College Football Week 1 Picks, Part I: Texas A&M at South Carolina, Boise State vs Ole Miss, Rutgers at Washington State

August 28, 2014

By Brad Carroll


There's a lot to celebrate with the arrival of the new college football season. Besides the simple fact we get to watch football from now until well into the new year, this season is the first-ever College Football Playoff, which will determine the national champion. Out is the controversial BCS, and in is a committee that will pick four teams to play for the title.


In this case, four is better than two, so this should be one of the greatest seasons in college football history. Read our College Football Playoff predictions, along with predicted conference champions, right here.


As we prepare to digest as much college football action as we can over the next five days, starting Thursday night, it's also a special time for us here. This season represents the 10th season I will be writing my column football picks column. A lot has changed over the past decade, but one thing has remained the same - we will always be here to preview and pick the best games of the week against the spread. So, check back each and every week during the season for the best our college football experts have to offer.


On the power of going 26-10 in bowl games against the spread, Glenn Carroll won the GameDay title last season. He's back to defend his crown. I finished second, seven games over .500. Craig Carroll brought up the rear, with an under.500 season. Matt Straub joins the party this season.


Let's get into the new season with Part I of our Week 1 college football picks column, featuring the three best games of Thursday's slate of games.


No. 21 Texas A&M at No. 9 South Carolina, 6 p.m., SECN

The Spread: Texas A&M +10.5; South Carolina -10.5


Brad's Breakdown: There's no more Johnny Manziel taking snaps for the Aggies, nor Jadeveon Clowney lining up on defense for the Gamecocks, but this SEC matchup is a great way to kick off the season. It is also the first ever game broadcast on the SEC Network, which if your cable provider doesn't carry it, there are plenty of internet options to jump you right into the new season. Both teams will have a number of fresh faces at key positions from a year ago, including new quarterbacks, with Kenny Hill starting for Texas A&M and Dylan Thompson for South Carolina. Hill played sparingly last season, while Thompson has been Connor Shaw's backup for three years. Both teams have a lot of question marks on both sides of the ball, but the Gamecocks have the better roster, hence their top 10 ranking. Home field is huge early in the season and that will carry South Carolina to victory. But Texas A&M is going to make the Gamecocks work for it.


     Brad's Pick      |       Craig's Pick      |      Glenn's Pick       |      Matt's Pick


Brad's Score: South Carolina 34, Texas A&M 24

Craig's Score: South Carolina 38, Texas A&M 20

Glenn's Score: South Carolina 28, Texas A&M 20

Matt's Score: South Carolina 38, Texas A&M 20


Boise State vs. No. 18 Ole Miss, at Georgia Dome, 8 p.m., ESPN

The Spread: Boise State +10; Ole Miss -10


Brad's Breakdown: Boise State has made a habit of winning big games against big programs to open the season. On top of that, the Broncos have beaten ranked teams six of eight times since 2009. So, with Boise State taking on a ranked Ole Miss squad at the Georgia Dome, it would appear perfect to go with a Broncos upset. Unfortunately, a lot has changed for America's favorite underdog. Boise State had its worst season since 1998 by going 8-5 last year and its coach, Chris Petersen, left to take the reigns of Washington. These aren't the same Broncos that were busting the BCS for so many years. Ole Miss, on the other hand, is an ascending team, with quarterback Bo Wallace challenging Eli Manning's school records and a defense that should take a big leap forward this year. Last year, Boise State was routed by then-No. 19 Washington. It won't be as a bad as that 38-6 score, but Ole Miss leaves little doubt who the better team is.


     Brad's Pick      |       Craig's Pick      |      Glenn's Pick       |      Matt's Pick

Brad's Score: Ole Miss 31, Boise State 14

Craig's Score: Ole Miss 17, Boise State 13

Glenn's Score: Ole Miss 38, Boise State 17

Matt's Score: Boise State 28, Ole Miss 27


Rutgers at Washington State, 10 p.m., FS1

The Spread: Rutgers +8.5; Washington State -8.5


Brad's Breakdown: Mike Leach and Washington State are all about the pass, as it wouldn't be surprising if returning quarterback Connor Halliday threw the ball more than 50 times in the opener against Rutgers. The Cougars can score a ton of points, but their defense could allow just as many. Rutgers is playing its first season the Big Ten and can make a statement early on by beating an up-and-coming team from the Pac-12. But the Scarlet Knights secondary let up the most passing yards in school history last year. That should have Washington State's offense thinking big.


     Brad's Pick      |       Craig's Pick      |      Glenn's Pick       |      Matt's Pick

Brad's Score: Washington State 45, Rutgers 31

Craig's Score: Washington State 28, Rutgers 17

Glenn's Score: Washington State 38, Rutgers 20

Matt's Score: Washington State 34, Rutgers 17


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