College football picks: Who wins Week 1's biggest games?

Saturday, August 31, 2019

It's finally Week 1, and ESPN's college football experts' picks are here to kick it off. We'll start things off with the BYU-Utah rivalry on Thursday night, a big SEC-Pac 12 measuring stick between Auburn and Oregon on Saturday, and an intriguing matchup on Sunday night as Jalen Hurts and Oklahoma take on D'Eriq King and Houston with new coach Dana Holgorsen. (Lines courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook)

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North Carolina-South Carolina | Florida State-Boise State | Oregon-Auburn | Houston-Oklahoma

No. 14 Utah at BYU

Time: Thursday, 10:15 p.m. ET


Line: Utah -6


Edward Aschoff: Tyler Huntley added 25 good pounds over the offseason, which will make him and RB Zack Moss just too much for BYU to stop. Utah 31-17

Bill Connelly: Two things we know about this series: it's always close, and Utah always wins. Utah 27-26

David M. Hale: BYU found something in QB Zach Wilson, who completed 67% of his passes with eight touchdowns and one interception in his final four games last season. BYU 28-27

Sam Khan Jr.: The Utes haven't lost a season opener in a dozen years; Huntley will ensure they extend that. Utah 34-28

Chris Low: Some see the Utes as a surprise College Football Playoff team, but the Cougars will be the ones doing the surprising in a shocker. BYU 27, Utah 24

Ivan Maisel: A Holy War shouldn't be played in August, but I'm just glad they're playing at all. Utah 31-20

Mark Schlabach: The Utes are going to win the Holy War -- and a Pac-12 title. Utah 28-17


Andrea Adelson: Utah 27-17

David Bearman: Utah 24-17

Kyle Bonagura: Utah 35-10

Heather Dinich: Utah 35-28

Doug Kezirian: Utah 27-17

Preston Johnson: Utah 27-24

Adam Rittenberg: Utah 27-19

Alex Scarborough: Utah 27-17

Mark Schlabach: Utah 28-17

South Carolina vs. North Carolina (in Charlotte)

Time: Saturday, 3:30 ET


Line: South Carolina -10.5


Andrea Adelson: Jake Bentley will have a big say in spoiling Mack Brown's return to the Tar Heels. South Carolina 30-17

David Bearman: Give me the team going against the new (sort of) head coach and true freshman QB, Sam Howell. South Carolina 20-10

David M. Hale: Mack Brown proves that working in the media makes you smarter. North Carolina 27-24

Preston Johnson: The Gamecocks are the superior team across the board; UNC could surprise this season but not on Saturday. South Carolina 34-27

Sam Khan Jr.: The Gamecocks' brutal schedule makes this one a must-win. South Carolina 31-23

Adam Rittenberg: South Carolina needs this one, given the upcoming schedule; A strong first half spoils Brown's return. South Carolina 34-24

Mark Schlabach: Remember when Muschamp was Mack's coach-in-waiting at Texas? South Carolina 21-17


Edward Aschoff: South Carolina 27-20

Kyle Bonagura: South Carolina 28-24

Bill Connelly: South Carolina 34-17

Heather Dinich: South Carolina 31-20

Doug Kezirian: South Carolina 38-20

Chris Low: South Carolina 30-23

Ivan Maisel: South Carolina 27-10

Alex Scarborough: South Carolina 34-24

Boise State at Florida State

Time: Saturday, 7 ET


Line: Florida State -5


Edward Aschoff: Freshman QB Hank Bachmeier will take plenty of lumps, but Boise's tremendous defense will force James Blackman into mistakes. Boise State 23-17

David Bearman: If FSU's offensive line can give Blackman some time to get the ball to his weapons, I'll be wrong here. Boise State 30-29

Kyle Bonagura: Boise State might be the best Group of 5 team in the country, but FSU's talent is too much to overcome. Florida State 34-31

Preston Johnson: With the storm, we might not even see 49 points scored (or the real Kendal Briles offense). But the Seminoles bounce back in 2019. Florida State 28-21

Ivan Maisel: Tallahassee in August is tougher than the blue turf ever was. Florida State 28-24

Alex Scarborough: I saw too much of the FSU defense last season -- or too little -- to believe the Noles can hold off the Broncos. Boise State 35-24

Mark Schlabach: I know one thing: Willie Taggart better not lose this one. Florida State 31-27


Andrea Adelson: Florida State 31-28

Bill Connelly: Florida State 28-20

Heather Dinich: Florida State 24-21

David M. Hale: Florida State 35-24

Doug Kezirian: Florida State 28-20

Sam Khan Jr.: Florida State 38-28

Chris Low: Florida State 27-21

Adam Rittenberg: Boise State 23-21

No. 11 Oregon vs. No. 16 Auburn (in Arlington, Texas)

Time: Saturday, 7:30 ET


Line: Auburn -3.5


Edward Aschoff: WR injuries are worrisome for the Ducks, but that defense will take advantage of the inexperience of Auburn QB Bo Nix. Oregon 24-21

David Bearman: Oregon went 1-3 vs top-25 defenses last year and Auburn was 16th last year. Give me the SEC team. Auburn 31-28

Kyle Bonagura: The Ducks (and the Pac-12) avoid what would be a significantly deflating way to start the year. Oregon 31-28

Doug Kezirian: I trust Auburn in this high-profile spot much more than I do Mario Cristobal. Auburn 30-20

Chris Low: In a classic OL-DL showdown, Derrick Brown and Auburn's defensive front will pluck the Ducks. Auburn 30-21

Adam Rittenberg: Justin Herbert makes the difference and Oregon's playmaking secondary picks off Nix late. Oregon 28-24

Mark Schlabach: Yeah, I'm going with a freshman (Nix) over a potential NFL No. 1 pick (Herbert). Auburn 27-21


Andrea Adelson: Oregon 24-21

Bill Connelly: Auburn 24-20

Heather Dinich: Oregon 28-17

David M. Hale: Oregon 31-17

Sam Khan Jr.: Auburn 27-20

Preston Johnson: Auburn 30-24

Ivan Maisel: Oregon 24-17

Alex Scarborough: Oregon 24-16

Houston at No. 4 Oklahoma

Time: Sunday, 7:30 ET


Line: Oklahoma -23


Andrea Adelson: Jalen Hurts will pick up where Kyler Murray and Baker Mayfield left off. OU 44-35

Bill Connelly: A Lincoln Riley-Dana Holgorsen game shouldn't legally be allowed to finish with under 75 points. OU 45-31

Heather Dinich: No, this is the Sooners' improved defense. OU will get pushed to the brink by Houston QB D'Eriq King, but its running game will be the difference. OU 42-38

Preston Johnson: I like the under 83 in this Week 1 matchup. My projection is 77.8, and there is upside to an under with Hurts in his first start. OU 48-27

Doug Kezirian: Respect to Lincoln Riley, but I just cannot fathom Hurts running this pass-heavy offense smoothly and covering such a huge number. OU 38-30

Ivan Maisel: The important debut belongs to DC Alex Grinch, not Hurts. OU 47-24

Alex Scarborough: A starter again with something to prove, Hurts will reassert his star power. OU 42-20


Edward Aschoff: OU 38-24

David Bearman: OU 41-10

Kyle Bonagura: OU 42-31

David M. Hale: OU 48-42

Sam Khan Jr.: OU 48-27

Chris Low: OU 41-17

Adam Rittenberg: OU 49-31

Mark Schlabach: OU 52-34

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