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College Football Week 1: Schedule, TV listings, S&P+ picks

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S&P+ sure doesn’t like Houston or Kentucky. We’ll see if how far off the spreadsheets might be.

NCAA Football: Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl-Houston vs Florida State Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

It’s time! The bad news is, last week’s Cal-Hawaii game kind of killed a little bit of the “COLLEGE FOOTBALL’S BACK, SO I DON’T CARE IF THESE GAMES ARE TERRIBLE!!!!!” buzz for tonight’s relatively lame set of games. The good news is, S&P+ is already batting 1.000 for the season. I’m sure that will continue.

For the purposes of both my own convenience and convenient week-to-week tracking, I’m posting this year’s pics in a Google Sheet that is embedded below. This way you’ll be able to look back at previous weeks’ projections if the need arises. Also: I’ve added F/+ projections (the lovechild of my S&P+ and Brian Fremeau’s FEI) back to the mix. Last year, with changes I made to S&P+, I didn’t give myself enough time to set up both S&P+ and F/+ projections. In the Google Doc, you’ll see S&P+ projections in yellow and F/+ picks (limited simply to margin, not projected scores) in orange.

5 most interesting picks:

  1. Georgia Tech by 0.2 over Boston College (per S&P+). This game is really interesting to me, and not only because it’s in Ireland. Both of these teams have been successful relatively recently -- Tech was awesome in 2014, and BC has had awesome offense (2014) and defense (2015) within the last two years. Either could be surprise top-30 or top-40 performers. I think Tech is the more likely of the two to succeed, but this relative tossup will be interesting. And it means we get to wake up to football on Saturday morning!
  2. Oklahoma by 19.5 over Houston (per S&P+). I’ve been yelled at by Houston fans a lot this offseason because of how unimpressed S&P+ was with the Cougars. Part of that complaint is fair (UH was much worse when Greg Ward Jr. was injured, and since the projections take that time period into account, technically the projections could be underselling the Cougars), and part of it isn’t (Houston won 2-3 games it had no business winning last year. This is Houston’s first chance to prove the S&P+ projections drastically wrong.
  3. Georgia by 6.8 over UNC (per S&P+). S&P+ doesn’t really like UNC and trusts the hell out of the Nick Chubb version of Georgia. The Dawgs are favored by 2.5, but S&P+ is giving the Dawgs some more cushion than that.
  4. Southern Miss by 2.9 over Kentucky (per S&P+). S&P+ really, really doesn’t like the Wildcats this year. And it’s not that hard to see why. Experience in the receiving corps, a former blue-chipper at QB, and some new offensive coaching could lead to solid offensive success and massive UK overachievement compared to projection. But if it doesn’t, then this season could go horribly in Lexington.
  5. Ole Miss by 0.4 over Florida State (per F/+). The combination of surprisingly high returning production, recent success, and solid recruiting have given the Rebels an excellent projected rating in both S&P+ and FEI. And while S&P+ still slightly favors the Noles, F/+ is picking the Rebels straight-up. We’ll see if we’re underselling Ole Miss, and if the computers are right, pretty quickly.