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College Football Week One Picks

9 South Carolina vs. 21 Texas A&M
What a better way to kick off college football games on the SEC Network than with a great battle of two Top 25 teams with conference championship aspirations? Well both will be breaking in new quarterbacks (senior Dylan Thompson at South Carolina and Kenny Hill at Texas A&M), this battle should still be pretty high-scoring. While Thompson is making his first start as the clear No. 1 for South Carolina, he has plenty of experience and he will have a lot of help from the offensive weapons around him. Running back Mike Davis is a dark horse Heisman candidate, he runs extremely hard but can mix in some speed with it. Speedster Shaq Roland can make big plays (he made some big ones in last year's opener against UNC) and a veteran offensive line should help Thompson. On the other side, Hill will have senior receiver Malcome Kennedy to throw to along with a variety of backs to run the ball. Don't expect Hill to be Johnny Manziel, but he does have some similar qualities. He is a spread QB with a big arm and mobility and he can make some magic of his own. The even bigger question for the Aggies will be defense, where they were absolutely terrible a year ago. Though, a ton is back and many expect the defense to improve. But, even if it improved in big ways, is it going to be any good? While South Carolina misses Jadeveon Clowney on the defensive side of the ball, they have a veteran secondary and Hill will have some issues trying to throw against this defense. While the Gamecocks are trying to break in a new QB, he is experienced and he will have the home crowd to help him. While the Aggies might make things interesting, South Carolina is the better team, and they should prove it.
South Carolina, 35 Texas A&M, 21

12 Georgia vs. 16 Clemson
Todd Gurley

A year ago, these teams played an exciting game that went down to the wire, with Clemson pulling off a huge victory, winning 38-35. Now, the Tigers will be without QB Tajh Boyd, running back Roderick McDowell and wide receivers Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant. They will take on a healthy Georgia team that is breaking in fifth-year starter Hutson Mason. Much like Dylan Thompson, Mason is experienced and he has a great grasp of the Georgia offense. He will be able to hand the ball off to one of the nation's best running backs in Todd Gurley, who was great in the matchup a season ago. The Bulldogs will also have a healthy number of receivers for Mason to throw too, including Malcolm Mitchell, who missed nearly all of last season and Justin Scott-Wesley. Michael Bennett could have a big game; he is really a hybrid tight end/receiver who was Aaron Murray's favorite target and could do much the same for Mason. The Bulldogs' defense is solid led by linebacker Ramik Wilson, they should be stout against the run. But, the pass defense was a big issue a year ago, and a lot is gone from the secondary now. If new Clemson quarterback Cole Stoudt can figure things out quickly, the Tigers could really exploit the weakness. It will be interesting to see who steps up and gives Stoudt a dangerous weapon in the passing game. Adam Humphries has been reliable in his career, while Mike Williams has the potential to breakout. Defensively, defensive end Vic Beasley and nose guard Grady Jarrett are going to be a load to handle for the Georgia offensive line to handle; the unit struggled against Clemson last season. This is another interesting matchup, one that includes two new quarterbacks. Georgia has a proven ball carrier in Gurley and a nice complement in Keith Marshall and Mason has proven he can win. At home, they are the much safer pick than the Tigers.
Georgia, 24 Clemson, 17

13 LSU vs. 14 Wisconsin
Once more, LSU will have a tough non-conference challenge to begin their season after facing TCU last year and seeing a number of tough teams to begin their year in the past. They will also be breaking in a new quarterback, actually two, as both sophomore Anthony Jennings and true freshman Brandon Harris will see action. Jennings has actually seen action against a real opponent, helping lead the Tigers to a victory over Iowa in last year's Outback Bowl. Wisconsin will also have a relatively new quarterback, starting Tanner McEvoy at QB over incumbent Joel Stave. That will lead both teams to run the ball a lot, something they usually do anyways. The Badgers will bring explosive Melvin Gordon to the table, a player who can break the game open every time he gets the ball, while the Tigers will lean on powerful Terrance Magee. On the defensive side of the ball, both teams suffer some severe losses, especially LSU. The good news is that with Danielle Hunter and others returning on the front seven, LSU will hope they contain Gordon and his backup, Corey Clement. Meanwhile, the Badgers will lean on hard-hitting safety Michael Caputo and a strong secondary that will be very aggressive in trying to stop the Tigers' rushing attack as well. This is a battle of two teams with very similar styles; powerful football, strong defense and smart, short throws. While LSU does have a possible breakout threat in true freshman Leonard Fournette, they don't have Gordon, who is ready for a big game. Wisconsin is so big and strong up front, and they should run the ball right down the Tigers' throat and get a huge win to boost their College Football Playoff hopes.
Wisconsin, 21 LSU, 20

1 Florida State vs. Oklahoma State
The Florida State Seminoles will begin their national title defense against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium. Jameis Winston will be ready to go and begin his defense of the Heisman trophy and will lead Florida State offense that will be scary. Senior running back Karlos Williams is an absolute workhorse, while Nick O'Leary and Rashad Greene give Winston options in the passing game. Add to that a veteran offensive line that is led by tackle Cam Erving and guard Tre' Jackson, two All-American candidates, and the Cowboys will have their hands full on defense. Mike Gundy has had some explosive offenses in his time in Stillwater, but this year's offense is losing some key pieces. Junior J.W. Walsh will take over full time at QB after splitting time with Clint Chelf, who graduated, a year ago. He will lean heavily on running back Desmond Roland to move the ball against a strong FSU defense. Unfortunately, he will get pressured early and often by the 'Noles' pass rush. Mario Edwards will be making plays off the edge, while Eddie Goldman will be disruptive up the middle. Not only will he have to deal with the FSU pass rush, he won't be able to make any easy throws against the talented Seminoles' secondary, one that includes Ronald Darby and P.J. Williams. The only hope for the Cowboys is Winston struggles mightily or goes down with an injury and the defense struggles without the leadership they had in 2013. It will be interesting to see how Florida State handles the revamped expectations for the team, but they are too good to lose to an inexperienced Oklahoma State team.
Florida State, 42 Oklahoma State, 24

Other Picks
2 Alabama , 35 West Virginia, 13
18 Ole Miss, 33 Boise State, 17
Navy, 26 5 Ohio State, 14
4 Oklahoma, 45 Lousiana Tech, 10

Current Picks Record: 0-0

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