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By Alex Lauzon from the “Course of Life” podcast
Week 1 – The weekend-long bender of college football we’ve been craving since winter.
WEEK ONE – THE OFFICIAL CFB KICKOFF
On the heels of a week 0 opening act that was undoubtedly light in drama, this week’s full-sized portion of college football is sure to indulge appropriately. The labor day weekend college football opener is a sight to behold. Not only are 100+ D1 programs kicking their season off this week, but the opening slate has also blessed us with a few top 25 matchups and some intriguing matchups with big-picture implications.
Not to be outdone by any other sport, CFB takes full aim at the entirety of your Labor Day weekend with 20+ game spread across Thursday and Friday, plus Sunday and Monday night matchups to whet your appetites if they weren’t already. It’s time for debut looks at the giants as they begin their quest for the playoffs, but also find your diamonds in the rough for this season or your “bad teams that love to cover anyways.”
TUNE-IN GAME OF THE WEEK
The week one tune-in game could be up for debate, but based on pure star power and overall intrigue, the matchup that holds the most weight in week 1 is #2 Ohio State (-17.5) hosting #5 Notre Dame. This is a bellwether game that we’ll all be looking back on three months from now as the College Football Playoff’s final four are being decided, because we know at least one of these two teams will be in the conversation. The Internet has already matched Ohio State up against Alabama for the National Championship, so let’s see how dominant they look in a legit week 1 test.
THE NIGHTCAP GET-IT-BACK GAME
After the behemoth of a Saturday slate on Labor Day weekend finally hits the brakes, we skid into the stop light with a PAC-12 team hosting opponents on the west coast, and of course, our friends on Hawaii need to avenge the blowout loss at home in week 0. They’ll clash with Western Kentucky at Midnight ET for the last thing you see before you pass out. As for the PAC 12 games, Oregon State (-3.5) might be on upset alert vs. Boise State.
WEIRD VIBE PREDICTION OF THE WEEK
The week zero weird vibe was SPOT ON as Florida State quickly dispatched Duquesne, and it was a snooze fest by the second quarter. This week, the game that makes my stomach turn is #13 NC State (-11.5), heading down the road to play in-state foe, East Carolina. This is a trap game of all traps where the little brother gets up to play big brother, and it’s a peculiar scheduling move by an NC State team with a lot of preseason ACC hype that could get wrecked come Saturday. This one stays weirdly close for a long time in Greenville.
WEEK 0 RECAP
We got things rolling in week zero, and it’s always nice to begin the season with some W’s. Northwestern covered +12 with ease and won outright, Illinois slipped into the end zone to cover over 43 points by a point, and FAU demolished a weak Charlotte defense to cover -6.5. Unfortunately, it was too quiet in Las Cruces for scoring, and Hawaii was humiliated at home to start the Timmy Chang era.
Week Zero: 3-2 ATS, Season Overall: 3-2 ATS
EARLY WEEK 1 PLAYS FOR ALEX
For starters, my birthday is Thursday, so I have to come in hot with action to celebrate. Give me the Under 60 in Oklahoma State vs. Central Michigan – my birthday games always tend to lack firepower historically, and the Pokes offense is known for slow starts to the season.
In the Saturday slate, I’m starting with ECU (+11.5) – my weird vibes prediction as an underdog cover bet in North Carolina. This game has CLOSE written all over it, so watch out Wolfpack!
For the ATL tussle between UGA and Oregon, I like Over 53 points. I don’t like it because I think this is a full-blown shootout, but I like it because I think Oregon squeaks on the board with a few scores (maybe late) to compliment a safe and sound Georgia W.
In a uniquely fantastic matchup in the Lone Star State between #24 Houston and the up-and-coming UTSA Roadrunners, I’m not falling into the trap of betting on UTSA here. The Cougs’ offense is too much to handle and too versatile; I like Houston -3.5.
In the marquee matchup in Columbus, this is one pick where I have to get brash and pick the Buckeyes to absolutely roll. Give me The Ohio State -17 to dog walk the Irish.
Here are some other diamonds I’m leaning on early this week:
Friday Play: Over 45.5 in Illinois vs. Indiana
Saturday Scrubs: Cincinnati/Arkansas Under 52, UMass + 28.5, Texas Over 64
EATS AND DEETS
The teleport game: Take me to ATL so I can see those flashy Oregon uniforms in action vs. the defending champion UGA Bulldogs.
Goofiest line: #7 Utah opens the season -3 at the swamp against the unranked Florida Gators. Not a lot of love was shown for a top 10 program!
Simultaneous screen count: It’s time for two screens plus an IPad or phone, three total. Time to get locked in for week 1.
Tailgate pick of the week: Now that you tried the crock-pot out last week, break in the air fryer with some wings.