Welcome to Week 1 of the 2021 NCAA football season! We’ve got a chock-full slate of games today and we’re bringing you analysis and picks on each one of them!
Actually, there aren’t really that many games today, and most of them are…uninteresting to say the least. Next Saturday (September 4) is the real kickoff (pardon the pun) and includes games from marquee teams, including the sixth-ranked Texas A&M Aggies. But that’s for next week. This week we’ll focus on the few games there are.
Nebraska (-6.5) at Illinois (O/U: 54.5)
12:00 p.m. Central on Fox
First up is a Big 10 slugging match between two teams that have zero fans in coastal states. The over/under is 54.5 points as triple-landlocked Nebraska makes its way to Champagne-Urbana to play one of the last remaining Native American tribe mascotted teams in the Illinois Fighting Illini. If it weren’t for how bad the rest of the games on today are, I would mention that there is very little I care about less than Big 10 football. That said, this is probably the only game I’ll actually watch today. I don’t know anything about the programs, but here we go.
Picks: Illinois with the points. Under 54.5 points.
UConn (+27.5) at Fresno State (O/U: 62.5)
1:00 p.m. Central on CBS Sports Network
A basketball school goes to California to play the heavily favored Fresno State Bulldogs in Fresno, which according to the Internet is a city where a person has a 1 in 175 chance of being the victim of a violent crime. That means Fresno is more dangerous than California as a whole, which offers a 1 in 225 chance of being the victim of a violent crime. No wonder everyone is leaving California and coming to Texas. But please stop. We don’t want anymore of you. You tricked us by building In-N-Outs in the Lone Star State. If we knew having very mediocre burgers would bring Californians with it, we probably would have amended our state constitution to not allow In-N-Out to be built.
Picks: UConn with the points. Over 62.5 points.
Hawaii (+17.5) at UCLA (O/U: 68.5)
2:30 p.m. Central on ESPN
Ah, Hawaii. I’ve never been, but I know it’s expensive and that Dog the Bounty Hunter used to bust some meth-head skulls there before moving to Colorado or whatever. Also, meth and SPAM? I dunno. It looks beautiful, though. As a general rule I root against UCLA, but as much as I want to take 17.5 points and give them to the Rainbow Warriors, I have a feeling UCLA is going to put a real hurting on Hawaii. Oh well. I suppose the good thing about playing for Hawaii is that the after losing you still get to go back to Hawaii instead of staying in California.
Picks: UCLA. Over 68.5 points.
UTEP (-9.5) at New Mexico State (O/U: 56.5)
8:30 p.m. on the worst sports channel in America.
I went to Texas A&M University. Texas A&M is the home of the Aggies. New Mexico State has two things going against it in this game: 1) They are also called the Aggies; and 2) They are in New Mexico. I can’t root for any other team called the Aggies. And New Mexico is, by and large, not a great place. They eat their enchiladas stacked instead of rolled, they only have two kinds of sauce for those enchiladas, and literally every bit of food has smoked hatch chiles in it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate hatch chiles, but when it’s in literally every single item of food, it’s not novel, it’s just lazy. If you want better Mexican food, go to UTEP and I guarantee you will find awesome Mexican food within a mile of the campus. I don’t like rooting for schools in the University of Texas system much, either, but I’d rather see a Texas team prevail over a New Mexico team almost any day. Plus, El Paso is surprisingly pretty. Damn hot, though.
Picks: UTEP. Under 56.5 points.
Southern Utah (+22.5) at San Jose State (O/U: 55.5)
9:00 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.
There are a couple reasons I’m going with Southern Utah here. For one thing, they’re a 22.5 point dog and I can’t rationalize giving up over three touchdowns. For another, they are called the Thunderbirds, which is a way cooler name than the Spartans. The Thunderbird(s) was also: 1) Danny Zuko’s gang in Grease; 2) A good Ford luxury car; and 3) A mythical bird in several indigenous American cultures. What’s not to like? And finally, I’ll be picking and rooting for Southern Utah because I cannot in good conscience pick two California teams in the same post.
Picks: Southern Utah with the points. Over 55.5 points.
Slim though the pickins of games might be today, it’s still great to have football Saturdays back. So grab a case of beer, order some pizza, and maybe play some beer pong. Whatever you do, have fun and wish the very worst failures on California teams.