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2017 Weekly Picks
Week 1
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Last Year: First we need to close out the 2016 season. The Buckeyes had the incredible overtime victory in 'THE' Game which earned them a spot in the playoffs. Unfortunately that excitement was short-lived as they took it on the chin to the eventual National champs, the Clemson Tigers. Hard to be disappointed with an 11-2 season, but that is where the Buckeyes finds themselves going into the 2017 campaign. Also, congratulations goes out to Dave Culver who was our top prognosticator in 2016.  It was very close all season long.  In the end, only 6 games separated the top eleven but Dave took a two game lead over Josh mid November and never let anyone catch up.  Nice job once again by all the Buckeye 50 staff.  I would put our winning percentage against any site out there!
(For Entertainment Purposes Only!)
This Week: This has been a long off-season for Buckeye fans, we really need a game to get that Tiger taste out of our mouth. The last time I felt that bad after a bowl game, Urban Meyer was on the opposite sideline. But this is a new year and for the first time in a long time, OSU opens with a conference opponent. The Hoosiers have made this game interesting in the past few years, can they do so again with first year head coach Tom Allen? JT Barrett has a lot he wants to prove this season and this contest will be a great place to start a possible Heisman run .... Arlington, TX will once again host a neutral site game as Michigan and Florida will meet up in a rematch of the 2016 Citrus Bowl.  Neither coach has announced a starting quarterback going into game week but it will just prove to be gamesmanship between Harbaugh and McElwain. They know who is starting, the real question will be victorious in week 1? ....  The game everyone has been waiting for all off-season is #1 Florida State versus #3 Florida State. It may be the first time a team ranked number one has faced a team ranked this high. But is too much being made out of this? Let's just wait and see where these teams are at the end of the season, then we will know for sure how big this game really is  ....  Texas A&M and UCLA will square off in the second game of a home-and-home series.  Kudos to the Aggies for scheduling this when so many in their conference hide behind neutral site games close to home. The media claims the losing coach will be in the hot seat, doesn't that really mean both coaches are already?  ....  West Virginia and Virginia Tech renew what they want to call a rivalry as they face off on FedEx Field. But this game may mean more than just the rivalry. The winner will be able to lay claim to a new level of respect for their conference and may begin the debate in 2017 as to who has the deepest conference. 
Guest Buckeye: As with the years past, we will continue to include former Buckeye players in our weekly prediction fun and we are thrilled to have Vaughn Broadnax  back with us for the third straight year.

Here we go once again ... our Week 1 Picks - Good Luck to All - Gregg  
(2)Ohio State  @  Indiana
(Favorite: Ohio State  - 20 1/2)

Bbaver:  The Pick: Ohio State - Six days prior to game day, I am having trouble getting a feel for this game. Indiana defense may actually be one of the better units in the league, and they are especially strong at DB. Ohio State, under Urban is 5-0 against Indiana, but 0-5 against the spread. I could this being tight at halftime with Ohio State's depth wearing Indiana down come the 4th quarter. It will be interesting with Kevin Wilson knowing Tom Allen's defense and Tom Allen knowing Kevin Wilson's offense. If Lagow can find time to throw, a big "if", Indiana will have some success through the air, as the Hooisiers WRs are the strength of their offense and OSU's DBs might have some growing pains early on this season. Withholding a score prediction right now, thinking the 20.5 spread is about right.

Cory:  This game will feel odd in a couple of ways. First, it's going to be weird watching Ohio State open its season on a Thursday night. Second, it's going to feel very weird to open the season with a conference game. Indiana is a team in transition with new coach Tom Allen, who took over for the fired Kevin Wilson. Allen did tremendous work with the Hoosiers defense last year, and one guy to watch out for on that side of the ball is linebacker Tegray Scales. Scales, a pre-season All-American, had 92 tackles last year, 24 of which were for a loss. That said the Hoosiers face a tall task coming to Columbus. Quarterback Richard Lagow is inconsistent at best, and the Hoosiers must replace two of their top playmakers from last season in wide receive Mitchell Paige, and running back Devine Redding. It will be interesting to see the Buckeye offense under Wilson's tutelage, and I expect to see some big things from quarterback J.T. Barrett in this game. One Buckeye to keep an eye on is running back J.K. Dobbins. Incumbent starter Mike Weber has been hurt most of camp, and Dobbins has been highly praised by head coach Urban Meyer. I expect to see the Buckeyes take control early and never let go.   Ohio State 35, Indiana 10

