TCU (-6) at Baylor, 8 PM ESPN
Let's face it: The season opens with a whimper Thursday. The Horned Frogs routed Baylor 45-10 last season, but this game should be more competitive. New TCU QB Casey Pachall will be challenged right away by a road start. TCU expects its defense to be stifling as always, but dynamic Baylor QB Robert Griffin III is capable of leading his team to victory. I will take TCU by a touchdown though.
USF (+10) at Notre Dame, 3:30 p.m., NBC. Skip Holtz will face his father's old team to open the season, the first time a Holtz has been on a Notre Dame sideline since Lou left in 1996. Notre Dame enters the season with its highest preseason ranking since 2006, but the opener won't be easy. USF brings a quick and aggressive defense to South Bend. South Florida should be able to keep this game close whether Notre Dame's offense is clicking or not. Brian Kelly couldn't be bothered to sit star WR receiver out a half for a DUI offense (to go along with two underage offenses) so the offense should be fine. While I am certainly not a fan of Notre Dame I do think they will have a solid season.
UCLA at Houston (-3) 3:30 FSN
Case Keenum got hurt in this matchup last year and the NCAA approved his redshirt for what seems like his 9th season. Keenum had to sit idle as Houston got stomped at the Rose Bowl. This year he gets his revenge.
LSU vs. Oregon (-3.5) in JerryWorld 8 PM ABC
First of all do not over react to Jordan Jefferson being suspended in this one. If you are going to take Oregon in this one do so because you believe that the other shoe is finally going to drop at LSU. Oregon needs this win in a bad way. They are dying for respect from the rest of the country and they are banging on the door of the elite football programs. Saturday night they should take a major step towards that goal.
Georgia (+3) vs. Boise State in Atlanta,Georgia 8 PM ESPN
I'm big on a Georgia turnaround this year that should see them get 10 wins so I like them outright here. Unfornuately as fans, we will have to choose between the two best games of the weekend thanks to the brillant network executives at the WWL.