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  #26  
Old 09-01-2017, 11:48 AM
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Trends - No. 12 Louisiana State vs Brigham Young

ATS Trends
Louisiana State

Tigers are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games overall.
Tigers are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games in September.

Brigham Young

Cougars are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following a ATS loss.
Cougars are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games in September.
Cougars are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games on fieldturf.
Cougars are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 neutral site games.
Cougars are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games after allowing less than 275 total yards in their previous game.
Cougars are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games after allowing less than 170 yards passing in their previous game.
Cougars are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 vs. SEC.

OU Trends
Louisiana State

Under is 4-0 in Tigers last 4 games in September.
Under is 3-0-1 in Tigers last 4 non-conference games.
Under is 12-3-2 in Tigers last 17 games overall.
Under is 8-3-1 in Tigers last 12 vs. a team with a winning record.

Brigham Young

Under is 8-0 in Cougars last 8 non-conference games.
Under is 8-1 in Cougars last 9 games overall.
Under is 7-1 in Cougars last 8 games following a straight up win.
Under is 5-1 in Cougars last 6 games after allowing less than 170 yards passing in their previous game.
Under is 5-1 in Cougars last 6 games after allowing less than 275 total yards in their previous game.
Under is 4-1 in Cougars last 5 games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game.
Under is 4-1 in Cougars last 5 games after allowing less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game.
Under is 7-2 in Cougars last 9 games following a ATS loss.
Under is 5-2 in Cougars last 7 games in September.
Under is 5-2 in Cougars last 7 games on fieldturf.
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  #27  
Old 09-01-2017, 11:49 AM
sailfish sailfish is offline
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Trends - Texas A&M at UCLA

ATS Trends
Texas A&M

Aggies are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games in September.
Aggies are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 non-conference games.
Aggies are 7-22 ATS in their last 29 games on grass.
Aggies are 5-16 ATS in their last 21 games overall.
Aggies are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 road games.

UCLA

Bruins are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 vs. SEC.
Bruins are 4-10 ATS in their last 14 games overall.
Bruins are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 home games.
Bruins are 3-11 ATS in their last 14 games on grass.
Bruins are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games.
Bruins are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games in September.

OU Trends
Texas A&M

Under is 5-1-1 in Aggies last 7 non-conference games.
Under is 8-2 in Aggies last 10 road games.
Under is 11-3-1 in Aggies last 15 games on grass.
Under is 3-1-1 in Aggies last 5 games in September.
Under is 12-5-1 in Aggies last 18 games overall.

UCLA

Under is 5-2-1 in Bruins last 8 games in September.
Under is 5-2 in Bruins last 7 games overall.
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  #28  
Old 09-01-2017, 11:50 AM
sailfish sailfish is offline
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Trends - No. 20 West Virginia vs No. 22 Virginia Tech

ATS Trends
West Virginia

Mountaineers are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
Mountaineers are 6-15 ATS in their last 21 vs. ACC.
Mountaineers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games.
Mountaineers are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games on grass.
Mountaineers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 neutral site games.

Virginia Tech

Hokies are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 Sunday games.
Hokies are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
Hokies are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games on grass.
Hokies are 7-16-1 ATS in their last 24 games in September.

OU Trends
West Virginia

Over is 5-1 in Mountaineers last 6 games on grass.
Over is 4-1 in Mountaineers last 5 neutral site games.
Under is 25-10 in Mountaineers last 35 games overall.
Under is 9-4 in Mountaineers last 13 games in September.

Virginia Tech

Over is 8-1 in Hokies last 9 games in September.
Over is 5-1-1 in Hokies last 7 neutral site games.
Over is 13-3 in Hokies last 16 non-conference games.

Head to Head

Under is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings.
Home team is 7-3 ATS in their last 10 meetings.
Mountaineers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 meetings in Virginia Tech.
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  #29  
Old 09-01-2017, 11:51 AM
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Trends - No. 24 Tennessee vs Georgia Tech

ATS Trends
Tennessee

Volunteers are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 neutral site games.

Georgia Tech

Yellow Jackets are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
Yellow Jackets are 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 neutral site games.
Yellow Jackets are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 non-conference games.
Yellow Jackets are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games on grass.
Yellow Jackets are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 vs. SEC.
Yellow Jackets are 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 games in September.

OU Trends
Tennessee

Over is 4-0 in Volunteers last 4 games overall.
Over is 4-0 in Volunteers last 4 vs. ACC.
Over is 8-0 in Volunteers last 8 neutral site games.
Over is 7-2 in Volunteers last 9 games on grass.
Over is 20-6 in Volunteers last 26 games in September.

Georgia Tech

Under is 4-0-1 in Yellow Jackets last 5 games in September.
Under is 4-0 in Yellow Jackets last 4 Monday games.
Under is 5-2 in Yellow Jackets last 7 neutral site games.
Over is 12-5-1 in Yellow Jackets last 18 non-conference games.
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  #30  
Old 09-01-2017, 11:51 AM
sailfish sailfish is offline
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Trends - Houston at Texas-San Antonio

ATS Trends
Houston

Cougars are 12-2 ATS in their last 14 games on grass.
Cougars are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games in September.
Cougars are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. CUSA.
Cougars are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 non-conference games.
Cougars are 19-6-1 ATS in their last 26 road games.
Cougars are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games overall.

Texas-San Antonio

Roadrunners are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games on grass.
Roadrunners are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 home games.
Roadrunners are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
Roadrunners are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games in September.

OU Trends
Houston

Under is 5-1 in Cougars last 6 games overall.
Under is 4-1 in Cougars last 5 non-conference games.
Under is 5-2 in Cougars last 7 games on grass.

Texas-San Antonio

Under is 4-0 in Roadrunners last 4 games on grass.
Under is 4-1 in Roadrunners last 5 non-conference games.
Over is 7-3 in Roadrunners last 10 games in September.
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  #31  
Old 09-02-2017, 10:11 AM
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When: 12:00 PM ET, Saturday, September 2, 2017
Where: Memorial Stadium, Champaign, Illinois

Preview: Ball State at Illinois
Gracenote
Aug 30, 2017

Illinois looks to begin the long climb back to respectability when it opens the season at home against Ball State on Saturday. The Fighting Illini struggled in Lovie Smith's first year as head coach - finishing 3-9 with six of those losses coming by 23 points or more - after averaging just over four victories over the previous four seasons, and they hope to post their first winning record since going 7-6 in 2011.

"It's an exciting time for us and we've been waiting for year two for a long time," Smith told reporters. "There is a lot of excitement on campus and I hope they bring it to the stadium." Illinois won 28-17 in the only previous meeting with Ball State in 2007, and has won 19 consecutive home openers - the fourth-longest active streak in the nation. The Fighting Illini had won five straight games against Mid-American Conference opponents by an average of 22 points before dropping a 34-10 decision to Western Michigan last season, and seeks to start a new streak by shutting down a Cardinals' offense that was held below 21 points in three of their last four games in 2016. Ball State dropped seven of its last eight games in Mike Neu's first year in charge and the Cardinals look to take a step in the right direction by knocking off a Big Ten opponent for the first time since knocking off Indiana in 2012.

TV: Noon ET, Big Ten Network. LINE: Illinois - 7.