Dave:  Ohio State 42 - Indiana 17

Gregg:  The Hoosiers have given the Buckeyes fits in the past few years but I will be shocked if anyone from the Buckeye50 staff will pick Indiana to put up a fight in this game. OSU has not lost in Bloomington since 1988 and has incredible advantage of 26-2-1 while playing Indiana on the road.  Much is being made about Ohio State's new offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson. I am sure his approach to a game plan will ensure that JT Barrett leaves here with every passing record. But let's keep in mind Indiana's new coach, Tom Allen used to be the Hoosier D-coordinator, and he has certainly seen his share of Wilson's offense. But the bottom line is OSU has the athlete's that Indiana only dreams of getting. The Bucks will roll and roll big. Barrett should have a big day, and Weber may see limited action due to his hamstring injury.   Ohio State 59  Indiana 6

Jason:   Here we go. A Big Ten opener at night on a Thursday? What world are we living in? It’s a brand new day kids and you either embrace the change or die. Ohio State takes what fans hope will be a new look offense led by former IU head coach Kevin Wilson into Bloomington. The Buckeyes have struggled recently against the Hoosiers, however, Indiana has won exactly two, yes two games in the series since 1951. The story at the outset may be the J.T. Barrett and the Buckeye offense, but don’t overlook for an extremely talented and deep Ohio State defensive front which will take pressure off the young secondary and put it squarely on the front of the Hoosier offense. 

Defensively Indiana returns a slew of starters but will still struggle against the speed of the Buckeye specialists and sheer girth of the offensive line. I expect the Hoosiers to come out competitive for a series or two with an initial surge led by adrenaline of playing an opener at night on a national stage. Eventually the overwhelming talent difference will make a difference and Ohio State will pull away late in the first half leaning on J.T. Barrett and returning 1,000 yard back Mike Weber. The Buckeyes will keep the pressure on for much of the 3rd quarter before calling off the dogs and coasting to a relatively easy win.   Ohio State 45 Indiana 17  

Joe-S-U:  OSU over Indiana - Bucks could probably turn Weber and Dobbins loose and still win this game, but everybody wants to see if Wilson and Day can resurrect the 2014 J.T. Barrett. Ordinarily, having to replace three DB's would cause some concern, but since the breakdowns at the end of the '13 season, the secondary has been very good to outstanding and the old cliché of "Next man up" has held true. Folks, this could be one of the finest defenses that this school has ever seen, but with all the concern of resuscitating the offense, they're flying under the radar a bit. Fine.....Meyer has never covered the spread against the Hoosiers since he took over, and they may not here, but put a crooked number on the left side and bring on Boomer Schooner  

John:  I find this game to be very intriguing. While opening the season on the road seems to have become commonplace (third time in last four years) this is the first time OSU has opened with a conference opponent on the road since 1975. Add the Kevin Wilson factor, and it’s hard to envision either team doing much that will be surprising to the other. IU has played OSU tough in recent years, especially in Bloomington, and this game is being hyped as the biggest home game in IU history. Look for the Hoosiers to keep this one close for maybe a half, but Ohio State just has too much talent and pulls away in the second half.   Ohio State 31, Indiana 14  

Josh:  Ohio State is going to go into this game with months of redemption on their mind. Just imagine the opener against Virginal Tech in 2015. We are going to do everything we can to roll into Bloomington and embarrass them to get that scoreless monkey off their backs. Indiana isn't just going to let it happen though, they will put up a fight with their veteran defense, but with a new head coach and offensive scheme breaking in, the silver bullets are not the team you want to test against in the first game. Big Ten game in August? Thanks 9 game conference schedule! I expect the offense to roll under Wilson who will have some pent up aggression to let out as well, and Barrett will show us his improvements as a quarterback this off-season. I expect 300 passing, 200 rushing and the defensive line getting at least 4 sacks.
Ohio State 55 - Indiana 10  

Dr. Mark:  OSU 44 - 17 - I think the new O coordinator will open it up on his old team and to let the country know a new guy is in charge.  

