College Football Picks: Picking Games Week 1

College Football Picks: Picking Games Week 1

This article is part of our College Football Picks series.

The 2015 season is under way or better yet -- 2 AP (After Playoff).

Yes, year two under the new four-team playoff system is under way, but unlike last year, we actually have somewhat of an idea of what to expect come January.

We can expect that any undefeated team from a major conference will have a spot in the top 4, deserved or not.

We can expect controversy over that final spot, deserved or not.

We can expect a call for an eight-team playoff, followed by one for a 16-team playoff, deserved or not.

We can expect that any Big Ten team in the mix come late November will be mocked and ridiculed because of how bad the conference is, deserved or not.

We can expect a lot of hype an excitement for all three games involved in the playoff -- deserved.

As someone who was not in favor of a playoff prior to last year, I have to admit, I'm definitely a believer in the new system for two reasons: first, the level of excitement around each game was incredible; second, it didn't hinder the regular season in anyway. There were still do-or-die games during the regular season, sure not quite as many as usual, but still, the regular season remained relevant, which is all I really wanted.

Check that, I also wouldn't mind posting a win percentage higher than 75 percent, but we all know that's impossible ... or is it?

Seriously, I'll throw out the standard

The 2015 season is under way or better yet -- 2 AP (After Playoff).

Yes, year two under the new four-team playoff system is under way, but unlike last year, we actually have somewhat of an idea of what to expect come January.

We can expect that any undefeated team from a major conference will have a spot in the top 4, deserved or not.

We can expect controversy over that final spot, deserved or not.

We can expect a call for an eight-team playoff, followed by one for a 16-team playoff, deserved or not.

We can expect that any Big Ten team in the mix come late November will be mocked and ridiculed because of how bad the conference is, deserved or not.

We can expect a lot of hype an excitement for all three games involved in the playoff -- deserved.

As someone who was not in favor of a playoff prior to last year, I have to admit, I'm definitely a believer in the new system for two reasons: first, the level of excitement around each game was incredible; second, it didn't hinder the regular season in anyway. There were still do-or-die games during the regular season, sure not quite as many as usual, but still, the regular season remained relevant, which is all I really wanted.

Check that, I also wouldn't mind posting a win percentage higher than 75 percent, but we all know that's impossible ... or is it?

Seriously, I'll throw out the standard disclaimer again that the insight in this weekly article is simply that. I'm not getting rich or going broke playing on all these games, this is simply meant to give you a different perspective on the college football slate. If I happen to get on a roll, which usually happens a few times a year, then great. If it goes the other, then that's the way it goes. You guys know the drill.

Another disclaimer, Week 1 of the college football season is incredibly tough. Unless you have local insight to all of these teams, it's difficult to get a read on how each and every team will come out of the gates. With that in mind, the number of picks for Week 1 will be greatly reduced.

As always, I'll tweet any insights I come up with post-article each week. You can follow me at @gregvara

CREAM OF THE CROP

Saturday

Virginia at UCLA: UCLA is one team we've heard a lot about this offseason, and that's because of heavily hyped freshman QB Josh Rosen. UCLA returns a lot of talent this season, but in case you missed a key part of the first sentence, I'll reiterate -- a freshman QB is at the helm for UCLA. Virginia normally brings a stout defense, and if that holds true this season, the Cavaliers should be able to confuse Rosen just enough to force a couple mistakes and keep this game close.

Side: Virginia +19

BEST OF THE REST

Saturday

ASU at Texas A&M: I generally shy away from overs early in the season, but something about this game is yelling out, "points!" Maybe it's just that Texas A&M is involved or maybe I'm buying into the ASU hype a bit too much. Whatever the case, the number here is high, but not absurdly high.

Total: Over 69.5

Bowling Green at Tennessee:
Tennessee is getting of a lot of love heading into the season and most of that is due to the young group of talented players on offense. I have no doubt the Vols will put up a lot of points this week, but I'm not sure they are ready to cover a number north of three TDs. With that in mind, let's just take the over with the hope that Bowling Green will score some points as well.

Total: Over 69

PASSing THOUGHTS

Saturday

Texas at Notre Dame: Something about this number seems off. Yes, I realize that Texas is not the Texas of old, but the Horns made some solid strides late in the season last year, which should carry into this season.

Side: Texas +9.5

Wisconsin vs. Alabama:
This is not a home game for Alabama, but I expect the support from the stands to be heavily slanted toward the Tide. While that may have a small impact on the game, I'm leaning Bama on this one because of the way Wisconsin has come out of the gates in years past. Yes, every year is different, but for whatever the reason, the Badgers seem to start slowly, then build up to their inevitable New Year's Day bowl game.

Side: Alabama -13

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Greg Vara
Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the FSWA Golf Writer of the Year in 2005 and 2013. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.
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