ABOUT BALL STATE (2016: 4-8): Junior running back James Gilbert was named to the initial Maxwell Award watch list after reaching the 100-yard mark seven times en route to 1,332 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns last season. "I was under the radar a little bit, but a lot of teams know about me this year and will try to stack the box," Gilbert told reporters. "I love that challenge and I'm going to accept it." Riley Neal will be the starting quarterback despite missing spring practice with a shoulder injury and hopes to improve on an inconsistent 2016 campaign which saw him throw 13 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions after finishing with 16 TDs and six picks in 2015.

ABOUT ILLINOIS (2016: 3-9): Junior quarterback Chayce Crouch, who has one collegiate start under his belt, will be tasked with reviving a moribund offense that finished 122nd nationally in scoring offense with 19.7 points per game. Senior running back Kendrick Foster is set to shoulder most of the load in the backfield after rushing for 720 yards and seven touchdowns last season, while wide receiver Mike Dudek, who was a freshman All-American in 2014, is healthy again after missing two straight seasons with knee injuries. Senior Malik Turner will vie with Dudek to be Crouch's main weapon at wideout after finishing with team-high marks of 48 passes, 712 receiving yards and six touchdowns in 2016.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Illinois has won 23 of its last 27 home games in August and September.

2. With 112 career catches, Turner needs 17 more to move into 10th place on the Illini's all-time receptions list.

3. Ball State has won seven consecutive season openers.

PREDICTION: Illinois 31, Ball State 24
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  #32  
Old 09-02-2017, 10:12 AM
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When: 12:00 PM ET, Saturday, September 2, 2017
Where: Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, Iowa

Preview: Wyoming at Iowa
Gracenote
Aug 29, 2017

The focus will be on the quarterbacks even more than usual Saturday when Wyoming visits Iowa in the season opener for both teams. The Hawkeyes have announced that sophomore Nathan Stanley will be making his first start while the Cowboys counter with junior Josh Allen, regarded by many analysts as a top-10 pick in next spring’s NFL Draft.


Stanley, who attempted nine passes last season backing up senior stalwart C.J. Beathard, won a tight off-season battle with junior Tyler Wiegers and will be the first true sophomore to start at Iowa since Drew Tate in 2004. And Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz has stated that his starting signal-caller would remain in the role barring injury or a complete breakdown. “You don’t want whoever it is in there playing, looking over their shoulder on every snap,” Ferentz told the media last week. “That’s not healthy. We don’t want that at any position.” Allen, on the other hand, will be making his 16th career start after rolling up a Mountain West-most 3,726 yards of total offense and 28 touchdown passes in 2016 while leading Wyoming to the conference championship game.

TV: Noon ET, Big Ten Network. LINE: Iowa -11.5


ABOUT WYOMING (8-6 in 2016): Coach Craig Bohl received a seven-year contract extension after the Cowboys made the sizable leap from 2-10 in 2015, and he has 14 returning offensive and defensive starters to work with. Allen’s offensive supporting cast took a huge hit, though, with the loss of top rusher Brian Hill, leading receiver Tanner Gentry and standout center Chase Roullier, and he’ll be relying on big jumps from sophomore wideouts C.J. Johnson and Austin Conway, who combined for only 32 receptions and 407 yards a year ago. Defensively, Wyoming is in better shape with eight starters back, led by junior safety Andrew Wingard, the team’s 2016 tackles leader who has been selected as the Mountain West’s Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

ABOUT IOWA (8-5 in 2016): Entering his 19th season at the helm in Iowa City and riding a string of four straight bowl appearances, Ferentz is the longest tenured active head coach in the FBS ranks. He has 15 returning starters to work with, led by senior running back Akrum Wadley (1,396 total yards, 13 TDs in 2016) and senior linebacker Josey Jewell, the team’s top tackler in each of the last two seasons and now an Associated Press preseason first-team All-America selection. Iowa also features an all-upperclass offensive line which features a combined 97 career starts and is anchored by a pair of 2016 third-team All-Big Ten selections in senior guard Sean Welsh and junior center James Daniels.


EXTRA POINTS

1. Iowa leads the series 2-0, but the two programs have not met since the Hawkeyes’ 20-19 win in the 1987 Holiday Bowl.

2. RB James Butler, a senior graduate transfer, joins Wadley in the backfield after running for 1,336 yards last season at Nevada, making Iowa the only FBS team featuring two 1,000-yard rushers from 2016.

3. Sophomore CB Manny Rugamba, one of two new starting cornerbacks for the Hawkeyes, will sit out the game as he serves a one-game suspension for an unspecified off-season violation of team policy.


PREDICTION: Iowa 34, Wyoming 20
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  #33  
Old 09-02-2017, 10:13 AM
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When: 12:00 PM ET, Saturday, September 2, 2017
Where: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, Michigan

Preview: Bowling Green at Michigan State
Gracenote
Aug 30, 2017

The quest for a bounceback season begins for Michigan State when the Spartans host Bowling Green in a non-conference contest Saturday. Michigan State went from playing Alabama in the national semifinals two seasons ago to a 3-9 record in 2016, with just one victory in Big Ten play.

Now, coach Mark Dantonio is looking to get back to the winning ways of past seasons with sophomore Brian Lewerke under center to lead the way. Lewerke started twice last season before being sidelined by a broken tibia, and the Spartans are hoping he can build on the solid play he showed in 2016. Injuries crippled Michigan State defensively last season, but with leading tackler Chris Frey (96) back for his senior season at linebacker, the Spartans should be better at shutting down opponents. The Falcons are hoping to build on the momentum of a three-game winning streak to close out 2016 under coach Mike Jinks and earn their fourth win over a Big Ten opponent since 2014.

TV: Noon ET, ESPNU. LINE: Michigan State -17

ABOUT BOWLING GREEN (2016: 4-8): Although the Falcons are excited about the possibilities with sophomore James Morgan (2,082 passing yards, 16 TDs) under center to start the season, the team's success in the final three games of 2016 suggest the running game will be more of a focus. Over that season-ending three-game winning streak, Bowling Green ran the ball more, racking up 984 yards with Donovan Wilson recording three games over more than 100 yards and Josh Cleveland having two. The two seniors are back, giving Jinks the opportunity to continue to limit turnovers by keeping the ball on the ground and taking some pressure off of Morgan to carry the team.

ABOUT MICHIGAN STATE (2016: 3-9): If there's a position of strength for the Spartans, it's at running back, where the trio of junior LJ Scott (994 yards), senior Gerald Holmes (431) and junior Madre London (120) will battle for carries throughout the campaign. Scott will be a key to the Michigan State offense and Dantonio will certainly lean on him early on as Lewerke continues to gain experience and confidence as the starter. Holmes and London will also see playing time as Dantonio likes to juggle his backs to keep them fresh and the defense off balance.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Junior WR Felton Davis III is the leading returning receiver for the Spartans, recording 12 catches for 150 yards in 2016.

2. Scott's 1,693 rushing yards through his first two seasons ranks fifth in school history, just ahead of Pittsburgh Steelers All-Pro RB Le'Veon Bell's 1,553 in his first two campaigns in East Lansing.

3. Michigan State's streak of 18 straight wins in its home opener is tied for the fifth-longest active streak in the country.

