Georgia and Clemson are at the top of Week 1's marquee, and for good reason since it's the first top 10 clash of the season. But it's not the be-all-to-end-all matchup as far as BCS implications go this weekend as some of the talking heads want you to believe. The loser isn't automatically out and the winner in, and it's not far-fetched to imagine the Bulldogs and Gamecocks meeting again in one BCS Bowl or another.
There may actually be more bowl implications in the battle between the TCU Horned Frogs and LSU Tigers at Cowboys Stadium. One of two Big12/SEC clashes during opening week, the Frogs and Tigers are getting prime-time treatment Saturday night on ESPN. LSU went out favored by a field goal on the opening college football odds, that margin up to 4 points now.
The first meeting in nearly 45 years between the schools has already seen its share of back-&-forth between the two coaches, Gary Patterson of Texas Christian and LSU's Les Miles. Patterson and Miles have been on again, off again about who will play, who will start and, mostly, who is going to be serving a suspension.
Jeremy Hill, expected to have the first crack at the most carries for the Tigers in 2013, ran afoul of the law this summer, and was originally suspended before being reinstated by a team vote. Devonte Fields, TCU's stud at defensive end, was also suspended for an unspecified team violation by Patterson at one point this summer, but will reportedly suit up and at least play Saturday night, if not start.
Fields' absence should cause more trouble for the Horned Frogs than Hill sitting out for Louisiana State. Even if Hill gets most of the carries this year, the Tigers are going to rely on running back depth behind returning QB Zach Mettenberger. Alfred Blue, Kenny Hilliard and Terrence Magee, a converted wideout, can cover for Hill.
Patterson also hasn't settled on his No. 1 QB, and the result should mean both Casey Pachall and Trevone Boykin get in the game. In fact, late rumors suggest they could play at the same time, possibly nothing more than a rumor. Both Pachall and Boykin will have experience on the line and wide receiver, but the backfield is untested with Waymon James (17 car., 168 yds) the top returning back.
The Frogs' defensive front 7 has to get the better of LSU's offensive line for an upset. Texas Christian has a very good and experienced group of DB's, but if they get sucked up trying to stop the Tigers' no-huddle game that relies heavily on the run, Mettenberger will eventually burn the Horned Frogs with a bomb or two...or three, or four.
The total is at the 50 point level after the number opened a half-point higher at many shops monitored by SBR's live college football odds. I'm going UNDER along with a NCAAF pick on the Tigers.
My pick: Tigers -4, Under 50 at Bet 365