2010 College Football Week 1 Preview

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
2010 College Football Week 1


Carrie Stroup here for Gambling911.com with your 2010 College Football Week 1 preview, courtesy of Sportsbook.com.

The 2010 college football season kicks off in less than two days. Who are the contenders and who are the pretenders this season? Last year’s preseason AP Top 25 consisted of Oklahoma (3), Oklahoma State (9), California (12) and Georgia (13). None of the four finished the season in the Top 25. Traditional powerhouses Florida State (18) and Notre Dame (23) were also ranked to start the season and both schools finished with six losses apiece. On the flip side, Cincinnati was unranked, but managed an unbeaten regular season. Pittsburgh, Wisconsin and Miami also went from unranked in the preseason, to top-20 ranked teams at season’s end.

Correctly predicting which teams will fall under each category can go a long way to increasing your football betting bankroll at Sportsbook.com.

One of the best ways to determine a team’s worth is to look at how many starters return, especially at the quarterback position.

But bettors can’t simply assume that all static teams not undergoing major changes and returning the majority of its starters will automatically improve this year. Rice returns 18 starters from a team that went 2-10 last year and Syracuse returns 20 starters from a team that was 1-6 against Big East squads. These records are due to poor or inefficient head coaches, coordinators and players, especially the QBs.

To determine which games were the largest mismatches in terms of experience, we added all offensive and defensive returning starters and gave a bonus point to teams with the same starting quarterback.

For Week 1, 14 of the 39 games have a comparative experience advantage of at least five. Here are those games along with our opinions to the degree that the experience differential will matter. The point spreads shown were those available when we went to press.

Arkansas St - Off: 2, Def: 3

Auburn - Off: 7, Def: 8

Advantage: Auburn +10

Spread: Auburn –30

Auburn has a monstrous experience advantage, with a +5 factor on both sides of the ball. Auburn has a new JUCO transfer QB Cameron Newton (6-6, 247) who can hurt you on the ground or in the air. Arkansas State may not have the firepower to keep up with the Tigers, but the Red Wolves have a tendency to keep games close, losing three games by just a field goal last year. But those were against Sun Belt foes, not SEC teams. Expect Auburn to cover the hefty spread.

Boise State - Off: 10*, Def: 10 vs.

Virginia Tech - Off: 8*, Def: 4

Advantage: Boise State +8

Spread: Boise State -3

This is where the experience factor really comes into play. In a game with two explosive offenses and sound defense, which team do you pick? This contest will be played on a “neutral” FedEx Field in Washington, DC, but that is a heck of a lot closer to Virginia than Idaho. The Hokies’ loss of seven defensive starters could loom large against such a dynamic and creative offensive attack. Va Tech lost three starters in their secondary and Kellen Moore (39 TD, 3 INT) will exploit any mismatches he sees. Time to jump onto the Boise bandwagon and pick the Broncos.

Tulsa - Off: 9*, Def: 5

East Carolina - Off: 5, Def: 2

Advantage: Tulsa +8

Spread: Tulsa –7.5

Tulsa’s huge experience advantage could be the deciding factor in this difficult game to predict. The Golden Hurricane returns nine starters on offense, including QB G.J. Kinne and RB Jahmad Williams. In addition to ECU losing 15 starters, it is also replacing its head coach and offensive coordinator and switching to a spread offense. Although it is tempting to take the home underdog, there is too much instability for ECU to win SU or ATS against a quality team like Tulsa.

Washington St - Off: 8*, Def: 9

Oklahoma St - Off: 6, Def: 4

Advantage: Washington St. +8

Spread: Oklahoma St –14.5

WSU has a decided advantage in the experience department, but OSU is a big home favorite. The Cowboys try to replace QB Zac Robinson with 26-year-old junior Brandon Weeding. He has fared well in his brief college career (16-27, 256 yds, 4 TD, 1 INT), but will have four new O-Linemen. On the defensive side of the ball, the Cowboys don’t have much left. WSU signal-caller Jeff Tuel was adequate last year (71-121, 789 yds, 6 TD, 5 INT), and we suggest taking the experienced Cougars getting the points.

Miami (OH) - Off: 9*, Def: 9

Florida - Off: 6, Def: 5

Advantage: Miami (OH) +8

Spread: Florida –35

It’s difficult to give an experience advantage to a Miami (OH) program that has lost 21 of its last 24 contests. Florida lost a ton, but the Gators still have a whole host of future NFL players on the roster, including strong-armed QB John Brantley. RedHawks sophomore QB Zac Dysert may never face a better defense in his life, but if he can get protection, he has two good senior wideouts, Armand Robinson and Jamal Rogers. Brantley will lead Florida to a 40-point blowout win. 

