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Predictions! Week 1

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Northwestern v Wisconsin
Yes, Pat, the spread IS only 5. At home. Against a MAC team.
Photo by Tom Lynn/Getty Images

87townie: Week One is on us! Most teams celebrate by eating cupcakes. In Sparty's case, it's just eating a tube of icing (Furman? Really? What in the actual fu...oh nevermind).

Wisconsin is actually playing football this week, taking on the Geaux Tigers of the floodplain. Nobody is giving the Badgers much love or much of a chance. For the sake of the B1G, please don't face-plant, Wiscy. Show up, play to win, and maybe you can overcome the Ess EEEE See Speed! Oh wait, they have Leonard Fournette? You guys are toast...sorry.

This is where Minnesota and Nebraska fans boldly proclaim their week one foes as "football teams" too. But with 2-win Oregon State and 3-win Fresno State, they are just fancier cupcakes...like chocolate instead of vanilla.

Rutgers flips the script in Week one, becoming the cupcake for mediocre Pac-12 Washington. Please represent us well rutger. #anotherlavianoint

For everyone else? Well it's football. Hope for no injuries and a good showing. But it's just week one. Time to get your liver into drinking shape.

For the rest of us? Let’s pick’em!

Thursday

Indiana (-9) at Florida Int'l

6:30pm || ESPNU

SU: Indiana, 17-1 || ATS: Indiana, 15-3

Creighton M: I think Indiana is going to win this one and have another alright season (by their standards), but Indiana will do silly Hoosier things and find a way to not cover the spread.

Thump: Indiana wins, but doesn't cover. This was a close game at Indiana last year, so until the Hoosiers prove they can stop someone, FIU covers.

WSR: This shouldn't be much of a problem for Indiana. I think they'll win, cover, and get the over.

Stewmonkey13: FIU is not good at football. But Indiana is breaking in a new QB, and still isn't very good at the whole defense thing. Chaos reigns for a half, but Indiana pulls away late. Indiana covers.

Candystripes for Breakfast: Barring some horrible luck, Indiana should be able to survive this game. If they don't beat the spread and the over, it's probably the fault of a hurricane (and not the ones in Miami, either). Hoosiers win and cover.

AlNamiasIV: Why is Indiana traveling to FIU? Oh yeah, because they can't find enough fans to fill their silly stadium and make a noncon home game worthwhile. Either way, the Hoosiers score 80 billion points. The Owls score 70 billion points. IU covers.

Aaron Yorke: FIU lost its last two games in 2015 by the combined score of 115-7. And those weren't major-conference opponents. They also lost to Indiana by two touchdowns on the road. I'm banking on the Panthers' home-field advantage being worth less than five points. IU 31, FIU 17.

MNW: It feels weird to be assuming competence from the Hoosiers on the road in a trappish game, but a totally rebuilt FIU front four and a secondary which lost its playmakers won't offer the Hoosiers' offense much resistance. This game also makes me laugh, because I’m sure thousands of Purdue fans refer to Indiana as Fuckin’ IU all the time. Indiana, 40-27.

Oregon St at Minnesota (-13)

8:00pm || BTN

SU: Minnesota, 18-0 || ATS: Beavers, 10-8

CM: Something deep down made me want to pick against Minnesota here, but woof....the Beavs were bad last year you guys. I gave them the spread only because I think Leidner is this year's Stave.

Thump: Minnesota wins, but Leidner throws a late pick-six to get the Beavers back in the game. Why were they passing?

WSR: Nothing to it. Show up, do work, don't let anyone get injured, win by 3 touchdowns. It'll be an easy weekend for the Gophers.

Stew: Oregon St. is holding open tryouts for a P5 team, that seems less than ideal. However, MN has never beaten a Gary Andersen team. Ultimately, I think the Gophers are able to out talent ORSt. with all of their all-conference level players at home. MN covers.

CfB: Well, at least we get to see if the Gophers actually have an offense early. Minny wins, Oregon State covers.

Al: Mitch Leidner shows why he's got first round potential. The rest of the Gophers show why they're not winning the B1G West. But OSU sucks so Minnesota wins, but doesn't cover.

AY: Oregon State is one of the worst major-conference teams out there, but I still don't trust Minnesota's offense to cover this wide a spread against that sort of opponent. I'm pretty shaky on this one, though. MN 24, OSU 15

MNW: You get that feeling that this'll be more of the same for the Gophers, where Mitch Leidner does some heroic things late after a couple stupid things early. The Gophers bowling-ball-by-committee rushing attack eventually runs over the Beavers, playing in front of 4,000 rabid Bemidji State fans really confused as to why there's no hockey. Minnesota, 23-13.

Friday

Furman at #12 Michigan St

6pm || BTN

SU: Michigan State, 18-0

CM: What a pointless game to schedule

Thump: MSU wins; nobody cares. Harbaugh is all anyone on sports radio talks about all week. They brought this on themselves by scheduling Furman.