PJSBuck:  What a difference a year and a few new coaches can make! I think people are going to be shocked by our offense - in a good way. There were many nuances in the offense in the Spring Game that HOPEFULLY, will translate into the regular season. This includes; rub routes, receivers never stopping on a route, offensive linemen SPRINTING to the line of scrimmage out of a huddle, quick snaps, JT not thinking as much, long passing completions, backs running harder and what seemed like a fresh new attitude. On defense we will just have to see how quickly our secondary learns on the job. I expect a slightly buttoned up offense (saving things for Oklahoma) but still will have offensive fireworks.   My prediction is Ohio State 48 Indiana 13. Buckle up!

Pia Pete:  Opening the season on the road against a conference opponent on a Thursday? Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria!!   OSU 44 – IU 34  

Coach Rick:  As always, there are a lot questions without answers going into the first game of the new season. I personally think that this is going to be a great game and see both teams working hard in the 1st half for a 14-10 score. And then the 2nd half is where OSU will wear down Indiana because of size and depth.   I have OSU winning 35 - 17.  

Steven:  Gregg says he sees at least 60 points in this one. Is that the over/under or how much OSU will score? As is usual for the first game of the year, one goes forth with a bit of trepidation. Are we nearly as good as we think we are? What is our ceiling? With a year of experience, last year's youngest team in CFB has the ability to come together and get back to the playoff. Despite losses to graduation and the draft, this team has matured. While most casual fans want to see JT go lights out and throw it all over the field, I'd much rather see us feature a power running game. Much of what we saw in the last three games where JT was decreasingly effective can be directly attributed to him finally wearing down. With possibly the deepest RB corps in the B1G, there is no need for JT to run except on scrambles and goal line situations. This could well be closer than people expect as OSU will sprint to an early lead and once the backups are in, they'll let in a couple cheap ones.   OSU 45-21. JT throws for 3 TDs and runs for another.  

Trout:  There are a few factors to why I think the Buckeyes will win this game fairly easy. Firstly, I think the hiring of Kevin Wilson will help improve the offensive production. He's a step up from the from the tandem of Chris Ash and Ed Warner. Also, I believe after the embarrassing loss to Clemson last year, the Buckeyes will be eager to prove themselves as a national championship contender. I think the Hoosiers will give the Buckeyes a little trouble at the beginning, but once the OSU offense gets into a flow, they will be hard to stop. The Buckeyes start the season off with a decisive victory. (Ohio State, 49-14)  

Vaughn:  Much has been anticipated since the arrival of Kevin Wilson and the effect he will have on OSU’s offense. He was able to work offensive wonders at IU with somewhat less talent than he has at his disposal now. His arrival will also validate or invalidate the reasons for the deficiencies in OSU’s offense the last two years. I will predict that Kevin Wilson’s arrival will validate how talented a team OSU has this year.   OSU wins going away 42-7.  

​Final Score:  Ohio State 49   Indiana 21
                          (1-0)              (0-1) 

Dave Culver - 2016 Winner

2016 Predictions
Leaderboard - Final

* Buckeye 50 Picks Champion
56 - 14
54 - 16
53 - 17
52 - 18
52 - 18
52 - 18
52 - 18
51 - 19
51 - 19
50 - 20
50 - 20
47 - 23
45 - 25
43 - 22
41 - 14
7 - 3
3 - 2
3 - 2
1 - 0



Dave Culver *
Josh Watson
Brent Baver ***
Rick DeSutter *** Jason Harris
Joe Hylton *
Gregg Watson **
Cory Steger
Vaughn Broadnax
John Siebert *
Stefan Armintrout
Pete Quint *
Steve Smith
Mark Triffon
Pat Steger
Bam Childress
James Cotton
Cornelius Green
Lori Schmidt
 (9)Michigan  vs.  (16)Florida
(Favorite: Michigan  - 3 1/2)

Bbaver:  Pick: Michigan - this is going to be a low scoring, ugly game that could go either way. Certainly hard for me to see Michigan's inexperienced receivers, as talented as they are, having against much success against Florida's secondary. On the flip side, Florida being without Antonio Callaway, who is suspended, is a pretty big deal. I could see this one going to OT at 17-17, like The Game last year. I'll say Michigan does just enough to pull out a win.

