House Money: Introducing Our Season-Long Pick'Em and 11W Staff Selections for College Football's First Week

By 11W Staff on August 30, 2018 at 3:05 pm
Notre Dame and Michigan will square off for the first time since 2014.

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

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The college football season is upon us, and when things get kicked off tonight we will once again set out on a quest to see who will take home the crown as the world's foremost pick'em expert.

Last season Clay Travis was no match for our contrarian picks, but this year it will be more of an internal competition that will award no prize whatsoever besides copious amounts of respect and admiration. If you're feeling frisky, you may want to piggyback on all of our sage wisdom and attempt to #GetRich. Or just follow along and give us some of your own feelings on what Vegas is saying.

This will also serve as a bit of a viewer's guide for the coming weekend as our plan is to include 10 of the country's top games with a mix of Big Ten and national matchups. Each participating staff member will submit their picks – against the spread – for the selected slate of games. The odds will certainly fluctuate a bit throughout each week, but we'll be using sportsbook.ag for all betting lines.

11W Staff Picks: Week One
  CHRIS RAMZY HOPE HARRISH JONES WEBB ELLIS  WERTHEIM REGIMBAL ANDERSON VANCE
OVERALL: —— —— —— —— ——   —— —— —— —— —— ——
Purdue (-2.5) vs. Northwestern NW NW NW NW PUR PUR NW PUR NW NW PUR
No. 5 Ohio State (-38) vs. Oregon State OHST OHST OHST OHST OHST OHST OHST ORE ST OHST OHST OHST
No. 23 Texas (-13) @ Maryland TEX TEX TEX TEX TEX TEX MARY MARY TEX TEX TEX
No. 10 Penn State (-24) vs. Appalachian State PSU PSU APP PSU PSU PSU PSU PSU PSU PSU PSU
No. 9 Auburn (-1.5) vs. No. 6 Washington WASH WASH WASH WASH WASH AUB AUB AUB WASH WASH AUB
No. 17 West Virginia (-10) vs. Tennessee WVU WVU WVU WVU WVU WVU WVU WVU TENN TENN WVU
No. 12 Notre Dame (-1) vs. No. 14 Michigan MICH ND MICH MICH ND ND ND ND MICH MICH ND
No. 1 Alabama (-25) vs. Louisville BAMA BAMA BAMA BAMA BAMA BAMA BAMA LOU LOU LOU BAMA
No. 8 Miami (-3) vs. No. 25 LSU LSU MIAMI LSU LSU LSU LSU LSU MIAMI LSU LSU MIAMI
No. 19 Florida State (-7.5) vs. No. 20 Virginia Tech VT VT FSU VT VT FSU FSU VT VT FSU VT

Overall it's a pretty solid slate for the opening weekend with several games that should have College Football Playoff implications. Three games in particular seem to stand out above the rest.

Jim Harbaugh makes his first trip to South Bend as the rivalry is renewed for the first time since 2014. Notre Dame is always solid along the offensive line, but the Wolverine defense should be one of the country's best and Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson are both long gone. Shea Patterson makes his Michigan debut on the road, and that's certainly one of the top storylines for Saturday evening's contest.

Auburn and Washington square off in Atlanta, and a loss would make it extremely difficult for the Tigers to reach the playoff. Gus Malzahn still has to face LSU, Georgia, Mississippi State, and Alabama before all is said and done. Both the Georgia and Bama games are on the road in November. The PAC 12 hasn't exactly been formidable of late, but the Huskies should be the conference's top playoff contender in 2018.

As Ohio State fans, many are particularly excited to watch Joe Burrow at the helm for Ed Orgeron and the Tigers. Miami may have the country's top linebacking unit, so we will see what the Buckeye transfer can put put together in Arlington on Sunday night. Turnover chains be damned.

Elsewhere in Big Ten country, Purdue and Northwestern kick off tonight at 8:00 p.m., and the Boilermakers are 2.5-point favorites at home. The biggest question heading into the game is whether or not Clayton Thorson will play. Pat Fitzgerald's Wildcats could be a sneaky team in the West Division and Jeff Brohm has Purdue on the up and up.

Today is the 11th anniversary of the Big Ten Network's launch. Remember that time Appalachian State beat Michigan? That was pretty neat and the Mountaineers will try to do the same in Happy Valley on Saturday.

Maryland is in a state of turmoil right now, but the Terps will try to top Texas for a second-straight season; this time at home. The spread (Longhorns -13) seems pretty hefty in that one even with all of the question marks at Maryland. Interim head coach Matt Canada still hasn't named a starting quarterback, but both Kasim Hill and Tyrrell Pigrome are capable under center.

Alabama squares off against the Lamar Jackson-less Cardinals in Orlando on Saturday Night. Some Louisville linemen have already started talking smack to the Crimson Tide and I have no idea why anyone would think that's a smart idea. Bobby Petrino has some talented wideouts and Bama did lose the majority of its secondary to the National Football League, so maybe this one will be competitive for a bit?

Either way, Bama is favored by 25 in what will be its most formidable non-conference test of the season. Nick Saban's other opponents outside of the SEC? How about Arkansas State, Louisiana (Lafayette), and The Citadel. Yikes.

Welcome back to our hearts, college football. Who are your picks for week one? 

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