Big 12, Top 25 college football game predictions for Week 1


Here are Clones Confidential’s predictions for all the Big 12 football games and select top 25 matchups this Saturday.

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Don’t forget, you can check out the whole schedule of action here, including kickoff times, TV networks, and more.

North Dakota State at Iowa State

Prediction coming later today in the full preview.

Alabama vs West Virginia (at Atlanta, GA)

Let’s be honest — there’s a lot of stinkers in the first few weeks of college football, but us fans always look past it because we’ve missed football so much. This will be a widely watched game just based on process of elimination, but it could still end up being a huge blowout.

The Crimson Tide will be working in a new quarterback and will likely play both of them as no one has emerged as a favorite in that position. The Mountaineers will return a decent amount of players on the defensive side of the ball, but they’ll need to have an answer for T.J. Yeldon. My guess is they won’t. The SEC wins one in a closer than expected, low-scoring game.

ALA 23, WVU16

Stephen F. Austin (FCS) at (20)Kansas State

SFA finished last in the Southland Conference with a 3-9 record. They lost to Weber State last year 50-40, who went 2-10. They lost to Texas Tech 61-13 in the following game. Fun facts: They play in a city called Nacogdoches, Texas, and they will lose to Kansas State by a lot.

KSU 57, SFA 7

Aug 31, 2013; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners running back

Brennan Clay

(24) scores a touchdown against UL Monroe Warhawks linebacker

Justin Backus

(20) during the second half at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Louisiana Tech at (4)Oklahoma

This is the first matchup between these two teams. Former Iowa Hawkeye quarterback Cody Sokol is likely to start against probably the toughest defense in the Big 12. There’s a lot of hope for the Bulldogs to improve on a 4-8 campaign from last year, but there’s way too many question marks on the offense and defensive side of the ball to be sure. There’s also too many questions to believe that Oklahoma will steamroll away with the victory. It won’t be a 38-point win like Vegas things, but it won’t be close at the end.

OU 42, LA TECH 20

Samford (FCS) at TCU

Samford finished in the top three in the SoCon last year with an 8-5 overall record. They tied with Chattanooga and Furman with a 6-2 record and was ranked in the top 20 of the FCS. TCU had problems with Southeastern Louisiana before finally pulling away, but that team was one of the top six in the FCS when it was said and done, finishing at the top of the Southland Conference and going 11-3 overall.

It won’t be a cakewalk, but I don’t think Samford will have any success on the Horned Frogs’ defense. A pull away in the second half.

TCU 31, SAM 9

Central Arkansas (FCS) at Texas Tech

UCA started out as a top 10 team in the FCS and competed with Colorado in their second game of 2013, but they got rocked against superior talent in their division to keep them out of the playoffs. They may cause the Red Raiders to have some fits as they install some JUCO players into the defense, but their defense will not slow the opponent down.

TTU 61, C ARK 27

(1)Florida State vs Oklahoma State (at Arlington, TX)

A sleeper for the best game of the day if you just don’t base it on rankings. The Seminoles manhandled everybody in the ACC last year, and the Cowboys may finally be in a year of rebuilding. Last year Jameis Winston took the world over by surprise with a dominating win over Pittsburgh, similar to how Kenny Hill did it at South Carolina on Thursday night. He won’t be a surprise this year, but can OSU do anything defensively to stop Winston from going into Heisman form?

The Seminoles are due to be exposed a little bit defensively, and Tyreek Hill could make himself nationally known and really ramp up some Heisman talk his way, but there’s just too many question marks on OSU to give them a victory. I expect a close one in Jerryworld.

FSU 34, OSU 28

Jan 1, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; North Texas Mean Green head coach Dan McCarney watches his team take on the UNLV Rebels during the second half at the Cotton Bowl Stadium. The Mean Green defeated the Rebels 36-14. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

North Texas at Texas

Good old Dan McCarney will make a return trip to Austin with his new team. We’ve talked about question marks all during these predictions, and no one has more question marks than Texas. How much better are they with Charlie Strong at the helm? Has he weeded out the distractions and how early will he kick some ass in the Big 12? No offense too our former old man, but I’m buying Strong stock. Danny Mac could be in for a long night.

TEX 42, UNT 10

SMU at (10)Baylor (Sunday)

Does SMU still have Garrett Gilbertt? No? Well, instead of losing by 21, add a touchdown and a field goal to that. Actually, it’ll probably be more than that. If the Bears want to be in position to get to the College Football Playoff without having to go undefeated, they’re going to half to beef up this non-conference slate a bit.

BAY 63, SMU 21

Other select top 25 games

Rice at (17)Notre Dame

Generally, the Irish haven’t had dominating success in their season openers. They’ve just slid by in all of them, and this game against a Conference USA favorite (Are the Owls still in CUSA? I have no idea…) has another “we just escaped” written all over it.

ND 20, RICE 16

(16)Clemson vs (12)Georgia

Another candidate for the best game of the day. The Bulldogs should be one of the favorites to reach the SEC Championship and be a sleeper pick to get into the CFP, but they’ll need to be a little more defensively sound and there’s a lot of question marks at that department coming in. Now without Tahj Boyd, the Tigers have more question marks on offense. If Georgia can run the ball successfully, they should get this one in a close one.

UGA 24, CLEM 20

Fresno State at (15)USC

The Trojans dominated against Hawai’i two years ago at home but struggled in a weird contest in Hawai’i that some them down 5-3 in the second quarter until they finally pulled away. Plenty of distractions have been happening late in the offseason for USC, but they generally do a good job in these late afternoon Saturday games in their time zone. Just because I can’t name one person that plays on Fresno State these days, I’ll take the Trojans by a few TDs.

USC 31, FSU 17

(13)LSU vs (14)Wisconsin

LSU did a good job in beating down TCU in the season opener last year, and they’ll try to do the same against one of the Big Ten favorites in Houston. Quarterbacks are a question on both sides of the ball, but the key here is the Tigers stopping the Badgers’ running game — specifically Melvin Gordon. I think he’ll have the edge against in a low-scoring game that could easily see both quarterbacks struggle, but Wisconsin backs it up with a better rushing defense.

WISC 19, LSU 14