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Spread picks for every college football game in 2018’s Week 1

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There are a whopping 86 games on the weekend FBS docket. A few of them might even be good!

NCAA Football: Chick-fil-A Kickoff-Alabama vs Florida State
Deondre Francois
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Below are picks and projections using the S&P+ projections, listed in full for all 130 FBS teams here. See the bottom of the post for more detail about these.

The spread (listed in parentheses) is shown next to S&P+’s pick for each game. The team in bold is projected to beat the spread. (At most books, there is no listed spread for FCS games.) When S&P+ predicts a tie or a push (a tie with Vegas, basically), I list the pick on the side S&P+ would pick if teams could score in decimals.

This document breaks games (and S&P+’s season performance to date) out into their decimal glory. This year, I am including and monitoring total (over/under) picks as well.

Thursday

NCAA Football: Peach Bowl-Auburn vs Central Florida
UCF’s McKenzie Milton
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
  • No. 21 UCF 51 (-24), Connecticut 24 (Aug. 30, 7:00 PM ET, ESPNU)
  • Minnesota 29, New Mexico State (+21.5) 20 (Aug. 30, 7:00 PM ET, BTN)
  • Ball State 33, Central Connecticut 21 (Aug. 30, 7:00 PM ET, ESPN+)
  • Georgia State 30, Kennesaw State 22 (Aug. 30, 7:00 PM ET, ESPN+)
  • Northwestern (+2) 28, Purdue 27 (Aug. 30, 8:00 PM ET, ESPN)
  • Wake Forest (-6) 37, Tulane 28 (Aug. 30, 8:00 PM ET, CBSSN)
  • Oklahoma State 47, Missouri State 15 (Aug. 30, 8:00 PM ET, FS1)
  • UAB 44, Savannah State 8 (Aug. 30, 8:00 PM ET, ESPN+)
  • UL-Monroe 40, SE Louisiana 25 (Aug. 30, 8:00 PM ET, ESPN+)
  • Utah 37, Weber State 17 (Aug. 30, 8:00 PM ET, Pac-12)
  • Texas A&M 48, Northwestern State 5 (Aug. 30, 8:30 PM ET, SECN)
  • San Jose State 28, UC Davis 27 (Aug. 30, 10:00 PM ET, )

UCF’s national title defense begins in Connecticut, of all places.

Friday

NCAA Football: Orange Bowl-Wisconsin vs Miami
Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
  • Western Michigan (+5) 31, Syracuse 31 (Aug. 31, 6:00 PM ET, CBSSN)
  • Eastern Michigan 33, Monmouth 15 (Aug. 31, 6:30 PM ET, ESPN+)
  • No. 11 Michigan State 34, Utah State (+23.5) 14 (Aug. 31, 7:00 PM ET, BTN)
  • Duke 33, Army (+12) 22 (Aug. 31, 7:00 PM ET, ESPNU)
  • No. 4 Wisconsin 39, Western Kentucky (+36) 13 (Aug. 31, 9:00 PM ET, ESPN)
  • No. 13 Stanford 36, San Diego State (+14) 24 (Aug. 31, 9:00 PM ET, FS1)
  • Nevada 37, Portland State 22 (Aug. 31, 9:00 PM ET, MWC Video)
  • Colorado 31, Colorado State (+7.5) 30 (Aug. 31, 9:30 PM ET, CBSSN)

Of the three ranked teams on the Friday schedule, Stanford is projected to struggle the most (which makes sense considering the Cardinal lost to SDSU last year).

Saturday/Sunday/Monday ranked vs. ranked

NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl-Penn State vs Washington
Washington’s Myles Gaskin
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
  • No. 6 Washington (+2) 26, No. 9 Auburn 25 (Sep. 01, 3:30 PM ET, ABC)
  • No. 12 Notre Dame (-2) 25, No. 14 Michigan 22 (Sep. 01, 7:30 PM ET, NBC)
  • No. 8 Miami 27, No. 25 LSU (+3.5) 24 (Sep. 02, 7:30 PM ET, ABC)
  • No. 19 Florida State 30, No. 20 Virginia Tech (+7.5) 23 (Sep. 03, 8:00 PM ET, ESPN)

Week 1 presents Washington with an immediate opportunity to affirm S&P+’s preseason adoration.