PREDICTION: Michigan State 35, Bowling Green 20
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  #34  
Old 09-02-2017, 10:13 AM
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When: 12:00 PM ET, Saturday, September 2, 2017
Where: Faurot Field, Columbia, Missouri

Preview: Missouri State at Missouri
Gracenote
Aug 30, 2017

Former Missouri assistant Dave Steckel will return to Memorial Stadium on the visiting sideline Saturday when his Missouri State team takes on the Tigers. The Tigers hope a talented, young offense can torch their former defensive coordinator in the first meeting of the in-state foes since 1923.


Steckel spent 14 years as a defensive assistant for the Tigers under former coach Gary Pinkel, while eight of his nine full-time assistants either played or coached at Missouri. He returns to start his third season with the Bears, who improved to 4-7 a year ago after going 1-10 in his inaugural campaign. The Tigers are 16-0 against FCS opponents and have outscored their last 13 FCS foes 656-96. Missouri State has not defeated an FBS opponent since a 31-24 win over UNLV to begin the 1990 season.

TV: Noon ET, SEC Network. LINE: None.


ABOUT MISSOURI STATE (2016: 4-7): The Bears return most of their offensive firepower from a year ago, including their top four rushers and 82.7 percent of their offensive production. The problem for Missouri State is that unit didn’t produce much, averaging only 23.4 points and 321.4 total yards. The defense, which gave up a whopping 35.7 points per contest a year ago, is anchored by All-Missouri Valley defensive lineman Colby Isbell, who had 6.5 sacks in 2016.

ABOUT MISSOURI (2016: 4-8): The Tigers bring back 10 starters on offense, including the potent trio of quarterback Drew Lock, running back Damarea Crockett, and receiver J’Mon Moore. Missouri ranked 13th nationally and led the SEC in total offense last season, and the only starter lost was tight end Sean Kulkin. The Tigers have more questions on defense, but they boast a pair of preseason All-SEC linemen in Marcell Frazier and Terry Beckner Jr.


EXTRA POINTS

1. Missouri has won 18 of its last 20 home openers.

2. Missouri State return specialist Deion Holliman is the only FCS player in the nation to return a kickoff and a punt for a touchdown each of the past two seasons.

3. The Tigers are one of four FBS teams in the nation who return a 3,000-yard passer (Lock), 1,000-yard receiver (Moore), and 1,000-yard rusher (Crockett).


PREDICTION: Missouri 41, Missouri State 10
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  #35  
Old 09-02-2017, 10:14 AM
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When: 12:00 PM ET, Saturday, September 2, 2017
Where: Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, Texas

Preview: Maryland at Texas
Gracenote
Aug 30, 2017

No. 23 Texas has a new look as the storied program begins its 125th football season Saturday afternoon against visiting Maryland. The Longhorns lost their final three games last season en route to a 5-7 finish and hired Tom Herman to resurrect a program that went 16-21 in three seasons under Charlie Strong.

Herman will have a couple of 2016 All-Americans at his disposal, including offensive lineman Connor Williams - just the fourth sophomore in Texas history to receive All-American honors. One of the team's other All-Americans will have to be replaced, however, as running back D'Onta Foreman - the Doak Walker Award winner - is now in the NFL. Chris Warren takes over as the primary ball carrier and is eager to get started after missing most of last season due to injury. Maryland has finished with a losing record in back-to-back years, but expectations are higher as 2017 rolls around.

TV: Noon, Fox Sports 1. LINE: Texas -18.5

ABOUT MARYLAND (2016: 6-7, 3-6 Big Ten): The Terps will give the starting nod to Tyrrell Pigrome after the sophomore quarterback beat out fellow second-year player Max Bortenschlager and freshman Kasim Hill. Pigrome, who is primarily a running quarterback, saw action in 11 of the team's 13 games a season ago and will be making his second career start this weekend. “He’s head and shoulders beyond what he was last year,” coach DJ Durkin said recently. “He just feels more at ease in the spot. He had a great spring. He’s ready to go be a starting quarterback and compete for the job, he certainly is. He has transformed."

ABOUT TEXAS (2016: 5-7, 3-6 Big 12): The Longhorns also have a sophomore at quarterback in Shane Buechele, who started all 12 games last season and threw for nearly 3,000 yards with at least one touchdown pass in 11 of the 12 games. Yet, despite a wealth of offensive talent, Herman is trying to lower expectations heading into his first year at the helm, possibly because the Texas defense gave up more than 30 points per game in 2016. “I don't know why we're ranked in the top 25,” said Herman, who spent the previous two seasons as Houston's coach. “I hope it's not because of me. I think it's more of because we're Texas and we're a national brand.”

EXTRA POINTS

1. Maryland is predicted to finish sixth in the seven-team Big Ten East, according to the conference's head coaches.

2. Texas has won 16 of its last 17 season openers.

3. The teams have not met since the 1978 Sun Bowl, a 42-0 rout by Texas. In fact, Maryland has never scored in three all-time meetings with the Longhorns.

PREDICTION: Texas 33, Maryland 14
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  #36  
Old 09-02-2017, 10:14 AM
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When: 12:00 PM ET, Saturday, September 2, 2017
Where: Clemson Memorial Stadium, Clemson, South Carolina

Preview: Kent State at Clemson
Gracenote
Aug 30, 2017

Dabo Swinney is downplaying his team’s status as defending national champions, but fifth-ranked Clemson’s reign will continue until someone proves otherwise. Kent State will get the first crack at the Tigers when the teams open the season Saturday in Death Valley.


As Swinney is quick to point out, this is not the Clemson team that won the title, especially not on offense, where the Tigers have to replace 78 percent of their production. “We aren’t defending anything,” Swinney told reporters. “If we were like an NFL team and had Tom Brady back for his 15th year, that would be one thing. But in college football it is a new team, new coaches.” As if the Golden Flashes didn’t face a big enough challenge with the defending national champions, they’re also dealing with the news that head coach Paul Haynes will be away from the team for the next two to three weeks for a medical leave of absence. Clemson has won 22 of its last 23 home games.

TV: Noon ET, ESPN. LINE: Clemson -40.


ABOUT KENT STATE (2016: 3-9): Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Don Treadwell will serve as the interim coach during Haynes’ absence. Treadwell has some tools to work with on offense, in particular quarterback Nick Holley, who rushed for 920 yards and 10 touchdowns last season and passed for 868 yards with four TDs and three interceptions. The Golden Flashes have an experienced secondary returning, but they have some holes to fill along the defensive front after giving up 189.8 rushing yards per game a year ago.

ABOUT CLEMSON (2016: 14-1): While they have to replace plenty at the skill positions, the Tigers should be tough in the trenches with experience returning along the offensive and defensive lines. They also have a couple of dangerous receivers back in Deon Cain and Hunter Renfrow to serve as safety nets for quarterback Kelly Bryant, who takes over for star Deshaun Watson under center. The ground game faces even bigger questions with the departure of the Tigers’ top two rushers in Wayne Gallman and Watson.


EXTRA POINTS

1. Clemson is 4-0 against teams from the Mid American Conference and has outscored the opposition 176-58 in those contests.

