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Fearless Rick's 2012-13 College Football Week 1 - Early Games

Rick Gagliano | August 30 - September 3, 2012

All times Eastern - Click here for late games.

Thursday, August 30

7:00 pm South Carolina (-6 1/2, 45) at Vanderbilt - These two met last September at South Carolina and the Gamecocks came away with a 21-3 victory in a dominant performance.

The Gamecocks might be even better this season than they were last year as Connor Shaw takes the quarterbacking reins away from Stephen Garcia and running back Marus Lattimore returns from an injury that limited him to just seven games in 2011.

South Carolina is looking to crack the LSU-Alabama monopoly on the SEC title and is the choice to win the SEC East, so a win here - an early conference clash - would be a positive development. Should be a strong performance by the Gamecock defense against a capable Vanderbilt team.

Prediction: Gamecocks 31 Commodores 10

7:30 pm Massachusetts at Connecticut (-24 1/2, 54) - The line says it all here in a Big East - Mid-American contest; the Huskies are expected to roll over the Minutemen. However, the Huskies weren't that good last season, going 5-7, and, of their five wins in 2011, only one was by 24 points, their 35-3 trouncing of Fordham.

This is not to say that UMass is very good, but, this is their first game as a member of the FBS, so the coaches and players want to make a strong impression. Last year, Mass. was 5-6, and only lost one game by 24 points or more, that being at Boston College, in a 45-17 loss, that being probably their toughest assignment of the season.

The Minutemen aren't expected to do much this season, but neither is UConn, so the 24 1/2 gimmies should be taken in what appears - on paper at least - to be a less-than-ideal spot for the Huskies.

Prediction: Huskies 31 Minutemen 24

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10:15 pm Washington State at BYU (-12 1/2, 65) - In the battle of Cougars, Mike Leach takes over as head coach of Washington State, his spread offense the model upon which many other college programs are being operated.

After going 4-8 in 2011, Leach should be able to turn this squad in positive ways with his innovations and upbeat offensive schemes. The defense is another question altogether for Washington State, which allowed opponents to score 40 or more in four games last year.

The BYU Cougars remain a high quality program and should win 8-10 games this season. Washington State needs to keep their own offense on the field in order to keep this one close and they may also benefit from a positive turnover ratio.

Prediction: BYU Cougars 42 Washington St. Cougars 34

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Friday, August 31

7:30 pm Tennessee (-3, 52) at North Carolina State - These SEC-ACC battles usually go in favor of the SEC teams and it's worth noting that the Vols are favored on the road, somewhat of a rarity.

After a 3-1 start last year, the Vols won only two more games, finishing 4-7, but four of those losses were to LSU, Alabama, Arkansas and South Carolina, all ranked teams and two which played for the national championship.

Don't be fooled by Tennessee's poor record. They're a quality unit that can win this game on offense. The Wolfpack was frequently blown up defensively last season and that is not easily remedied.

Prediction: Volunteers 31 Wolfpack 21

8:00 pm Boise State at Michigan State (-7, 46) - The Broncos have many holes to fill, none more important than replacing Kellen Moore at quarterback, who graduated to the NFL after breaking almost all school passing records.

Running back Doug Martin has also moved on, a 1299 yard rusher from 2011.

The Broncos will be competitive for sure, but the Spartans return a passel of starters from a team that won the Legends division in the Big Ten and came within a field goal of beating Wisconsin in the conference championship.

The Spartans are home and ready to kick off 2012 in style.

Prediction: Spartans 31 Broncos 19

Saturday, September 1

9:00 AM Notre Dame (-16, 55 1/2) vs. Navy* - A rare early game kicks off college football's first Saturday as this one will be played on true Irish home turf, in Dublin, Ireland.

The Middies have taken three of the last five in the annual rivalry of independents, but Notre Dame won last year's contest by a 56-14 score.

Everett Golson starts his first college game for Notre Dame and he will be facing a pair of new corners for Navy. The Middies only returned one starter to their o-line, which may be a problem running the option.

Navy was just 5-7 last year, but they lost five games by three points or less. Notre Dame was their only blowout loss, so expect them to show better here and cover the generous line.

Prediction: Fighting Irish 31 Midshipmen 23

*Game played at neutral location

All times Eastern - Click here for late games

Copyright 2012, 2013, Rick Gagliano, Downtown Magazine. All rights reserved. Downtown Magazine is located in the Uinted States of America and is not affiliated with the National Football League or the NCAA. For more information, contact us here. Use of this site is for entertainment purposes only.


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