Michigan State (-7) vs. Boise State: Boise State has five returning starters, the fewest in FBS football. Kellen Moore, alone, would have been. Could this be a good team? One would presume that from Petersen’s track record. Will they have enough to go into East Lansing to win a night game on the road? Probably not.
South Carolina (-6) at Vanderbilt: Love James Franklin, but let’s pump the breaks a bit on Vandy. South Carolina has Marcus Lattimore and one of the best defensive front sevens in college football. They went 2-6 in the SEC last year (Wins: Kentucky and Ole Miss). Two of their other wins were against Elon and Army. Vandy has not had a starter complete more than 50 percent of his passes for a season since 2007.
Hawaii (+42) at USC – Kiffin’s USC teams have started slowly. Looking at their first three games from 2010 and 2011, five of the six margins were by less than two touchdowns. Excluding a fluke play against Utah, three of the six would have been decided by less than a field goal. USC does not have the depth to keep starters on the field running up the score.
Rice (+16.5) vs. UCLA: UCLA is running a completely new offense on the road while starting a freshman quarterback and five freshmen on the offensive line. Rice was deceptively not overwhelmed against a rough non-conference schedule last year, Texas, Baylor, Southern Miss and Purdue.
FIU (+3) at Duke: In Cristobal I trust. FIU beat Louisville and Central Florida non-conference last season. They nearly picked off Texas A&M (in College Station) and Rutgers (home) in 2010. The Golden Panthers have 19 starters back. Duke is Duke, and has lost 13 of its last 17 home openers (three times to FCS Richmond).
Ohio (+6.5) at Penn State: Penn State’s only wins by more than 10 points last season were against Indiana State and Eastern Michigan. The only starters from that team returning to run an entirely new offense are the center and Matt McGloin. Ohio brings back a solid quarterback, Tony Tettleton, and is coming off a 10-win season with three losses by a field goal or less.
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