2. Kent State cornerbacks Jerrell Foster and Jamal Parker each tallied three interceptions last season.

3. The Tigers have won 45 straight games when holding teams under 23 points and 31 straight when allowing fewer than 40 points.


PREDICTION: Clemson 47, Kent State 13
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  #37  
Old 09-02-2017, 10:15 AM
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When: 12:00 PM ET, Saturday, September 2, 2017
Where: Beaver Stadium, University Park, Pennsylvania

Preview: Akron at Penn State
Gracenote
Aug 29, 2017

Penn State was one of the surprise teams in college football last year, claiming an unexpected Big Ten title and showcasing an attack loaded with playmakers that put on an impressive display in the Rose Bowl. The sixth-ranked Nittany Lions won't be sneaking up on anyone in 2017, and begin a season filled with promise Saturday at home against Akron.

This marks the fourth season for head coach James Franklin, who led his team to an 11-3 record in 2016 and was rewarded with a six-year contract extension. "We've started to build something here that's really special," he told reporters after the extension. "This allows us to continue in that direction." Among the most special aspects of the program is an outstanding backfield containing Saquon Barkley, a Heisman Trophy candidate after rushing for nearly 1,500 yards and 18 touchdowns last year, and quarterback Trace McSorley, who led the Big Ten in passing yards with a school-record 3,614. The Zips, who have dropped all five previous meetings by an average of 28.8 points, finished below .500 for the 10th time in 11 seasons in 2016.

TV: Noon ET, ABC. LINE: Penn State -30.5

ABOUT AKRON (2016: 5-7): Senior quarterback Thomas Woodson is healthy again after injuries robbed him of four games and most of a fifth last year, when he still managed to throw for more than 300 yards five times. Tra'Von Chapman, a backup to Woodson a year ago, has turned some heads in camp as a wide receiver and could emerge as a target in a unit that lacks depth, while Warren Ball - who was averaging 7.2 yards per carry before he suffered a season-ending injury in the second game last year - is a potential anchor in the backfield. Terry Bowden's squad was third in FBS in rush defense in 2015, but slipped to 107th last year.

ABOUT PENN STATE (2016: 11-3): McSorley led a quick-strike offense that relied on the deep ball, but the team's top playmaker in that realm - Chris Godwin - is gone, opening the door for a new target such as speedster Juwan Johnson or veterans Saeed Blacknall and DaeSean Hamilton. Tight end Mike Gesicki ranked second behind Godwin in catches (48), yards (679) and TDs (five) while Barkley (402 receiving yards, four TDs) is another of the many threats for a passing attack that ranked 10th in FBS in yards per pass attempt (9.3). Safety Marcus Allen is on several preseason watch lists, as is fellow senior and linebacker Jason Cabinda, who was a third-team All-Big Ten selection last year even though he missed five games due to injury.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Penn State is one of three FBS teams (Oklahoma State and Louisville are the others) to return a 3,500-yard passer and a 1,000-yard rusher.

2. Barkley is 1,360 rushing yards shy of the school record (Evan Royster, 3,932) and needs 13 TDs on the ground to tie Lydell Mitchell (38) atop that category.

3. Franklin needs one win to reach 50 for his career while Bowden enters with 99 career losses.

PREDICTION: Penn State 42, Akron 10
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  #38  
Old 09-02-2017, 10:16 AM
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When: 12:20 PM ET, Saturday, September 2, 2017
Where: Kenan Memorial Stadium, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Preview: California at North Carolina
Gracenote
Aug 30, 2017

All eyes figure to be on the quarterback position Saturday as California visits North Carolina in the season opener for both teams. Sophomore Ross Bowers is set to make his first collegiate start for the Golden Bears while Tar Heels coach Larry Fedora is still deciding between LSU transfer Brandon Harris, Chazz Surratt and Nathan Elliott.

The game marks the head-coaching debut of defensive guru Justin Wilcox, who replaced Sonny Dykes after Cal went 5-7 last season and ranked 125th nationally in total defense. The Bears lost quarterback Davis Webb and wide receiver Chad Hansen to the NFL but are bullish on Bowers, who beat out junior Chase Forrest and true freshman Chase Garbers for the starting job. “Ross can throw the football — he spins it really well,” Wilcox told reporters. “He’s an athletic guy (who) can make some things happen when it’s not perfect. He kind of has that mentality about him. He can throw from different arm angles, get out of trouble and make a play on the run.” Bowers will throw his first collegiate pass against a North Carolina team that was picked to finish fifth in the ACC Coastal Division and enters the season with questions at several key positions, including quarterback, running back and the offensive line.

TV: 12:20 p.m. ET, ACC Network. LINE: North Carolina -11

ABOUT CAL (2016: 5-7): After relying heavily on quarterbacks Jared Goff and Webb in recent years, the Bears are promising a more-balanced attack led by senior running backs Vic Enwere and Tre Watson, who combined for 1,045 rushing yards last season. There are question marks on the inexperienced offensive line, but the Bears have a pair of dynamic wide receivers in Demetris Robertson and Melquise Stovall, who return after combining for 10 touchdowns last year. The Bears should be much improved on defense, where starting linebackers Raymond Davison III and Devante Downs anchor a veteran group eager to form a new identity.

ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA (2016: 8-5): While the Tar Heels have plenty of uncertainty on offense, the defense boasts one of the nation’s top cornerbacks in M.J. Stewart, who led the team with 11 pass breakups and had 59 tackles last season as a junior. Whoever gets the nod at quarterback will be working behind a makeshift offensive line after guards Tommy Hatton and Jared Cohen both left the team during fall camp. Fedora has several openings at wide receiver but was encouraged by the play of junior Devin Perry during camp.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Cal is 10-3 in season openers since 2004, including a 51-31 victory over Hawaii last year.

2. North Carolina hasn’t opened the season with a win over a Power 5 program since 1997 against Indiana.

3. Cal’s last victory in the Eastern Time Zone came during the 2002 season when the Bears won 46-22 at Michigan State.

PREDICTION: North Carolina 31, Cal 24
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  #39  
Old 09-02-2017, 10:16 AM
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When: 12:30 PM ET, Saturday, September 2, 2017
Where: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida

Preview: Bethune-Cookman at Miami
Gracenote
Aug 29, 2017

Miami kicks off the season at home Saturday with a tune-up game against instate foe Bethune-Cookman. Optimism is high for Mark Richt's Hurricanes after they closed the 2016 campaign with five straight victories, including a bowl win, and the 18th-ranked team in the nation has the pieces to challenge for its first ACC Coastal Division title.

There's no doubt these Hurricanes are loaded, particularly a defensive front seven that helped limit opponents to 18.5 points per game but for Miami to take the next step, the biggest question mark is at quarterback after Brad Kaaya opted to depart early for the NFL. Junior Malik Rosier won the job in a tight battle with sophomore Evan Shirreffs but he has only one career start under his belt, a 272-yard, two-TD performance versus Duke in 2015. "(Malik) did stand out above the rest," Richt, Miami's second-year coach, told reporters. "It wasn't an unbelievable amount, but it was apparent that he was having the best camp." Rosier will have a chance to ease into the starting role against a less-than-formidable Bethune-Cookman defense before the schedule heats up.

