Is a win more important to Clemson or Georgia?
After a long wait, the first Saturday of the NCAA football season is less than 24 hours away.
It kicks off with an absolute monster slate of games, including five AP-ranked matchups, which is the most in a Week 1 season since the preseason poll began in 1950.
Canada’s Sports Leader has you covered from morning to night, beginning with NCAA College Gameday on TSN2 at 9am et/ 6am pt.
After that, it’s a quadruple-header of highly anticipated matchups beginning with No. 2 Oklahoma visiting Tulane at noon et.
The marquee event goes at 3pm et, when the defending national champion and pre-season No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide clashes with the No. 14 Miami Hurricanes.
After that, the No. 3 Clemson Tigers and No. 5 Georgia Bulldogs go head-to-head in a showdown with absolutely massive implications.
As if that wasn’t enough, BYU and Arizona will kick off at just past 11pm et.
If you love NCAA football, you might not leave your couch on Saturday.
If you like betting on NCAA football, here’s what I like for Saturday’s games.
#1 Alabama Crimson Tide at #14 Miami Hurricanes
Spread: Alabama -18.5
The last time Alabama won a national championship in 2018 they lost 11 players to the NFL Draft and then followed that up with 14-1 season. In 2021, they lost 10 players to the NFL Draft, but as history shows that is no reason to doubt this factory. Highly touted sophomore Bryce Young will take over for Mac Jones at quarterback. Meanwhile, Brampton, Ontario’s own John Metchie III is expected to build off of a season in which he finished with 916 receiving yards as the Tide’s No. 1 receiver. On the defensive side, Alabama struggled early last season but improved down the stretch. Leading tackler Christian Harris is back. They also added arguably the top player to move via the transfer portal in linebacker Henry To’To’o from Tennessee. Linebacker Will Anderson Jr. had 7.5 sacks in limited duty as a freshman and looks like a potential future first round pick. Miami could benefit from the new NIL rules long term, but for now they are simply not on Alabama’s level. I’ll take the Tide to win and cover.
THE PICK: Alabama -18.5
#5 Georgia Bulldogs at #3 Clemson Tigers
Spread: Clemson -3
Both of these teams have the potential to be playoff contenders. Only one can make it out of Week 1 with a win. Clemson lost star quarterback Trevor Lawrence to the NFL Draft, but D.J. Uiagalelei is the second choice to win the Heisman Trophy at +900. Uiagalelei flashed in two starts last season, and will benefit from the return of wide receiver Justyn Ross. The Bulldogs looked like a much better team when they finally handed over the offence to QB JT Daniels last season. While he will miss his No. 1 target in George Pickens early this year, his top running back Zamir White has serious Sony Michel vibes. In the two games Uiagalelei started last season, Clemson played very fast and got into shootouts. This is a neutral site game, and I’m hoping that the Tigers and Bulldogs both play fast in a game that could turn into another shootout. I’ll take the over in this one.
THE PICK: Over 51.5
Northern Illinois Huskies at Georgia Tech Yello Jackets
Spread: Georgia Tech -18
In my extremely brief playing career at Wilfrid Laurier University, I had a teammate named Courtney Stephen who ended up transferring to Northern Illinois University. So, I’ve followed this program very closely. Lets just say Jordan Lynch is not walking through that door! The Huskies went 0-6 last season, and while they do have a familiar name at QB in Michigan State transfer Rocky Lombardi, no one would brag about that addition. Northern Illinois is bad. Georgia Tech’s head coach Geoff Collins is in his third season and had the tough task of transitioning the team from the triple-option offence. His QB Jeff Sims showed some flashes last season and Collins will finally have veterans that are his own recruits. I’m not saying Georgia Tech will be a threat in the ACC this season by any means, but they should roll over the lowly Huskies, who will be near the bottom of the MAC this season.
THE PICK: Georgia Tech -18
Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles at South Alabama Jaguars
Spread: South Alabama -1
Southern Mississippi was a mess last season. They had two coaches resign mid-season. Then in this offseason, they lost QB Jack Abraham to Mississippi State in the transfer portal. On the other hand, South Alabama landed QB Jake Bentley, who has started games at both South Carolina and Utah. They also added offensive coordinator Major Applewhite, who was an analyst at Alabama and should bring needed Division I experience. The Jaguars beat Southern Mississippi by 11 points on the road when they met last season. I think they should be able to get the job done at home this time around. Also, another name to watch that will make you feel old watching this game: Golden Eagles running back Frank Gore Jr, the son of former NFLer Frank Gore!
THE PICK: South Alabama -1
Brigham Young Cougars at Arizona Wildcats
Spread: BYU -12
BYU lost an absolute stud to the NFL Draft in quarterback Zach Wilson. While Wilson’s loss will really hurt a team that went 11-1 last season, the Cougars did return enough key pieces to have a decent season. Sophomore Jaren Hall takes over for Wilson at QB. He’ll get some help from sophomore running back Tyler Allgeier, who ran for 1130 yards last season. BYU wide receiver Gunner Romney is an explosive playmaker, so expect him to get a ton of touches. Arizona hired Jedd Fisch at head coach to turn its program around, but that won’t happen overnight after a 0-5 season. I’ll take the Cougars to cover as a 12-point favourite at a neutral site.
THE PICK: BYU -12