After nine months of no college football, the season finally kicks off tonight at 6 pm Central with a handful of games. Burnt Orange Beat publishers break down all of the Big 12 games and five other national games of interest. Before the kickoff, no one can be wrong!
The Big 12 kicks off in week one with every team in action, including several key regional matchups of BCS conference opponents and the rest of the schedule littered with the typical opening day directional cupcakes.
North Dakota State @ Iowa State
Thursday, 7 pm Commentary: New ISU coach Paul Rhodes is looking to get off to a better start than his predecessor Gene Chizik’s season-opening loss to Kent State in 2007. The Bison are no pushover despite being in only their second year as a Division I Football Championship Subdivision (formerly known as Division I-AA) as they beat Minnesota in 2007.
BRAGGonUT prediction: Iowa State 34, North Dakota State 17
GerryH prediction: Iowa State 37, North Dakota State 20
#9 Georgia @ #13 Oklahoma State
Saturday, 2:30 pm Commentary: Injuries are mounting for the favored Cowboys. That along with the intense pressure to win the big one will prove to be too much against a healthy Georgia team. Healthy and Georgia aren’t two words heard very often in recent years. Say hello to Georgia sophomore running back Richard Samuel.
BRAGGonUT prediction: Georgia 28, Oklahoma State 24
GerryH prediction: Georgia 30, Oklahoma State 24
Baylor @ Wake Forest
Saturday, 2:30 pm Commentary: Wake Forest pummeled the Bears to the tune of 41-13 last season to open the year in Baylor’s stadium. That game was marked by five Baylor turnovers and the benching of Kirby Freeman for freshman phenom Robert Griffin. Riley Skinner torched the Baylor defense for 220 yards and three touchdowns. This year, Griffin will play from snap one and pick on a Wake defense that only returns four starters. BRAGGonUT prediction: Wake Forest 38, Baylor 31
GerryH prediction: Wake Forest 31, Baylor 27
Missouri @ Illinois (St. Louis)
Saturday, 2:40 pm Commentary: Illinois has a load of experience and talent at quarterback in Juice Williams. Missouri with a first time starter as well as having to replace a bevy of playmakers is a tough spot for Missouri. Illinois looks primed for a win here in a neat little rivalry game.
BRAGGonUT prediction: Illinois 41, Missouri 31
GerryH prediction: Illinois 38, Missouri 27
Louisiana-Monroe @ #2 Texas
Saturday, 6 pm Commentary: The Longhorns have won nine straight season openers by an average of 49-6. Texas is also 13-0 versus current Sun Belt conference opponents. ULM is 0-15 in road openers and was shutout in five of those games.
BRAGGonUT prediction: Texas 52, ULM 7
GerryH prediction: Texas 59, ULM 6
#20 BYU @ #3 Oklahoma (Dallas)
Saturday, 6 pm Commentary: Oh boy, Oklahoma may be without tight end Jermaine Gresham and the offensive line is as green as can be with the exception of future top ten NFL draft choice Trent Williams. Doesn’t matter, the Sooners defensive line will be the difference in the second half as well as Bradford and the stable of running backs. Throw in a Ryan Broyles punt return for a score too. BRAGGonUT prediction: Oklahoma 41, BYU 28
GerryH prediction: Oklahoma 41, BYU 27
Florida Atlantic @ #24 Nebraska
Saturday, 6 pm Commentary: Nebraska is looking to build on their 9-4 first season under Bo Pelini. The last time Nebraska lost an opener Ronald Reagan was in office. Look for FAU quarterback Rusty Smith to make some plays early, but not nearly enough.
BRAGGonUT prediction: Nebraska 41, FAU 14
GerryH prediction: Nebraska 41, Florida Atlantic 20
Northern Colorado @ #25 Kansas
Saturday, 6 pm Commentary: Temperature in the 60’s with a chance of rain, perfect fit for Jake Sharp and his in between the tackles style. Todd Reesing will run around and make plays as always with Dezmon Briscoe providing the man among boys catches in the red zone.
