Week 1: Let the Games Begin, Picks from @CFHJ

September 1, 2018

     We’re freaking back. After months of not watching baseball and pretending to get excited about recruiting, the best game on planet Earth returns to us this weekend. It’s always so weird getting back to college football. It’s like seeing all your friends after you get back from summer break. You forget why you like them, but you just trust that you do so you go with it. As usual, opening weekend shows no signs of disappointing us. With four top 25 matchups, the forecast for any real productivity looks bleak. In reality, that’s okay. This is what really matters. We are getting playoff caliber football in late August. C’mon son! It don’t get no better than this. Last season was just a warm up, of sorts, for the good people here at CFHJ. We return from the offseason that was bigger, stronger, and faster. Kirk, you ready for round 2? Of course not.


9 Auburn vs 6 Washington (in Atlanta)
    When looking over the opening weekend games, this one jumped off the page and slapped me in the face. I took it like a champ, but it still hurt. Originally, I would’ve pegged this as College Gameday’s week 1 destination. Then again, these are the same people running the show who let Kirk Herbstreit on national television. You just can’t help everyone. Both of these teams displayed flashes of brilliance last year and both programs have returning signal callers.
    Auburn was a game away from finding themselves in the playoff in 2017. They literally beat both teams that played for the Natty and then laid an egg against, the self proclaimed National Champs, UCF. I don’t buy that hype, by the way. How do you win the National Title without playing in the National Title Game? Let me chill. As I mentioned, Auburn returns, quarterback, Jarrett Stidham. My guy was a dawg last year (4400+ yards and 30 TDs). I fully expect him to have another big time season and maybe even get some Heisman love. As a whole, the Tigers return 6 starters on offense and 7 on defense. With that said, many of the players that are stepping into these roles are upperclassmen who have been in the program for some time. Regardless, keep an eye on the four new offensive linemen starting in this game for Auburn. Stidham won’t be able to throw to anyone if he’s laying on his back. That’s just good science.
    For the Huskies of Washington, expectations are high. Everybody and their mother expects UDub to win the Pac 12 and put some respeck on the name of the conference. The wonder twins, Jake Browning (QB) and Myles Gaskin (RB) are both returning for their senior campaigns and the Purple Reign defense brings back all but 2 starters. The dawgs are definitely about to be let out. Similar to Auburn, Washington needs Jake Browning to be on his A- to A game. After a standout sophomore season, Browning’s numbers took a dip in 2017. The guy has something to prove, which could be dangerous for Auburn.
    Here’s my two cents, since that’s what you’re here for. This game may be more low scoring than people think. These are going to be two very good defenses. It’s the first week of the season and it may take a few quarters for these gunslingers to get into a real rhythm. With that said, I trust Jarrett Stidham more than I trust Jake Browning.To put the cherry on top, this is a virtual home game for the Tigers. War Eagle! 28-24
14 Michigan at 12 Notre Dame
    Kirk and the boys are headed to South Bend for this one and I am intrigued, to say the least. After a weird end to a promising 2017 season for Notre Dame, the Golden Domers look to keep Touchdown Jesus smiling against Jim Harbaugh and his khakis. I would make a hot seat joke about Jim Harbaugh here, but it sounded like Michigan was ready to sign the guy to a lifetime deal. I don’t completely get that, but I also don’t get a lot of other things and have never hired a football coach before (there’s a first time for everything, though).
    For Notre Dame, things looked oh so promising until that fateful nigh they played Miami. Quarterback, Brandon Wimbush, seemed less and less confident each week and the team just looked flat for the remainder of the season. Now, with a clean slate, the Fighting Irish look to get a statement win at the crib to start the year. The key to this game for Notre Dame is going to be defense. The Irish get 9 starters back on that side of the ball and winning the turnover battle will be huge. We still don’t know what Notre Dame is going to be able to do on offense, so stealing a couple of possessions may end up being the difference.
    For Michigan, there seems to be a lot of excitement around the program. With Ohio State losing J.T. Barrett to the NFL, the BIG 10 feels wide open. The maize and blue bring all but 5 of their 22 starters back from a year ago and may have finally found a quarterback who can throw for more than 200 yards in a game. Ole Miss transfer, Shea Patterson has got the people in Ann Arbor thinking playoff, and I don’t blame them. I don’t even blame them a little bit. The guy has a sick haircut and throws the football very well. What else do you need to be a good quarterback?
    All joking aside, this game should tell us quite a bit about both teams. I know it’s early in the year, but the loser of this game will likely be eliminated from playoff contention due to the fact that they both have other big time matchups on their horizons. My feeling is this: Michigan has been missing a quarterback like California misses water. They always get by with talent at other positions, but it always feels like they are a quarterback away from being a national threat. I don’t know if Shea Patterson is the answer to their problems, but he is a major upgrade from everyone they had on their depth chart in 2017. An adequate offense paired with a vicious Michigan defensive line, it may be a tough fight for the Irish. The Wolverines pull away in the second half and make it kinda ugly.  38-17

