While the 2019 college football season technically kicked off last Saturday with two games, but that was Week 0 and really just an appetizer. The season really begins this week with nearly every team in action either Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday – yep, there’s a Sunday game with no NFL on the schedule. We will have plenty of individual previews this week, but here’s two games that caught my eye with college football odds.
2019 College Football Week 1 Odds, Overview & Picks
Georgia Tech at No. 1 Clemson (-35.5)
- When: Thursday, 8 PM ET
- Watch: ACC Network
It’s the first time Clemson takes the field since Jan. 7 when it trashed top-ranked Alabama 44-16 to win the school’s second national title in three years. It was also the worst loss ever for the Tide under Nick Saban. Clemson opens this year at No. 1 in the polls, the favorite to win another title and with the Heisman favorite in QB Trevor Lawrence.
This will be the first game for new Georgia Tech head coach Geoff Collins. Long-time Jackets coach Paul Johnson retired after last season and took his antiquated option offense with him. Collins came to Georgia Tech after recording 15 wins in two seasons as head coach at Temple. He returns to The Flats after having previously served as a graduate assistant, tight ends coach and director of player personnel at Tech. He also was a successful defensive coordinator at Florida and Mississippi State before taking the Temple job.
The ACC Network just launched last Thursday and this will be the first college football game on the ESPN-affiliated channel. Dave O’Brien and Tim Hasselbeck will call the game sideline reporters Katie George and ESPN’s Maria Taylor for the first league game of the season. ESPN College GameDay will also be live from Clemson.
The Tech-Clemson series is one of the oldest in the ACC, one that well predates the conference’s founding in 1953. It’s clearly a matchup that the conference believes can drive interest and viewership. However, this series has been heavily one-sided of late. Clemson has overpowered the Yellow Jackets as it has much of the rest of the ACC. The Tigers have won the past four games by an average of 20 points. The Tigers rolled 49-21 last year.
After starter Kelly Bryant produced just 13 yards and one first down on Clemson’s first two possessions, Lawrence entered the game early in the second quarter. He finished 13-for-18 for 176 yards and four touchdowns and a legend was born. Lawrence never came off the bench again and Bryant would transfer.
Not likely the Tigers lose this game considering the are 29-1 in their past 30 at home.
No. 19 Wisconsin at South Florida (+13.5)
- When: Friday, 7 PM ET
- Watch: ESPN+
Don’t rule out an upset here as USF has some talent and it’s very hot and humid this time of year in the Tampa area, so that could affect the Badgers players – although obviously this being at night instead of during the day helps.
The Badgers have a legit Heisman candidate and arguably the nation’s top running back in Jonathan Taylor. Last year, he became Wisconsin’s fourth Doak Walker Award winner, joining Ron Dayne (1999), Montee Ball (2012) and Melvin Gordon (2014). Taylor also was the Badgers’ 10th unanimous All-American, including the third running back (Dayne, 1999; Gordon, 2014). He led nation in rushing as a sophomore in 2018 with 2,194 yards (168.8 ypg). Taylor’s total of 4,171 rushing yards ranks as the third-highest two-year rushing total by a player in FBS history.
Should be Jack Coan at quarterback for UW, although he had a tough battle through camp and nothing has been announced as of this writing. Last year he took over late for Alex Hornibrook and Coan started four games. He went 2-2, winning consecutive starts to end the season. Coan completed 60.2% (56 of 93) passes for 515 yards and 5 touchdowns.
USF started last year 7-0 and was ranked … and then didn’t win again in a stunning collapse. The Bulls bring back starting QB Blake Barnett, a former top recruit at Alabama. Barnett led USF to three double-digit fourth quarter comebacks in his first season on the field for the Bulls. He ranked 27th nationally passing for 245.9 yards per game, the second-best season average in USF history. Barnett had 3,011 total yards (273.7 ypg, 25th nationally), the ninth-best mark in program history, and was on pace for the program’s first ever 3,000-yard passing season before being sidelined by injuries in two of the Bulls’ final three games.
Leading rusher Jordan Cronkrite also returns. He posted the ninth 1,000-yard rushing season in program history (the fifth player to do so) with 1,121 yards on 184 attempts (6.1 ypc) and team-leading nine touchdown runs in 12 games (11 starts) in 2018.
Expert 2019 College Football Week 1 Betting PicksNeither underdog will win but both cover.
Other Top College Football Week 1 Games
- Auburn vs. Oregon
- Florida vs. Miami
- Fresno State vs. Southern California
- Utah vs. Brigham Young
- Northwestern vs. Stanford
- Goergia Tech vs. Clemson
- Boise State vs. Florida State
- Alabama vs. Duke
- Houston vs. Oklahoma
- North Carolina vs. South Carolina