TV: 12:30 p.m. ET, ACC Network. LINE: None

ABOUT BETHUNE-COOKMAN (2016: 4-6): The Wildcats took home at least a share of the MEAC championship four straight years between 2012-2015 but injuries crippled the team last season and they got off to an 0-5 start. Fifteen starters return for third-year coach Terry Sims, including senior quarterback Larry Brihm Jr., who threw for 1,370 yards with 11 touchdowns and four interceptions. The schedule has its challenges, though, as Bethune-Cookman opens with four straight road games so the hope is the Wildcats are battle tested for conference play.

ABOUT MIAMI (2016: 9-4): Rosier won't have to do it alone this year as he can lean on a tough ground game powered by star running back Mark Walton, who ran for 1,117 yards (5.3 yards per carry) and 14 scores a year ago. Rosier's development will also be aided by a talented stable of receivers, although breakout star Ahmmon Richards may sit out the opener with a hamstring injury. But the real force behind the Hurricanes' resurgence is a young defense that was turned loose in Richt's first season, amassing 38 sacks and 108 tackles for loss, numbers that may need to be duplicated to take pressure off a rebuilt secondary.

EXTRA POINTS

1. The Hurricanes capped Richt's debut season with the team's first bowl victory (31-14 over West Virginia) since 2006.

2. Last season, Richards broke former Miami great Michael Irvin's 31-year-old freshman receiving yardage record with 934 yards.

3. Miami has overwhelmed Bethune-Cookman in their three meetings, including 45-0 the last time they met in the 2015 season opener.

PREDICTION: Miami 51, Bethune-Cookman 0
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  #40  
Old 09-02-2017, 10:17 AM
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When: 1:00 PM ET, Saturday, September 2, 2017
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Preview: Youngstown State at Pittsburgh
Gracenote
Aug 30, 2017

With consecutive eight-win seasons, including triumphs over Big Ten champion Penn State and national champion Clemson last season, Pittsburgh third-year coach Pat Narduzzi has returned the school to national relevancy. With significant turnover from last season and a rematch with the Nittany Lions looming on Sept. 9, Narduzzi will get a feel for where his Panthers stand after he faces off against fellow Youngstown native Bo Pelini and his Penguins on Saturday.

Four of Pittsburgh’s five losses in 2016 were by one score, and those defeats could be placed solely on a porous defense that allowed an average of 35.2 points and 452.8 yards during the season. Pitt’s offense was able to pick up the defense on most occasions, averaging 40.9 points - 10th in FBS - and 446.8 yards. Nathan Peterman passed for 2,855 yards and 27 touchdowns and averaged 15.4 yards per completion, James Conner rushed for 1,092 yards and 16 scores and All-American Quadree Henderson accounted for 2,083 all-purpose yards - the first Panther to surpass 2,000 since Heisman winner Tony Dorsett in 1976. In Pelini's second year after getting fired at Nebraska, Youngstown State won six straight games during its run for a fifth national championship, but the Penguins fell short in the title game - a 28-14 setback to James Madison.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, ACC Network. LINE: NL.

ABOUT YOUNGSTOWN STATE (2016: 12-4): The Penguins, ranked in the top-10 in FCS again this season, lost a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in Jody Webb and Martin Ruiz, but return senior quarterback Hunter Wells, who completed 62.5 percent of his passes for 1,714 yards and 11 touchdowns. His top targets figure to include Alvin Bailey, who caught a team-high 47 passes in 2016, and Damoun Patterson, who averaged 24.2 yards on his 20 receptions. Junior linebacker Armand Dellovade led the team with 105 tackles, but the line will need to replace ends and Avery Moss and Derek Rivers, who combined for 117 tackles and 26 sacks a season ago before becoming NFL Draft picks.

ABOUT PITTSBURGH (2016: 8-5): With Peterman and Conner off to the NFL and offensive coordinator Matt Canada off to LSU, new play-caller Shawn Watson - who served under Pelini at Nebraska - arrives after being fired at Texas. USC graduate transfer Max Browne (62.4 completion percentage, 507 yards in 2016), who started the first three games at USC last season, takes over for Peterman, while juniors Qadree Ollison (1,121 yards in 2015; 127 yards last season) and Darrin Hall (160 yards in 2016) battle sophomore Chawntez Moss (227 yards) to replace Conner. With all the problems defensive-minded Narduzzi had on that side of the ball last season, it might not be such a bad thing that four of five defensive lineman, three linebackers and three defensive backs need to be replaced.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Prior to 2015, the last time Pitt won eight games in a season was 2010 (8-5).

2. The 5-8 Henderson (10.5 yards per carry on 60 rushes, 26 receptions) will play even a bigger role in both rushing and receiving, and the Panthers have a budding star in senior WR Jester Weah, who averaged 24.2 yards per reception and scored on 10 of his 36 catches.

3. The Panthers beat the Penguins 45-37 in the 2015 opener behind 207 yards rushing from Ollison.

PREDICTION: Pittsburgh 27, Youngstown State 20
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Old 09-02-2017, 10:17 AM
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When: 2:00 PM ET, Saturday, September 2, 2017
Where: Reser Stadium, Corvallis, Oregon

Preview: Portland State at Oregon State
Gracenote
Aug 29, 2017

Following a complete meltdown in its season opener, Oregon State aims for a bounce-back effort Saturday against visiting Portland State of the Big Sky Conference. The Beavers had five turnovers and were outscored 34-7 in the second half of last Saturday’s 58-27 loss at Colorado State while Portland State opened with an impressive showing against BYU before losing 20-6 in Provo, Utah.

Oregon State coach Gary Andersen was simmering about his team’s performance after Colorado State scored on eight of its final nine possessions and finished with 525 yards total offense and 334 yards passing. “We got beat badly -- badly,” Andersen told reporters. “There are a lot of concerns when you get beat like that. It’s unchartered waters for me.” With the Rams focused on stopping the Oregon State run game, junior quarterback Jake Luton made his Beavers debut and was 27-of-47 passing for 304 yards and two touchdowns with three interceptions. Anderson will likely draw up a more balanced attack against Portland State after Oregon State struggled to establish a ground game following Ryan Nall’s 75-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

TV: 2 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network. LINE: No Line

ABOUT PORTLAND STATE (0-1): After allowing an average of 39.5 points last season, the Vikings defense held BYU to 365 total yards as senior linebacker Beau Duronslet registered a game-high 11 tackles and defensive end Davond Dade had four tackles with a sack and a forced fumble. True freshman Jalani Eason, a 5-foot-11, 185-pounder from California, started at quarterback and turned in an encouraging performance against a formidable BYU defense by completing 16-of-36 passes for 134 yards and one touchdown with one interception. Eason’s favorite target was tight end Charlie Taumoepeau, who had career highs with six receptions for 73 yards.

ABOUT OREGON STATE (0-1): Sophomore safety Jalen Moore had a team-high nine tackles against the Rams but the defense took an early step back by allowing 191 rushing yards without recording a sack. Senior linebacker Manase Hungalu averaged 7.5 tackles per game last year and leads a defense that returns nine starters, including cornerback Xavier Crawford, who had seven tackles in the opener. The running game is led by Nall, who is the Pac-12’s third-leading returning rusher and figures to receive a heavy workload against Portland State after rushing 15 times for 115 yards against Colorado State.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Oregon State leads the all-time series 4-0, including a 29-14 win at Corvallis in the last meeting on Aug. 13, 2014.

