There’s a huge list of games to pick from on the opening college football Saturday. We’ve circled three from the big menu that we like, so read on to find out the picks and the reasoning for them.
Wisconsin Badgers vs. Alabama Crimson Tide (Neutral Site)
Odds: Tide -10
The Wisconsin Badgers program has downgraded going from Bret Bielema to Gary Andersen to Paul Chryst, and we saw that last season. They’re not the same Wisconsin along the offensive line or in the backfield. What’s worse is that their game plan is centered around running the ball and being successful in that realm, but that’s not going to work against Alabama. The Tide could have the best run defense in the nation and as you recall, the last time we saw them, they were getting rolled. Rest assured that they are going to come back with a vengeance. Wisconsin is a vanilla team with nothing to really lose here but Alabama has had this game circled for a while. Look for Nick Saban to coach circles around Paul Chryst and the Tide to win comfortably.
College Football Pick: Tide -10 at Bovada
Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Temple Owls
Odds: Lions -6.5
This has been a fairly one-sided series as Penn State has won a whopping 31 straight times over the Owls. Temple was respectable last season as Matt Rhule got them to .500. They have a lot of starters back, which is a good sign, but I still like Penn State in this matchup.
The Nittany Lions defense is very rugged. They have talent that will probably play in the NFL on every level and that’s going to be a problem for the Temple offense. Temple’s offense is challenged and doesn’t often put up points in bunches. They probably won’t be scoring many in this spot. Temple has a good defense too but I like Christian Hackenberg and the Lions offense a lot more. This will be a grind-it-out type of contest but I expect Penn State to go on the road, win and cover.
College Football Pick: Penn State -6.5 at Pinnacle
Stanford Cardinal vs. Northwestern Wildcats
Odds: Cardinal -11
There’s a lot of good games on the card on the opening Saturday and this cross-conference battle is flying under the radar a little bit. However, I expect it to be one of the more interesting matchups on the day.
Both teams are coming off of seasons where they missed their goals as Stanford didn’t register double digit wins while Northwestern has now has two straight losing seasons. This game has more on the line than most people think.
At the end of the day, I do expect Stanford to come away with the win. They’re a better team with better talent from a better conference. To go on the road and win in this type of setting, you need steady defensive play and a quality defense. The Cardinal have both of those things. However, I do expect the Wildcats to keep this close. The Wildcats could have their most talented defense in the Pat Fitzgerald era. The Cardinal have been inconsistent on offense at times and that’s what makes covering double-digits that much harder. I expect Stanford to grind out a win but within the margin of the oddsmakers.
College Football Pick: Northwestern +11 at Bodog