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Picks and predictions for Top 25 games

Clemson vs. Georgia prediction, odds, spread, line, over/under & betting info for NCAA Week 1


College football schedule for Week 1 features several marquee games and we’ve got college football picks and predictions for every Top 25 game.

The 2020 season was a blur. You would be forgiven if you don’t remember the start of the season, since, you know, there were several different starting points. The ACC and the Big 12 started more or less on time. The SEC came in soon after. Then came the Big Ten. Word is the Pac 12 plans on starting their 2020 season soon.

But this is 2021. A blank slate for all the playoff hopefuls. Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields are gone. Somewhere lurks a Mac Jones hopeful, waiting to burst onto the scene and outperform expectations.

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The first Top 25 is a bit of an artifact of last year’s bizarro-world season. Iowa State probably won’t finish in the Top 10. It’s hard to imagine Cincinnati will either. Still, it’s very fun to see some peculiar faces rounding out the 20-25 spots. It’s just a shame that Louisiana will get bounced after losing to Texas, and voters will lose interest in Coastal Carolina after a while. If they’re able to stick around in the Top 25, voters likely won’t put the Chanticleers — that’s right, Chanticleers — much higher than they are right now.


But who cares. It’s Week 1! Start getting excited!

College football Week 1 schedule and predictions

Predicted winner in bold

Thursday, September 2 (7:00 p.m. ET)
  • The Citadel at No. 22 Coastal Carolina
Thursday, September 2 (7:30 p.m. ET)
  • Weber State at No. 24 Utah
Thursday, September 2 (8:00 p.m. ET)
  • No. 4 Ohio State at Minnesota
Thursday, September 2 (10:30 p.m. ET)
  • Southern Utah at No. 25 Arizona State
Friday, September 3 (6:00 p.m. ET)
  • No. 10 North Carolina at Virginia Tech
Saturday, September 4 (12:00 p.m. ET)
  • No. 2 Oklahoma at Tulane (in Norman, Oklahoma)
  • No. 19 Penn State at No. 12 Wisconsin
Saturday, September 4 (2:00 p.m. ET)
  • Fresno State at No. 11 Oregon
Saturday, September 4 (3:30 p.m. ET)
  • No. 1 Alabama at No. 14 Miami (in Atlanta, GA)
  • Miami (OH) at No. 8 Cincinnati
  • No. 17 Indiana at No. 18 Iowa
Saturday, September 4 (4:30 p.m. ET)
  • Northern Iowa at No. 7 Iowa State
  • No. 23 Louisiana at No. 21 Texas
Saturday, September 4 (5:00 p.m. ET)
  • San Jose State at No. 15 USC
Saturday, September 4 (7:30 p.m. ET)
  • No. 5 Georgia at No. 3 Clemson (in Charlotte, NC)
  • Florida Atlantic at No. 13 Florida
Saturday, September 4 (8:00 p.m. ET)
  • Kent State at No. 6 Texas A&M
  • Montana at No. 20 Washington
Saturday, September 4 (8:30 p.m. ET)
Sunday, September 5 (7:30 p.m. ET)
  • No. 9 Notre Dame at Florida State

Sure, it’s only been two years since the normal start to a season, but we’ve all aged at least a decade since Week 1, 2019. Maybe that’s why this lineup of games feels like offers so many interesting matchups. Yes, Alabama is going to beat the brakes off of Miami, but one of the two kickoff games — that of the mayonnaise variety — looks to be one of the best games of the season, on paper.

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The Duke’s Mayo Classic (sure, why not) pits Georgia against Clemson. Although the Tigers are favored by three, look for the Bulldogs to win this one. If this game were being played later in the year, with Uiagalelei having a season’s worth starts and Justyn Ross fully shaken the rust off, it would probably go the other way. As it stands, it’s hard to discount JT Daniels and his experience. Not to mention that Kirby Smart, while incapable of picking quarterbacks, is a top defensive mind in the game. Clemson will have its hands full in this one.

Apart from Georgia/Clemson, there are two games that look like they could be upsets; both games are surprisingly close in ESPN’s matchup predictor. First, UNC heads to Blacksburg, Virginia on Friday to play a Virginia Tech team desperate to right the ship. The atmosphere promises to be electric, and there’s just something about Lane Stadium at night. The next evening, LSU plays UCLA in the Rose Bowl in another coach’s do-or-die season. If last week’s game against the overmatched Hawaii squad is any indication, Chip Kelly might have this team ready to make some noise. Of these two games, Virginia Tech seems like the more likely upset.


The Big Ten comes in hot with two ranked versus ranked games. No major upsets are expected there, although it will be nice to know if Iowa is for real early on this year or if they’re just…Iowa. Penn State looks poised to finish in the second tier of the Big Ten this year, which means nowhere near as good as Ohio State, but definitely good enough to keep it close with Wisconsin.

College football is back! Let’s get weird.

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