After last week’s soft launch, the college football season begins in earnest with all top 25 teams in action on a Week 1 docket that includes 55 games involving Power 5 programs.
The marquee matchup and lone game between ranked teams features No. 5 LSU taking on No. 8 Florida State at Camping World Stadium on Sunday, but there are interesting trends emerging throughout the schedule.
Our college football experts break down their five favorite props and predictions for Week 1:
5. NEW QBs DUEL IN ATLANTA
Georgia Tech plays host to Louisville on Friday night in an interesting season-opening ACC tilt.
Both teams are debuting new quarterbacks – Texas A&M graduate transfer Haynes King for the Yellow Jackets and former Cal quarterback Jack Plummer for Louisville. King is charged with resurrecting a Tech offense that managed just 17.2 points per game last season, while Plummer takes the reins for new Cardinals coach Jeff Brohm, who makes his coaching debut for his alma mater.
King and Plummer bring experience to their new teams, but it could take a few games to find a comfort zone.
QUICK PICK: The 58.5-point line in a game Louisville is favored by 7.5 points in has seen the Under backed by 77 percent of the bets and 87 percent of the money at BetMGM. We also like the under with the defenses likely to be a step ahead in the opener. —Louisville 27, Georgia Tech 23
4. EMOTIONAL OPENER FOR VIRGINA
The unranked Cavaliers play Saturday for the first time since three players died in a campus shooting last November. Virginia crosses the border to visit No. 12-ranked Tennessee with Monmouth transfer Tony Muskett named the starting quarterback for new coach Tony Elliott.
The Volunteers are 28.5-point favorites as quarterback Joe Milton III takes over full-time for Hendon Hooker. Milton replaced the injured Hooker and completed 19 of 28 passes for 251 yards and three touchdowns in an Orange Bowl win to close last season.
QUICK PICK: Milton has yet to throw a pick in 17 appearances for the Vols, who have CFP aspirations. It shapes up as a rough opener for Elliott’s four-touchdown underdogs. —Tennessee 48, Virginia 17
3. QB QUANDARY FOR STANFORD
New Stanford coach Troy Taylor won’t announce his quarterback before game day on Friday, but none of his four options — Myles Jackson, Ari Patu, Ashton Daniels and Syracuse transfer Justin Lamson — have attempted more than 16 career passes.
Hawaii is coming off a 35-28 loss at Vanderbilt in a game in which returning quarterback Brayden Schager threw for a career-high 351 yards with three touchdowns.
QUICK PICK: The Warriors’ defense leaves plenty to be desired. They do have a game under their belts as they play their home opener. Hawaii opened as a 10-point underdog, with the line at BetMGM shifting significantly to 3.5 as the public has backed Hawaii with 72 percent of the spread-line money. —Stanford 30, Hawaii 27
2. PRIME TIME’S DEBUT
Colorado is unranked but Deion Sanders’ crew will draw plenty of eyeballs for its season-opener at future Big 12 opponent TCU. The Horned Frogs are ranked No. 17 as they attempt to build on last season’s CFP title game appearance.
Sanders has overseen a massive roster overhaul for a team that went 1-11 last season, with only 10 of last season’s 84 scholarship players still with the program. Seven of those are on offense, which will be run by Deion’s son, Shedeur, at quarterback after his transfer from Jackson State.
TCU coach Sonny Dykes said he won’t even bother watching film on Colorado given all the turnover. Chandler Morris returns at quarterback after losing the job to Max Duggan following a left knee injury in last season’s opener.
QUICK PICK: There is massive hype around the Buffaloes, but also plenty of question marks given the mass exodus and turnover. Colorado is a 20.5-point underdog at BetRivers, where TCU has drawn 65 percent of the spread-line bets while the Buffaloes have been backed by 54 percent of the money. —TCU 34, Colorado 23
1. ORLANDO MAGIC?
The lone Top 25 matchup will be contested in primetime on Sunday in Orlando, with LSU coach Brian Kelly saying “you might be looking at two teams that mirror each other in a lot of ways.”
That begins at quarterback, with both teams featuring dynamic athletes with Heisman aspirations. Florida State’s Jordan Travis and LSU’s Jayden Daniels attempt to make strong opening statements in the national TV spotlight.
Travis tries to build on last season’s 10-3 campaign that began with a dramatic victory over LSU. The Tigers rebounded from that defeat to finish 10-4 and win the SEC West before losing to eventual national champion Georgia in the conference title game.
QUICK PICK: Both teams boast experience and finished last season with some force. LSU is a 2.5-point favorite, but is also without suspended defensive tackle Maason Smith while also dealing with backfield injuries. We give a small edge to the underdog ‘Noles with a +114 moneyline at BetRivers. —Florida State 30, LSU 26
—Field Level Media