SATURDAY, AUGUST 30
Troy (+2 1/2) at UAB, noon, Fox Sports Go
Troy hit a down patch over the last couple years, but the Trojans have a way of bouncing back. UAB has been a ship adrift for a while now.
Osborne’s pick: The (other) Men of Troy pull a very mild upset.
California (+11) at Northwestern, 3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2
After Northwestern lost a tough game to Ohio State last season, the Wildcats lost that game about five more times, as nothing seemed to go right in the fourth quarter throughout the Big Ten schedule. But Pat Fitzgerald won’t let things fall completely to pieces, and Cal hasn’t shown much lately.
Osborne’s pick: Northwestern covers the 11 points at home.
Florida Atlantic (+21 1/2) at Nebraska, 3:30 p.m., Big Ten Network
I have no logical reason for my pick beyond this: When can you get Nebraska giving this small an amount of points to such a sorry opponent? Seems like a bargain and a recipe for a huge opening day blowout.
Osborne’s pick: Blackshirts roll over Florida Atlantic by more than 21 1/2 points.
Alabama (-26 1/2) vs. West Virginia (at Atlanta), 3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2
When Nick Saban goes into the opener and says he will play both his quarterbacks, he must be pretty sure his team is going to roll. Who knew losing Rich Rodriguez could actually HURT a program?
Osborne’s pick: Pain … and the Tide rolling by four scores or more.
Arkansas (+19) at Auburn, 4 p.m., SEC Network
Am I taking the Hogs with the points against the national runner-up? Yes, I am. Nick Marshall won’t start but he may get the “Errict Rhett Two-Down Suspension” made famous by Steve Spurrier. Still, I like Arkansas’ running game to keep this one close enough.