By Brad Carroll
With the NFL season one week away from taking over our televisions on Sundays and Mondays for at least the next 17 weeks, college football gets to extend its opening weekend, with primetime games over the next two nights.
SMU travels to No. 10 Baylor on Sunday, and Miami goes to Louisville for a Monday Night Football matchup. We preview both of those games and our four experts pick each game against the spread below. To get all the latest previews and picks against the spread, all season long, make sure to follow us on Twitter @bradgameday.
SMU at No. 10 Baylor, 7:30 p.m., FS1
The Spread: SMU +34, Baylor -34
Brad's Breakdown: Baylor will be playing its opener in a brand new stadium Sunday night, reaping the rewards of having great success over the past three seasons. It should be an electric atmosphere as the Bears take on SMU under the lights on national television. The fans just might get a fireworks show as well, disguised as the Baylor offense putting a ton of points on the scoreboard. Baylor returns quarterback Bryce Petty, a preseason Heisman favorite, and his two top wide receiver targets from last season. Yes, the Bears are going to score a ton of points. SMU loves to pass the ball too, but the results are nowhere near what Baylor has produced. Last year, despite throwing for the eighth most yards in the nation, the Mustangs averaged just 26.8 points per game. Baylor's defense won't have a problem keeping SMU in check and that means a five-touchdown victory for the Bears.
Brad's Score: Baylor 63, SMU 28
Craig's Score: Baylor 63, SMU 24
Glenn's Score: Baylor 57, SMU 21
Matt's Score: Baylor 49, SMU 13
Miami at Louisville, 8 p.m., ESPN
The Spread: Miami +3.5; Louisville -3.5
Brad's Breakdown: If you read our last college football picks column covering the Saturday slate of games, you know about the bowl to regular season rematch of Fresno State and USC taking place. That was odd. Well, how about two of those instances this year. Miami and Louisville played in the Russell Athletic Bowl last season, with the Cardinals routing the Hurricanes 36-9. Miami will have running back Duke Johnson back to full strength this season and he's getting some Heisman buzz. He was lost for the season in November with an injury. Louisville will have a lot of new faces this year, and one old one returning. Bobby Petrino is back as the Cardinals head coach this year. Petrino made a name for himself at Louisville, but left for the Atlanta Falcons before the 2007 season, then bailed on them before the season ended for the Arkansas job. He was sent packing after a motorcycle accident turned into a major scandal, including the coach having an affair with a staffer. After a stint at Western Kentucky last year, Petrino comes full circle. Petrino is the kind of sleazeball coach that nobody can root for - unless you have to. Will Gardner is the team's new quarterback, as he takes over for Teddy Bridgewater, who is in the NFL. And Louisville is playing as a full ACC member for the first time. For Miami, they have a new passer as well, with Brad Kaaya taking snaps Monday night. The key is how well Johnson plays for the Hurricanes. This could be one of the most exciting games of the entire weekend, but home field is the difference, with Louisville winning.
Brad's Score: Louisville 35, Miami 31
Craig's Score: Miami 28, Louisville 21 (upset)
Glenn's Score: Louisville 38, Miami 28
Matt's Score: Miami 20, Louisville 17 (upset)