Cory:  It could be a make or break season for Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, and to make things difficult the Wolverines are expected to use a lot of first-time starters on both sides of the ball. Gone are some of their top playmakers from last season, including Deveon Smith, Jehu Chesson and Jake Butt from the offense, and Taco Charlton and Jabrill Peppers from the defense. The Wolverines will lean heavily on quarterback Wilton Speight. Speight improved a lot last year, but has a tendency to turn the ball over in key situations. Florida was much improved under Jim McElwain in his second year as coach last season, but like the Wolverines, the Gators are starting a lot of newcomers this season. Making things even more difficult for the Gators this week is that six players, including star receiver Antonio Callaway, were suspended for this game for a violation of team rules. Expect an ugly game, and those are the ones in which Michigan tends to thrive.  Michigan 24, Florida 14     

Dave:  Florida 28 - Michigan 21

Gregg:  Looking forward to watching this one, should be a great B1G-SEC showdown to start the season.  The Gators are finally getting stocked with the type of players 3rd year coach Jim McElwain wants to run his game plan. But Florida has lost 8 players for the game which may not seem like a lot but that is basically 10 percent of their scholarships. Harbaugh has lost a bunch of his players to start his third season in Ann Arbor. Both teams are a mystery though which make this a tough game to call. I give the coaching edge to the khaki king.   Michigan 24  Florida 20  

Jason:  A fun early season match-up in Arlington, Texas between two programs that are in dire need of an early season marquee win. Florida only has one true road game until November so a win here could give the Gators some momentum heading into the SEC East with confidence. Michigan is still looking to prove it has what it takes under Jim Harbaugh who has yet to win a big game at the school. A loss could put the losing coach on a bit of a hot seat early in the season. 

Michigan has what most think is a talented group, but they are very inexperienced so they will be tested right out of the gate. The offense has to replace a new offensive line as well as the entire receiving group so the pressure will be on whoever the quarterback is to play well and it will be difficult against a very good Florida defense. The front seven returns for the Gators but the secondary is a cause of concern despite its athleticism. Offensively the Gators could play three different quarterbacks but whoever they use, they must get more production from that position than a year ago. 

If the Wolverine defense can keep the Gator passing in check early they should be ok. This has the makings of being a battle of the defenses. The Wolverines may just have a little more on offense than the Gators and will survive.   Michigan 24 Florida 20  

Joe-S-U:  Florida over Michigan - TBGUN lost way too much, but the Gators are trying hard to level the playing field via suspensions. This might be the equivalent of a high school JV game- young talent but green. Wolves are wearing all maize uniforms for the first time since 1928 when they tied Navy 6-6. Of course, in 1928 they also lost to OSU and yes, to Ohio Wesleyan. Don't know if they wore all yellow in those games, but probably not the best of omens. I'll be pulling for the Big Ten, and Harbaugh's classes are stocking most of the roster, but UM's probably just too inexperienced to pull off this big of a win this early

John:  This one is an interesting study in priorities in college football. UM has a starter who has been accused of sexual assault. He’ll play on Saturday. UF has several players accused of improper use of a credit card. They will sit this one out. Makes it real easy to pick who to root for in a game featuring two teams I would generally root against. UM is a 3 point favorite on the road. I’m going with my heart in this one and picking the minor upset. Florida in a close one.   UF 24 UM 21  

Josh:  Florida is a solid team defensively and they are going against a traditional Big Ten offense in Jerry World. I think both teams will be excited for this match up, but I am putting my money on TTUN in this one. I think the loss to personnel for the Gators will have an impact, and Harbaugh will have an experienced offense ready in to roll on the turf. I see this one being a low scoring slugfest.   TTUN 24 - Florida 17

Dr. Mark:  Florida-28-24 - if Gator o-line can block they can win- if not Michigan can win In a low scoring game.  

PJSBuck:  Well, I guess Hairbaugh is still coaching for the TBGUN?????? He is about due for the hot-seat and I think the rumblings will start with this game.   Florida by 17 

Pia Pete:  Breaking News: A giant sinkhole opened up underneath “The Swamp” swallowing both programs and fan bases never to be heard from again. The world rejoices.   UM 16 – UF 10  

Coach Rick:  This game is a big question mark in my books. I think Michigan has the team that should win, but not sure if the coaches make the right call if the game is close. I am going with the side of the Big Ten and think the Michigan will run up the score in a big win.  

