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NCAA College Football 2014-15 Week 1 Picks

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Fearless Rick's 2014-15 College Football Week 1 - Early Games

Rick Gagliano | August 28-30

All times Eastern - Click here for late games.

Thursday, August 28

6:00 pm Texas A&M at South Carolina (-10 1/2, 58) - No Johnny Manziel means the Aggies have a tough task at hand, though South Carolina QB Dylan Thompson is still something of a question mark for coach Spurrier and the staff.

Thompson is more a pure thrower than Connor Shaw, but the real threat comes from Mike Davis, the powerhouse running back who will likely see plenty of daylight in the A&M defense. Davis had 203 carries for 1183 yards last season, plus, he's a threat in passing situations out of the backfield.

Besides home field, the Gamecocks have a huge advantage on defense, which was one of the best in the SEC last season. No Jadavian Clowney this season, but plenty of returning starters and studs to stop the Aggies cold.

Prediction: Gamecocks 38 Aggies 13

7:00 pm Wake Forest (-2 1/2, 45 1/2) at Louisiana-Monroe - While this game won't have any national impact, it may be worth taking note of, as the Warhawks present a serious challenge to the Demon Deacons, despite finishing at 6-6 and in the middle of the Sun Belt standings last year.

Louisiana-Monroe won four of their last six last season, including their finale, a 31-28 win over rival LA-Lafayette, co-champions of the Sun Belt.

Wake Forest was a dismal 4-8 last season, including a Sept. 14 loss at home to the Warhawks, 21-19 and they haven't improved much. Look for a similar outcome.

Prediction: Warhawks 31 Demon Deacons 27

8:00 pm Boise State vs. Ole Miss (-10, 54) - Not the same kind of team as in years past, Boise State went 8-5 in 2013, their worst record in years, but their losses were all to quality teams like Washington, Fresno State, BYU and Oregon State, to whom they lost the Hawaii Bowl, 38-23.

Boise should be a little better on defense and have a winning attitude, not wishing to start out like last year - with a 38-6 defeat at Washington.

The Rebels were also 8-5 last season, including three straight losses - to Alabama, Auburn and Texas A&M - and finished with two more SEC losses before beating Georgia Tech in the Music City Bowl, 25-17. The Rebels are getting lots of attention, but this will be closer than many expect and Boise may put an early loss on the Ole Miss resume.

Prediction: Broncos 24 Rebels 21

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10:00 pm Rutgers at Washington State (-8, 61) - Rutgers joins the Big Ten this season (making it the Big 14) and will be hard-pressed to replicate even the 6-7 mark from a year ago when playing in the American Athletic conference.

The Scarlett Knights were simply horrible late in the year, losing six of their final eight games, including some massive blowouts - 49-14 vs. Houston, 52-17 vs. Cincinnati, 41-17 at UCF.

Washington may want to get a few wins under the belt before engaging the PAC-12, where they were 4-5 last season. This should be a positive start for a team that lost the New Mexico Bowl, 48-45, to Colorado State, last season.

Prediction: Cougars 42 Scarlet Knights 24

Friday, August 29

7:00 pm Brigham Young (-16 1/2, 51) at Connecticut - It was late November before the Huskies even won a game last season, finishing 3-9 by beating Temple, Rutgers and Memphis to close out their season of frustration.

They may be a little better this season, especially considering they chose to stay in the weak American Athletic conference, but this will not be even close to a winning effort.

The Cougars were 8-4 last season before losing, 31-16, to Washington in the Fight Hunger Bowl, but are an experienced squad which may be ranked at various points this season.

Prediction: Cougars 37 Huskies 17

9:00 pm Colorado State vs. Colorado (-3, 61 1/2) - The annual meeting for bragging rights in the "Reefer" State is played at Mile High Stadium, where the Buffaloes won last season, 41-27. That was just one of four wins for Colorado, as they finished 1-8 in the PAC-12, while the Rams posted a respectable 8-6 mark including a 48-45 win over Washington State in the New Mexico Bowl.

Colorado will be improved in Mike MacIntyre's second season, especially if sophome running back Michael Adkins II can resume what he started as a freshman, rushing for 535 yards on 103 carries last season.

The Buffs may have trouble containing Rams' QB Garrett Grayson, but should prevail in what may turn into a shoot-out.

Prediction: Buffaloes 45 Rams 41

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Saturday, August 30

8:30 am Penn State vs. Central Florida (-1 1/2, 48) - Compiling a 12-1 record in 2013, UCF didn't exactly fly under anyone's radar and they lost QB Blake Bortles and RB Storm Johnson to the NFL, but should be a solid performer again this season.

That said, the Nittany Lions - still on probation and ineligible for post-season play - were pretty good in 2013, posting a 7-5 mark and going 4-4 in the conference. These two met last season, with the Knights posting a 34-31 win at Happy Valley, but this game is being played at Croke Park in Dublin, Ireland (and, yes, that start time is correct) where there will be no home field advantage.

With UCF having to replace much of its offense, look for the Lions to take advantage and hold them nearly scoreless for an emotional win. Penn State has nothing to lose and will take out some frustrations on any number of good teams this season.

Prediction: Nittany Lions 27 Knights 10

12:00 pm Ohio State (-14, 55 1/2) at Navy - The Buckeyes will be without the services of QB Braxton Miller, who suffered a tear to the labrum in his throwing shoulder during practice last week, and that's put into serious question any post-season aspirations.

First things first, however. The Buckeyes will start redshirt freshman, J.T. Barrett in place of Miller, and, while the coaches have good things to say about the young signal-caller, he's still going to be prone to mistakes.

Navy is a team that can and will cause offensive errors to the opposition. They were 9-4 last season, and won six of their last seven, including a 34-7 dismantling of Army, and a 24-6 stomping of Middle Tennessee in the Armed Forces Bowl. Their only loss during that stretch was a 38-34 defeat at Notre Dame, and if the Middies are up to that level of play, they have a good shot at upending the Buckeyes.

Prediction: Midshipmen 30 Buckeyes 27

12:00 pm UCLA (-21, 57 1/2) at Virginia - Anyone thinking that Virginia (2-10 last season) stands a chance against a UCLA team poised to make a run at a national championship, should just watch the first half of this game because the Bruins should get off the mark early and score often in what should be a laugher.

UCLA went 10-3 last season and hammered Virginia Tech, 42-12 in the Sun Bowl. They're returning 16 starters - eight on each side - and QB Brett Hundley is being mentioned as a Heisman candidate.

Once UCLA gets rolling, the Cavaliers will have no chance of catching up.

Prediction: Bruins 44 Cavaliers 13

All times Eastern - Click here for late games

Copyright 2014, 2015, 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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