Other ranked teams in action on Saturday

NCAA Football: North Texas at Florida Atlantic
FAU’s Devin Singletary
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
  • No. 1 Alabama 39, Louisville (+24.5) 25 (Sep. 01, 8:00 PM ET, ABC)
  • No. 2 Clemson 46, Furman 2 (Sep. 01, 12:20 PM ET, ACCN)
  • No. 3 Georgia 48, Austin Peay 7 (Sep. 01, 3:30 PM ET, ESPN)
  • No. 5 Ohio State (-38) 52, Oregon State 10 (Sep. 01, 12:00 PM ET, ABC)
  • No. 7 Oklahoma 42, Florida Atlantic (+21) 29 (Sep. 01, 12:00 PM ET, Fox)
  • No. 10 Penn State 38, Appalachian State (+24) 18 (Sep. 01, 3:30 PM ET, BTN)
  • No. 15 USC 43, UNLV (+26) 19 (Sep. 01, 4:00 PM ET, Pac-12)
  • No. 16 TCU 43, Southern U. 7 (Sep. 01, 12:00 PM ET, FSN)
  • No. 17 West Virginia 32, Tennessee (+10) 28 (Sep. 01, 3:30 PM ET, CBS)
  • No. 18 Mississippi State 46, Stephen F. Austin 5 (Sep. 01, 7:30 PM ET, ESPNU)
  • No. 22 Boise State 29, Troy (+10) 20 (Sep. 01, 6:00 PM ET, ESPNN)
  • No. 23 Texas 31, Maryland (+13.5) 22 (Sep. 01, 12:00 PM ET, FS1)
  • No. 24 Oregon 42, Bowling Green (+32) 18 (Sep. 01, 8:00 PM ET, Pac-12)

Can Louisville move the ball on a completely remodeled Alabama secondary?

Saturday Power 5 vs. Power 5

NCAA Football: Mississippi at Auburn
Ole Miss’ A.J. Brown
John Reed-USA TODAY Sports
  • California 29, North Carolina (+7) 28 (Sep. 01, 4:00 PM ET, Fox)
  • Ole Miss (+2) 35, Texas Tech 29 (Sep. 01, 12:00 PM ET, ESPN)

I will be floored if there are only 64 points in the Ole Miss-Tech game.

Saturday FBS vs. FBS

NCAA Football: Arizona at Arizona State
Arizona’s Khalil Tate
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
  • Arizona (-11.5) 35, BYU 23 (Sep. 01, 10:45 PM ET, ESPN)
  • Arizona State 34, UTSA (+18.5) 21 (Sep. 01, 10:30 PM ET, FS1)
  • Boston College 35, UMass (+18) 21 (Sep. 01, 1:00 PM ET, ACCN)
  • Houston 36, Rice (+25.5) 21 (Sep. 01, 12:00 PM ET, CBSSN)
  • Illinois 30, Kent State (+16) 20 (Sep. 01, 12:00 PM ET, BTN)
  • Indiana (-9.5) 35, Florida International 22 (Sep. 01, 7:00 PM ET, CBSSN)
  • Iowa 28, Northern Illinois (+10) 19 (Sep. 01, 3:30 PM ET, ESPN+)
  • Kentucky 33, Central Michigan (+17) 18 (Sep. 01, 3:30 PM ET, ESPNU)
  • Louisiana Tech 31, South Alabama (+10) 24 (Sep. 01, 7:00 PM ET, ESPN+)
  • Marshall (-2) 26, Miami (Ohio) 23 (Sep. 01, 3:30 PM ET, ESPN+)
  • Navy (-10) 38, Hawaii 23 (Sep. 01, 11:00 PM ET, CBSSN)
  • Nebraska 34, Akron (+25.5) 17 (Sep. 01, 8:00 PM ET, Fox)
  • Old Dominion 27, Liberty (+6.5) 26 (Sep. 01, 6:00 PM ET, ESPN3)
  • Rutgers 31, Texas State (+16.5) 18 (Sep. 01, 12:00 PM ET, BTN)
  • SMU 35 (+4.5), North Texas 34 (Sep. 01, 7:30 PM ET, Stadium)
  • South Carolina 40, Coastal Carolina (+29) 16 (Sep. 01, 12:00 PM ET, SECN)
  • UCLA 38, Cincinnati (+15) 26 (Sep. 01, 7:00 PM ET, ESPN)
  • Vanderbilt (-3) 31, Middle Tennessee 26 (Sep. 01, 7:30 PM ET, SECN)
  • Washington State (PK) 23, Wyoming 20 (Sep. 01, 3:30 PM ET, CBSSN)

S&P+ usually leans with the underdog in Week 1, and it appears this year is no exception.

