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Saturday, September 3, 2016

College Football, Week One: Sooners on Upset Alert?

College football is back. Let the debate about which four teams will make the playoffs begin. While many people believe that Clemson and Alabama are favorites to return to the semifinals, there is no consensus on the other two teams.

One school of thought is that Oklahoma will be the third team to reach the playoffs. The Sooners return two Heisman candidates, quarterback Baker Mayfield and running back Sam Perine, and they have to be considered the favorites to win the Big 12 this season. If they can navigate a schedule that includes FBS powers such as Houston and Ohio State we could see them playing on January 2nd.

Another school that has drawn attention as a possible playoff contender is Michigan. The Wolverines return several starters on both sides of the ball, including safety Jabrill Peppers. They also have a weak nonconference schedule that has led many to say they have an outside shot at going undefeated. Ohio State and Michigan State loom as the two biggest obstacles in their quest for perfection in coach Jim Harbaugh's second season.

Then there are schools such as LSU and Florida State, who might replace either Alabama or Clemson in the CFB Playoffs, provided they win their respective conference. Some people might argue that this is the season that two SEC schools could make the playoffs, but I say if that happens the committee might as well expand the field from four teams to eight teams.

Other schools that have been mentioned as having an outside shot to make the semifinals of the playoffs include UCLA, Stanford, Georgia, and Tennessee among others.

 But I digress.  While week one of the college football season won't tell us who has a legitimate shot at the national championship this season, it should provide us with some interesting matchups.

Here is a look at some of the top matchups this weekend:

Oklahoma at Houston The Sooners are among the favorites to reach the playoffs this season, and I certainly have them as favorites for week three against Ohio State. Yet this is week one, and as we all saw in the Tennessee-Appalachian State game, anything is possible. This game could end up a lot closer than many people expect. In fact, I still don't feel that the media truly respects the job that coach Tom Herman has done with the Cougars. A strong showing in this contest may change that. I may be totally wrong on this one, but I am making this one my upset special of the week. Greg Ward Jr makes his case for the Heisman against a ripe for the picking Sooner defense.

Houston 27, Oklahoma 24

LSU vs Wisconsin (at Lambeau field in Green Bay): Whether you love him or hate him, you have to respect the mad hatter's guts to travel up north to face a Power 5 nonconference opponent. While I think that LSU will need more than Leonard Fournette--Les Miles' teams often remind me of the Jim Tressel offense at Ohio State-- this season to win the SEC West, I am not sure they will struggle against the Badgers. The Tigers defense holds Wisconsin to a little more than two scores.

LSU 28, Wisconsin 17

Alabama vs USC: The Crimson Tide must replace Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry and quarterback Blake Sims. USC also loses several starters, including qb Cody Kessler and safety Su'a Cravens. Would someone please tell me the last time 'Bama played meaningful nonconference game on the road?

Alabama 35, USC 20

Notre Dame vs Texas: Who will be the starting quarterback for the Irish? Malik Zaire? Deshone Kizer? The Gipper? At this point, does it really even matter? It should to Charlie Strong, who could be looking at his last season in the Lone Star State.

Notre Dame 42, Texas 14

That's all for now. See you next Thursday

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