No more talk - time for the games.
South Carolina @ NC State (-4.5)
How good are the Wolfpack's memories? Last year, week 1, they got destroyed by the Gamecocks 34-0 en route to a 6-7 year. O'Brien was supposed to be the savior in Raleigh, but he's been anything but. The same was supposed to be true for Spurrier in Columbia, and though he's won more than they used to, the disappointment is palpable. Which one continues to slide, and which sees a glimmer of hope to start the season?
The Call: South Carolina by 7
The Result: South Carolina 7-3
Well that was some week one play, huh? The Gamecocks won, but neither side really showed that we can expect anything different this year. If they don't pick it up, it's gonna be a long year in their respective conferences.
Oregon (+3.5) @ Boise State
Great way to start the first day of the season - Oregon on the blue turf. The Broncos won in Eugene last year on their way to an undefeated regular season, but they hurt some feelings along the way. The Ducks didn't take too kindly to what they felt was dirty play, and they're itchin' for some payback. Even with a new coach, they still have the weapons to dish it out, but I'm not sure Boise State has the armor to defend it.
The Call: Oregon by 17
The Result: Boise State 19-8
The bad blood between these two teams just got badder. That's certainly not the way Chip Kelly wanted to start his tenure as head coach, jeez. This wasn't nearly as close as the score indicates - except for a few miscues, the Broncos could've been up by three TD's, and the Duck's offense was just pain inept.
Navy (+22) @ Ohio State
Seeing all the fans in the Horseshoe cheer for the Midshipmen when they take the field and John Glenn dotting the "i" will be highlights for Navy. The game itself? Not so much.
The Call: Ohio State by 28
The Result: Ohio State 31-27
Hmmm... that 4th & short in the middle of the fourth quarter... is this a less conservative Tressel we're seeing? Is it because of Pryor? Does he have doubts about the kicking game? Lotsa questions for the Buckeyes right now... I know one thing - if they don't learn to put games away when they have the chance, it's gonna be a tricky Big10 season.
San Jose State @ USC (-33.5)
Serioiusly? With a true freshman QB, a new defense, new coaches, and injuries? -33.5? I was really hoping we were over this by now. Apparently not. Oh well, at least it makes for an easy call.
The Call: USC wins, but San Jose State covers the spread
The Result: USC 56-3
Perhaps I've underestimated the Trojans running backs - they seem quite able to carry the load, at least against easy competition. I'll be very curious to see what they can do next week.
Baylor (+2) @ Wake Forest
The Bears have been getting a lot of pub this off-season because of their up-and-coming QB, Robert Griffin. Even a mild turnaround and bowl game will make for a successful year, but I wouldn't be surprised if Baylor pulls an upset of one of the Big12 favorites at some point. First they have to get past the Demon Deacons, who whupped them on their home turf 41-13 last year. Wake has planted themselves firmly in the top half of the ACC and know how to get it done in close games. This should be a really good game.
The Call: Wake Forest by 7
The Result: Baylor 24-21
Great start to the season for the Bears - not so much for the Demon Deacons.
Georgia (+5) @ Oklahoma State
One of the main week 1 games that might go a long way toward determining the BCS picture, conference supremacy, and a whole host of other seasonal issues. The Cowboys should give the Dawgs more problems than their big road trip (to Arizona State) last season, and this'll be a great test for the Cowboys to see how they might fare against the Big12 south this year. UGA's a bit under the radar this season, while Okie State's a bit over - it should even out nicely.
The Call: Georgia by 6
The Result: Oklahoma State 24-10
While Oklahoma State never really seemed to get into a consistent rhythm with their offense, it looks like Georgia needs to find an offensive identity. Both D's did well, but the Cowboy's ability to not turn the ball over was key.
Missouri v Illinois (-6.5)
Both of these two had pretty good runs a couple of years ago, then fell a bit last year even though most of their star players were still around. Can the Illini pick it back up after sliding under .500 last year? Can the Tigers keep from sliding into .500 territory in the increasingly tough Big12? Last year was a shootout - this year I expect more of a pounding.
The Call: Illinois by 10
The Result: Oklahoma State 24-10
Well, without realizing it I seemed to have picked against a lot of Big12 teams today... The pounding was there though, wasn't it?
BYU (+22.5) v Oklahoma
Another big'un for the Big12 - but it's even bigger for the MtnWest. Sure they beat up on some of the Pac10 last year, and they got a signature win in the Sugar Bowl when Utah dusted Alabama, but if they want to start the season right and be taken seriously right from the get-go, a good showing here is a must. A close loss won't cut it - they need to win this one to keep climbing.
The Call: Oklahoma wins, but BYU covers the spread
The Result: BYU 14-13
That's one way to cover the spread. Does Oklahoma win if Bradford plays the second half? Who knows - doesn't matter. Haters will certainly use his injury against BYU and the Mountain West as a whole, but they're the ones with the W. Injuries are part of the game. Deal with it.
UL-Monroe @ Texas (-41.5)
Remember the scene in Saving Private Ryan at the end when the german slowly slides his knife into that guy? That.
The Call: Texas by 52
The Result: Texas 59-20
C'mon, garbage time. I'm getting my ass kicked against the spread this week, now you gotta come in and beat me too? Not cool.
Alabama (-6.5) v Virginia Tech
This game is all about control. If it's methodical, slow, and has a few long drives, Bama should be fine. If there's turnovers, quick plays, and some chaos, the Hokies might be able to pull it off.
The Call: Alabama by 10
The Result: Alabama 34-24
The Hokies had some of the big plays they needed, just not enough of them. Bama looked solid, especially their D - should be an interesting year in the SEC West.
Maryland @ California (-21.5)
The Terrapin's victory at home over the Bears last year was one of the more surprising upsets, and you can bet that Cal is going to play better this time around. Heisman hopeful Jahvid Best needs to do well in big games for the Bears to have a successful season, and a non-conference matchup with a solid BCS team counts as a big game. But underestimate Maryland at your own peril.
The Call: California wins, but Maryland covers the spread
The Result: California 52-13
Damn, I guess the old saying about paybacks is true. I think we need to switch my previous words around - Underestimate Cal at your own peril.
LSU (-17.5) @ Washington
I give major props to LSU for being willing to travel across the country for a road game with a BCS team. But with that said, this is a no-win situation for them. A loss to the Huskies would be devestating, and even a close game wouldn't look so good for the #11 team that's supposed to challenge for the SEC title. But Washington should be a bit renewed this year, and Jake Locker is one year smarter... I think the Tigers will roll, but a Husky upset wouldn't be all that stunning. (Hey, it's the first week.)
The Call: LSU by 21
The Result: LSU 31-23
I gotta say, the Huskies showed more fierceness that game than I've seen in a long time. And the Tigers, while they won, seemed... rather disinterested. Washington beat them in most offensive categories, and except for penalties and turnovers, looked just as good at times. They might sneak up and knock off some Pac10 biggies this year.
Do I really have to count the numbers this week? Really? Oh fine, but I'm not happy about it - 7 of 12 straight up, and a measley 3 of 12 against the spread. Like the Sooners, I did NOT want to start the season this way...