Welcome back to the Funvee Tailgate BLOG, The THUNDERBLOG’s Weekly College Football Series. If you noticed the emphasis on BLOG, that is because this season we have the podcast tying in as well! If you haven’t checked out this week’s double-episode, I’ll include the Soundcloud links below. Here’s the iTunes link to go subscribe. For those newer readers, the blog version of the Funvee Tailgate looks at the full slate of Top 25 FBS teams along with a few other selections. Usually, the blog comes out on Fridays but due to a work commitment yesterday, Week 1’s preview is posting on Saturday, September 2nd. I have College GameDay on. I’m getting ready to camp out all day. It’s finally time. LET’S FIIIIRRRREEEE IT UP!
Big Games This Week:
Thursday and Friday Games:
The two big games on Thursday were Oklahoma State’s dismantlement of Tulsa 59-24 and Ohio State’s monster second half take down of Indiana 49-21. OKST QB Mason Rudolph tossed for 303 yards with three TDs and ran one more in as well. RB Justice Hill and WR James Washington also had great games as the Cowboys start the season on a hot note. Ohio State actually trailed Indiana at half time. Matt and I both safely have OSU in our CFP but honestly, I was really hoping for a little Week 1 chaos to kick off the season. JT Barrett had himself a monster third quarter as the Buckeyes rolled. Like I said on the pod though, don’t sleep on the Hoosiers. IU QB Richard Lagow tossed for over 400 yards and three TDs.
Last night had two more Top 25 games: Washington’s road win at Rutgers 30-14 and Wisconsin’s SMASHING of Utah State 59-10. A 30-14 win at Rutgers sounds shaky for Washington but no need to worry just yet. Jake Browning didn’t have the best game but that was his first live action and the team just came off of a cross-country trip. A slow start can be expected from that. Wisconsin looks like they’re out for blood this season. They don’t get OSU in the regular season so they want to build up that reputation QUICK. Sure, Utah State was no team to ever worry about, but Wisconsin has come out firing.
While not as great of a slate as last year’s opening weekend, we should still be thoroughly entertained this weekend. #5 Clemson, #6 Penn State, #7 Oklahoma, #12 Auburn, #18 Miami, #19 South Florida, #20 Kansas State, and #24 Washington State are all massive favorites and should win. Let’s look at the rest of this Saturday’s action:
- Maryland (+18.5) at #23 Texas at noon on FS1–Tom Hermann’s debut as the new head coach at Texas. Maryland isn’t expected to be anything spectacular but 18.5 is an interesting line. Texas wins but doesn’t cover.
- #11 Michigan (-5.5) vs. #17 Florida at 3:30 on ABC–The first matchup of Top 25 foes. Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines return to action after an unfortunate end to last season. Wilton Speight wants to show he’s legit while that defense wants to return to form quick. Florida honestly could roll right to the SEC Championship Game and this would be one of few “signature wins.” I said on the pod that this game reminds me of Michigan’s kickoff game against Alabama back in 2012. Florida isn’t Bama though: Michigan wins and covers.
- Western Michigan (+26.5) at #4 USC at 5:15 on PAC-12 Network–USC is going to win this one hands-down. I included it here for two reasons: Sam Darnold and this line. Darnold will roll on and could make himself a quick frontrunner for the Heisman. I don’t like the line though. USC wins but doesn’t cover.
- App State (+14.5) at #15 Georgia at 6:15 on ESPN–Georgia is Florida’s only real threat in the SEC East. The Dawgs could easily cover this line but App State is a tough out. Everyone is talking about the 10-year anniversary of their historic upset of Michigan but App State has quickly gained traction since moving up to the FBS. Georgia wins but doesn’t cover.
- #16 Louisville (-25) vs. Purdue at 7:30 on FOX at Lucas Oil Stadium–Similarly to USC, I think Lamar Jackson comes back out flying, but the line is concerning. Unlike USC though: Louisille wins and covers.
- #3 Florida State (+7) vs. Alabama at 8:00 on ABC in Atlanta–The one we’re all waiting for. Nick Saban is undefeated against former assistant coaches. Both Saban and Jimbo Fisher are undefeated in neutral site games. I think the Bama defense and FSU offense pretty much cancel each other out: both are great. However, the Bama offense is superior to the FSU defense. Bo Scarborough bowls over the Noles as Alabama wins and covers.
- BYU (+15.5) vs. #13 LSU at 9:30 on ESPN at the Superdome–Originally supposed to be at NRG Stadium in Houston, this game was moved for obvious reasons. Playing and hour-plus from Baton Rouge seals the W for Coach O and the Tigers, but BYU won’t go down quite: LSU wins but doesn’t cover.
My Lehigh Mountain Hawks open up the season at 12:30 today as they host Villanova. An early Top-20 battle in the FCS as Lehigh’s defense expects to be great. Nova handed it to Lehigh at Villanova Stadium last year but hopefully, the crowd at Goodman Stadium gives Lehigh a much-needed boost as they look to repeat as Patriot League Champs.
Sunday and Monday Night CFB
- #22 West Virginia (+4) vs. #21 Virginia Tech at 7:30 Sunday Night on ABC at FedEx Field–VaTech should have a great season. They return seven defensive starters and HC Justin Fuente will gain traction in his second season. What will be the X-Factor in the game are the two QBs: VaTech’s redshirt-freshman Joshua Jackson and WVU’s transfer Will Grier. If Grier comes out flying, WVU could win. I like that VaTech defense a lot though: Hokies win and cover.
- #25 Tennessee (-3) vs. Georgia Tech at 8:00 Monday Night on ESPN in Atlanta–Tennessee should be a higher favorite here. The Vols are much more properly rated this season but that Georgia Tech triple-option in their home city gives the Yellow Jackets points. Vols win and cover.
College Football Playoff Predicitons
As you’ve probably heard by now, Matty D and I both had Florida State, Alabama, and Ohio State in the Playoff with Matt picking Oklahoma State as his fourth while I had USC. The fun in making these picks is how the conference play ultimately dictates if they’ll be represented in the CFP. Matt and I both think the conference who is left out (Pac-12 for him, Big XII for me) will simply beat themselves up too much to be the fourth team in. We go much more in depth on this topic on the pod so I don’t want to repeat too much. I do think these early games between top teams are more helpful than harmful. If FSU does upset Bama, they’ll likely just flip-flop in the rankings. Oddly enough in that scenario, FSU beating Bama but then losing to Florida could the reason they don’t the Playoff. In this case, they would’ve lost one game in ACC play so they’d be a two-loss, Bama-beating, non-playoff team! I’m going a little far down the rabbit hole of CFB conspiracy theories but that’s what makes Week 1 so much fun. Enjoy the action today!Follow @geordo9