Steven:  Michigan is basically starting over except for Wilton Speight at QB. Their defense is young and untested. Despite suspending seven players for the game, including their knucklehead leading receiver, the Gators are still the returning SEC Divisional champs, (the overwhelmingly weaker of the two SEC divisions). On paper it is a tossup. Florida should be favored but for this salient fact: They can pretty much beat anyone in the Big Ten except for Michigan, (   The Fightin' Hairballs 33-28. 

Trout:  Although I think Michigan will not be as good as they were last year, I still think they are heads and shoulders above the Florida Gators. Florida has not been the same since Urban Meyer left them. They have had flashes of greatness, but have never been able to put it together for a complete season. The game will be close at first, but I see the Wolverines pulling away and sealing the victory.   (Michigan, 38-10)  

Vaughn:  Jim Harbaugh seemingly turned water to wine during his first year at Michigan. Two years later he has to deal with the reality that he has to rely on his coaching a young team. Florida is a mess though and it is hard for me to favor a team with so many distractions. I am going to go with the other yellow meat on this one.   Michigan stops Florida 21-10  

​Final Score:  Michigan 33   Florida 17
                          (1-0)            (0-1) 
(3)Florida State  vs.  (1)Alabama
(Favorite: Alabama  - 7 1/2)

Bbaver:  Pick: Alabama has excelled in these type of openers in the past, but this is their best opponent yet. Getting Derwin James back is huge. Should he stay healthy, I see him being the top defensive player in the country this year. But if Jalen Hurts makes big strides in his 2nd season at the helm, Bama is very likely going 12-0 again in the regular season. I tend to think the Noles keep this close, but I not going against Bama in this one.

Cory:  I love seeing these big non-conference games in the first few weeks of the season, especially when its two teams that hypothetically could compete for a national championship. The Crimson Tide lost a lot in the draft, and yet, their lineup is still chock full of future NFL players. Wide receiver Calvin Ridley could be one of the nation's best at his position. However, this game will be a great duel of two young quarterbacks: Alabama's Jalen Hurts, and Florida State's Deondre Francois. The two sophomores played well as first-year starters last season, and it will be fun to watch them battle against each other this week. The edge goes to Alabama considering they have some good returning starters, but expect a close game.   Alabama 31, Florida State 24   

Dave:  Alabama 28 - FSU 17

Gregg:  Not sure about the rest of you, but I think it is time for the Tide to be removed from their lofty perch. They once again lost a bunch boys to Sunday games, and jut maybe they don't reload as fast this time. Jalen Hurts could have a solid sophomore year but FSU may be able to just key on him and win the game. The Seminoles have  have 9 starters returning on defense and none of them were shot in the leg this week.  I am looking for Deondre Francois to have a big game and lead FSU to the win. The question I have is, if they can pull off the upset, will they move to #1 or will the Buckeyes get the top spot?   Florida State 34  Alabama 31

Jason:  The biggest game of the first week and perhaps the biggest game of the season pre-playoffs takes place in Atlanta, with the winner gaining major momentum to a CFP appearance. Both teams will still be in the mix to play for all the marbles win or lose but the winner will certainly have an inside track.  

The last time we saw Nick Saban’s crew, it was falling to an ACC opponent in the title game. Can the ACC’s top dog in 2017 take down Bama once again? The big key for the Noles is going to be in the trenches. Can they match the physicality of the Tide? Alabama is loaded once again on the offensive line with talented playmakers carrying the ball, most notably quarterback Jalen Hurts, who has the ability to keep a defense honest with his feet. Florida State will try to contain from the edge and force Hurts to throw the ball to beat them and prove he is improved as a passer. It won’t be an easy task as he has to face maybe the best secondary in the nation at Florida State and with an inexperienced receiver group at Alabama, the pressure will be on Hurts to carry the load.  

