Imagine living deep in the Midwest for a moment: There is no ocean, no palm trees playing in the warm equator sun, no golden heaps of soft sand. Instead, hard fields are stretching for miles and miles, and even though it is summer, you can already feel the promise of another brutal winter. Fortunately, there is a light at the end of the tunnel - You are on the Wisconsin Badgers football team, and this year, your season starts in sunny Florida!
Now imagine you arrive right before what could be a record hurricane. They won’t lose a home, but that is a bummer for the Badgers.
Anyways, here is The College Five.
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs vs. (10) Texas Longhorns - Texas favored by 19.5
This matchup is more of a “prove it” game for Texas than a thrilling clash of titans (no offense Bulldogs). But the past two seasons, a highly hyped Longhorns team has dropped season openers to Maryland. Not exactly inspiring.
Pair those slow starts with Louisiana Tech’s sneaky-good secondary, which ranked 29th in passing yards allowed per game and snagged 14 interceptions a season ago, and the potential for disaster mounts.
A fast start from Texas will differentiate this season from years past; which begins and ends with the confidence of the signal-caller.
Sam Ehlinger is in the Heisman discussion, and the Longhorns are setting themselves up for a run at the Big 12 title following their impressive victory in last season’s Sugar Bowl.
Once the offense kicked out of its slow start, Texas averaged 31.8 points per game. Getting the ball rolling from the jump will be crucial for Ehlinger and company.
Texas wins 33-20
(19) Wisconsin Badgers vs. South Florida Bulls - Wisconsin favored by 11
After the loss of quarterback Alex Hornibrook to the Florida State Seminoles, the offense somehow became even more Jonathan Taylor centric. The Heisman hopeful is going to be looking down the barrel of 280 to 300 touches this year: Enter, the Taylor show.
For the Bulls, quarterback Blake Barnett hangs onto his top receiver and his 1,000-yard tailback headed into 2019. On defense, three of last year’s top five tacklers return, along with interception leader Nick Roberts.
Despite the Taylor show, South Florida is running back too much talent to drop this home game against a midlevel Wisconsin squad.
South Florida wins 30-21
9) Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Louisville Cardinals - Notre Dame favored by 19
The simple facts: Louisville’s defense will be as horrendous as it was last season. Notre Dame is returning lots of talent on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Ian Book’s development as a passer was ahead of schedule last year, which means he could potentially blow the doors off some teams in 2019. This has all the makings of a bad loss, but it’s a vanilla week one slate, so we watch anyways.
Notre Dame wins 38-13
(11) Oregon Ducks vs. (16) Auburn Tigers - Auburn favored by 3.5
All that matters is Justin Herbert. All they will talk about is Justin Herbert. All they will show you is Justin Herbert. It seems the nation has already chosen its champion from the much maligned, and often forgotten Pac-12 conference.
So for Stanford fans, this is a coin flip between hoping that a Pac-12 team brings some national attention to the conference or watch Oregon get humiliated (I don’t like it either).
Oregon wins 28-26
Houston Cougars vs. (4) Oklahoma Sooners - Oklahoma favored by 23
UPSET ALERT - Who is ready for the D’Eriq King show?! I know I am! King collected 50 total touchdowns in 10 and-a-half games last season, beaten only by Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins (both played full seasons).
Now he is back. A monster from Houston is up against transfer quarterback Jalen Hurts, in what is already one of the best games of the season, gifted to us by the football gods in week one. In what is sure to be a monsoon of points, the edge goes to the more talented passer: King.
He launches his Heisman campaign here.
Houston wins 51-47