WSR: Try not to get too much blood in your turf, Spartans.

Stew: Fuckin' Paladins, man. Really fucking annoying.

CfB: No saving throw is gonna help the Paladins in this one. Sparty rolls.

Al: West teams have an excuse to schedule FCS teams: there are no MAC teams in the West footprint except Northern Illinois and maybe Ball State. What's your excuse MSU?

Andrew K: We've been over this, MSU is playing Furman because Alabama and Eastern Michigan both cancelled their games for this season, and by the time they did, there weren't many dance partners left.

MNW: Michigan State, 47-10.

AY: The Purple Paladins is one of the best nicknames in all of sports. That's all I got. MSU 56, Furman 3

Saturday

WMU at N'western (-5)

11am || ESPNU

SU: Northwestern, 14-4 || ATS: Northwestern, 10-8

CM: This will be a popular upset pick, but Northwestern is going to win big and make their October collapse that much more painful.

Thump: Northwestern makes a late goal line stand; Western ROWS on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the backfield. Broncs cover. [ed. note: best prediction of the week]

WSR: I don't know why I'm worried about this one suddenly. I've had the creeping feeling that WMU gets the win the past couple days, so I think I'll go with that instinct.

Stew: ROW THE GOTDAMN BOAT!!!! The Fighting Flecks pull out a few tricks catching Fitzy with his pants down. The MAC gets a B1G scalp.

CfB: This game is gonna end 24-21, isn't it? ISN'T IT? PurpleCats wins, ROWROWROW covers.

Al: In the almost upset of the week, WMU puts a scare in the nerds, but Northwestern wins and just covers the spread due to a late field goal.

AY: MACtion rules supreme with the tightest spread on the slate! Last year, Western gave Michigan State a bit of a scare in the opening game, but that was at home. Northwestern feels a little overrated coming off last year's successful campaign that featured three blowout losses, but the defense should still be stout, right? NU 21, WMU 13

MNW: Suddenly Western Michigan has evolved into the stiffest of competition for the Wildcats, who have to prove that they actually have an offense--since they couldn't against noted MAC juggernaut Ball State in 2015. Clayton Thorson evolves as a quarterback and makes a big play in the second half with his feet, overcoming a couple mistakes by the secondary, and Jack Mitchell ices the game for the 'Cats late in the 4th. Northwestern, 23-14.

E. Kentucky at Purdue (n/a)

11am || ESPNN

SU: Purdue, 18-0

CM: Why are we even talking about this game? Purdue might win the game but let's face it, there are no winners in West Lafayette this weekend.

Thump: Purdue wins, but the gamethread has a lot of "WTF PURDUE" for the whole first half.

WSR: Purdue gets to spend a day remembering what winning feels like. It'll be a fleeting feeling.

Stew: Purdue is horrible, but they're not Eastern Kentucky horrible.

CfB: We're far enough into the Hazell years that even Purdue shouldn't be able to screw this one up. Boilers win.

Al: Celebrate this one, Boilers. It may be Hazell's last.

MNW: Purdue, 31-23.

AY: This would be a very interesting game if Purdue was playing Western Kentucky, but it's not. PU 35, EKU 14

Howard at Maryland (n/a)

11am || BTN

SU: Maryland, 18-0

CM: ESPN has been strongly pushing this weekend as "The best opening weekend in college football history" but there are still way too many games like this being played for that to be even remotely true.

WSR: Do I really have to talk about this game? Fine. Maryland wins.

Stew: Maryland is not going to be good this year, but they can certainly beat a single dude.

CfB: Enjoy the cupcakes, DJ, they ain't gonna last. Terps win.

MNW: Maryland, 40-7.

AY: Howard finally got a logo that's not a complete ripoff of the Buffalo Bills. That's a step in the right direction for any program. MD 41, HU 10

Hawaii at #7 Michigan (-40.5)

11am || ESPN

SU: Michigan, 18-0 || ATS: Hawaii, 13-5

CM: Michigan will win comfortably, but I'm not spotting them a 40 point spread with an unknown commodity at quarterback. If Michigan covers it's because Harbaugh put his finger on the scale by leaving his first team in the whole time out of spite.

Thump: Michigan wins. Hawaii covers only because that spread is colossal and Harbaugh won't run hurry-up the WHOLE fourth quarter...will he?

WSR: I hope Hawaii is able to subsidize their athletic programs with their globetrotting they've done to pick up a pair of painful losses.

Stew: Did you guys see the HI/CAL game? MI is breaking in a new QB, and Harbaugh is a crazy person. There is no mercy in this dojo. MI covers.

CfB: The only way Michigan doesn't cover this is if Harbaugh takes his foot off the gas early. I don't see that happening. Wolverines win and cover.