This has all the makings of a classic and its difficult to pick against Saban in games like this and I won’t here, but don’t expect a repeat of what Bama did to USC to open the season a year ago. This game will be a four quarter battle but Bama has too much on both lines and wears down the Seminoles and once again claims its official spot at the top of the college football landscape.   Bama 31 Noles 21

Joe-S-U:  Florida State over Alabama - Sure, it's a backhanded kudo, but it's grounded in truth- 'Bama always plays a marquee opener, but when they grow the proverbial pair and do a true home-and-home with someone, I'll pay the full respect. Jimbo has the horses to keep up with 'Bama and Hurts hasn't been seen since the SEC title game a year ago. If FSU can keep punching and hit some big plays- which honestly isn't all that hard against 'Bama's recent secondaries- then they can win this easily  

John:  #1 vs #3 to start the season. Welcome back, college football. I’ll be rooting for the ‘Noles, but ‘Bama has been on the big stage just too many times. If this game was in week three, it might be different, but this is week one.   Alabama 28 Florida St 20

Josh:  This one should be an exciting game, and I am looking forward to this one. The new Georgia Dome (might be ready) will be a beautiful sight and I know both teams are wanting to finish their season in that building as well. Both teams will be lead with sophomore quarterbacks, and with the departure of Lane Kiffin and Sark, we might see a more delegation role with Hurts for Alabama, which I am sure Saban prefers, and let his defense win the game. I think this one will be a mid scoring game, both teams young but with talent, but I have Alabama winning this one. Too much talent on both sides of the ball and the better coach.   Alabama 35 - Florida State 28  

Dr. Mark:  FSU - Going with a gut feeling but if I was wagering it would be on the Tide. Jimbo's extreme confidence can be an asset or a detriment . 

PJSBuck:  GREAT GAME for the first weekend! This is easily my GAME OF THE WEEK. Florida State JUST MIGHT upset BAMA. I will go out on a limb so early and say Seminoles by 3 in OT! 

Pia Pete:  Week one? WOW! Alabama will take out its loss to Clemson in last year’s championship game and roll over FSU.  Bama 34 – FSU 24  

Coach Rick:  This game is truly a coin flip in my thought. I think FSU has the more seasoned team, but Alabama always finds that way to win. I think that FSU will get an early lead and keep it.  FSU wins 28-24.  

Steven:  Essentially a home game for the Tide. It would be very interesting to see this game mean something. With it being so early in the year, and both teams having very legitimate shots to make it to the CFB Playoff, the game may end up just being a nice piece of entertainment. The loser drops no more than 3 spots in the polls and has the entire year to crawl back into the top 4. It really doesn't matter does it? '  Bama 24-17. 

Trout:  Both teams are strong contenders for the playoffs, but I think Alabama is clearly the better team. I find the the Seminoles are good, but constantly overrated. They will win a lot of games, but more often than not never win the marquee games. It will be close, but the Tide's superior skill will win them the game.   (Alabama, 24-21)  

Vaughn:  What Nick Saban has done over the last 10 years at Alabama is phenomenal while Jimbo Fisher has returned Florida State to the table of national championship contenders. Whenever I hear poor old Nick talk about how sorry his team currently is, it take note. FSU has very talented defensive ends and defensive backs, but do they have enough in their drawers to stop Alabama’s rushing attack. I don’t think so.   Alabama edges FSU 20-14.  

​Final Score:  Alabama 24   Florida State 7
                   (1-0)                (0-1) 
 (31)Texas A&M  @  (56)UCLA
(Favorite: UCLA  - 4 1/2)

Bbaver:  Pick: UCLA: Getting Rosen back should make UCLA a much better team this year. A&M needs their new QB to step up in this one. These two teams seem fairly evenly matched to me....I will take the home team here.

Cory:  Is Kevin Sumlin on the hot seat? The Texas A&M coach was considered the next big thing only a few years ago, but 2016 was a year to forget. The Aggies lost five games last season, including four of their last six, and they also lost two quarterbacks. Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray - two very highly rated prospects coming out of high school - transferred out of the program in December. Meanwhile, UCLA coach Jim Mora may be on the hot seat as well, but he doesn't have any quarterback issues. Josh Rosen is considered one of the top quarterback prospects in the country despite missing the second half of last season. Because of the differences in quarterback situations, expect the Bruins to come out on top in this game.   UCLA 28, Texas A&M 17   

Dave:  Texas A&M 28 - UCLA 14

Gregg:  Josh Rosen is back for the Bruins coming off his season ending injury from last year. The Aggies don't wait till November to start their collapse this year and come out flat.  UCLA 41  Texas A&M 20  