Illinois - Off: 5, Def: 7

Missouri - Off: 9*, Def: 9

Advantage: Missouri +7

Spread: Missouri –13

Mizzou has a huge experience advantage in this game with +5 on the offensive side and +2 on the defensive side. Only three current collegians (C.Keenum, T.Potts, R.Mallett) tallied more passing YPG than Tigers QB Blaine Gabbert’s 276 pass YPG. Defensive ends Jacquies Smith and Aldon Smith anchor a defense that only lost two starters. Illinois has six new coaches and a freshman QB, Nathan Scheelhaase. All these factors lead to Mizzou winning and covering the Arch Rivalry.

Texas - Off: 6, Def: 7

Rice - Off: 9*, Def: 9

Advantage: Rice +6

Spread: Texas –28

This contest is one where the experience factor is more of a detriment than an asset. Rice returns 18 starters from a team that went 2-10 last year. When you consider the program stability of Texas, the Owls’ experience factor is nullified. Texas lost a lot with QB Colt McCoy, WR Jordan Shipley, DE/LB Sergio Kindle and DB Earl Thomas, but the Longhorns have good players to fill those voids, like QB Garrett Gilbert. Texas will win by at least 35 points in front of a Longhorn partisan crowd.

Washington - Off: 10*, Def: 6

BYU - Off: 6, Def: 6

Advantage: Washington +5

Spread: BYU -3

Returning starters experience is very significant in this matchup. Washington is a program on the rise with superstar QB Jake Locker. BYU lost its two top offensive players, QB Max Hall and RB Harvey Unga, who left following an honor code violation. The Cougars will begin the season with a 2-QB system with junior Riley Nelson and freshman Jake Heaps. BYU traditionally boasts a strong passing attack, but there will certainly be an adjustment period for two QBs. The Huskies are the pick here.

Wisconsin - Off: 6*, Def: 5

UNLV - Off: 8*, Def: 8

Advantage: UNLV +5

Spread: Wisconsin –20.5

UNLV has an experience edge in this contest, but Wisconsin has superior talent, most notably QB Scott Tolzien (16 TD) and RB John Clay (1,517 yards). Wisconsin lost some bodies on defense but it still has superior players on defense too, most notably LB Chris Borland and CB Niles Brinkley. UNLV ranked 115th in total defense last year, allowing a monstrous 456 YPG, but new Rebels head coach Bobby Hauck has been hired to fix the their 115th-ranked defense. Take the Badgers and lay the wood.

North Texas - Off: 10*, Def: 8

Clemson - Off: 7*, Def: 6

Advantage: North Texas +5

Spread: Clemson –23.5

North Texas has the advantage in experience, but the Mean Green do not have the depth and talent of Clemson. The Tigers lost their best player in RB C.J. Spiller, but they still have enough talent to handle the large spread. Both teams’ quarterbacks return and RB Lance Dunbar (1,378 yards, 17 TD, 6.9 yds per carry) is the best player for North Texas. North Texas must take better care of the football (minus-14 in turnovers last year) if it wants to keep this close. Clemson is the pick here.

Northern Illinois - Off: 8*, Def: 9

Iowa State - Off: 8*, Def: 4

Advantage: Northern Illinois +5

Spread: Iowa State –3.5

The differential here is entirely on the defensive side. Iowa State loses seven from a team that allowed 416 total YPG (ranked 99th in nation). Northern Illinois only loses two players from a defense with better numbers than ISU’s. The Huskies allowed 330 YPG (30th in nation).

The Cyclones played against superior offensive teams in the Big 12 than NIU faced in the MAC. But this huge discrepancy in yardage allowed, more than makes up for this perceived talent gap. NIU is the pick ATS.

Florida Atlantic - Off: 3*, Def: 9

UAB - Off: 8*, Def: 9

Advantage: UAB +5

Spread: UAB –13.5

The differential here is entirely on the offensive side. Both teams lose their QBs, but Joe Webb contributed more to UAB as the team’s leading rusher than Rusty Smith did to FAU. Webb’s replacement David Isabelle has thrown only 14 passes as a collegiate, but Owls senior QB Jeff Van Camp, played 10 games (five starts) when Smith was hurt last year. FAU also returns its best RB Alfred Morris. Because the Owls have more skill-position depth than the Blazers, the difference here is nullified. Take the Owls ATS.

Arizona - Off: 10*, Def: 7

Toledo - Off: 6*, Def: 6

Advantage: Arizona +5

Spread: Arizona –14.5

Since there is little difference on defense, let’s focus on offense. Arizona only loses one player while Toledo loses five, including QB Aaron Opelt and RB DaJuane Collins. Opelt was clearly the star and leader of the Rockets. He will be replaced by sophomore Austin Dantin, who was decent in his five games (three starts) -- 79-119, 962 yds, 4 TD, 4 INT. Arizona keeps its two best players in QB Nick Foles and NB Nic Grigsby, which is enough reason to give the points on the road.

That’s a lot of information football fans, now get over to Sportsbook.com and place your bets.

Carrie Stroup, Gambling911.com Senior Reporter 

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