I realize it's impossible to separate Friday's upsetting (to put it mildly) loss in Manhattan from the rest of the weekend slate, and in fact it's a part of the reason I actually didn't watch a whole lot of other college football games. But from what I gathered, it was a rather spectacular opening weekend, which is something we don't say very often.
Since everyone loves competition, let's start with how Jon and I did in our first round of picks. I got off to a great start before a rough Saturday night sent me to 4-4. Georgia's derp job against Clemson nearly helped Jon come all the way back, but he ended up at 3-5 for the week.
Those mediocre records seem about right for a weekend that saw a shocking amount of close games and some even more shocking blowouts (ohai Boise State!). It's also worth mentioning that eight FCS teams beat their FBS brethren over the weekend, but that seems like something Jon deserves to be able to tell you about in more detail tomorrow.
This week's slate gets a little better, but yes, it's still nonconference. That means plenty of cupcakes (especially in the Big 12) for everyone, with a small side of the meaty stuff, and ohmygod the Thursday/Friday games are terrible.
Florida (-3) over MIAMI, 11 a.m., ESPN
Sun Life Stadium, Miami FL
AA: There was a time when this would have been can't-miss football, and generally I hoped that by some miracle both teams could lose. Now it's merely an interesting game because of the mediocrity surrounding it on the schedule, and I think it will tell us a lot more about Miami then Florida. To win, the 'Canes will have to prove their rushing game is legit against a very strong front 7. I don't think it happens, and the Gators will prevail by a TD or more despite a somewhat shaky offense.
JM: I have a feeling the Hurricanes could pull off a surprise here, but if money were on the line I wouldn't be committed to that feeling. I think the Gators hang on, and cover.
SOUTH CAROLINA (+3.5) over Georgia, 3:30 p.m., ESPN
Sanford Stadium, Athens GA
AA: The good news for Georgia is they get Tennessee, Missouri and Vanderbilt in October, plus a bye week to prepare for Florida in early November. The bad news is South Carolina seems to have a really good football team, and LSU is just around the corner after a game against North Texas. Aaron Murray can't save a questionable Bulldogs defense, and the Gamecocks appear to have a solid group of running backs to replace Marcus Lattimore. South Carolina wins a close one.
JM: I'm not sure Georgia's defense is all that suspect, really. I mean, Clemson's offense is really, really good. That said, so is Sakerlina's, and the Gamecocks have something Clemson doesn't: an honest-to-gosh SEC shutdown defense. Not only does the Ol' Ball Coach cover, South Carolina wins this one.
Texas (-3.5) over BYU, 6 p.m., ESPN2
Lavell Edwards Stadium, Provo UT
AA: BYU will offer a strong Mormon crowd and a pretty good backfield (with a fullback who carried for 839 yards last season!) to possibly give Texas its first test of the season. But I think David Ash and co. will mostly cruise to another win and continue to build their confidence up only to have it crushed once again by Kansas State later this month. It's unclear how that will happen at this point, but we all know it will.
JM: You're not making it easy to pick up that game I lost to you in the standings. Once again, we're in agreement. BYU's defense is not New Mexico State's, and I'm pretty sure we won't see BYU hitting the man-in-motion with a snap. But Texas has enough to get past the Cougars, whose offense isn't exactly LaVell Edwardsian. And yes, the Horns will cover.
OKLAHOMA (-19.5) over West Virginia, 6 p.m. FOX
Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, Norman, OK
AA: Our first conference game, and it could be awful. This line couldn't be high enough, and has in fact increased since it opened at 18.5. West Virginia nearly lost at home to William and Mary with an offense still trying to learn to walk with all of the star power gone from last season. Oklahoma is not the place to do that.
JM: Ugh. This is going to be brutal. No matter how well Holgo gets his offense prepared, the bottom line here is that Oklahoma completely stoned ULM last week. You know, the same ULM team that piled points up on Baylor and two SEC teams last year, and returned the bulk of its offense? Yeah. OU's gonna roll, and as much as I'd like to claim WVU's going to cover, I just can't.
MICHIGAN (-3) over Notre Dame, 7 p.m., ESPN
Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor MI
AA: This rivalry game was decided by four points for three years in a row until Notre Dame finally won by a whole touchdown last season in a game marred by cover-your-eyes ugly offenses. Fitzgerald Toussaint sounds like a pretentious douche who should be playing for the Irish, but he's actually Michigan's starting running back and a guy capable of leading his team to victory. ND gave up a lot offense but only six to Temple, so Michigan seems due to score some. They'll probably win by 4.
JM: I say this only so that we disagree on something here. Notre Dame will cover. Sigh.
USC (-20.5) over Washington St., 9:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1
The Coliseum, Los Angeles CA
AA: It's quite possible USC's offense will come to life in front of the home crowd and make this second half a great time to go to sleep. But we all know at least once a year the Trojans slip up in a big way, and they didn't look particularly impressive last week at Hawaii. Plus, USC didn't see Mike Leach in his first year, so I think his offense keeps this one close to the end, though they'll most likely fall short at the end.
JM: There is no way on earth Wazoo is losing this game by three touchdowns. Look, Auburn's not Cam Newton Auburn, but they're recovering from their self-inflicted case of rot, and WSU gave them a good fight. Meanwhile, USC had trouble with a pretty bad team last weekend, and there are already questions as to whether Kiffykins has made another colossal "I'm sticking with this guy" blunder at QB. Cougs cover.
Jon picks his slate of games and tries to ambush AA with some tricky ones.