The 2018 college football season starts this weekend. There are only four games on the schedule with no ranked teams, but some games are interesting. This week in college football has been called week 0 because of the lack of teams that play. The four matchups include 2 FBS VS FBS matchups, and 2 FBS VS FCS matchups.
Duquesne VS UMass
Betting Odds: UMass -24.5, O/U 67.5
The first college football game of the season will feature the UMass Minutemen vs the Duquesne Dukes. UMass enters this game with high expectations for the year. If they win all of their favored games they will become bowl eligible for the first time since they joined the FBS. UMass got off to a really rough start last year going 0-6. However, it was not all bad as they played teams like Mississippi ST very close, and finished winning the 4 of 6. The Minutemen have a great offense led by QB Andrew Ford. On the other hand, Duquesne is only playing for the upset. If they lose it is no big deal for them, but a win means a lot. The Dukes start this year right outside the top 25 in the FCS, so a win would do wonders for their season.
Final Prediction: UMass 41, Duquesne 16
Prairie View A&M VS Rice
Betting Odds: Rice -21, O/U 61
This is probably the least appealing FBS game of the week. One major storyline is how new head coach Mike Bloomgren will fare in his debut with Rice. Prairie View A&M will also be welcoming in a new head coach in former Grambling State offensive coordinator Eric Dooley. Prairie View has a very good defense at the FBS level led by cornerback Ju’Anthony Parker who led the team in INTs (4), and turned 2 of those 4 picks into touchdowns. On the other side of the football is C-USA team, Rice. Rice has been at the bottom of the C-USA for years now, and look to get out of there with a new head coach. The Owls have a good running game with twin running backs Aston and Austin Walter running behind fullback Giovanni Gentosi. This team is still a few years away from competing in the C-USA, but they should be able to pull out a win this week.
Final Prediction: Rice 23, Prairie View A&M 16
Hawaii VS Colorado ST
Betting Odds: Colorado ST -14.5, O/U 58
This game will be the first head-to-head conference matchup of the year in college football. The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors will face the Colorado ST Rams in Mountain West action. Colorado ST enters this season trying to get past the 7-win mark as they have not won a bowl game in their last 3 attempts. The Rams will have to figure out some things early on as they look to replace star wide receiver Michael Gallup, as well as their top receiving tight end from a year ago. Colorado ST will have a new QB as Washington transfer K.J. Carta-Samuels takes over under center. For Hawaii, this game will set the tone for how their season will go. They went a very disappointing 3-9 last year just one year removed from a bowl game. Hawaii will return their famous run-and-shoot offense that made them so good a few years ago. Overall, with Colorado ST having so many pieces to replace on offense, I believe Hawaii will pull off the upset.
Final Prediction: Hawaii 26, Colorado ST 23
Wyoming VS New Mexico ST
Betting Odds: Wyoming -3.5, O.U 45
This game will feature 2 FBS schools that made a bowl game last season. The pair of teams have major holes to fill on both sides of the ball. New Mexico ST is the only FBS team to lose their leading passer, rusher, receiver, and tackler from last season. The Aggies will open up with new QB Matthew Romero, a very mobile talent. Wyoming has to fill the shoes of first-round pick Josh Allen who played QB for them last year. The Cowboys defense will bring back most of their starters from a year ago. The Wyoming defense in 2017 led the nation with a +24 turnover margin thanks to Andrew Wingard and Carl Granderson. Overall, Wyoming and New Mexico ST will look different than what they looked like last year in their bowl winning season.
Final Prediction: Wyoming 20, New Mexico ST 14
This week in college football is a fun week to sit back, and enjoy a few games with bowl implications. I will continue this series every week of the college football season while keeping score of my picks.