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Week 1 Picks: Winners for Every Game, Including VT-Boise

Daniel Evans will make picks each week for every game in the country. Make sure to check back each week and see if he is picking your team to win. NOTE: SP denoted “spread” picks. The team picked in parenthesis is Evans’ predicted spread winner.

Season Records: Straight Up: 0-0 | Spread: 0-0
Last Week: Straight Up: 0-0 | Spread: 0-0

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Ryan Williams and Virginia Tech are hoping to steal the spotlight against Boise State.

Monday night in Landover, Maryland the first college football weekend of the year will wind down with one of the season’s biggest games. Just sixty minutes into the year Boise State’s dream of becoming the first non BCS team to win a national title during the BCS era will either be destroyed or more real than ever.

The game will likely come down to which quarterback can make more plays. While Austin Pettis, Ryan Williams, Darren Evans, and Titus Young will make a lot of plays, the winner will likely be decided under center. Tyrod Taylor should be a better passer than last year (13 TDs, 5 INTs) but he still has a long way to go before he reaches Kellen Moore type level (39 TDs, 3 INTs). Moore will probably be the Heisman Trophy front runner if he has a productive game against Frank Beamer’s defense, but that’s no easy task.

So, who wins?

Expect Virginia Tech to get the lead early and use Williams and Evans to run the football more effectively as the game continues. Even a defense returning all of its starters can get worn down. Taylor will provide a spark with his legs when needed for the Hokies offense. Boise State needs to force Taylor to throw because he ran for five touchdowns last year on the ground, meaning his legs could be the x-factor in this game.  I expect Virginia Tech to make at least one big play on special teams, Beamer’s specialty in close games. Boise State will hang around and be in it for the long haul, but the Broncos title dreams will die Labor Day night.

Pick: Virginia Tech 31, Boise State 20 (SP: Boise State -2)

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OTHER TOP GAMES OF THE WEEKEND:

Minnesota at Middle Tennessee State: With no Dwight Dasher, this game loses a little bit of its luster. How big of a loss is Dasher? Well, Middle Tennessee State was actually favored until he was ruled out.  Expect Minnesota and QB Adam Weber to take advantage of Dasher’s absence by pressuring Logan Kilgore all night. Kilgore is making his first start in front of a national TV audience on ESPNU. Nerves, anyone?

Pick: Minnesota 23, Middle Tennessee 14 (SP: Minnesota -3)

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#15 Pittsburgh at Utah: Expectations are high in Pittsburgh with the Panthers expecting to compete for the Big East title, but this game is at Utah. Dion Lewis could make the first Heisman statement of the year on Thursday night, especially with Alabama RB Mark Ingram out against San Jose State.

Pick: Utah 34, Pittsburgh 33 (SP: Utah -3)

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Purdue at Notre Dame: This will be one of the better games of the weekend with Brian Kelly coaching his first game for the Irish. Robert Marve will also be making his debut, after transferring from Miami (FL) two seasons ago. Notre Dame’s offense should be good enough with new starting QB Dayne Crist getting acquainted Michael Floyd, especially at home, to pull it out.

Pick: Notre Dame 37, Purdue 23 (SP: Notre Dame -11)

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Colorado at Colorado State: It seems like every year I pick this game, I get it wrong. This year something tells me that Dan Hawkins and the Buffaloes will play well on the road with QB Tyler Hansen leading the way. That means more than likely you should pick Colorado State.

Pick: Colorado 24, Colorado State 21 (SP: Colorado State +12)

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Connecticut at Michigan: Rich Rodriguez really needs this win at home against a scary Connecticut squad looking to beat another top football school at its place (remember the Huskies win over Notre Dame?).  Expect Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson to score as the Wolverines survive at the Big House.  Uconn RB Jordan Todman is a guy you may not have heard of yet, but he will probably be a household name soon.

Pick: Michigan 31, Connecticut 21 (SP: Michigan -3)

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UCLA at Kansas State: This is one of the best games nobody is talking about this weekend. Daniel Thomas is the Big 12′s best running back, but many casual fans do not know that. UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel really needs a win to jumpstart the season for a Bruins team trying to rebuild its football program. It may not mean much in the grand scheme of things, but this one figures to be fun to watch.

Pick: Kansas State 31, UCLA 27 (SP: Kansas State -1.5)

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Washington at BYU: Jake Locker needs Washington to win games to be a series Heisman Trophy contender. Going into Provo and knocking off soon-to-be independent BYU (starting next season) would be a great start. I like BYU, despite the fact that the Cougars will play two QBs: Riley Nelson and Jake Heaps.

Pick: BYU 31, Washington 27 (SP: BYU -3)

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#6 TCU vs. #24 Oregon State: TCU, like Boise State, is risking its season by taking on a BCS big boy in Oregon State first. This game is in Arlington, Texas, in primetime, meaning the Horned Frogs have a rare chance to show the world that they are indeed a national title contender with their first impression this season. One of the best matchups of the weekend will be TCU’s defense against Jacquizz and James Rodgers.

