The start of NCAA football is less than a month away. With the week 1 college lines recently released, it is time to look at some of the big games that open up the season. For lines and totals on all of the week 1 games check out the college football odds page of Maddux Sports.
All lines are taken from Bookmaker.
Boise State (-2.5) vs. Virginia Tech (neutral field)- Two of the nation’s best clash in the first week as the Boise State Broncos, coming off an undefeated 2009 campaign, visit the Virginia Tech Hokies. Boise State is favored in this showdown of projected top-10 teams, and rightfully so. One year after finishing 14-0 and defeating TCU in the Fiesta Bowl, the Broncos return 20 of 22 starters. Most importantly, the Broncos return junior quarterback and Heisman candidate Kellen Moore. Last season, Moore threw for 3,536 yards and 39 touchdowns, while only throwing three interceptions. Moore should have plenty of time to throw against a Virginia Tech defensive line that lost three starters. Boise State’s defense should be just as good as last year, but the Broncos did lose defensive back Kyle Wilson, who was drafted in the first round by the New York Jets. His loss should not prove as much of a factor in this game as the Hokies, primarily a rush-first offense, will not put much pressure on the Boise State secondary, but instead will rely heavily on sophomore running back Ryan Williams. Williams is very capable of having big games, as he eclipsed 100 yards rushing in all but three contests last season. Two of those three games, Virginia Tech lost. Needless to say, Williams will need to have a huge game against a strong Boise defense to win this one. Last season, the Hokies went 7-5-1 against the college football point spread overall and Boise State finished 9-4.
Oregon St. (+14.5) at TCU– Coming off the 17-10 loss to Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl, TCU will look to replicate the regular season they had last year when they finished 12-0. But the Horned Frogs have a tough test right out of the gate as they host the Oregon State Beavers. Quarterback Andy Dalton, who is a threat to pass (2,756 yards, 23 touchdowns) and run (610 yards, 3 touchdowns), will once again lead the way for the TCU. The Horned Frogs also offer a balanced rushing attack, as shown by last season when four different players totaled over 100 carries, although they did lose top rusher Joseph Turner. Even without Turner, Dalton should be able to keep the TCU offense in rhythm as the Beavers do not offer a particularly strong pass rush or secondary. But the Beavers do have one of best rushing offenses around. Junior running back Jacquizz Rodgers is one of the nation’s best, averaging 110.8 yards rushing per game last season, while finding the end zone 21 times. With TCU losing linebacker Darryl Washington, the team’s top tackler, Rodgers should be able to pick up some big gains. Rodgers will receive an even heavier workload in week 1 as the team adjusts to a new quarterback after losing Sean Canfield to graduation. The Beavers aren’t a good enough team defensively to win this game outright, but if Rodgers has an above-average game on the ground, they are good enough to keep this game close. The Beavers were great college football pick last year finishing 2009 4-0 as a road dog, while TCU finished 3-2 as home favorites.
North Carolina (PK) vs. LSU (neutral field)– The North Carolina Tar Heels and the LSU Tigers will meet in Atlanta, Georgia to open up their college football season in what should be one of the more evenly matched games of the year. The Tar Heels, who finished 8-5 last season and had impressive wins over Virginia Tech and Miami, return 19 of their 22 starters. LSU’s team will not be as experienced as UNC’s, as the Tigers only return 10 starters. The defense leads the way for UNC, allowing just 17.1 points per game in 2009. Defensive end Robert Quinn is one of the conference’s best pass rushers, recording 11 sacks and earning ACC Defensive Player of the Year Runner-Up. Quinn will be the key for the Tar Heels in this matchup, as LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson was sacked 34 times last season. Jefferson played well last season, totaling 2,166 yards and 17 touchdowns, but will have to carry more of the load now that LSU has lost its two top rushers. The defense, which is always good, only returns four. But among those four is standout cornerback Patrick Peterson, who is one of the nation’s best lockdown corners. UNC quarterback T.J. Yates threw more interceptions than touchdowns last season, so look for Peterson to be a factor. The rushing duo of Shaun Draughn and Ryan Houston should be able to push the chains against the relatively new Tiger defense, but don’t expect a lot of offense from either team. It’s difficult to imagine any team with 12 new starters to gel immediately, so experience gives UNC the edge in this close, low-scoring game. UNC went 5-6 against the spread in 2009 while LSU went 5-7-1.