Well, last week was a whiff, but week 0 is just a teaser anyways. We are onto the first real week of college football, so stick with me as I make some bold predictions for the first weekend of college football. Let’s recap last week just as a reminder:
Sam Hartman Throws 2 First Half Interceptions – Not even close as Sam Hartman did not even throw one interception and the Fighting Irish looked solid.
Caleb Williams Scores Five Touchdowns, Out of the Game by Halftime – It’s hard for Caleb Williams to score five touchdowns and be out of the game by halftime if USC is going to refuse to play defense. Caleb Williams could win the Heisman again because he will play the entirety of all his games due to the defense being so bad.
Kurtis Rourke and Sam Wiglusz Combine for Three Touchdowns – Can I get an asterisk for this one? Rourke was injured in the first half and the backup quarterback was not nearly as talented as Rourke. Wiglusz still finished the game with 10 catches for 103 yards but no touchdowns.
Week one I am bumping the predictions up to five. The more predictions we make, the more likely we are to get one correct, am I right?
Drew Allar Struggles in Debut, West Virginia Covers – Let’s start by saying I do believe Drew Allar is going to be a very good quarterback in his career. Most players get a cupcake game to warm up, but Allar gets a primetime game at home against West Virginia. Now, the Mountaineers may not be the best team, but they are certainly better than playing a MAC school. The adrenaline will be flowing in this game, and Allar is likely to be excited. As a true sophomore with limited playing experience, he is going to make some mistakes. Do not be surprised if he commits multiple turnovers in this game. Ultimately, Penn State’s defense is too good and will limit West Virginia’s opportunities to score points. Penn State will come out of this game with the victory, but it’s clear the offense will have plenty of room to improve.
UConn takes NC State to the Wire – People may not remember this, but UConn made a bowl game last year. They played Marshall in the Myrtle Beach Bowl, where they lost 28-14. Jim Mora has this UConn team playing at a level not seen since Randy Edsall’s first tenure in Storrs. UConn lost starting quarterback Ta’Quan Roberson in the first game of the season, resulting in Zion Turner starting for the rest of the season. NC State dominated the matchup last year, winning 41-10, but this year will be very different. Joseph Fagnano won the quarterback battle to be the starter this season, beating both Roberson and Turner. The defense returns most of its starters, along with the addition of a few experienced transfers. NC State is replacing a few key pieces, with Devin Leary transferring to Kentucky and Brennan Armstrong coming in from Virginia. Offensive coordinator Tim Beck accepted the head coaching job at Coastal Carolina over the winter. UConn’s defense will pose challenges for NC State early on. The Wolfpack will likely secure the victory, but UConn will keep the game uncomfortably close.
Three ranked teams fall to unranked opponents – Preseason polls rarely reflect how good teams actually are, considering all the changes they go through. USC, for instance, was once ranked number one and finished the season unranked. We’re likely to see a few unranked teams pull off upsets and make some noise in week 1. Utah, Iowa, Washington, North Carolina, Penn State, Oregon State, Tulane, and Clemson are the prime candidates to stumble this weekend. As a spoiler alert, I predict Tulane will lose to South Alabama this weekend. Clemson faces a talented quarterback in Riley Leonard. Iowa and Utah may be without their starting quarterbacks. North Carolina is up against a talented South Carolina squad. Penn State is breaking in a new quarterback while playing a West Virginia team with nothing to lose. Washington is hosting Boise State, who could have their best team in years. Oregon State is traveling to San Jose State, which has already played one game and looked impressive in the first half against USC. Three of these teams will likely come out of week one with a loss.
Deion Sanders blown out in debut – Colorado created a massive bandwagon in college football this past offseason with the hiring of Deion Sanders. They experienced the biggest roster turnover in recent memory, with more than 70 new players added to the roster. Colorado did bring in some talented players, such as former five-star WR/DB Travis Hunter. Shedeur Sanders, Deion’s son, was also a talented recruit coming out of high school before selecting Jackson State. One of the critical aspects of football is continuity and consistency. Replacing this many players on a team in just one season is unheard of in college football. Now, Colorado has to go on the road and play the National Runner-Up in TCU. The Horned Frogs did lose some key contributors on both sides of the ball, but they still have the talent and skill to finish with a winning record. Coach Prime is exciting, and long-term, he might be the right guy for Colorado. However, the journey begins with game one in year one, and it’s unlikely to start on a high note as Colorado may lose by at least four scores.
South Alabama tops Tulane – I’m prepared for the criticism this prediction might receive. Tulane heads into the season with a target on their back, and South Alabama is a serious contender to represent the Group of Five in a New Year’s bowl game. South Alabama returns almost everyone on both sides of the ball from a team that won 10 games last year. The Jaguars’ defense was one of the best in the country against the run, finishing fifth in rush defense. South Alabama also retains quarterback Carter Bradley, who threw for over 3,300 yards and 28 touchdowns. While Tulane does have Michael Pratt returning, he was incredibly inconsistent last year, completing less than 60% of his passes in five games. Tulane also relied heavily on Tyjae Spears, who is now in the NFL. When you’re king of the hill, everyone is aiming to knock you off, and it all starts in game one.