No. 21 Texas A&M at No. 9 South Carolina
The post-Johnny Manziel era at Texas A&M begins when the Aggies head on the road to face South Carolina Thursday night. Both teams are replacing household names at the quarterback position, but South Carolina has the advantage with Dylan Thompson because Thompson has made a few starts and won some games for the Gamecocks over the last few years. Texas A&M not only has to deal with the loss of Manziel, but last year their defense was one of the worst (and youngest) defenses in the country. If the Aggies stand any chance of pulling of this road win those young players will have to step up and be the difference.
Caleb's Pick- South Carolina 27, Texas A&M 17
Cory's Pick- Texas A&M 24, South Carolina 21
Carter's Pick- Texas A&M 31, South Carolina 27
No. 16 Clemson at No. 12 Georgia
Last year Clemson started off the season strong by grabbing a week one win against Georgia. After the Tigers won that game expectations went sky high, but were grounded pretty quickly when Florida State came to town and trounced the Tigers 51-14. This year the Tigers come in with the same expectations, but now understand that this game will mean nothing if they can't perform in every game like they did against Georgia last year. Georgia on the other hand never really revered from their loss to the Tigers. Sure they won eight games, but compared to where expectations were at the beginning of the season it was a disappointment to a lot of Bulldogs fans. This year things are no different. Georgia lost one of the SEC's best quarterbacks in Aaron Murray, and yet because of their weapons at running back and on the defense they are still expected to contend in the SEC. If Georgia wants to live up to expectations this year they are going to have to take care of business at home against Clemson in order to come out of the gate with some momentum. Otherwise its back to the kennel for the Bulldogs.
Caleb's Pick- Georgia 28, Clemson 21
Cory's Pick- Georgia 31, Clemson 17
Carter's Pick- Clemson 34, Georgia 17
No. 1 Florida State vs Oklahoma State
The reigning champs kick of the 2014 in primetime as they face Oklahoma State in a neutral site game in AT&T Stadium (Cowboys Stadium) in Dallas. Quarterback Jameis Winston will be looking to lead the Seminoles on the road back to AT&T Stadium, where the National Championship game is being held this year. To do that he will have overcome the naysayers and put his team on his back to lead the Seminoles past all of the talent they lost to the NFL last offseason. Oklahoma State had a nice season last year, but couldn't put together all the pieces to truly contend last year. They were the only team in the Big 12 to beat Baylor last year, but couldn't overcome rival Oklahoma in the season finale to win the conference. This year everyone has written off the Cowboys. Nobody gives them a chance of winning the Big 12, much less contending for a national title. If the Cowboys want to put their name back in the spotlight theres no way of doing it any better than coming away with a win against the reigning champs.
Caleb's Pick- Oklahoma State 34, Florida State 31
Cory's Pick- Florida State 42, Oklahoma State 24
Carter's Pick- Florida State 35, Oklahoma State 17
No. 13 LSU vs No. 14 Wisconsin
This game may not be the biggest or flashiest game, but it will probably have more impact on the College Football Playoff than most people realize. For LSU it's all about youth and talent, the Tigers are one of the youngest teams in the nation because of all the talent they have lost to the NFL over the last few years, but they are still also one of the most talented teams in the country. If LSU wants to get a nice non conference win they will have to mature quickly and flash their young talent to beat the Badgers. Wisconsin needs this win in order to stay in contention in the college football playoff. The Badgers play in the weakest Big Five conference at the moment, so picking up a win against one of the top teams in the best Big Five conference could certainly help their stock. Expect an old fashioned game powered by two strong run games and two gritty defenses.
Caleb's Pick- LSU 21, Wisconsin 17
Cory's Pick- Wisconsin 28, LSU 17
Carter's Pick- LSU 42, Wisconsin 17
Utah State at Tennessee
If you're looking for a trendy upset pick, (if you can call it an upset pick) look no further than this game. Tennessee is the only team in the nation that has to replace all of their starters on the offense and defensive lines. Couple that with the fact that over 50% of their team is freshman and sophomores and you can see why the Aggies are the trendy pick. What may be the Vols saving grace is that all of those young players are extremely talented. Head Coach Butch Jones has continually added talent and now is starting to see the fruits of his labor on the field. If Tennessee can put together all the pieces, and overcome their youth, look for the Vols to keep pace with the upset minded Aggies. Quarterback Chuckie Keeton for the Aggies is back from tearing his ACL, and according to various reports he is looking like the Keeton of old. If that is the case, the Aggies have a good chance of pulling the upset when they roll into Neyland on Sunday.
Caleb's Pick- Tennessee 24, Utah State 17
Cory's Pick- Tennessee 45, Utah State 13
Carter's Pick- Tennessee 34, Utah State 10
SMU at No. 10 Baylor
Baylor kicks off the 2014 season facing an SMU team that was pretty solid last year. Everyone knows about Baylor and their offense, everyone knows they're going to put up points, but the question this year for the Bears is if their defense can step up. SMU had a solid 1st year in the new American Athletic Conference, but won only one game out of conference and failed to make a bowl. The Mustangs had one of the best passing attacks in the nation last year, but ranked as one of the worst teams in the nation rushing the ball. If SMU is going to keep up with the Bears they are going to have to learn how to establish a ground game.
Caleb's Pick- Baylor 56, SMU 14
Cory's Pick- Baylor 70, SMU 3
Carter's Pick- Baylor 63, SMU 7