaged if things go downhill? My guess is not long. Fresno State 31 USC 28. - Josh Black

Many were surprised when Clay Helton was retained for this season and personally, I think Urban Meyer will be the USC coach in 2020. Just a hunch. I think the Trojans win but they don’t cover. USC 34 Fresno State 28 - Will McLaughlin

This is one of those games that USC should win, but if they don’t we’re looking at a disaster season in Los Angeles. USC gets a couple of late breaks to win 27-17. Fresno still covers, and Jack didn’t give us an O/U to work off of so who knows about that. - Ryan Sterritt

USC wins but doesn’t cover. 24-17. It gets tense late but sets the stage for Helton to be let go and THAT......THAT’S URBAN MEYER’S MUSIC!!! - Drew Mac

I mean, I guess USC our talents these dudes. There’s not really any excuse for this being close. Trojans 30-13. - AU Chief

The struggles continue in southern California for the PAC-12’s once powerhouse. Truthfully, USC’s fall from power has actually been harmful to the Tigers as it has allowed Bama and UGA to go out west and snatch some elite football players. Get your crap together Trojans...

I know Fresno is another sexy upset pick but I think the Trojans put together a surprisingly strong debut winning 31-13. - AU Nerd

Pat Hill ain’t coaching this team is he? Graham Harrell is gonna have this team throwing 50+ times, and former Auburn quarterback Clay Helton gets a solid win. 28-14 USC. - Jack Condon

Notre Dame (-20.5) @ Louisville (O/U 57)

Notre Dame/Louisville will be your only viewing option for Monday Night football. I’m sorry. Notre Dame (-20.5) 36, Louisville 9. - Josh Dub

Oh, so we’re going to put Notre Dame on Labor Day against a tomato can? That totally won’t result in everyone overrating the result. Poor Scott Satterfield is in “Year -1”. I think if they put points on the board it’s a victory. Total is too high if Notre Dame is the only one scoring. Notre Dame 42, Louisville 10. - James Jones

life is too short to care about Notre Dame football in 2019. ND 20.5, Louisville 0. - Son of Crow

Scott Satterfield is in a true “Year Zero” situation at Louisville thank to the dismissal of a guy than SOME OF YOU (you know who you are in your heart; hide your shame) wanted to hire at Auburn after 2012. I hope Louisville turns it around, but it does give me great pleasure for Bobby Petrino to continue to catch deserved hell for being a horrible recruiter who turns a program to ashes as soon as he leaves. Notre Dame 41 Louisville 13. - Josh Black

Lamar Jackson leaves Louisville and the program goes quickly into the ground. Scott Satterfield is a good coach but it will take time to clean the mess up left by that guy that Auburn wanted so badly many years ago. Irish roll on Labor Day night. Notre Dame 44 Louisville 16 - Will McLaughlin

Whatever the spread is in this game isn’t high enough. Not because Notre Dame is that good, but Louisville baaaaaaad, just like every post-Petrino team. Their starting QB had an 8:12 TD:INT ratio last year and wasn’t even a great rushing threat. Going up against the preseason #9 defense in SP+ is going to be ugly. Notre Dame 34-6, with an Irish cover the matchup staying under. - Ryan Sterritt

Notre Dame covers. Over. 42-17. Louisville is bad. Really bad... - Drew Mac

I guess this is a great way to strap a rocket to the Notre Dame Hype Train. They are gonna kill this poor, poor Louisville team. Domers 42-6. - AU Chief

After being turned down by former QB Jeff Brohm, the Cardinals made one of the sneakiest hires of the offseason landing Scott Satterfield from Appalachian State. I think he has a chance to have some success there in Louisville but that’s gonna be hard out the gate. Notre Dame looks poised to make another run at the playoffs and I am hoping they can knock Kirby’s season off track in a couple of weeks. Cardinals take an early lead but it’s all Domers after that. Notre Dame 35 Louisvile 17. - AU Nerd

People knocked Notre Dame for hanging with Clemson for a half and then falling apart. It’s better than what Bama did. Irish show Scott Satterfield what it’s like to start at the bottom. ND 48, Louisville 16. - Jack Condon