First big weekend of CFB is here

The first full weekend of college football is just a day away. No. 1 Clemson meets Georgia Tech Thursday night, and every SEC and ACC team, except for Miami, will be in action.

Miami managed to play just poorly enough to lose last week to Florida, who played nearly as bad. Florida won despite 225 yards in penalties, four turnovers, and a sloppy game from QB Feleipe Franks. Luckily for the Gators, Miami’s offensive line was well, just that -- offensive, giving up 10 sacks. Both teams would have lost to almost any other team on their schedule. Just a week ago, Mark Cooper of predicted Franks would lead the Gators to an upset over favored Georgia and win the SEC East this season. In what sport -- cornhole? If Miami is one of the ACC’s top teams, it will be a long season for the league.

A full slate means let’s toss the magic darts and see whozza gonna win the games for Labor Day weekend.

UTAH STATE at WAKE FOREST: A Friday night opener for the Demon Deacons and an opponent Wake Forest should get by. Could be a surprisingly good year for the Preachers. Wake Forest 31, Utah State 27.

SYRACUSE at LIBERTY: Easily the biggest home game in Flame history as the 22nd-ranked Orange pay a visit. 25,000 screaming fans will help Liberty — but Syracuse should win it with room to spare. Syracuse 45, Liberty 24.

VIRGINIA TECH AT BOSTON COLLEGE: The ACC schedulers aren’t doing the Hokies any favors with this trip up north. A toss-up, Fearless sez it’s dead even. Virginia Tech 24, Boston College 23.

DUKE vs. ALABAMA at Atlanta: Fearless thinks Duke’s David Cutcliffe is one of the best coaches in CFB. But Houdini couldn’t help the Blue Devils in this one. Alabama 48, Duke 10.

BOISE STATE vs. FLORIDA STATE at Jacksonville: The pressure is on FSU coach Willie Taggart to win. After that 5-7 debacle last year, the Seminoles better look better-- and now. Boise is a tricky team and they could pull off a win here. It’s a toss-up and Fearless goes with.... Florida State 31, Boise State 30.

SOUTH CAROLINA vs. NORTH CAROLINA at Charlotte: Mack Brown’s return to UNC means one thang — the Tar Heels expect him to win. UNC will start freshman QB Sam Howell and the pressure is on him to perform in his hometown. South Carolina is more experienced, especially at quarterback. Could go either way. South Carolina 34, North Carolina 27.

EAST CAROLINA at N.C. STATE: State beat ECU 58-3 in the final regular season game last year. But a lot has changed since then.  ECU got a great new head coach in Mike Houston. State lost a lot of the stars that led them to back-to-back nine-win seasons. So ECU can win this one? It will be a lot closer but the Wolfpack still has more weapons. N.C. State 31, ECU 23.

OTHER BIG GAMES THIS WEEKEND: Virginia over Pitt  (even), Notre Dame over Louisville (a rout), Georgia over Vanderbilt, Ohio State over FAU, West Virginia over JMU, Appalachian over East Tennessee, Penn State over Idaho, Tennessee over Georgia State, Troy over Campbell, Marshall over VMI, Michigan over Middle Tennessee, LSU over Georgia Southern, Auburn over Oregon (toss-up,) and Oklahoma over Houston.

TOFF TOP TEN: 1. Clemson 2. Alabama 3. Georgia 4. Oklahoma 5. Ohio State 6. LSU 7. Michigan 8. Notre Dame 9. Texas 10. Texas A&M.

Southeast Sports Syndicate, 2019