2. Portland State is 4-35 all-time against NCAA Division I FBS programs.

3. Oregon State is 12-45 over its last 57 games when committing more turnovers than its opponent.

PREDICTION: Oregon State 30, Portland State 13
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  #42  
Old 09-02-2017, 10:18 AM
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When: 2:00 PM ET, Saturday, September 2, 2017
Where: Falcon Stadium, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Quick Hits

Overall Team Offense

Air Force Falcons offensive statistics will be available following the first regular season game.
Virginia Military Keydets offensive statistics will be available following the first regular season game.

Home and Away

The Air Force Falcons have not played any home games yet this season.
The Virginia Military Keydets have not played any road games yet this season.
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  #43  
Old 09-02-2017, 10:19 AM
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When: 3:00 PM ET, Saturday, September 2, 2017
Where: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina

Preview: South Carolina vs. North Carolina State
Gracenote
Aug 30, 2017

Unlike a year ago, Will Muschamp enters his second season at South Carolina with a stable – and confident – quarterback in sophomore Jake Bentley. Bentley leads an experienced Gamecocks offense into a new season when South Carolina takes on North Carolina State in the Belk College Kickoff on Saturday in Charlotte.


Bentley impressed after taking over the starting role midway through last season and passed for 390 yards in the Birmingham Bowl, and he’s back at the helm of an offense that lost only one starter. “It helps tremendously when you have experience and ability at the position, at the most important position on your squad,” Muschamp told reporters. “When you have that, it certainly gives you a lot more confidence to what you’ll be able to do and how you’ll be able to do it offensively in the game.” N.C. State also returns an experienced quarterback in Ryan Finley, who bulked up in the off-season and hopes to be more of a deep threat in 2017. The border rivals have been evenly matched over the years, as South Carolina leads 27-26-4 in a series that dates to 1900 and the teams have split the past 12 meetings, but this is the first meeting since 2009.

TV: 3:05 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: N.C. State -5


ABOUT SOUTH CAROLINA (2016: 6-7): The Gamecocks expect to have a much more potent offense than a year ago with Bentley fully acclimated to the offense and a number of key skill position players returning to surround him. Leading receiver Deebo Samuel and tight end Hayden Hurst give the Gamecocks a couple of solid targets, and leading rusher Rico Dowdle is back for his sophomore season. South Carolina has numerous holes to fill on defense, but the return of linebacker Skai Moore after missing all of last season with a herniated disk in his neck will help.

ABOUT N.C. STATE (2016: 7-6): The Wolfpack should be strong along the defensive front seven, where they return six starters – all seniors – but the secondary could be suspect. Among the returners is star defensive end Bradley Chubb, an excellent pass rusher and run stopper who earned preseason All-America honors. N.C. State has plenty of questions on offense, though, including the one of who will fill the hole in the backfield left by leading rusher Matt Dayes.


EXTRA POINTS

1. The Wolfpack have not scored an offensive touchdown in their last 12 quarters against the Gamecocks, and they’ve scored 10 or fewer points in five of the past eight meetings.

2. South Carolina has won 16 of its last 17 season openers.

3. N.C. State H-back Jaylen Samuels ranks sixth in school history with 31 touchdowns (15 receiving, 16 rushing).


PREDICTION: South Carolina 27, N.C. State 24
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  #44  
Old 09-02-2017, 10:19 AM
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When: 3:30 PM ET, Saturday, September 2, 2017
Where: Ryan Field, Evanston, Illinois

Preview: Nevada at Northwestern
Gracenote
Aug 30, 2017

Northwestern sputtered to a 1-3 start a year ago en route to a disappointing 7-6 record that was capped off with a Pinstripe Bowl win over Pitt. And the Wildcats, who open their season on Saturday afternoon with a home game against Nevada, are determined not to let another slow start happen again this season.

Quarterback Clayton Thorson said the Wildcats used their poor beginning in 2016 as motivation heading into 2017. "We used it throughout workouts, throughout practice, pretty much everything," Thorson said. "That really put us in a hole. We did a great job responding to it. But we started 1-3, and that didn't set us up for the season we wanted to have." First up this season is a Nevada team from the Mountain West Conference that will be playing its first game for new head coach Jay Norvell, who is installing a fast-paced Air Raid passing attack. "This group has shown a lot of focus," Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said of his team. "I've liked their discipline in practice. ... I'm really looking forward to seeing how things unfold."

TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network. LINE: Northwestern -24

ABOUT NEVADA (5-7 in 2016): Norvell is being tight-lipped about who his starting quarterback will be with juniors Ty Gangi and David Cornwell, who transferred in from Alabama, listed as co-starters on the depth chart. "I'm not trying to be coy," Norvell told the Reno Gazette-Journal. "I'm trying to be honest. We think they'll both play." It won't matter who starts at quarterback if Norvell can't tighten up a defense that finished dead last nationally against the run last season, allowing 297.6 yards per game.

ABOUT NORTHWESTERN (7-6 in 2016): Senior running back Justin Jackson has rushed for 1,000 yards in each of his three previous seasons and has to be licking his chops at getting a chance to go against a Wolf Pack defense that allowed almost 300 yards per game on the ground last season. He teams with Thorson, who passed for 3,182 yards and 22 touchdowns, to give the Wildcats a potent and balanced offensive attack. Safety Godwin Igwebuike, who had a team-leading 108 tackles and is considered a potential first-round pick, anchors a secondary that could have its hands full against Nevada's passing game.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Northwestern WR/KR Solomon Vault, a two-time All-Big Ten selection, will miss the entire 2017 season due to off-season surgery.

2. The 5-11, 205-pound Jackson has rushed for 100 yards in a game 20 times in his career, with the Wildcats posting a 16-4 mark in those contests.

3. Fitzgerald is 9-2 in season openers and has compiled a 20-7 record in the month of September over the last five years.

PREDICTION: Northwestern 42, Nevada 14
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  #45  
Old 09-02-2017, 10:20 AM
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When: 3:30 PM ET, Saturday, September 2, 2017
Where: Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, Norman, Oklahoma

Preview: UTEP at Oklahoma
Gracenote
Aug 30, 2017

The Bob Stoops era came to a sudden end in May, but new coach and the FBS' youngest, Lincoln Riley, still has Heisman Trophy hopeful Baker Mayfield and plenty more talented players to make a return trip to the College Football Playoff after a one-year absence. With a big rematch at Ohio State pending Sept. 9, the eighth-ranked Sooners will likely use their home opener Saturday with UTEP as a tune-up for the No. 2 Buckeyes.

Stoops recorded 190 wins during his 18-year run at Oklahoma, winning a national title and finishing AP top-5 on six other occasions, but the 33-year-old Riley has built one of the most potent offenses in college football over the past two years as offensive coordinator. After embarrassing losses to Ohio State and Houston early last season, the Sooners won their final 10 contests, capping the campaign with a 35-19 victory over Auburn in the Sugar Bowl. Mayfield, who was arrested for public intoxication and fleeing arrest in February, returns for a third season at the helm of Riley’s “Air Raid” offense after passing for 7,665 yards and 76 touchdowns against 15 interceptions the past two seasons and finishing inside the top four in the Heisman race each season. Oklahoma also has the best returning offensive line in the conference but will need to find replacements for running backs Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon as well as wideout Dede Westbrook, who combined for 2,435 yards rushing and 2,168 receiving yards last season.

TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, Fox. LINE: Oklahoma -42.5.

ABOUT UTEP (2016: 4-8): The Miners are led by Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award candidate Ryan Metz, who completed 64.7 percent of his passes as a sophomore last season with 14 TDs and just four interceptions in 11 games - seven starts. The Miners will have to replace running back Aaron Jones (1,773 rushing yards 20 total TDs) but feature one of the top offensive lines in Conference USA, led by guard Will Hernandez, who was named to the Outland Trophy watch list this summer. Senior linebackers Alvin Jones and Dante Lovilette, who combined for 182 tackles a season ago, lead a defense which yielded 34.9 points per game and recorded just 14 sacks.

ABOUT OKLAHOMA (2016: 11-2): The leading returning rusher is running back Abdul Adams (283 yards), but fellow sophomore Rodney Anderson - a former four-star recruit who has endured leg and neck injuries since joining the Sooners - had a solid spring and fall practice. Tight end Mark Andrews (31 catches, 489 yards) is the leading returning receiver, but Mykel Jones, Jeffery Mead, Jordan Smallwood and A.D. Miller (40 combined receptions in 2016) along with Kentucky transfer Jeff Badet (31 catches, SEC-leading 21.6 yards per catch) will look to fill the void left by Westbrook and Geno Lewis. The Sooners ranked 82nd in FBS in total defense last season, giving up 432 yards per game, but defensive coordinator Mike Stoops’ crew yielded just 19.7 points in its last six contests after surrendering 36.7 points in the first seven.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Oklahoma is 3-0 all-time against UTEP with an average margin of victory of 42 points, and the Sooners are 20-0 all-time against current teams from C-USA.

2. Oklahoma's 10-game winning streak is the nation's longest among Power-5 programs.

3. Mayfield set an NCAA record for single-season passing efficiency last year (196.4) while leading FBS in completion percentage (70.9) and ESPN's QBR (91.8).

PREDICTION: Oklahoma 63, UTEP 7
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Old 09-02-2017, 10:20 AM
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When: 3:30 PM ET, Saturday, September 2, 2017
Where: Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, Virginia

Preview: William & Mary at Virginia
Gracenote
Aug 30, 2017

Winning just two games in 2016 and losing to FCS in-state foe Richmond wasn’t the debut season Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall envisioned. Opening the 2017 campaign against another in-state FCS foe, the Cavaliers will try and snap a long losing streak Saturday when they host William & Mary.

Virginia recorded its lone ACC win at Duke on Oct. 1, then finished the season with seven consecutive defeats - five by double figures. Making a turnaround more difficult this season is the graduation of Taquan Mizzell, the team’s leading rusher and receiver and the only player in ACC history to record 1,500 career rushing and receiving yards. Perhaps the key to the Cavaliers' rebuild is senior quarterback Kurt Benkert, who threw for 2,552 yards and 21 touchdowns last season but was erratic throughout the season. The former East Carolina transfer threw for eight TDs in wins over Duke and Central Michigan but had just 13 scores against nine interceptions in the nine losses he started.

TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, ACC Network. LINE: NL.

ABOUT WILLIAM & MARY (2016: 5-6): Picked to finish seventh in the Colonial Athletic Association, the Tribe will have to replace three-year starting quarterback Steve Cluley (2,015 yards, 12 TD in 2016) and two-time All-CAA running back Kendell Anderson (1,077 yards, nine TDs), whose backup Albert Funderburke (294 yards, 7.5 yards per carry) is recovering from a knee injury. Senior wide receiver DeVonte Dedmon, a two-time all-conference selection and 2015 special teams player of the year, has 110 catches for 1,421 yards and 14 TDs during his career and ranks ninth all-time in career all-purpose yards (3,093). Defensive tackle Isaiah Stephens and safety Corey Parker (71 tackles, three interceptions) lead a defense that needs to replace six starters from a group that surrendered 23.5 points and 361.5 yards per game last year.

ABOUT VIRGINIA (2016: 2-10): Daniel Hamm (three carries last season) and Jordan Ellis (14 carries) will battle for the workload in the backfield in the absence of Mizzell (940 yards rushing, 52 receptions). Virginia is deep at wide receiver with junior Olamide Zaccheaus (51 catches, 584 yards) and senior Doni Dowling (50 catches, 626 yards), but a suspect offensive line needs to replace three starters, certain to be a tough task considering eight of the 11 scholarship offensive linemen were new to campus this summer. Virginia does return nine starters on defense, but the unit needs a lot of improvement after yielding 446.6 yards and 33.8 points per game a season ago.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Virginia leads the all-time series 28-6-1, including a 35-29 win in 2015.

2. Cavaliers LB Micah Kiser led the ACC and finished third in FBS in tackles (133), while S Quin Blanding had 118 tackles and two interceptions. The duo has finished inside the top five in ACC tackles the past two seasons, while Blanding has done so in each of the last three years.

3. Only Rutgers (nine) enters 2017 with more consecutive losses among Power-5 schools than Virginia.

PREDICTION: Virginia 27, William & Mary 10
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Old 09-02-2017, 10:21 AM
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When: 3:30 PM ET, Saturday, September 2, 2017
Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas

Preview: Michigan vs. Florida
Gracenote
Aug 30, 2017

Ninth-ranked Michigan opens the season Saturday against No. 16 Florida in the AdvoCare Classic at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Jim Harbaugh has guided the Wolverines to two straight 10-win seasons, while Jim McElwain has led the Gators to back-to-back SEC East Division titles, so this showdown at the home of the Dallas Cowboys should serve as a good litmus test for two programs that harbor hopes of reaching the College Football Playoff.

Michigan looks to reload rather than rebuild after having a school-record 11 players selected in the 2017 NFL Draft and will count on a number of highly-touted underclassmen, including defensive end Rashan Gary, who was named to the AP Preseason All-America team, to play prominent roles. No clear starter has emerged at quarterback for Florida and McElwain admitted that he may use three different options against the Wolverines, as he looks for someone to step up and jumpstart an offense that ranked 107th in FBS in points per game (23.9) last season. Michigan has won all three meetings with Florida, including a resounding 41-7 victory in the 2016 Citrus Bowl, but the Gators hope to fly the flag for the SEC and extend their impressive winning streak in season openers to 28 in a row. "Let's go embrace the opportunity and have a good time while we doing it," McElwain told reporters. "Our players come to the University of Florida to play in games like this."

TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC. LINE: Michigan -4.5.

ABOUT MICHIGAN (2016: 10-3): Senior quarterback Wilton Speight fended off a spirited challenge from sophomore Brandon Peters to keep his starting role and should provide a steady hand after throwing for 2,538 yards and 18 touchdowns last season. It will be running back by committee for the Wolverines as Chris Evans seeks to build off a promising freshman campaign which saw him rush for 614 yards and four touchdowns, while Karan Higdon and former five-star recruit Ty Isaac will also receive their fair share of carries. Defensive coordinator Don Brown will have to replace 10 starters from a unit which ranked in the top five nationally of almost every major category but will still boast one of the nation's most feared defensive lines, headlined by Gary and potential NFL first-round pick Maurice Hurst.

