NCAA – Week 1 Top Matchups

Well the season is upon us! The week we have been waiting for since January 7th is here! Each week we will deliver you the top matchups for the week. We will review each matchup, give you the Win-share for the favored team, and finish with our own predictions.


North Carolina @ South Carolina (.55)
UNC Offense (4.25) v USC Defense (4.18): Look for South Carolina to control the line of scrimmage with a strong Defensive Line. There should be limited room for North Carolina to run the ball, as well as limited time to get passes off. However if Bryn Renner is able to get the ball out of his hands UNC should be able to put up yards and points on South Carolina’s Pass Defense (a relative weakness for their defense).


USC Offense (4.01) v UNC Defense (3.91): USC has a slight advantage in the trenches, however it is negligible. North Carolina’s defensive weakness is in the secondary, however South Carolina does not have the passing game to attack it. South Carolina will try to pound the ball and out-muscle North Carolina, they just may find that is harder to do than they think (or we think at least).


Steve: This game will be closer than most think however, South Carolina is not an easy place to win so I will give the nod to USC 28-24


Jason: I’m not sure South Carolina would be in the top 15 if they didn’t have Clowney distorting everyone’s vision. UNC has a top-10 offense that gets the ball out quickly and has pieces in the right places to beat South Carolina’s defense, which lacks depth. I think both teams score some points, but I’m going to differ with Steve and go UNC 34–31.


Mississippi St @ Oklahoma St (.55)
MSU Offense (3.68) v OSU Defense (3.95): Miss St has the advantage in the trenches but overall look for Ok St to put a hault to MSU’s passing attack. MSU advantage on the line of scrimmage may not be enough to get room for their skill position players.


OSU Offense (3.94) v MSU Defense (4.01): This is both teams strengths, so it should be a good matchup. MSU has a strong Defensive Line, where Oklahoma State’s strength is with their skill position players. MSU should dominate the line of scrimmage, however will they get a pass rush to slow down OSU’s passing attack?


Steve: Being in Stillwater is a big advantage for Oklahoma St. I’m going with another close matchup OSU 24-21


Jason: This should be a close game and an interesting contrast in styles. I’ve got OSU 28-23.


Virginia Tech v Alabama (.65)

Logan Thomas of Virginia Tech following his te...

Logan Thomas of Virginia Tech following his team’s loss to Clemson in October 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

VT Offense (4.2) v Bama Defense (4.59): Alabama has had one of the best defenses in the nation since Nick Saban arrived. This year will be no different. Alabama’s strength is in the back 7, VT’s strength is in the OL (a very experienced group). This will be an interesting matchup, VT should be able to hold the Bama pass rush at bay, but running the ball against Bama’s LB’s will be tough. Look for VT to try to establish 5th year QB Logan Thomas in the air and with his legs. VT has typically struggled with QB’s who can run.


Bama Offense (4.55) v VT Defense (4.14): Alabama has 4 new starters on the Offensive line, Virginia Tech has all 4 starters back (3 of them two year starters). However VT is not especially big. VT defense will pose problems for Bama Offensive Line. Alabama’s passing attack should be able to find some space (not much). Alabama will try to wear Virginia Tech down.


Steve: This game will be close and wouldn’t surpise me to see VT winning going into the 4th. However Alabama will wear them down and pull it out in the end Bama 28-21


Jason: I think Bama is going to have more trouble running the ball in this one than they had in any game last year, putting pressure on McCarron to win the game with his arm. If good Logan Thomas shows up, Virginia Tech could win this game despite not having a ton of talent around him. I’m expecting a game that looks much like the 2009 matchup between these programs where VaTech led going into the fourth but lacked the depth to close out the game. Bama wins, but looks vulnerable: Bama 27-24.


Georgia (.7) @ Clemson
Georgia Offense (4.94) v Clemson Defense (4.16): Georgia has one of the most explosive and balanced offenses in the nation with lots of experience and talent. Clemson’s defense has talent and some experience but has not performed to that level. Georgia should be able to establish the run and find plenty of room to throw the ball. Don’t expect Clemson to slow them down much.


Clemson offense (4.13) v UGA Defense (4.65): Clemson has a very potent passing game with Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins. Georgia’s weakness on defense is their pass defense. Look for Clemson to exploit that. However Georgia will dominate the line of scrimmage and force Tajh Boyd into quick decisions and take away the Clemson run game.


Steve: Despite the pre-season hype for Clemson, I’m going with Georgia in this one, however the Death Valley advantage should keep it reasonably close. UGA 42-31


Jason: I just don’t see in Clemson what many others do; I think the losses of Nuk Hopkins and Andre Ellington will hurt, but the losses at tight end may be even more significant for their offense. Georgia has the best offense in the country and can run the football on Clemson. I’m just not sure Clemson can run the football the same way against Georgia. I’ve got UGA 38-28.

LSU (.6) vs TCU
TCU Offense (4.15) v LSU Defense (4.12): Surprise TCU has a better combination of talent and experience on Offense than LSU does on defense. It is strength vs weakness in this matchup. TCU’s strength is Passing the ball, LSU’s weakness is stopping the pass. LSU’s strength is stopping the run, TCU’s weakness is running the ball. The great equalizer here is LSU’s big advantage up front. LSU should control the line of scrimmage in this matchup. Look for TCU to try to find time to throw it and beat LSU’s secondary.


LSU Offense (4.67) v TCU Defense (3.82): TCU has little experience coming back on what is usually a stout defense. The numbers say that LSU should dominate this matchup and have no problem throwing or running on TCU. I don’t think it will be quite that easy. LSU holds a big advantage on the line however. That can’t be overlooked.


Steve: This is essentially a home game for TCU despite being a “neutral” setting. However I don’t think that advantage will be enough. LSU controls both lines of scrimmage LSU 35-24


Jason: With their best defensive lineman Fields suspended for the game, the gap on the LOS is too big. TCU keeps it interesting, but LSU and its new offense wins, LSU 27-23.

Florida St (.8) @ Pittsburgh
Pitt Offense (3.72) vs FSU Defense (4.95): Florida State is much more experienced and talented across the board in this matchup. Pitt’s OL is the strength of their offense, however they are going against what is perhaps the best Defensive Line in the nation. Pitt will have trouble moving the ball in the air or on the ground in this matchup.


FSU offense (4.91) vs Pitt Defense (4.32): Here is where this game could get interesting. Pitt actually has the advantage up front with a talented and experienced front 7 (which FSU has as well). I think FSU will find the sledding tough on the ground, but will find success in the air (with a Frosh QB).


Steve: Pitt’s experienced Defensive Front and home crowd should keep this game close but in the end FSU 28-13


Jason: Pitt matches up better in the trenches with FSU than anyone on the ‘Noles’ schedule other than Florida. FSU’s skill talent is the difference, but I don’t see an absolute runaway (if FSU does blow Pitt out, watch out the rest of the year). FSU 27–17.

Have fun this weekend watching College Football. We know we will! Tune in next Wednesday to see how we fared and to see next weeks games.


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