By: Nick Radivoj
234 days have come and gone since Georgia won the 2022 National Championship game against Alabama. Will the Bulldogs repeat? Is it Alabama’s time for redemption or can Ohio State come get their first National Championship with Ryan Day leading the way? We are all about to find out as the College Football season is set to kick off Week 1 on Thursday September 1st . Join me weekly with the TGIS Ten Piece as I breakdown the slate and offer up the best play for the action. Fade me or follow me I’m glad that football is back and I’m ready for the ride!
- West Virginia (0-0) at #17 Pittsburgh (0-0)
When: 9/1 at 7 ET
Line: Pitt -7.5
Thursday night marks not only the return of College Football Week 1 action but also the return of the famous Backyard Brawl rivalry between these two teams. This will be the 105th meeting between the schools and the first time lining up across from each other since 2011. Pittsburgh currently leads the series all time 61-40-3. Both teams will be highlighting new faces under center with transfer quarterbacks with JT Daniels suiting up for the Mountaineers while Kedon Slovis looks to lead the Panthers. For me this game boils down to what West Virginia can do on the offensive side of the ball. Former USC Offensive Coordinator Graham Harrell reunites with JT Daniels in Morgantown but face a stout Pittsburgh defense Week One who were 2nd in the nation in sacks last year and 1st in the ACC in defense. On the other side, I believe Pittsburgh HC Pat Narduzzi will look to play competitive defense while conservative on offense after losing Kenny Pickett to the NFL draft and Biletnikoff Jordan Addison to the transfer portal.
The Play: West Virginia +7.5
- Penn State (0-0) at Purdue (0-0)
When: 9/1 at 8 ET
Line: PSU -3.5
These two teams are no strangers to one another as they kickoff their seasons Thursday night with an exciting Big 10 matchup. Purdue ended last season on a high note with a bowl win over Tennessee and ending 9-4 while Penn State suffered a down year under James Franklin finishing 7-6. Both teams kickoff 2022 similarly as they return their starting QBs from last season Sean Clifford (PSU) and Aidan O’Connell (PUR) but loose their top receiving options to the NFL draft in Jahan Dotson (PSU) and David Bell (PUR). Penn State and Sean Clifford have the clear talent advantage against the Boilermakers but having an experienced O’Connell under center could be the saving grace for Purdue as I’m sure he will test the talented Penn State secondary including Joey Potter Jr. I believe Penn State will come out victorious in this game but I’m not in love with the hook on a key number. I expect points to be at a premium Thursday night.
The Play: Under 53
- #13 NC State (0-0) at East Carolina (0-0)
When: 9/3 at 12 ET
Line: NCST -11.5
NC State comes into 2022 looking to build off of a 9-3 2021 campaign. QB Devin Leary returns for his redshirt junior season as he looks to lead the Wolfpack to a hopeful ACC championship game. Leary has all of the tools he needs as a quarterback with a cannon attached to his shoulder able to make all of the throws. NC State brings back a veteran team as they are returning 10 starters on offense and 7 starters on defense. State will have their hands full on defense as East Carolina returns their top 2 WRs along with their QB and starting RB from 2021. I believe this game has the looks of being close at the start but the Wolfpack will pull away at the end to give us the cover.
The Play: NC State -11.5
- North Carolina (1-0) at Appalachian State (0-0)
When: 9/3 at 12 ET
Line: UNC -1.5
The two North Carolina teams look to face off Saturday in what should be a high scoring thriller. North Carolina is bouncing back after a down year and losing their starting QB Sam Howell to the NFL Draft. Highly touted QB Drake Maye made his first start this year in Week 0 logging nearly 300 yards in the air and 5 touchdowns passing. QB Chase Brice returns for Appalachian State looking to build off of a solid 10-4 season last year. North Carolina put up 56 in their first game this season while giving up over 20 to a Florida A&M team that was severely short on players for this game. While I don’t expect North Carolina to be as efficient on offense as they were last week I do see them scoring in the 30s while an Appalachian State team is sure to put up as much as Florida A&M did the week prior. I like the Tar Heels to win a close one but would rather play the total.
The Play: Over 56
- #11 Oregon (0-0) at #3 Georgia
When: 9/3 at 3:30 ET (Atlanta, GA)
Line: UGA -17
The 2021 National Champion Georgia Bulldogs look to start their repeat campaign against some familiar foes as Oregon is lead by transfer QB Bo Nix formerly of Auburn and new HC Dan Lanning former Defensive Coordinator of Georgia last year. Kirby Smart has a slight competitive advantage in this game both from gameplanning against Bo Nicks for the previous 3 years and from understand what Lanning will want to do both on offense and defense. UGA is replacing a lot of talent on the defensive side of the ball but when you consistently have Top 5 recruiting classes aids in replacing that talent. UGA is returning a lot of talent with returning QB Stetson Bennet. Bennett is not the most talented QB out there but knows how to operate OC Todd Monken’s offense and get the ball in their playmakers hands. Definitely doesn’t hurt that this “mutual site” game will have 90% UGA fans in the stands.