ABOUT FLORIDA (2016: 9-4): Malik Zaire was expected to step in and win the starting job after transferring from Notre Dame but has failed to master the playbook, thus opening the door for last season's starter Luke Del Rio and talented freshman Feleipe Franks to get some snaps. Junior running back Jordan Scarlett was expected to be focal point of the offense after a stellar sophomore season that saw him rush for 889 yards and six touchdowns, but the school announced Wednesday he will join a list of nine other players who are suspended for at least one game. One of the other nine suspended players is dynamic wide receiver Antonio Callaway, who led the Gators in receptions (54) and receiving yards (721), while freshman wideout Kemore Gamble is "highly questionable" with a leg injury.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Michigan is 16-3-1 in 20 regular-season games against SEC opponents.

2. Florida hasn't lost a season opener since 1989.

3. The winner of the AdvoCare Classic has advanced to the College Football Playoff in each of the last three years.

PREDICTION: Michigan 27, Florida 17
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Old 09-02-2017, 10:21 AM
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When: 3:30 PM ET, Saturday, September 2, 2017
Where: Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Indiana

Preview: Temple at Notre Dame
Gracenote
Aug 30, 2017

Coming off its worst season in almost a decade, Notre Dame begins the 2017 campaign unranked heading into Saturday's showdown with visiting Temple. The Fighting Irish went 4-8 a season ago, putting additional pressure on coach Brian Kelly as he enters his eighth season in South Bend.

Kelly had never lost more than five games in a season with Notre Dame before last year's tumultuous campaign that featured seven losses by eight points or less. Quarterback DeShone Kizer is now starting for the Cleveland Browns and sophomore Brandon Wimbush, who redshirted in 2016, is ready to take the reigns under center. "There’s not a throw he can’t make,” said first-year offensive coordinator Chip Long. “His velocity, the way it comes out of his hands is tremendous. Throws a really nice, deep ball. He’s doing a lot better job with just his presence in the pocket, understanding when he needs to evade and doing a nice job throwing on the run.” The Owls won seven of their final eight games last year - a hot stretch that cost them coach Matt Rhule (now at Baylor) - but are big underdogs in their season opener.

TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, NBC. LINE: Notre Dame -18.5

ABOUT TEMPLE (2016: 10-4, 7-1 American Athletic Conference): Geoff Collins, formerly the defensive coordinator at Florida, takes over on the sidelines for the Owls, who enter Week 1 with uncertainty at the quarterback position. Several quarterbacks could play - or even potentially start - against the Irish as Collins noted he is "not opposed to playing those guys in different series going into the game. That is what we are leaning toward now.” Haason Reddick, the 13th overall pick in the NFL draft, leaves a huge hole at linebacker, while guard Dion Dawkins was chosen 50 picks later and must be replaced, as well.

ABOUT NOTRE DAME (2016: 4-8): The left side of the Notre Dame offensive line is loaded with NFL prospects Quenton Nelson at guard and Mike McGlinchey at tackle. Their stability will be a key to the success of Wimbush, who played sparingly as a freshman but fortunately will have some impressive weapons and his disposal this season. Josh Adams returns after scampering for a team-high 933 yards last season, while Equanimeous St. Brown - team bests of 58 catches, 961 receiving yards and nine TDs - also is back..

EXTRA POINTS

1. Temple's four quarterbacks have attempted a combined 11 college passes.

2. Notre Dame has won both previous meetings, including an exciting 24-20 win in 2015.

3. Sophomore QB Ian Book, the backup now that Malik Zaire has transferred to Florida, also could see some snaps for the Irish.

PREDICTION: Notre Dame 37, Temple 19
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Old 09-02-2017, 10:22 AM
sailfish sailfish is offline
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Preview: Alabama A&M at UAB
When: 3:30 PM ET, Saturday, September 2, 2017
Where: Legion Field, Birmingham, Alabama
Quick Hits

Overall Team Offense

UAB Blazers offensive statistics will be available following the first regular season game.
Alabama A&M Bulldogs offensive statistics will be available following the first regular season game.

Home and Away

The UAB Blazers have not played any home games yet this season.
The Alabama A&M Bulldogs have not played any road games yet this season.
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Old 09-02-2017, 10:23 AM
sailfish sailfish is offline
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When: 4:00 PM ET, Saturday, September 2, 2017
Where: Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville, Mississippi

Preview: Charleston Southern at Mississippi State
Gracenote
Aug 29, 2017

Coming off a good-news, bad-news kind of season, Mississippi State will be looking to ride its fleet-footed quarterback to a better result in 2017 as it kicks off the season Saturday afternoon against visiting Charleston Southern. The Bulldogs made it to a bowl game despite a .500 record, and head coach Dan Mullen will need to get even more out of Nick Fitzgerald to return to the bowl party this season.

Fitzgerald was a menace on the ground - finishing second in the SEC in rushing yards (1,375) and first in touchdowns (16) - but he'll need to do a lot more damage with his arm after completing just 54 percent of his pass attempts, throwing for 2,423 yards with 21 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Fitzgerald will be relying on an offensive line that returns just two starters this season, while the defense is in flux with yet another new name at defensive coordinator. The Bulldogs face a reasonably stiff test in their opener, as Charleston Southern comes in as a top 15 team in the FCS rankings. The Buccaneers boast an impressive ground game and will look to hassle Mississippi State's new-look offensive line after finishing 18th in the FCS in sacks last season.

TV: 4 p.m. ET, SEC Network. LINE: None

ABOUT CHARLESTON SOUTHERN (2016: 7-4): The Buccaneers have rolled to back-to-back Big South championships, and are coming off a campaign in which they ranked sixth in FCS in rushing yards. But it's a transition year for the vaunted running game, with Mike Holloway and Darius Hammond - who combined for more than 1,450 yards on the ground last season - on the way out, and sophomore backups Chanin Hamilton and Ronnie Harris expected to shoulder the majority of the load in their absence. Also of great interest to Charleston Southern fans will be the development of sophomore quarterback Shane Bucenell, who began 2016 as the team's fourth-string quarterback but rose to prominence as the starter, going 6-2 while throwing for a conference high-tying 15 touchdowns.

ABOUT MISSISSIPPI STATE (2016: 6-7): Fitzgerald will likely look to senior wideout Donald Grey as his top receiving threat in place of Fred Ross, who led the team and ranked sixth in the conference with 917 yards a season ago but was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the spring. The running game remains robust with Aeris Williams returning; he finished second on the team in rushing yards with 720. Todd Graham becomes the fourth Bulldogs defensive coordinator in as many seasons, and he inherits a stout defensive front seven highlighted by linebacker Leo Lewis, who had 79 tackles as a freshman, and SEC All-Freshman defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Three of Mississippi State's seven losses in 2016 came by three points or fewer, while another was a seven-point defeat in double overtime.

2. The Bulldogs are 57-15-1 all-time in season openers at Starkville.

3. Kameron Brown led Charleston Southern with 540 receiving yards and six touchdowns on 27 catches last season.

PREDICTION: Mississippi State 38, Charleston Southern 10
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