College football is back, and it couldn’t return soon enough.
The only drawback to Week 1 in college football is that half the games pit elite teams against lowly FBS teams or worse. But no matter, there are plenty of interesting games to handicap as the college weekend stretches to five days with the NFL out of real action for more week.
As for a quick word about me: I’ve been picking college football for the last seven years for The Trentonian (N.J.) and voting for the Heisman for five years.
My record last season against the spread was 119-99-3, giving me my second good year in a row. For full disclosure, I was just a hair under .500 for the five years prior combined.
But enough talk. Let’s get to business.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 28
Texas A&M (+11) at South Carolina, 6 p.m., SEC Network
The Aggies have several big holes to fill on offense, and Columbia is not a comfortable place to do so. Last season the Aggies had the worst defense in the SEC, and the Gamecocks will make them pay.
Osborne’s pick: South Carolina covers the 11 points at home.
Tulane (+6 1/2) at Tulsa, 8 p.m., CBS Sports Network
The Green Wave improved last season, but they’re not the same team on the road. Tulsa, meanwhile, was a little down last year but is due for a bounce back. This is one of my top picks of the week for sure with the Golden Hurricane needing only a one-TD win.
Osborne’s pick: Tulsa easily covers 6 1/2 points.
Ole Miss (-10) vs. Boise State (at Atlanta), 8 p.m., ESPN
I like both teams here, and while Ole Miss is expected to be a contender in the SEC West, the Broncos have a lot of kids back and might be poised to get back into the national picture. Both teams will score and while I was leaning toward the Rebels, I’m going over-under instead.
Osborne’s pick: Over 54 points.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 29
Bowling Green (-8 1/2) at Western Kentucky, 7:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network
I don’t know why, but I love Bowling Green. The Falcons have a new coach, but they have been building a solid foundation for years. Last season, they covered the spread in all 10 of their wins, meaning they either bring it all or nothing every week. I’m counting on all.
Osborne’s pick: Bowling Green laying the 8 1/2 on the road.
Colorado (-3) vs. Colorado State (at Denver), 9 p.m., Fox Sports 1
The Buffaloes were a laughingstock a couple of years ago, but coach Mike MacIntyre is putting things together. The Buffs will have to keep improving to contend at all in the Pac-12, but they’ve got enough to handle this one.
Osborne’s pick: Colorado by more than a field goal.
Texas-San Antonio (+12) at Houston, 9 p.m., ESPNU
The Roadrunners have 20 starters back and most of them are seniors. If one of them was their longtime quarterback (the only one they’ve ever really had, Eric Soza), I would take the underdogs, but I’m just going to assume it will be a shootout.