Finally it is that time of year, the return of of college football. O.k. to be honest there was college football on Saturday when FCS teams Eastern Washington and Sam Houston State played and on Wednesday night Georgia State faced Abilene Christian.
Nearly the rest of the college football world begins play this Thursday through Monday. This weekend offers a plethora of intriguing games with some big matchups sprinkled in the mix as well.
Now that my daughter is sleeping through the night (fingers crossed), I hope I will have time to do weekly picks once more. The upside is having a daughter now, if my picks go badly I can let her make them.
Here are this week's picks (starting with Mississippi teams) with the winners in bold:
Mississippi versus Boise State (Thursday/7 pm/ESPN)
This game is going to be played in the Georgia Dome as Boise State makes the long distance trip. The Broncos are one of the last mid-majors not to have moved to a bigger conference. The Rebels get a national audience to announce to the rest of the country all those recruits have arrived.
Boise State finally lost head coach Chris Petersen and replaced him with Bryan Harsin former BSU quarterback and offensive coordinator. The Broncos have slipped a bit recently from the height of their mid-major power.
Mississippi is one of the trendy choices for dark horse in the SEC this season. The Rebels will have more talent on the field and should blow this game open in the second half.
Boise State will keep this game close but they don't have the talent to win as Mississippi is a better team.
Southern Miss at Mississippi State (Saturday/6:30 pm/SEC Network)
Southern Miss might be on the right track under Todd Monken and on road back to where neither state SEC wanted to play them. Mississippi State has slowly built an impressive squad under Dan Mullen.
The Bulldogs have more talent but expect the Golden Eagles to put up a fight for a half. Brighter days are ahead for Southern Miss but not this Saturday. Bulldogs will roll.
Florida A&M at Jackson State (Saturday/6 pm)
These two teams haven't met in a decade. Florida A&M is coming off a losing season and Jackson State is breaking in a new head coach and quarterback.
This game will be close but the Tigers are at home. The Rattlers are going to be a tough out but I trust in JSU.
Virginia University at Lynchburg at Alcorn State (Saturday/4 pm)
Alcorn State wins. In fact, the Braves win big...very big.
University of Faith at Mississippi Valley State (Saturday/4 pm)
The Delta Devils start the Rick Comegy era off with a big win.
Belhaven at Texas College
Just a gut feeling, I'm picking the Blazers.
Texas A&M at South Carolina (Thursday/5 pm/SEC Network)
The Gamecocks are replacing the number one pick in the NFL draft Jadeveon Clowney and the Aggies are replacing quarterback Johnny Manziel. South Carolina is at home and not replacing a Heisman winning quarterback but Texas A&M will keep this game interesting until the end.
Wake Forest at Louisiana-Monroe (Thursday/6 pm/ESPNU)
Could the ACC get taken down by the Sun Belt? This is a field goal game and the Warhawks are at home.....
Rutgers at Washington State (Thursday/9 pm/Fox Sports 1)
The Scarlet Knights are now a part of the Big Ten and are starting off against a Pac-12 with a 10 pm eastern time kickoff. The Big Ten has taken a beating in public perception. This game won't help.
Penn State versus UCF (Saturday/7:30 am/ESPN2/
Wake up with college football from Ireland if it isn't interrupted by a volcano. Penn State breaks in a second new coach this decade with former Vanderbilt coach James Franklin taking the helm. UCF wants to prove they aren't a one hit wonder. This game is should be good.
Ohio State at Navy (Saturday/11 am/CBS Sports Network)
Ohio State begins life without quarterback Braxton Miller. Navy is Navy so expect plenty of the option. The Buckeyes should win this game but the Midshipmen aren't going to make it an easy win.
UCLA at Virginia (Saturday/11 am/ESPN)
UCLA is the better team but Virginia has the big home field advantage. The Bruins travel across country for a game that is going kickoff at 9 am pacific time. That gives the Cavaliers an advantage in this game. If Virginia can get jump out to a lead before UCLA wakes up...it could be a huge upset to start the season.
West Virginia versus Alabama (Saturday/2:30 pm/ABC
Alabama under Nick Saban so far hasn't had to rebuild but just reload. West Virginia will put up a fight but the Tide will roll.
Arkansas at Auburn (Saturday/3 pm/SEC Network)
Arkansas is rebuilding and Auburn hopes for a return trip title game. The Tigers should win this game.
Clemson at Georgia (Saturday/4:30 pm/ESPN)
What a difference a year makes. Last year, this was one of the biggest games of the opening Saturday in college football. This year's game doesn't have the same luster. A ton of talent from both teams are in the NFL now. The Bulldogs get revenge against the Tigers.
Fresno State at USC (Saturday/6:30 pm/Fox)
The Bulldogs are another mid-major that has failed to find a major conference to join. Fresno State gets a chance to beat one of the big boys and their only chance to prove they belong in the playoff.
USC has suspended their star cornerback for lying about how he injured himself and is breaking in a new coach. Many think the Trojans will be a force in the Pac-12 but not ready to win the conference. This game will be a test.
Oklahoma State versus Florida State (Saturday/7 pm/ABC)
The Big-12 really needs to win some of the these big nonconference games to improve its playoff perceptions. The Cowboys are going to have a struggle scoring against and stopping Florida State.
The Seminoles are the defending champs and can't afford to slip out of the gate in a weak ACC. This game should be close for a half then Florida State rolls.
Wisconsin versus LSU (Saturday/8 pm/ESPN)
This game could go along way to helping the winner get into the new playoff. It might be the biggest game of the weekend.
LSU keeps losing talent to the NFL and keeps reloading. Wisconsin is always solid.
My thoughts are the Badgers keep this game close before the Tigers talent takes over in the second half. The Big Ten would love a win over the SEC to hang over the conference on the internet.
Miami at Louisville (Monday/7 pm/ESPN)
The Hurricanes should be pretty tough this season. If anyone in the ACC is going to trip up Florida State in the ACC it will be Miami or Louisville.
The Cardinals breaking in a new quarterback and a new/old coach. Louisville won't have Teddy Bridgewater but does have Bobby Petrino returning to the sidelines.
Miami is starting a freshman quarterback so expect plenty of Duke Johnson carries. The Hurricanes get to welcome the Cardinals into the ACC.
Well, here are my picks. Feel free to comment below on your picks. Follow me at @jfpsports for thoughts, updates, and scores all college football season. Enjoy the games.