So, about last week. In hindsight, I could’ve saved myself about 250 words on Nebraska. The Huskers are, in the famous words of Denny Green, exactly who we thought they were. And alas, I let Scott Frost off the hook.
Thankfully for Northwestern fans, Pat Fizgerald did not. The Cats looked good in Ireland and made the right moves to claw their way back from an early deficit to score a 31-28 victory. It’s a long season ahead, but if Even Year Northwestern is to truly become a thing on our podcast, we’re off to a hot start.
That said, Week 0 isn’t even a real week. It’s the previews that you skip through to get to the main event in Week 1, when the 2022 college football season officially kicks off. It’s time to hunker down and offer some winning picks. As always, don’t forget to listen to our full Week 1 Preview podcast for more picks.
Ty’s Picks for Week 1
Illinois (+3) over Indiana
Friday (8:00pm ET)
This game is being played in Bloomington but, frankly, I wouldn’t care if it were played on the Moon. I’m not a fan of Indiana this season at all. Michael Penix Jr. wasn’t the only one transferring out after last season, as around two dozen guys entered the transfer portal. This season will feature a new quarterback in Connor Bazelak (transferring from Missouri) as well as two new coordinators. The over/under win total for the Hoosiers is at four for good reason. I have no idea why they’re favored in this game.
That said, the big coaching news on the Indiana front is that Tom Allen will again be calling plays on defense. In the context of this game, I think that makes this one super ugly. Two offenses that kind of stink, slogging it out on the eve of a monster college football Saturday. Illinois was nothing if not annoyingly plucky in 2021 and I expect that to continue through 2022. The Illini feels like the better team to me with more of a plan to improve in the short-term.
Bet Illinois +3
Cincinnati (+6.5) over Arkansas
Saturday (3:30pm ET)
Despite a majority of bets and money being placed on Arkansas, the line has moved in the direction of Cincinnati. In the betting world, this is called Reverse Line Movement, and it’s generally a tell that somebody knows something. Still, it’s Week 1 and nobody really knows anything. The reasons for weird line movement at this stage of the college football season are always open to interpretation and wild theories.
Cincinnati lost an absolute ton from last season’s playoff team. I find it hard to believe that they’re equipped and organized enough in Week 1 to go to Fayetteville and knock off the Hogs. But, they’re well-coached by Luke Fickell and will certainly be sound enough to muddy up this game and keep it close. The focal point will be Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson as he seeks to build rapport with new talent at the surrounding skill positions, and Fickell knows it.
My sense is that this is a close game, decided one way or another by 3-4 points. I think the Hogs win (but don’t cover) a defensive-minded matchup.
Bet Cincinnati +6.5
LSU (-3) over Florida State
Sunday (7:30pm ET)
Brian Kelly is nothing if not an authentic Southerner with fraudulent tendencies. But he is clearly the better coach in this Week 1 matchup against Mike Norvell, with a more talented roster. Oh, and it’s a de facto home game being played in New Orleans.
As we discussed in our previews, both Dan and I believe that the Tigers will be better than people think. Despite Kelly’s insistence on keeping his starting quarterback a secret to achieve a “tactical advantage,” I believe there are enough known entities on LSU’s side to feel good about their chances in this big non-conference matchup. I’m not reading too deeply into Florida State’s 40-point thrashing over the Dukes of Duquesne.
Bet LSU -3