Jason:  Texas A&M is heading west to Pasadena in a game matching two head coaches who’s seats are warm and the loser will get warmer. For the Aggies, they will want to play an up tempo style and have star wide-out Christian Kirk being the major focal point of the offense. A&M also features a pair of talented backs to keep opposing defenses honest. The Aggies definitely have a powerful offense but the key will be getting off the field and not allowing UCLA QB Josh Rosen to beat them. The A&M secondary returns but struggled often a year ago and must be improved and not allow Rosen to pick them apart. If they can get pressure up front, it may create opportunities for the secondary to gain some steam early. Unfortunately for the Aggies, they may not be able to keep up with the talented Rosen’s NFL capable arm. I look for Rosen and the UCLA offense to score early and often and despite a high powered offense themselves, the Aggies just won’t have quite enough and fall to the Bruins in a shootout.   UCLA 50 Texas A&M 38  

Joe-S-U:  UCLA over Texas A&M - Years ago, I would've spent my Sunday night before Labor Day "stay(ing) up with Jerry (to) watch the stars come out". This year, I'll stay up to see the Bruins hand the AEE (Alabama and everyone else) conference a shiner and get themselves back on the map.   

John:  Another great interconference matchup for week one. Personally, with all the love going to that other team in LA, I like UCLA as a sleeper in the PAC 12. I think they get it done this week as well.   UCLA 31 Texas AM 24  

Josh:  I think Sumlin might be feeling some heat (other than the Texas sun) and this is almost a must win season for him. They have been steady since Manziel left, but they are not contending for the West like they wanted to be. Rosen should be back from injury and ready to have his farewell season, if you want to believe the NFL draft analysts. I think this one is a good toss up game, but I have UCLA winning this one with the talent they have back. Aggies might put up a fight, but the Bruins get the win.   UCLA 45 - Texas A&M 31  

Dr. Mark:  UCLA 38-24 - time for PAC 12 to step it up against the tougher conferences.  

PJSBuck:  Another great game to watch.  UCLA by 3 

Pia Pete:  UCLA will have tough time rushing against the Aggie and TAM will have a rough go throwing the ball. Could be a sloppy game.   UCLA 35 – TAM 27 

Coach Rick:  I have to go with the home team in this game.  I have UCLA winning 28 - 17.  

Steven:  This will be an excellent barometer of two teams that are just standing on the doorstep of relevance. Neither of these teams is favored to, but definitely have the ability to win their respective divisions. The sad part of this game is not that it may be a stepping stone for one team, but in reality, it will become a serious nail in the coffin of whoever loses. Both Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin and UCLA's Jim Mora are not only on the precipice of respectability, but staring into the abyss of potential unemployment. Mark my words, whoever loses the game will be out by the end of the year. Who knows? Regardless of this game, they both could be gone by December. My initial bet is on Mora.   A&M 24-19.

Trout:  This game is a toss up. Both teams have potential to be one of the top teams in their respective conferences. Having said that, I give the edge to the Aggies. They have been the more consistent team the past few year. This will be pretty close game with both teams scoring a lot of points. In the end, A&M will have just enough to get past the Bruins.   (Texas A&M, 45-42)  

Vaughn:  This will be Texas A&M’s visiting the fabled Rose Bowl. UCLA’s Josh Rosen is back and is looking to have a big year because everyone has appeared to forgotten about him. Christian Kirk is electrifying, but who is going to get him the ball. I just think when it’s all said and done, UCLA exploits Texas A&M’s defense and wins 34-20.  

​Final Score:  UCLA 45   Texas A&M  44
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 (20)West Virginia  vs.  (22)Virginia Tech
(Favorite: Virginia Tech  - 4 1/2)

Bbaver:  Pick: VT: I am tempted to pick an upset here as WVU is beginning to make a believer out of me, and have one of the more underrated DC's in the country in Tony Gibson. Like the A&M - UCLA game, gotta give the edge to the home team here. 