Pick: #6 TCU 32, #24 Oregon State 16 (SP: TCU -13)

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#21 LSU vs. #18 North Carolina: With DT Marvin Austin suspended, North Carolina’s run defense will be weaker than expected against a LSU team that will try to pound the football. In its first two seasons, the SEC has won the opening battle between the SEC and ACC in Atlanta. Will this year be any different? Probably not. Jordan Jefferson has dependable weapons in Terrence Toliver and Russell Shepard that he can rely on and Les Miles team is a little under the radar. Usually, that’s when LSU is at its scariest. Besides, despite all the talk about the Tar Heels defense, the best defensive player in the game is on LSU in CB Patrick Peterson.

Pick: #21 LSU 34, #18 North Carolina 24 (SP: LSU -5)

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Cincinnati at Fresno State: Head coach Brian Kelly is gone but QB Zach Collaros is back on offense for Cincinnati, meaning the Bearcats are still going to be pretty explosive.  With explosive RB Ryan Matthews gone to the NFL, Pat Hill will have to rely on Robbie Rouse to move the football and Ryan Coulborn to be careful with the football this season.

Pick: Fresno State 26, Cincinnati 20 (SP: Fresno State -2.5)

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OTHER TOP 25 GAMES (listed in order by rank):
#1 Alabama 45, San Jose State 13 (SP: San Jose State +37)
#2 Ohio State 38, Marshall 10 (SP: Marshall +28.5)
#4 Florida 38, Miami OH 7 (SP: Miami OH +35)
#5 Texas 41, Rice 7 (SP: Texas -30.5)
#7 Oklahoma 59, Utah State 9 (SP: Oklahoma -34)
#8 Nebraska 48, Western Kentucky 13 (SP: Western Kentucky +37.5)
#9 Iowa 45, Eastern Illinois 7
#11 Oregon 45, New Mexico 10 (SP: Oregon -35)
#12 Wisconsin 34, UNLV 16 (SP: UNLV +20)
#13 Miami FL, 42, Florida A&M 6
#14 USC 38, Hawaii 21 (SP: Hawaii +21.5)
#16 Georgia Tech 31, South Carolina State 0
#17 Arkansas 52, Tennessee Tech 13
#19 Penn State 51, Youngstown State 0
#20 Florida State 34, Samford 6
#23 Georgia 41, Louisiana Lafayette 17 (SP: Louisiana Lafayette +28)
#25 West Virginia 38, Coastal Carolina 7

OTHER GAMES (listed in ABC order by winner):
Air Force 31, Northwestern State 3
Arizona 30, Toledo 23 (SP: Toledo +15)
Arizona State 44, Portland State 13
Army 16, Eastern Michigan 13 (SP: Eastern Michigan +10)
Auburn 48, Arkansas State 14 (SP: Auburn -31)
Ball State 27, SE Missouri State 16
Baylor 33, Sam Houston State 13
Boston College 24, Weber State 3
Buffalo 31, Rhode Island 13
California 52, UC Davis 7
Central Michigan 33, Hampton 7
Clemson 41, North Texas 13 (SP: Clemson -24)
Duke 16, Elon 6
East Carolina 34, Tulsa 27 (SP: Tulsa +7.5)
Houston 59, Texas State 0
Idaho 34, North Dakota 21
Indiana 41, Towson 20
Iowa State 28, Northern Illinois 23 (SP: Iowa State -4.5)
Kansas 37, North Dakota State 0
Kent State 24, Missouri State 0
Louisiana Tech 42, Grambling State 16
Louisville 27, Kentucky 21 (SP: Louisville +3)
Michigan State 31, Western Michigan 12 (SP: Western Michigan +23)
Mississippi 34, Jacksonville State 14
Mississippi State 28, Memphis 20 (SP: Memphis +8.5)
Missouri 44, Illinois 17 (SP: Missouri -11.5)
Navy 28, Maryland 21 (SP: Navy -7)
Nevada 48, Eastern Washington 3
N. C. State 44, Western Carolina 6
Northwestern 27, Vanderbilt 23 (SP: Vanderbilt +4.5)
Ohio 38, Wofford 17
Oklahoma State 41, Washington State 19 (SP: Oklahoma State -15.5)
Rutgers 34, Norfolk State 3
San Diego State 27, Nicholls State 12
South Carolina 30, Southern Miss 17 (SP: Southern Miss -14)
South Florida 34, Stony Brook 3
Stanford 37, Sacramento State 12
Syracuse 30, Akron 16 (SP: Syracuse -8.5)
Temple 37, Villanova 19
Tennessee 38, Tennessee Martin 9
Texas A&M 52, Sam Houston State 21
Texas Tech 45, SMU 28 (SP: Texas Tech -13.5)
Troy 34, Bowling Green 23 (SP: Bowling Green -14)
Tulane 34, SE Louisiana 14
UAB 26, Florida Atlantic 17 (SP: Florida Atlantic +15)
UCF 35, Sacramento State 3
UTEP 33, Sacramento State 10
Virginia 23, Richmond 21
Wake Forest 38, Presbyterian 9
Wyoming 31, Southern Utah 7

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