Most writers/prognosticators/evildoers who attempt such things are going to wait a week, looking for that injury report or added information that may come from the next scrimmage. Not me. I’m not afraid. As such, here are my predictions for the first full week of college football — and what a week it is, games from Thursday through Monday (Labor Day) — a full week ahead of time.
You can thank me later, unless of course you unwisely take these predictions as gospel and actually place a wager based on these picks, in which case I am living in the witness protection program somewhere in Wyoming, and I’m not happy about it.
So here we go, picking at least one game each of the five days of action, just because we can.
Thursday, Aug. 30: Savannah State at UAB: The Blazers are going to be contenders for their division title in Conference USA this season. You heard it here, maybe not first, but at least you heard it here. Bill Clark has done a great job with the reborn program and they are ready to challenge. UAB 33, Savannah St. 10.
Friday, Aug. 31: Colorado at Colorado State: Most predict Colorado is the team to beat in this rivalry, and they are probably correct. But for some reason — maybe I see CSU players being inspired by head coach Mike Bobo who is battling health issues — I’m going with Colorado State for the first of several upset specials to be provided here. Colorado St. 24, Colorado 21.
Saturday, Sept. 1: Louisville vs. Alabama (Orlando): If Alabama is the No. 1 team in the nation that means no one else is supposed to beat the Crimson Tide, right? In this case, most certainly, despite what one Louisville player suggested earlier this week. He will be reminded, probably often, of his statements as Alabama drills the Cardinals. Alabama 45, Louisville 7.
Auburn vs. Washington: This may be the best game of the opening weekend. Two Top 10 teams at a neutral site playing what for both will be a very important season-opener. I see Jarrett Stidham and the Tigers having a strong day. Auburn 27, Washington 24.
Boise St. at Troy: Full disclosure, I am a Troy grad. Another disclosure: Troy is pretty good. Even more of a disclosure: Get ready for an upset special (at least in the eyes of most) pick right here. Troy may have a new quarterback and new running back in the starting spots but it still has Neal Brown calling plays and running things. That’s all I need to know. Welcome to the improved Veterans Memorial Stadium, Boise State fans. No blue field here, but you will be blue as you depart. Troy 31, Boise St. 28.
Louisiana Tech at South Alabama: Full disclosure: I handle sideline reporting for South Alabama’s football radio broadcasts. Another disclosure: Yep, another upset special. The Jags had a disappointing 4-8 season last year and they have lost a lot of folks on the offensive line. But its wide receivers are strong, as is the front seven on defense and there’s a renewed optimism under new head coach Steve Campbell and his staff. South Alabama 23, Louisiana Tech 21.
FAU at Oklahoma: If Lane Kiffin can lead the Owls to a victory in this one he may receive three job offers at bigger schools before he gets back at Boca Raton. It will be an entertaining game but look for the Sooners, who could be a playoff team, to get the W. Oklahoma 31, FAU 23.
Michigan at Notre Dame: This one has some SEC flavor to it with former Ole Miss quarterback Shea Patterson getting the starting nod for Michigan. He’s going to have a big impact on the Wolverines’ season, starting with this game. Michigan 27, Notre Dame 20.
Sunday, Sept. 2: Miami vs. LSU (Arlington, Texas): More entertainment for the Labor Day weekend … unless you’re an LSU fan. Miami is loaded again and while LSU has its share of talent, the Canes will pick up the victory in this one. This could be the first of six or more losses for the Bengal Tigers this year. Or I could be completely wrong. Regardless … Miami 33, LSU 23.
Monday, Sept. 3: Virginia Tech at Florida St.: What a great ACC matchup for Week 1. I believe Willie Taggart is going to be successful at FSU. He has the demeanor and the coaching chops and FSU will always have talent. But The Hokies aren’t pushovers, and while this game will be close, I believe it will belong to the Hokies. Virginia Tech 27, FSU 24.
Here are some other teams that will pick up wins the first week of play: South Carolina over Coastal Carolina, Mississippi St. over Stephen F. Austin, Georgia over Austin Peay, Kentucky over Central Michigan, Vandy over Middle Tennessee, Florida over Charleston, Ohio St., over Oregon St., Penn St. over Appalachian St., USC over UNLV, West Virginia over Tennessee, Arkansas over Eastern Illinois, Missouri over UT-Martin.
Tommy Hicks, a Phenix City native, has covered sports in Alabama for more than 40 years. Contact him at