We're back in business, folks.
The week zero appetizer is in the books and we're heading into week one of the 2019 college football season. With a new season comes another series of weekly previews and picks from the staff here at Eleven Warriors.
This weekly feature is intended to 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 typically fluctuate a bit throughout each week, but we'll be using sportsbook.ag for all betting lines.
We're using the spread for these picks to make things a bit more interesting. Going with a straight pick'em format could prove to be a little easy for some weeks. Last season our most accurate forecasters were right around the 54-55% accuracy range.
We're also interested in your picks for the week, so please feel free to share.
|Cincinnati (-2.5) vs. UCLA||UCLA||CINCY||CINCY||CINCY||CINCY||CINCY||CINCY||CINCY||CINCY|
|#14 Utah (-6) @ BYU||BYU||UTAH||UTAH||UTAH||UTAH||UTAH||BYU||UTAH||UTAH|
|#19 Wisconsin (-13) @ South Florida||USF||USF||USF||USF||USF||WISC||WISC||USF||WISC|
|#5 Ohio State (-27.5) vs. Florida Atlantic||OSU||OSU||OSU||OSU||OSU||OSU||FAU||OSU||OSU|
|#2 Alabama (-35) vs. Duke||DUKE||BAMA||BAMA||BAMA||BAMA||BAMA||DUKE||BAMA||DUKE|
|#25 Stanford (-6.5) vs. Northwestern||NW||NW||STAN||NW||NW||NW||STAN||NW||STAN|
|Florida State (-5.5) vs. Boise State||FSU||BOISE||BOISE||FSU||BOISE||FSU||BOISE||BOISE||BOISE|
|#7 Michigan (-34) vs. Middle Tennessee State||MTSU||UM||MTSU||UM||UM||UM||MTSU||UM||MTSU|
|#16 Auburn (-3.5) vs. #11 Oregon||AUB||OREG||AUB||OREG||AUB||AUB||AUB||AUB||AUB|
|#9 Notre Dame (-20) @ Louisville||LOU||LOU||ND||ND||ND||ND||LOU||ND||ND|
This really isn't a bad slate for the opening weekend and things could get a little interesting in some of tonight's games. The Bearcats are coming off an 11-2 campaign and Luke Fickell is set to square off with Chip Kelly at Nippert Stadium. The Buckeyes get UC in week two so this one is worth keeping an eye on. We're liking Cincinnati to cover the 2.5 points even without star safety James Wiggins.
The PAC-12 seems pretty wide open this year, and plenty of people are picking Utah to end up at the top. The Utes take on BYU tonight at 10:15 ET on ESPN. Most of our staff are liking Utah on the road. While the game didn't make the cut this week, you can also watch No. 1 Clemson host Georgia Tech (if you have the ACC Network). The Tigers have a quarterback named Trevor Lawrence and you may have seen him on ESPN once or twice.
Friday evening will include a double dose of Big Ten play as both Wisconsin and Michigan State open their seasons. The Badgers are 13-point favorites in an interesting matchup against South Florida. The Bulls' defense finished 123rd against the run in 2018 and something tells me Jonathan Taylor may rush for 300 yards in Tampa. The Spartans didn't make our slate for the week, but they open as 23-point home favorites over Tulsa.
The Buckeyes are a near four-touchdown favorite over the Owls as we're all waiting to see what Justin Fields can do and how the defense looks following a putrid 2018 season. Just about everyone is liking Ohio State to cover in Ryan Day's non-interim head-coaching debut. Lane Kiiffin has been known to put up some points, though, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see a high-scoring affair. The over/under is currently sitting at 64.5.
Northwestern heading to Stanford is one of the weekend's more interesting matchups. The Wildcats struggled in the early portion of last season as they lost three of their first four contests. Pat Fitzgerald obviously got things rolling as they ended up capturing the West Division. The Cardinal is a 6.5-point favorite and our staff is fairly split on this one.
In a game that's already been impacted by Hurricane Dorian, the Seminoles and Broncos will now duke it out from Tallahassee rather than Jacksonville. It's a little weird not seeing either of these teams ranked, but the Noles head into this one as a 5.5-point favorite. Can Willie Taggart's offensive line show some signs of life and create a few holes for Cam Akers?
Auburn vs. Oregon is the headliner for the opening weekend. The No. 11 Ducks are a 3.5-point underdog to the 16th-ranked Tigers and I don't really know what to expect in this one. Justin Herbert has the potential to be the No. 1 overall Draft pick next year but Auburn may have the best defensive line in America. The matchup kicks off from Arlington at 7:30 ET on ABC. Most of our staff is liking Auburn after the dismantling they gave Purdue the last time they took the field.
Who are your picks for the weekend? Do the Buckeyes cover and win by more than four touchdowns? Who do you got on upset watch for week one?