Al: The Michigan D holds the Rainbow Warriors to under 100 yards through the 3rd quarter while the offense doesn't throw a pass until the game is well out of reach. Late heroics against the Michigan 3rd teamers allow Hawaii to just cover the spread.

MNW: I love Hawaii football. I am not at all ashamed to admit that. Come back to the islands, June Jones, and bring that delightful run-and-shoot with you? That said, while I think Nick Rolovich will bring some of that island magic back with him as he returns to his alma mater, the rebuilding process is far from over. The Wolverines grind down a green 'Bows line and make it a long day for a potent Hawaii offense. Michigan, 38-3.

AY: The Warriors just scored a bunch of points against Cal, so maybe this spread is too big? On the other hand, Michigan plays great defense. On the other, other hand, let's see how awesome Michigan's new quarterback is before we anoint them as world-beaters. UM 45, HI 11

Bowling Green at Ohio State (-28)

11am || BTN

SU: Ohio State, 18-0 || ATS: Ohio State, 11-7

CM: In this epic clash of the titans for the title of "BEST TEAM IN OHIO", I'm boldly picking the Buckeyes to pull off the victory, but only because they have home field advantage.

Thump: Ohio State covers. Bowling Green's never been great at defense, and they won't be as good as last year's double digit win squad.

WSR: tOSU will absolutely shellack BGSU. They need to put in an effort to make sure all the kinks are out of the offense before the Oklahoma game.

Stew: Think Urbz takes it easy on his former team? No, neither do I. OSU covers.

CfB: Sneaky good MACtion team leads to a sneaky late cover. Buckeyes win, BGSU covers.

Al: BGU sucks, OSU doesn't. The Buckeyes cover.

MNW: Does Ohio State still have a good offense? I feel like Ohio State probably still has a good offense. And if they keep the ball on the ground and just run over Bowling Green, it'll be cool. Naturally this means JT Barrett will throw an early pick and the hand-wringing will commence. Ohio State, 52-21.

AY: The ceiling might be lower for Urban Meyer's squad than it is for That Team Up North, but the floor is higher. OSU 38, BGSU 6

Rutgers at #14 Washington (-26.5 lol)

1pm || PAC12

SU: Washington, 17-1 || ATS: Rutgers, 12-6

CM: Rutgers will have just barely enough of a pulse to beat the spread, but not much else as the saga of "Purdue East" continues.

Thump: Washington wins. Rutgers gets some points on the board but never seriously threatens.

WSR: IT'S A NEW ERA! IT'S A NEW RUTGERS! It's going to be the same thing, with a boring loss.

Stew: At least it's not a night game. This game is gonna get out of hand. Washington covers.

CfB: Somehow, this is a moral victory game. Who knew? Huskies win, Knights cover.

Al: Wazzou is a bit overrated but they are a legit Top 25 team. Rutgers is not a top 25 team. And they're three time zones away from home. In a new coach's first game. Washington wins and covers.

MNW: Rootjars is still bad, right? I doubt they're 27 points worse than UDub. Washington, 37-24.

AY: What, Rutgers? You didn't expect the Huskies to be this good when you scheduled this one? Too bad. The saving grace for the Knights might be that this game is an 11:00 AM local start. That's the middle of the afternoon on the east coast. UW 27, RU 13

#5 LSU (-10) at Wisconsin

2:30pm || ABC

SU: LSU, 17-1 || ATS: LSU, 11-7

CM: LSU wins, but the Badgers will keep it close enough for the "Was LSU overrated or was Wisconsin underrated" talk to continue into each team's first blowout loss of the season ('Bama and Michigan, respectively).

Thump: LSU pounds Wisconsin. Sorry. [Why?] I want it not to go this way too.

WSR: wisconsin was awful on offense last year and lost it's two best OL. LSU was a top-25 defense, returns 9 starters, and got rid of a bad DC for Dave Aranda. If I were a betting man, I'd wager that there will be a B1G defense that will score more points than the badgers. And Leonard Fournette will too.

Stew: Let the pain begin. LSU beats up on WI. UW's former DC locks down Clement, Houston throws a couple of picks, and Fournette runs all over. LSU covers.

CfB: Prepare for the ugliest 23-20 game you'll ever see. Bayou Bengals win, Wisconsin covers.

Al: Just don't see it happening here Badgers. I'm surprised the spread is that low. LSU is gunning for a CFP berth this year. Wisconsin isn't. LSU wins and covers. Easily.

MNW: Les will let it go late as the Wisconsin RB committee pounds over and over into a stout Tigers defense. Bart Houston makes Speth yearn for Stave. I giggle. Don't let me down, Tigers. LSU, 23-20.