Cory:  Expectations for the West Virginia football team may be a little too high this season. The Mountaineers are coming off a 10-3 season and are high on quarterback Will Grier, who transferred from Florida. That said, the Mountaineers are still not a good defensive team, and they have to travel to Virginia Tech this week. Hokies head coach Justin Fuente did well in his first season, leading Virginia Tech to a 10-4 record. Virginia Tech has holes on its offense, but should be strong defensively. Playing in Blacksburg should give the Hokies a slight edge in this game.   Virginia Tech 28, West Virginia 24  

Dave:  WVU 21 - Virginia Tech 17

Gregg:  The one thing we know for sure in this one, there will be couch's burning in Morgantown, doesn't matter if the Mountaineers win or lose! Selfishily, win or lose I want transfer quarterback Will Grier to do well as he is the Quarterback I picked in our Buckeye50 Fantasy football league this year. He looked like the answer for Florida a couple years ago but now should really shine in the Holgorsen system.  A big win for the Big 12 and the Mountaineers.   WVU 51  Virginia Tech 31   

Jason:  West Virginia is coming off a very good season, but this could be the start of big things offensively with the addition of Will Grier, the Florida transfer who left after being punished for using PEDs.

Meanwhile, the ACC can flex a little bit of muscle if the Hokies come out hot. It’s not exactly a rebuilding year in head coach Justin Fuente’s second season, but there are a few question marks – mainly at quarterback. Virginia Tech will be starting a redshirt freshman QB, but is a dual threat type who has some unknowns that the Mountaineer defense will have to be ready for. The WVU defense won’t be mistaken for Alabama’s any time soon, but they are solid and will attempt to bottle up the young signal caller, Josh Jackson.  

On the other side of the ball, the Hokies have talent in their secondary and it will be up to a green D Line to pressure Grier and expose a suspect WVU O Line. I expect both QB’s to come out early and make plays but the Tech defense may just be too good and wear on the WVU front and force Grier into throwing the ball where he doesn’t want to and in general just making it uncomfortable for him. The difference in this game will be the front 7 of Va Tech against the line of the Mountaineers with the Hokies getting a big win in what will be a very entertaining game.  Va Tech 31 WVU 21  

Joe-S-U:  Virginia Tech over WVU - I was unaware these two teams play for the "Black Diamond" trophy. I also was unaware that the members of KISS present the trophy on the field after the game.

John:  I don’t have time to follow everyone in College Football anymore. These are two teams that know nothing about. Vegas like Va Tech in this one. When in doubt, trust the gamblers.    Virginia Tech 28 West Virginia 17   

Josh:  A bizarre Big12 vs ACC showdown to start the year, but a close battle between these two schools. Fuente had a good start and lead the Hokies to the ACC title game, and the Mountaineers are pass heavy for an Appalachian team. I think this one should be an interesting match up, but I have the Hokies winning this match up with their defense, and steady offense.   Virginia Tech 28 - West Virginia 24  

Dr. Mark:  WVU 48-35 - WVU wins a game with 900 total offense between both teams  

PJSBuck:  If you like tough ugly football, make sure to watch or tape this game. The winner gets a season-long supply of moonshine.   WVU by 7 

Pia Pete:  WVU received good news that their quarterback is eligible to play but Tech won’t go down without a fight.   WVU 27 – VT 21 

Coach Rick:  I think this game will be all Virginia Tech. They will win 35 - 21 

Steven:  Outside of the borders of Virginia and its western rival does this one pique the national interest at all? It may come as a surprise, but these two teams have played 51 times over the past 105 years with the edge being slightly in WVU's favor. This tilt will be an interesting gauge of how the ACC stacks against the Big 12. At least the ACC plays defense. They'll need to because there's not a lot of hope in Blacksburg for huge offensive output from the Hokies. In the end, the 'eers will tire out the Hokie defense.  WVU 28-17. Just so we're safe, ESPN has issued a statement that they have banned anyone either named Hatfield or McCoy from working WVU games.

Trout:  The Mountaineers are the better team. Virginia Tech has been not been good in years. Although not a powerhouse, West Virigina is always a good team. They also usually have a decent offensive attack. I see the Mountaineers getting a large lead early and winning the game.   (West Virginia, 38-17)  

Vaughn:  You have to love the rekindling of old rivalries. The West Virginia and Virginia Tech used to be game no one in that region wanted to miss and now it’s back. Virginia Tech had a pretty good year last year, but the inexplicable early departure of Jerod Evans will not enhance the Hokies offense. West Virginia on the other hand is loaded on offense.  The Mountaineers roast the Hokies 35-14 

​Final Score:  Virginia Tech 31   West Virginia 24
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