This week, we get the first full course of the 2021 college football feast. After last year’s abbreviated, COVID-19-stricken season, we are hopefully in for something resembling a normal year. Week 1 should prove to be a great celebration of the sport, with some giant matchups.
Thursday night’s slate features four Top 25 teams, including one of last year’s breakout teams, the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, and Big Ten favorite Ohio State, which heads to Minnesota. On Friday, we get a fun ACC clash between No. 10 North Carolina and Virginia Tech, and an intriguing Big Ten battle between Northwestern and Michigan State.
Saturday should be a ton of fun as well. No. 12 Wisconsin hosts No. 19 Penn State, No. 11 Oregon brings in a frisky Fresno State team, and in the biggest game of the afternoon, No. 1 Alabama gets things going against No. 14 Miami in Atlanta. Elsewhere, No. 17 Indiana looks to keep its 2020 momentum going against No. 18 Iowa, Steve Sarkisian has a tough first test as No. 21 Texas hosts No. 23 Louisiana, No. 15 USC hosts SJSU, and in a potential Playoff preview, No. 3 Clemson and No. 5 Georgia have a showdown in Charlotte. On Sunday and Monday night, we have fun Notre Dame at Florida State and Ole Miss–Louisville games, respectively.
Last year, Andrew McCarty won The Spun’s college football picks contest pretty handily, winding up with a 10-game lead after 16 weeks of picks. The calendar has turned, and it is anyone’s year now.
With 11 staff members picking each game, the biggest splits come in Northwestern-Michigan State, Stanford–Kansas State, Indiana-Iowa, Houston–Texas Tech, Syracuse-Ohio, LSU-UCLA, and the weekend’s headliner, Clemson vs. Georgia.
Here are our picks for Week 1 of the 2021 college football season:
Each week, we pick every college football game involving Power Five and/or ranked teams. Check back with The Spun each week for updated standings.