Tucker’s Pick ‘Em 2018: Week 1 college football picks & previews

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – 41NBC’s Tucker Sargent makes his picks for Week 1.

 

All times Eastern

 

Associated Press rankings

 

Kennesaw State (0-0, 0-0 Big South) @ Georgia State (0-0, 0-0 Sun Belt)
Thursday, August 30 at 7 p.m. ESPN+
The Owls are coming off an FCS quarterfinals appearance.

 

The Panthers are coming off their first winning record since joining the Football Bowl Subdivision.

 

It’s the first meeting between the two Atlanta-area schools:

 

Georgia State 21, Kennesaw State 14

 

Savannah State (0-0, 0-0 MEAC) @ UAB (0-0, 0-0 C-USA)
Thursday, August 30 at 8 p.m. ESPN+
UAB won a school record eight FBS games last season.

 

Not bad for a program that didn’t exist in 2015 and 2016.

 

The Blazers return 10 offensive starters this fall–more than any other team in the country:

 

UAB 38, Savannah State 7

 

Florida Atlantic (0-0, 0-0 C-USA) @ No. 7 Oklahoma (0-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Saturday, September 1 at 12 p.m. FOX
Should the Sooners be on upset alert?

 

I don’t think so, but I do think they’ll be worried going into halftime.

 

They might even need a little luck.

 

Oklahoma has won seven straight games as the No. 7 ranked team in the AP poll:

 

Oklahoma 45, Florida Atlantic 21

 

Ole Miss (0-0, 0-0 SEC) vs. Texas Tech (0-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Saturday, September 1 at 12 p.m. ESPN
Texas Tech’s streak of 15 straight season-opening wins could be in jeopardy.

 

Coach Kliff Kingsbury has to replace a ton of offensive talent from last season, including three receivers, his top rusher and his starting quarterback:

 

Ole Miss 49, Texas Tech 38

 

Alcorn State (0-0, 0-0 SWAC) @ Georgia Tech (0-0, 0-0 ACC)
Saturday, September 1 at 12:30 p.m. ACC NETWORK
For the first time well, maybe ever, all eyes will be on Georgia Tech’s defense.

 

Ted Roof and his 4-2-5 scheme are gone.

 

Nate Woody and his 3-4 scheme have arrived:

 

Georgia Tech 38, Alcorn State 7

 

Austin Peay (0-0, 0-0 OVC) @ No. 3 Georgia (0-0, 0-0 SEC)
Saturday, September 1 at 3:30 p.m. ESPN
Austin Peay snapped a 29-game losing streak last season on its way to a school-record tying eight wins.

 

We all know what Georgia did.

 

Year three of the Kirby Smart era will start with a blowout:

 

Georgia 45, Austin Peay 7

 

No. 6 Washington (0-0, 0-0 Pac-12) vs. No. 9 Auburn (0-0, 0-0 SEC)
Saturday, September 1 at 3:30 p.m. ABC
Auburn returns to Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where it played (and lost) its final two games of last season.

 

The Tigers are 5-0 in neutral site games against Pac-12 teams, but they haven’t beaten a top 20 opponent outside Jordan-Hare Stadium since 2014.

 

They’re also 1-6 all-time in season openers against ranked teams:

 

Washington 23, Auburn 21

 

Tennessee (0-0, 0-0 SEC) @ No. 17 West Virginia (0-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Saturday, September 1 at 3:30 p.m. CBS
ESPN’s Desmond Howard thinks West Virginia will make it to the College Football Playoff.

 

He said as much on College GameDay’s preview special last week.

 

I don’t know about all that, but the Mountaineers will beat Tennessee:

 

West Virginia 31, Tennessee 21

 

Fort Valley State (0-0, 0-0 SIAC) @ Florida A&M (0-0, 0-0 MEAC)
Saturday, September 1 at 5 p.m.
An HBCU from Fort Valley, Georgia meets an HBCU from Tallahassee, Florida.

The Rattlers should take care of business on their new turf field, moving to 10-1 in their all-time series with the Wildcats:

Florida A&M 31, Fort Valley State 13

 

 

No. 22 Boise State (0-0, 0-0 MW) @ Troy (0-0, 0-0 Sun Belt)
Saturday, September 1 at 6 p.m. ESPNEWS
Year four of the Neal Brown era begins Saturday when Boise State makes its first trip to Troy.

 

The Trojans and Broncos met for the first time last year on the Smurf Turf in Idaho.

 

Troy fell 24-13:

 

Boise State 27, Troy 23

 

South Carolina St. (0-0, 0-0 MEAC) @ Georgia Southern (0-0, 0-0 Sun Belt)
Saturday, September 1 at 6 p.m. ESPN+
Coach Chad Lunsford will be around for a while. The former interim coach signed a contract during the offseason that will keep him in Statesboro through 2021.

 

The Eagles started 0-6 under Tyson Summers last year but went 2-4 after Lunsford took over, including a 52-0 win over South Alabama:

 

Georgia Southern 31, South Carolina State 7

 

 

 

Mercer (0-0, 0-0 SoCon) @ Memphis (0-0, 0-0 AAC)
Saturday, September 1 at 7 p.m.ESPN3

 

An upset in the Home of the Blues would give Mercer coach Bobby Lamb career win No. 100.

 

I just don’t think the Bears will be able to keep up with the Tigers’ offense:

 

Memphis 45, Mercer 20

 

No. 14 Michigan (0-0, 0-0 Big Ten) @ No. 12 Notre Dame (0-0) Saturday, September 1 at 7:30 p.m. NBC
Michigan and Notre Dame will meet in a season-opening night game for the fourth time in series history.

 

The Fighting Irish are 3-0 in those meetings, but the total margin of victory is just 12 points:

 

Notre Dame 30, Michigan 26

 

Louisville (0-0, 0-0 ACC) vs. No. 1 Alabama (0-0, 0-0 SEC)
Saturday, September 1 at 8 p.m. ABC
Bobby Petrino and his players have given Alabama plenty of bulletin board material this offseason.

 

It’s one thing to have confidence.

 

It’s another to tell the world about it:

 

Alabama 45, Louisville 14

 

No. 8 Miami (0-0, 0-0 ACC) vs. No. 25 LSU (0-0, 0-0 SEC)
Sunday, September 2 at 7:30 p.m. ABC
Are you ready for a defensive battle at Jerry World?

 

I know the players play the game, but I’ll take Mark Richt’s players over Ed Orgeron’s:

 

Miami 17, LSU 14

 

No. 20 Virginia Tech (0-0, 0-0 ACC) @ No. 19 Florida St. (0-0, 0-0 ACC)
Monday, September 3 at 8 p.m. ESPN
It’s been almost three years since Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer retired, and Justin Fuente is entering his third season as Tech’s head coach.

 

Fuente is unbeaten in games played or coached against new Florida State coach Willie Taggert: 1-0 when they met as opposing quarterbacks and 3-0 when they’ve met as head coaches.

 

The Hokies will get their first win at Doak Campbell Stadium since 1974:

 

Virginia Tech 20, Florida State 17