AY: Just like last year against Alabama, I just don't trust the Badgers' offense to do anything in this one. Still, scheduling these types of games is a good strategy in an era that has the media pooping on the Big Ten every year. LSU 24, Wisconsin 6

Kent St at Penn State (-22)

2:30pm || BTN

SU: Penn State, 17-1 || ATS: Kent State, 11-7

CM: Penn State will win and Coach Hype will be running his mouth about "how good his team is and how they're eyeballing Ohio State and the Michigans this year" right up until they get pounded by Pitt next week.

Thump: Penn State wins. Kent State is extremely bad.

Stew: Penn St. is better than Kent St. Penn State still isn't very good, though. PSU wins, KSU covers.

CfB: A small part of me wants to say this is an upset alert game, but I just don't feel good about picking Kent State to beat anyone in football. PSU wins, KSU covers.

Al: PSU wins but let's up another sack to a two-man rush. The Nits don't cover.

MNW: Penn State's offense slowly roars to life as the Nits work through the growing pains and bubble screen their way past the Golden Flashes. Saquon rushes for 3 TDs and should basically win the Heisman or something. Penn State, 30-10.

AY: Kent State's solid defense could give the new-look Penn State offense trouble, but the Flashes are so bad on offense that the Lions won't need to travel far to reach the end zone. PSU 35, KSU3

Miami Hydroxide at #17 Iowa (-27.5)

2:30pm || ESPNU

SU: Iowa, 18-0 || ATS: Miami Hydroxide, 10-8

CM: Last year Kirk Ferentz finally figured out that the best way to stop losing close games is to keep your foot on the gas until the game isn't close anymore. I like Iowa against the spread in this one.

Thump: Iowa doesn't get a scare of any kind, but shows mercy to the poor Hydroxides.

Stew: That's a pretty giant spread, and Ferentz has a pretty horrible record as against such a huge spread. Still, Iowa is much, much better and gets some mop up time for backups, running away with this one. Iowa covers.

CfB: Snoozer. Iowa wins and covers.

AY: Miami might be a worse MAC team than Kent State. IA 42, Hydroxide 3

MNW: Proud Miami(OH) alumnus Graham Filler is super stoked for this game and taking the Fightin’ Hydroxides to cover in a small display of school pride. Speth was also going to be a troll and take Miami, but we didn’t have time to teach him what a Hydroxide is. He kept mumbling something about knockoff Oreos.

This seems like a big, big line for Iowa. Where do we stand on #NewKirk vs #OldKirk these days, guys? I haven't read the memos. It’s still gonna basic-ally be a beatdown. Iowa, 30-3.

Al: New Kirk, Old Kirk, Ferentz never covers in these types of games. Iowa wins handily, but a handy Iowa win is three scores.

Murray St at Illinois (n/a)

2:30pm || BTN

SU: Illinois, 18-0

CM: It's too bad I'm not going to watch this one, because I'm 100% sure I'm going to miss Illinois doing something hilarious that we'll get to make fun of in a GIF for the next 5 years.

Thump: Illinois wins big against a bad FCS team. They'll be eager to show just how meticulous their defense is, and this could look like our first two games of last year.

WSR: Illinois, I'm picking you to win for once. Please don't let me down.

Stew: The Lovie Smith era begins with a closer than expected win against a bad team.

CfB: Welcome to Champaign, Lovie. Let's see how long the honeymoon lasts. Illini win.

Al: Illinois is going to challenge Purdue for suckitude this year. But they win this.

MNW: Illinois, 30-13.

AY: Let's get the Lovie Smith era off to a good start. Let's make Illinois great again! IL 30, MSU 10

Fresno St at Nebraska (-28.5)

7:00pm || BTN

SU: Nebraska, 18-0 || ATS: Fresno, 12-6

CM: Nebraska will keep Fresno in this game waaaay too long.

Thump: Nebraska wins, but Fresno puts up some points. Nebraska pulls away in the 3rd quarter.

WSR: Nebraska should have an easy time winning, but I hope they struggle enough that they give Craig Bohl some ideas for next Saturday.

Stew: Fresno St. is really, really bad. But Riley and Tommy Two Picks keep them in the game by eschewing the run heavy game plan early, because they just can't help themselves.

CfB: Get your popcorn ready, everyone; either highlights will abound, or the RiLLLLLLLey train begins early. Huskers win, Fresno State covers.

Al: Nebraska wins but like Creighton says, they give FSU every opportunity to pull off the upset.

AY: The Bulldogs gave up more than 40 points six times last year. Nebraska 49, FS 14

MNW: I don’t get the reverence for the suddenly basically-bound-for-Indy Huskers...why that's a thing, exactly? Skill position talent running a generic offense in the West? Even if this is a "Good Tommy" game, there'll still be some defensive breakdowns and probably a pick or two. Nebraska, 41-20.


We’ll get a poll up ASAP, but in the meantime let us know your picks in the comments and be sure to check back to OTE for a GameThread tonight!

MNW