As of Monday, there are 81 days until the 2016 college football season begins with an opener between California and Hawaii in Sydney, Australia. That game isn’t all that interesting but here are some picks for two other Week 1 matchups along with Mybookie.ag’s top college football spreads.
Top College Football Spreads for Week 1
South Carolina at Vanderbilt: The Commodores are 3-point favorites and -140 on the moneyline. This game is Thursday, Sept. 1 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. This is the South Carolina coaching head coaching debut of Will Muschamp. The 44-year-old Muschamp spent last season as Auburn’s defensive coordinator after being fired after four seasons as coach of the Florida Gators. He is the second straight Florida coach to hold South Carolina’s permanent job, following Steve Spurrier, who left in mid-October last year after 10-plus seasons in Columbia. South Carolina initially coveted Houston coach Tom Herman. When Herman told the Gamecocks thanks but no thanks, the team turned toward Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart. But Smart got a better job: head coach at his alma mater, Georgia. Muschamp appeared well on his way toward superstar coaching status until 2013 when Florida hit a bizarre run of injuries to key players and lost seven consecutive games to finish 4-8.
Knowing he had to win big in 2014, Muschamp fired his offensive coordinator and brought in Kurt Roper from Duke. It wasn’t enough, as Florida beat rivals Tennessee and Georgia but lost every other key game, including a 23-20 overtime loss at home to South Carolina on Nov. 15, 2014. The next day, Muschamp was fired. USC’s final win of the 2015 season was at home against Vanderbilt on Oct. 17. That was the first game after Spurrier quit and was under then-interim coach Shawn Elliott. Pharoh Cooper caught seven passes for 160 yards, including South Carolina’s only touchdown. Cooper is now in the NFL. I like the Gamecocks here.
Colorado State vs. Colorado: This game is a neutral-site affair in Denver with the Buffaloes as 8-point favorites. Colorado won last year’s meeting 27-24 in overtime. Tedric Thompson blocked Wyatt Bryan’s 27-yard field goal attempt in overtime and Diego Gonzalez atoned for a miss at the end of regulation by hitting a 32-yarder for the win. Gonzalez had shanked a 48-yarder as time expired. The Rams missed two field goals in regulation and were stuffed on fourth-and-1 from the Colorado 24 in addition to the blocked field goal in overtime. I like the Buffs here as they bring back QB Sefo Liufau. Well, probably they do. The senior three-year starter suffered a Lisfranc injury to his left foot on Nov. 13 against USC, and there is still doubt about whether he’ll be ready to play this fall. All reports indicate Liufau is on track to return, however. It’s been a rocky offseason at the position for CU.
Liufau’s top backup, Cade Apsay, was dismissed for violating team rules. Potential high-profile immediate starter Davis Webb of Texas Tech pledged his commitment to the Buffs and then, four months later, changed his mind and enroll at Cal instead. Go with Colorado here on betting picks as CSU lost standout receiver Rashard Higgins to the NFL Draft and defensive coordinator Tyson Summers to Georgia Southern.