By Brad Carroll
The more things change, the more they stay the same. That cliche had to be said all over the country Saturday night after Alabama defeated Florida State 24-7. It’s another season of college football, but once again, everything goes through Tuscaloosa. It’s always Alabama and then everyone else, no matter if you love the Crimson Tide or hate them. It’s reality.
Yes, Clemson won the national championship last year, but it’s Alabama who is always right there as contenders, no matter what transpires during the offseason and into the season. The Tide proved that with their dismantling of the then-No. 3 Seminoles.
But it’s a new week and a new Saturday chock full of college football games for us to watch and enjoy, even if Alabama is favored to win its game by 44. As always, our four college football experts are here to breakdown the biggest matchups of the week and pick the games against the point spread. Our late game package is below, while our early picks are here.
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No. 13 Auburn at No. 3 Clemson, 7, ESPN
Spread: Clemson -5
Brad’s Breakdown: There are a ton of blockbuster matchups Saturday night and this one is right at the top. Clemson, the defending national champion, beat up on Kent State, 56-3, last week. Auburn also rolled to an easy win a week ago, beating Georgia Southern 41-7. Last year these two teams met in what turned out to be Clemson’s catapult to a national championship, as it won on the road 19-13. Both teams had over 350 yards rushing in the first game, and will look to do the same here. But the home field advantage is everything.
Brad’s Final: Clemson 31, Auburn 24 (Clemson)
Craig’s Final: Clemson 31, Auburn 21 (Clemson)
Glenn’s Final: Clemson 28, Auburn 21 (Clemson)
Matt's Final: Auburn 28, Clemson 27 (Auburn)
No. 5 Oklahoma at No. 2 Ohio State, 7:30, ABC
Spread: Ohio State -7.5
Matt's Breakdown: Everything points toward an upset. The Sooners are dying to get revenge for last year, when the Buckeyes went into Norman and rolled to a win. That was nearly a calendar year ago, and the Sooners haven't lost since. Baker Mayfield wants the Heisman and Ohio State's defense might help him get one. Oklahoma wants to impress for its new coach, and Ohio State looked shaky at best in its opener. The Sooners can make the Buckeyes pay for mistakes in ways Indiana couldn't.
Brad’s Final: Ohio State 35, Oklahoma 28 (Oklahoma)
Craig’s Final: Oklahoma 30, Ohio State 28 (Oklahoma)
Glenn’s Final: Oklahoma 17, Ohio State 14 (Oklahoma)
Matt's Final: Oklahoma 45, Ohio State 38 (Oklahoma)
No. 15 Georgia at No. 24 Notre Dame, 7:30, NBC
Spread: Notre Dame -4.5
Matt's Breakdown: Georgia freshman quarterback Jake Fromm looked good in a relief role last week, but doing it again against a much better team which will have a full week to prepare for him is a completely different challenge. Asking him to do it again in South Bend is too much. Notre Dame still has its own offensive questions, but looked like it might have solved some of last year's issues in a big opening day win.
Brad’s Final: Georgia 23, Notre Dame 21 (Georgia)
Craig’s Final: Georgia 20, Notre Dame 17 (Georgia)
Glenn’s Final: Georgia 27, Notre Dame 20 (Georgia)
Matt's Final: Notre Dame 31. Georgia 17 (Notre Dame)
No. 14 Stanford at No. 6 USC, 8:30, FOX
Spread: USC -6.5
Glenn’s Breakdown: The whole world is claiming quarterback Sam Darnold a future NFL Draft bust after last week’s performance. He is still the best college quarterback I have seen, however. Suck for Sam is still in play and he will recover. USC has a balanced offense, but Darnold will have all those doubters jumping back on the bandwagon quickly.
Brad’s Final: USC 27, Stanford 24 (Stanford)
Craig’s Final: Stanford 35, USC 32 (Stanford)
Glenn’s Final: USC 35, Stanford 24 (USC)
Matt’s Final: Stanford 40, USC 21 (Stanford)
Utah at BYU, 10:15, ESPN2
Spread: Utah -1.5
Matt's Breakdown: BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum is one of those kids who feels like he's been in college for 10 years, but LSU's defense made him look like a freshman. The Cougars never crossed the 50 last week, and while Utah is no LSU, BYU appears to have a long way to go. Tyler Huntley should be able to lead the Utes to a big night in a rivalry game with big implications for both.
Brad’s Final: Utah 28, BYU 24 (Utah)
Craig’s Final: Utah 31, BYU 21 (Utah)
Glenn’s Final: Utah 24, BYU 21 (Utah)
Matt's Final: Utah 49, BYU 24 (Utah)
Boise State at No. 20 Washington State, 10:30, ESPN
Spread: Washington State -10.5
Matt's Breakdown: Washington State quarterback Luke Falk was 20-for-20 at one point last week, and he shouldn't have to be perfect against a Boise State team which hasn't been relevant since 2014 and has fallen far from its glory days, which was nearly a decade ago now. The Broncos won a way-too competitive game against Troy in its opener, though its defense looked like it could be good this year. It will have to be if it wants to stop Falk and company.
Brad’s Final: Washington State 35, Boise State 27 (Boise State)
Craig’s Final: Washington State 34, Boise State 27 (Boise State)
Glenn’s Final: Washington State 42, Boise State 38 (Boise State)
Matt's Final: Washington State 28, Boise State 17 (Washington State)