8 Miami vs 25 LSU (in Dallas)
    This may be the most interesting game of opening weekend. Both of these teams have some very large questions marks on the offensive side of the ball. Neither team was horrible in 2017, but both teams showed obvious need for improvement and got exposed when games became shootouts. All that considered, these week 1 matchups are always tricky because we know even less than nothing going into the game.
    For LSU, it’s a whole new look. Only 5 starters on each side of the ball are back. Ohio State quarterback transfer, Joe Burrow, is getting the nod for the Tigers, but he will be surrounded by a cast of mystery men. Historically, LSU has just not been good on offense. Every year there’s buzz around what the Tigers could be if they are able to have some offensive output and every year they seem to average 12 points a game. That stat isn’t factual, but you can’t tell me it doesn’t feel that way. For LSU to win, they need to jump ahead of the Canes early. If they can create some short field opportunities for the offense, they may be able to ride the momentum and have an enjoyable flight home.
    After last season, it is feeling like The U is back. Mark Richt has the boys down in Coral Gables playing excited and inspired. Returning signal caller Malik Rosier was inconsistent last season, but was often bailed out by the Hurricane defense and their turnover chain. I’m still convinced that chain is real diamonds. Don’t you dare try and tell me different. For Miami to win, they need good Malik to show up. He can’t come out and complete 44% of his passes and expect everything to be fine. Running back, Travis Homer, needs to be a consistent 3 yards a carry in order to get the Canes offense in manageable situations. If The U depends on Rosier to win this game, they could be in some trouble.
    Here’s the bottom line, both of these teams are coming into this game with something to prove. LSU wants to prove that they’re a competitor in the SEC and Miami wants to dispel any talk of being a one-year wonder. When I look at the way these two teams matchup, I really like the Canes chances to pound the rock with Homer. Mark Richt is undefeated in September as the head ball coach at Miami. This game is being played on September 1. No further questions, your honor. Canes get it done in Jerry World. 35-21

    Words cannot express how happy I am that college football is back. That may seem like a poor thing to write in an article, but it’s true. A picture would not do my excitement justice either. Perhaps a video would come close, but that’s not really the point. It’s like if my birthday and the first day of summer had a baby, and then that baby became President of the world. That’s the kind of emotion I’m filled with right now. While Kirk may try and fill your ears with his ginger nonsense this weekend, just remember that he will be unemployed soon. It’s always darkest before the dawn. Have a great day kids, now go outside and play.

Quick Pix
1 Alabama over Louisville (Don’t let your kids watch this beatdown)

19 Florida State over 20 Virginia Tech (Taggart gets the Noles winning again)

23 Texas over Maryland (“Fool me twice, strike three”)

17 West Virginia over Tennessee (Will Grier for class President)

"Breaking news in my life I don't to the blogs." - Drizzy Drake

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