You won’t find a better matchup on the betting lines this Saturday than the one between Georgia and Clemson. Other intriguing games involve possible BCS busters Northern Illinois and Brigham Young. Here’s a look at our picks for the first Saturday of the college football season.
Georgia Bulldogs @ Clemson Tigers
Odds: Georgia -2
This is a headliner on Saturday. Georgia could very well overpower Clemson in the second half, using its size and strength in the trenches to take over the proceedings. However, the biggest reason Clemson is in position to win is a compelling one. Quite simply, it is true that the Tigers still have their best coach on staff. Chad Morris, the team’s offensive coordinator, transformed Clemson’s offense and has enabled the likes of Boyd and Watkins to fulfill their potential. Morris was considered for head coaching jobs at other schools this past offseason, but he stayed put in the state of South Carolina and the program he has improved. Morris will probably leave for another school next season, but since he gets one more year with Boyd and Watkins in 2013, Clemson will definitely be able to pile up a lot of points and outscore a Georgia offense that is pretty accomplished in its own right. Clemson, playing at home and riding waves upon waves of emotions, will capture lightning in a bottle and find the formula needed to dispose of Georgia.
Pick: Clemson +2
Northern Illinois Huskies @ Iowa Hawkeyes
Odds: Iowa -3
This is a rematch on the college football betting lines from last September’s game in which Northern Illinois built a multi-score lead but then faltered at the very end. Iowa stole the game in the final minutes, giving NIU its only loss of the regular season. Many people in the college football world felt that Northern Illinois didn’t deserve to play in the Orange Bowl against Florida State precisely because it lost to Iowa, a team that tumbled as the 2012 season unfolded. That very reason is why Northern Illinois is going to be highly motivated to win this game. Quarterback Jordan Lynch is likely to play well for the Huskies against Iowa, and if he does, NIU should be able to win this game, even though it’s on the road in Kinnick Stadium.
Pick: Northern Illinois +3
BYU Cougars @ Virginia Cavaliers
Odds: BYU -3
The Cougars will field one of the best defenses in all of college football this season. Head coach Bronco Mendenhall has made BYU a factor with his ability to teach (and call plays) on that side of the ball. BYU will have one of the elite defensive players in the United States as well. Kyle Van Noy is a terrific linebacker who has a nose for the ball and is one of the best technique-based tacklers in the sport. With a ferocious defense matched against Virginia’s anemic offense, BYU should be able to win this game quite comfortably as long as it doesn’t cough up many turnovers.
Pick: BYU -3