College Football Week 1 Best Bets: Gambling Season Begins
Back in my married days, my then wife was from Louisiana (she still is from Louisiana, actually, and still alive, we are just not married anymore) and around late October or early November is when duck hunting season would begin. At least, I think it was around that time, I just remember being cold the one time I decided to go.
And that leads me to my point -- in a decade plus of marriage, I went once.
Her brothers and brothers-in-law would be so excited for the beginning of duck hunting season, they'd be brimming with anticipation days before, and then finally at like 4 a.m. the first morning, they'd giddily jump in their boat and then sit for a couple hours to kill at like five or six ducks.
I thought it sucked, I hated it. I love my brothers-in-law, but I hated duck hunting. Mostly because it's cold, wet, involves duck guts, and takes place really early on a Saturday morning.
Rice University Owls Football vs. Prairie View A&M University Football
TicketsSat., Oct. 22, 2:30pm
University of Houston Cougars Football vs. UCF Knights Football
TicketsSat., Oct. 29, 11:00am
Rice University Owls Football vs. Florida Atlantic University Owls Football
TicketsSat., Nov. 5, 2:30pm
University of Houston Cougars Football vs. Tulane University Football
TicketsSat., Nov. 12, 11:00am
That said, the wide eyed optimism and unbridled joy that they showed because it was time to murder ducks is the same way I feel about tomorrow morning -- Saturday morning marks the begin of wagering season (actually Friday night, but stay with me here).
I will wake up early, I will drink beer, and I will do my best to take down five or six spreads. It's the EXACT SAME THING as duck hunting season. Just no duck guts.
Let's hit the games, shall we?
Alabama -20 1/2 over Virginia Tech I've heard my friend Brian Beckner, a weekly guest on Travis Rodgers Now on Yahoo! Sports Radio, say that Vin Scully does his job better than anyone on earth does their job. I liked that description. That was a great way to articulate just how professional and truly great the guy is at his job. Along those lines, I'd put Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban on the short list of people who you could put in that argument against Scully. Give Saban an extra week to prepare for you, he will destroy you. Give him several months? Well, sorry Frank Beamer.
For the record, other people in the "better at their job than anyone in the world is at his own job": LeBron James, Anderson Cooper, Kim Kardashian (Best I can tell her job is to bang black men, make sex tapes, and adorn tabloid covers -- she makes millions, so I'll assume she's the best.), and Evelyn the Cashier at Whataburger on Chimney Rock (always gives me a "God bless" and remembers my breakfast order every time, she rules!)
SMU +4 over Texas Tech It's tough enough to go into your first game on the road at night on national television. Also, it's tough enough to go into your first game as a college football head coach with your starting quarterback knocked out with a back injury, not to mention tough enough to go into your first game as a college football head coach with two freshman quarterbacks, including a walk-on. Tough enough to go into your first game as a college football head coach against a former NFL head coach. Bottom line, this is going to be tough for Kliff Kingsbury. I'll take the four points. TEXAS A&M -27 1/2 over Rice During the second half of last season, due in large part to their offense kicking into high gear under Johnny Football, the Aggies were the one team that Vegas couldn't get their arms around. They were like a greased eel (assuming a greased eel had an Instagram account and was dressed in a Scooby Doo costume). Vegas would put a spread out on an Aggie game and it would immediately jump an unheard of four or five points. Well, the fact is this game has spent most of the preseason on the shelf as the oddsmakers awaited the Manziel Autograph Situation (proper noun status!) to resolve itself. Now it has, and the line is right back where it was before this drama. Actually, it was 28 before, now 27.5, so Manziel's sitting out a half only bumped it down a half a point, which tells you the books think A&M is going to mop the field with Rice even if Kevin Sumlin himself has to play quarterback. Who am I to argue?
NOTRE DAME -29 1/2 over Temple College football season hasn't begun until I've placed a really stupid wager on Notre Dame, so lets get things started early! Truth be told, Notre Dame's defense, despite the loss of Manti Te'o and his rolodex full of women who don't exist (See, people! Even Notre Dame folks can laugh about it!), will be one of the best in the country. This is basically a wager to see if Notre Dame can score five touchdowns against Temple.
BYU -1 over VIRGINIA Led by linebacker Kyle Van Noy, BYU has a chance to make some noise this season. They were 7-5 last season, but a tough 7-5. Virgnia, on the other hand, has a coaching staff that misspells the word "formally" on a formal offer letter to a recruit:
Sorry, I know that seems like an odd reason to pick a team, but I just can't trust a coaching staff who sent that letter out to pay close enough attention to detail to win an early season game against a decent opponent. I am formerly picking BYU.
Washington State/AUBURN OVER 61 Mike Leach and Gus Malzahn just need to get to 61 points combined? Um, yes, please.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.