The Pick: UGA -17
- #23 Cincinnati (0-0) at #19 Arkansas (0-0)
When: 9/3 at 3:30
Line: ARK -6
Cincinnati was America’s darlings last year as Cinderella finally got her chance to go to the big dance. An impressive season came up empty as they lost to Alabama in the semifinals. Unfortunately, the NFL Draft decimated this Bearcats team as they lose their starting QB, RB, WR, and plenty more in the back end of their defense. The Razorbacks also took a hit in the draft as they lost their star WR Treylon Burks. The advantage they have is that QB KJ Jefferson has some experience under his belt leading Arkansas to an impressive 9-4 record last year. Alabama gave a good blueprint to this hard nosed football team that if you are able to be patient you can run the ball on the Bearcats. KJ has developed nicely as a passer but still is a tremendous threat with his legs as well The pigs are going to be hungry this time of year.
The Play: Arkansas -6
- #7 Utah (0-0) at Florida (0-0)
When: 9/3 at 7 ET
Line: UTAH -3
There’s a new regime down in Gainesville as Dan Mullen is out and former Louisiana Lafayette HC Billy Napier is in. Billy Napier was an excellent hire for the Gators as he was able to turn ULL’s football program into something not to be overlooked. The biggest question for the Gators in this game and year is QB Anthony Richardson. You can often find Richardson in the top end of 2023 NFL mock drafts as he has all of the tools to be prolific. Besides Georgia, I believe Utah is one of the toughest defenses that Florida will face all year. Utah travels across the country to The Swamp with returning QB Cameron Rising and RB Tavion Thomas who showed off what their offense could do in last year’s Rose Bowl game against Ohio State. I like the Gators to keep this one close but love the crowd to impact this game even more.
The Pick: Under 51
- Utah State (1-0) at #1 Alabama (0-0)
When: 9/3 at 7:30 ET
Line: ALA -41.5
In no way, shape, or form will this game be close on Saturday at Bryant Denny but selfishly as an Alabama graduate and with a weak slate for Week One, I had to write about my favorite team. Alabama had the luxury of watching and scouting their opponent as Utah State played UConn in their Week 0 opening game. Utah State played an inferior opponent and while the scoreboard may have shown a win by 11 it was none too impressive for those watching. Alabama is currently the favorite next to Ohio State to win the National Championship this year and is lead by Heisman winning Quarterback Bryce Young. The offense has a few question marks as leading receivers Jameson Williams and John Metchie are now playing on Sunday’s but to revamp the offensive room Bama brought in 3 electric transfers in Jahmyr Gibbs from Georgia Tech, Jermaine Burton from Georgia, and Tyler Harrell from Louisville. Expect all 3 players to have pivotal roles this year for the Tide but especially RB Jahmyr Gibbs as he brings a different element than we are accustomed. On defense, Will Anderson and Dallas Turner are both poised to have outstanding years as Anderson is a projected Top 5 pick in next years NFL Draft. I expect this Bama team to put up north of 50 points and for the defense to not let Utah State into double digits.
The Play: Alabama -41.5
- #5 Notre Dame (0-0) at #2 Ohio State (0-0)
When: 9/3 at 7:30
Line: OSU -17
Ryan Day and Ohio State enter the 2022 season as one of the most dynamic offenses in the country. Led by CJ Stroud, Ohio State has on offense that will keep Defensive Coordinators up at night with WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba and RB Treveyon Henderson. This Buckeyes team will have no issue putting up points throughout the season, but the main concern is will their defense take the step forward that it needs this year? Ohio State brings over DC Jim Knowles who was the DC for Oklahoma State last year as they were able to have one of the top defenses in the nation. Losing Kyle Hamilton to the NFL Draft, Notre Dame’s defense will have their hands full all day, but the offense will have their chances to test this young and new defense. Top TE prospect Michael Mayer will be hungry to keep this Irish team in the game. I expect fireworks up in the Shoe this weekend with Ohio State running away with this one.
The Play: Over 59
- Florida State (1-0) at LSU (0-0)
When: 9/4 at 7:30 ET (New Orleans, LA)
Line: LSU -3
A rather rapid downfall to the LSU and Coach O experience after their historic 2019 National Championship season results in Brian Kelly taking over the helm down in Baton Rouge. Brian Kelly is thrilled that his first game as a coach of the Tigers is at a neutral site game down the road in New Orleans and should expect to provide a home field advantage for his club come Sunday night. Projected QB Jayden Daniels has all of the weapons he could ask for with this LSU team and will look to re-spark what was looking to be an exciting career for the QB starting when he was a true freshman. Meanwhile, Mike Norvell enters a pivotal 3rd season as HC for Florida State. The team was able to start their season off with a win Week 0 behind 2 electric RBs in Trey Benson and Treshaun Ward. I expect Norvell to help limit mistakes by Jordan Travis by controlling the ground game. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the lone game. Sunday night – Geaux Tigers.
The Play: LSU -3