USC, CSU & UCLA Make Our Opening Week Upset List

Willie Bee

Tuesday, August 23, 2016 8:50 PM UTC

Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016 8:50 PM UTC

The countdown is on for the opening week on the college football slate, and we're looking at a few games where the underdogs should be able to upset the NCAA odds.

It's a storyline that dates back thousands of years and continues to unfold time and time again in sports today. We all love to see the little guy beat the big guy, David takes down Goliath...unless, of course, the team we're rooting for just happens to be Goliath.

The first week of the college football schedule includes several David's going up against Goliath's, matchups like Hawaii traveling to Ann Arbor to take on Big Ten powerhouse Michigan with the Wolverines favored by 41 points on the NCAA football odds board. A win for the Rainbow Warriors would be an upset of monumental proportions, rivaling Appalachian State's stunner at Michigan in 2007. But it won't happen.

There are also several contests on the opening week slate that have much tighter spreads and help get the 2016 campaign kicked off in style. Some are interconference collisions that have the feel of bowl matchups, others conference clashes that will help shape this year's bowl game lineup.


South Carolina Gamecocks vs Vanderbilt Commodores
South Carolina and Vanderbilt fits the bill of the latter and provides both fans and bettors with a pretty tasty battle to get Week 1 cranked up. The Gamecocks and Commodores will be on Thursday night (7 PM ET), Vandy giving up 3½ playing at home in Nashville.

This isn't going to qualify as a marquee battle considering neither school went bowling last year, and nothing huge is expected from either school this time around. In fact, this first-week showdown could ultimately determine which squad ends up in the basement of the SEC East Division with both teams listed with win totals of 5 listed on the college football futures odds.

South Carolina is trying to regroup under Will Muschamp after Steve Spurrier left his post midseason a year ago. Spurrier didn't leave Muschamp a lot to work with, and the schedule maker certainly didn't do USC any favors by not only forcing them to begin 2016 with two road games, but two SEC road games as a trip to Mississippi State follows in Week 2.

The defenses should dominate this game, partly because they are good units and partly due to both offenses being weak. The contest includes the lowest total on the Week 1 college football betting card, 42½, and even that number might be too high. I like South Carolina straight up for my free college football pick.


Colorado State Rams vs Colorado Buffaloes
Friday evening in Week 1 includes an old interconference rivalry as Colorado meets Colorado State in Denver. The 8 PM (ET) boot finds the Buffaloes of the Pac-12 as 7½ point favorites at Bookmaker against the Rams of the Mountain West, 54 showing up across the board for the total.

Last year's meeting saw the Buffs escape with a 27-24 overtime win that pushed a 3 point spread. The Rams are used to being the underdog in this rivalry but have held their own in recent years by winning four of the last 10 outright. Taking CSU and the points might be the safer play, but I like Mike Bobo's bunch straight up.


UCLA Bruins vs Texas AM Aggies
Last but not least, I mentioned the UCLA-Texas A&M matchup earlier this week in a piece on games that might be too risky to bet. Their Saturday tussle in College Station (3:30 PM ET) remains a close affair on the NCAA football betting board, the Aggies giving up 2½-3 points depending on the sportsbook and the total in the 56½-57 range.

I'm still not sure what to expect from either team coming out of the gate, but as game time draws nearer, my lean towards the Bruins in outright upset increases. So, let's add UCLA on a +125 moneyline to the list.


Free NCAAF Pick: South Carolina +150 at Heritage; Colorado State +255 at 5Dimes; UCLA +125 at Sports Interaction

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