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Week One College Football Picks

6 South Carolina vs. UNC
Bryn Renner
The college football season kicks off with the war of Carolinas. South Carolina has aspirations to win the SEC East and challenge for a national title, while the now-eligible UNC team looks to win the pretty weak ACC. NFL scouts will be watching to see how UNC's Bryn Renner performs against three NFL caliber linemen (Jadeveon Clowney, Kelcy Quarles, Chaz Sutton). Renner has talent around him to work with and has help from his offensive line which is led by All-American threat James Hurst at left tackle. We know the Gamecocks defense is great up front with Clowney and the rest of the line but we will have to see how the rest of the defense performs. South Carolina enters this game with a strong offense as well but we still don't know for sure who the quarterback will be. Senior Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson will fight for the starting job. Shaw is a more mobile threat who started the bulk of the 2012 season. It would appear Shaw has the edge and will likely be the starter. It will be interesting to see how Shaw plays because the quarterback position is definitely the X-factor for South Carolina. UNC isn't  a bad team but South Carolina will force turnovers and be able to squeak out a win.
South Carolina, 27 UNC, 17

5 Georgia vs. 8 Clemson
Both of these teams believe if they can get a win here their road to the national championship will be set. It will be easier for Clemson, after this their toughest ACC matchup will be Florida State then the rivalry against South Carolina. Both of these teams have explosive offenses and both will likely be throwing the ball all over the place. I want to see if Georgia can defend Sammy Watkins, if he plays to his full potential he may be the toughest individual player Georgia might see the whole year. The Georgia defense has a lot to prove, they lose a ton of talent and leadership from a great unit last year. Clemson's defense has a lot to prove as well, it improved mightily last year but it still has some questions. Georgia's offense is explosive as well led by Aaron Murray and Todd Gurley. These two teams seem really evenly-matched but it will come down to who ever can finish the games, I think Murray's experience in big games can carry the Bulldogs to a close win.
Georgia, 31 Clemson, 28

12 LSU vs. 20 TCU
Over the offseason people raved about Zach Mettenberger's improvement and his ability to have a strong senior year. Now, we will get our first look of Mettenberger against a great defense in TCU. The Horned Frogs have a fantastic pass rusher in sophomore Devonte Fields who could have a huge year. TCU also has cornerback Jason Verrett, a shutdown corner who will test Mettenberger constantly. For the first time in years it appears LSU has the receivers to help their QB with the return of Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry, who looks like the real deal. The Tigers defense has a lot to prove with tons of impact players gone and lacks leadership. We will see how they perform against dangerous dual threat Casey Pachall. Though, Pachall may be rusty after he missed the second half of last year. TCU looks like they have the defense to be able to keep up with LSU but their offense struggles against a great defense.
LSU, 24 TCU, 13

1 Alabama vs. Virginia Tech
The Tide get their first road block of the season on their quest for three straight national titles. Virginia Tech struggled to a 7-6 mark last year but this team is better and has more offensive playmakers. Senior QB Logan Thomas had a rough year in 2012 and will get a whole lot of pressure from this Tide defense. The Hokies defense is also solid and will be able to keep Virginia Tech in the game even if the offense struggles. The Tide's offense has the chance to be dangerous this year and the Hokies defense is without Antonie Exum. Virginia Tech won't be a pushover but don't expect this one to go down to the wire.
Alabama, 34 Virginia Tech, 20

Other Picks
13 Oklahoma State, 45 Mississippi State, 24
19 Boise State, 28 Washington, 27
Ole Miss, 24 Vanderbilt, 16
Northern Illinois, 31 Iowa, 17

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