If college football will be anything in 2020, it will definitely be crazy. There is, of course, the whole coronavirus mess that has the Big Ten, Pac-12, and Mountain West on the sidelines until the spring.
Then, there was a Week 1 of the college football season in which Army put a whooping on Middle Tennessee State, 42-0, with only five offensive possessions.
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Syracuse vs. (#18) North Carolina Picks
The Orange travel to North Carolina where they will face the Tar Heels and QB Sam Howell. The sophomore threw for 3,641 yards and 38 touchdowns in his first season a year ago. The Tar Heels offensive line returns four of five starters too.
Still, covering a 22.5-point spread is going to be difficult against what could be an explosive Syracuse offense. Orange QB Tommy DeVito also started as a freshman last year and threw for 2,360 yards and 19 touchdowns.
Don’t forget, it was DeVito that took over in last year’s game in the fourth quarter, threw for 181 yards and three touchdowns, and led the Orange to a 40-37 win.
That game was in the Carrier Dome in Syracuse though. Plus, the Saturday forecast calls for rain and wind. The Over is 9-4-1 in North Carolina’s last 14 conference games and 4-0 in Syracuse’s last four.
Don’t trust the Total in this one. The Orange will have a tough time pulling out a win, but they will do enough to cover the spread.
BEST BET: SYRACUSE +22.5
Louisiana vs. (#23) Iowa State Picks
Two very good offenses will face each other at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa, on Saturday. Iowa State returns Heisman Trophy candidate Brock Purdy who threw for nearly 4,000 yards last season.
Louisiana returns running backs Elijah Mitchell and Trey Ragas who combined for 1,967 yards and 27 touchdowns last season. The Ragin’ Cajuns also return starting quarterback Levi Lewis who threw 26 touchdowns a year ago.
With all that offense on the field and sunny skies in the forecast, one thing is bound to happen in Iowa. Lots of points will be scored. The Total is set at 56.5 points. You know what that means.
The big thing to remember about Saturday’s Duke-ND matchup is that the game is in South Bend. Here’s why.
The Fighting Irish have won 18 straight at home and have won their last 19 straight home openers. Notre Dame last lost at home three years ago. Since, they have beaten opponents at home by an average of 22.4 points.
Now, the crowd won’t be the same as there will only be 16,000 fans permitted in Notre Dame Stadium, but the Irish are simply better.
Senior QB Ian Book returns after leading an offense that scored 38 or more points in its last four games last season. One of those was a 38-7 win over this same Duke team.
The Duke Blue Devils football team are known to start seasons fast. They have covered the spread in 10 of their last 13 September games. Not this time.
The nation’s No. 1 team heads to Wake Forest on Saturday as the overall favorite (+225) to win this year’s national title. The Tigers are extremely talented on both sides of the ball.
Quarterback Trevor Lawrence is a Heisman Trophy candidate. He threw for 3,665 yards and 36 touchdowns last year. Running back Travis Etienne is an All-American candidate who rushed for 1,614 yards and 19 scores.
Wake Forest just won’t be able to compete. Sam Hartman takes over at quarterback, but leading returning receiver Sage Surratt opted out of the season to prepare for next year’s draft. The offensive line has just 28 career starts between all of them.
Over the last two seasons, Clemson is beating Wake Forest by an average score of 57.5-3. The Tigers are no stranger to being favored by four touchdowns or more. Clemson will be way too much for the Demon Deacons on Saturday.
A native of Western Pennsylvania, Rick, a Generation X-er, who now lives just north of the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan. A former high school, college, and professional football player, Rick now spends his time as a high school coach and as a personal quarterback trainer. An all-state high school quarterback, he went on to become an Academic All-American at Division II Indiana University of PA. He later coached at his alma mater helping lead the program to the 1990 NCAA Division II national championship game. Rick has also served as a high school head coach and as an assistant in Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan.
His passion for sports writing started when he was the sports editor for his high school newspaper and continued when he worked as a sportswriter for the Jamestown (New York) Post-Journal in the early 1990s. A true sports fanatic, Rick enjoys all things Pittsburgh: Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins. The Immaculate Reception, the 1979 We Are Family Pirates, and the ’91-’92 Penguins are among his favorites. After working as an educator and athletic director for several years, he again took up sports writing and has contributed to several websites and publications, including Coach & Player magazine, X & O Labs, American Football Monthly, and many others.
When not consumed with coaching, watching, thinking about, or writing about football and other seasonal sports, he finds himself working out like he was still in college and reading everything from military history to Brad Thor novels. Rick has also been chasing rock god stardom as a drummer who has played with bands that have opened for the likes of Fuel, Days of the New, and Alien Ant Farm. He continues to play with his church worship group. Most importantly, Rick is married to the love of his life, Lisa, and has two beautiful daughters.