Saturday FBS vs. FCS

NCAA Football: Florida State at Florida
Feleipe Franks
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
  • Arkansas 44, Eastern Illinois 13 (Sep. 01, 4:00 PM ET, SECN)
  • Arkansas State 45, SE Missouri State 11 (Sep. 01, 7:00 PM ET, ESPN+)
  • Baylor 45, Abilene Christian 10 (Sep. 01, 8:00 PM ET, FSN)
  • Buffalo 45, Delaware State 8 (Sep. 01, 6:00 PM ET, ESPN3)
  • Charlotte 30, Fordham 20 (Sep. 01, 6:00 PM ET, ESPN+)
  • East Carolina 32, NC A&T 30 (Sep. 01, 6:00 PM ET, ESPN3)
  • Florida 42, Charleston Southern 9 (Sep. 01, 7:30 PM ET, SECN)
  • Fresno State 34, Idaho 18 (Sep. 01, 10:00 PM ET, Stadium)
  • Georgia Southern 36, SC State 12 (Sep. 01, 6:00 PM ET, ESPN+)
  • Georgia Tech 45, Alcorn State 11 (Sep. 01, 12:30 PM ET, ACCN)
  • Iowa State 29, South Dakota State 25 (Sep. 01, 8:00 PM ET, PPV)
  • Kansas 30, Nicholls 20 (Sep. 01, 7:00 PM ET, ESPN+)
  • Kansas State 35, South Dakota 23 (Sep. 01, 7:00 PM ET, ESPN3)
  • Memphis 46, Mercer 15 (Sep. 01, 7:00 PM ET, ESPN3)
  • Missouri 44, UT-Martin 17 (Sep. 01, 4:00 PM ET, SECN)
  • NC State 39, James Madison 22 (Sep. 01, 12:00 PM ET, ESPNU)
  • New Mexico 37, Incarnate Word 15 (Sep. 01, 8:00 PM ET, ESPN3)
  • Northern Arizona 31, UTEP 21 (Sep. 01, 7:30 PM ET, ESPN3)
  • Ohio 44, Howard 11 (Sep. 01, 2:00 PM ET, ESPN+)
  • Pittsburgh 37, Albany 15 (Sep. 01, 3:30 PM ET, ACCN)
  • South Florida 37, Elon 16 (Sep. 01, 6:00 PM ET, ESPN3)
  • Southern Miss 41, Jackson State 7 (Sep. 01, 7:00 PM ET, ESPN+)
  • Stony Brook 31, Air Force 31 (Sep. 01, 2:00 PM ET, Facebook)
  • Temple 34, Villanova 17 (Sep. 01, 12:00 PM ET, ESPNN)
  • Toledo 51, VMI 3 (Sep. 01, 7:00 PM ET, ESPN3)
  • Tulsa 36, Central Arkansas 26 (Sep. 01, 7:00 PM ET, ESPN3)
  • UL-Lafayette 35, Grambling 29 (Sep. 01, 7:00 PM ET, ESPN3)
  • Virginia 34, Richmond 15 (Sep. 01, 6:00 PM ET, ACCN)

These are games, too!


Each year, I post weekly S&P+ picks as a way of affirming the ratings’ validity. I use my S&P+ system as a complement to most of my analysis, and the picks are a way of showing it generally knows what it’s talking about.

S&P+ tends to hit between 50 (meh) and 54 percent (great) against the spread from year to year. It isn’t always the single best performer, but it holds its own.

And beyond picks, it goes deeper than any other set of college football analytics on the market. You can go into granular detail regarding team strengths and weaknesses in a way that no other set of ratings allows. (See the annual team statistical profiles, which will be unveiled for 2018 in a couple of weeks, as proof.)