BRAGGonUT prediction: Kansas 48, Northern Colorado 10
GerryH prediction: Kansas 59, Northern Colorado 7
New Mexico @ Texas A&M
Saturday, 6 pm Commentary: Last year, Texas A&M was outgained by 134 yards, but managed to win the turnover battle to prevail 28-22 on the road. This year, the game is in College Station and the Lobos are led by new coach Mike Locksley. BRAGGonUT prediction: Texas A&M 30, New Mexico 28
GerryH prediction: Texas A&M 38, New Mexico 23
North Dakota @ Texas Tech
Saturday, 6 pm Commentary: A day for the Texas Tech defense to shine? You bet and the offense will kick it into gear as well against an inferior opponent making their debut in I-AA. The first start for Taylor Potts will be a 450+ yard game. Cramps by Red Raider receivers will be the only way to slow down the Tech offense. BRAGGonUT prediction: Texas Tech 49, North Dakota 9
GerryH prediction: Texas Tech 66, North Dakota 10
Massachusetts @ Kansas State
Saturday, 6:10 pm Commentary: This game marks the return of Bill Snyder at Kansas State after a five season break to spend time with his family. Snyder is looking to make his mark on the team and create a new era in the little Manhattan after a tumultuous offseason.
BRAGGonUT prediction: Kansas State 52, Massachusetts 3
GerryH prediction: Kansas State 28, UMass 20
Colorado State @ Colorado
Sunday, 6 pm Commentary: It’s big for the Buffaloes to get the Rams at home. Colorado should be able to run it often and with success against the Rams defense. Colorado State will battle as always, but too much was lost on offense last year. BRAGGonUT prediction: Colorado 31, Colorado State 24
GerryH prediction: Colorado 34, Colorado State 17
The opening weekend does have some interesting non-Big 12 games that deserve some discussion.
#16 Oregon @ #14 Boise State
Thursday, 9:15 pm Commentary: Boise State has won 49 home games in a row. The Broncos beat Oregon in Eugene last year and return the signal caller that threw for nearly 400 yards in the win. Oregon will be without receiver Rory Cavaille and much experience on the offensive line. Still, streaks are made to be broken. BRAGGonUT prediction: Boise State 35, Oregon 31
GerryH prediction: Oregon 30, Boise State 28
#5 Alabama @ #7 Virginia Tech (Atlanta)
Saturday, 7 pm Commentary: Virginia Tech’s loss of running back Darren Evans is huge in this game. Alabama will have one of the top two defenses in college football and a Hokie team without their big time back is bad news. Julio Jones is off the boat and back on the field, more bad news for Virginia Tech. It will take an otherworldly performance by Hokies quarterback Tyrod Taylor to have a chance. BRAGGonUT prediction: Alabama 21, Virginia Tech 17
GerryH prediction: Alabama 17, Virginia Tech 9
Maryland @ #12 California
Saturday, 9 pm Commentary: All signs point to California in this one. Maryland has Cal’s attention after the loss last year, Cal is 27-4 at home since 2004 and running back Jahvid Best will likely have a 150+ yard rushing day against the ACC opponent. Look for Cal corner and punt returner Syd’Quan Thompson to be the difference.
BRAGGonUT prediction: Cal 35, Maryland 10
GerryH prediction: California 38, Maryland 14
#11 LSU @ Washington
Saturday, 9:30 pm Commentary: LSU returns seven starters on each side of the ball and that should be plenty to overcome a downtrodden Huskie team that is looking to rebuild under Steve Sarkisian. The Huskies do return 18 starters but those starters were 0-12 last season.
BRAGGonUT prediction: LSU 31, Washington 17
GerryH prediction: LSU 30, Washington 13
Miami @ #18 Florida State
Monday, 7 pm Commentary: Neither of those teams are where they were at the turn of the century (i.e. top five in the country perennially), but both have a chance to push for their divisional crowns in the ACC.
BRAGGonUT prediction: Miami 28, Florida State 24
GerryH prediction: Florida State 24, Miami 14
All game times are Central.
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