Watching Russell Wilson and Wisconsin just steamroll UNLV last night made me smile. Not because I particularly love Wisconsin or just hate UNLV, but because football is back.
The games are underway and opening weekend is in full swing. We’ll be opening up an open thread for discussion over the weekend as we all watch the sport we love so dearly together.
The first weekend is usually a time for powerful teams to tear up an inferior opponent and make them look better. There’s plenty of that this weekend, but there are also a few big matchups to peak our interest.
Here’s what’s on tap this weekend:
2011 Opening Weekend
TCU at Baylor | Friday | 7 p.m.
The Horned Frogs better hope Casey Pachall is good, because they have a huge target on their heads after steamrolling through last season. It’ll be tough to win in the hostile confines of Floyd Cas — er never mind. But the Bears do have one of the best quarterbacks in the Big 12 in Robert Griffin III, so the Frogs perennially awesome defense will be tested early.
Prediction: Baylor 28, TCU 23
I’m picking the upset here. TCU has a lot of unanswered questions and an unproven quarterback on the road against a legitimately good Baylor team. This has upset written all over it.
La. Lafayette at Oklahoma State | Saturday | 6 p.m.
The Cowboys scheduled this game so they could beat up on the Ragin’ Cajuns and put up some of their tried-and-true points. Big statistical days await Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon.
Prediction: Oklahoma State 59, La. Lafayette 10
This one won’t really be close, and the Ragin’ Cajuns will get out of there with a little bit of money for getting their butts handed to them.
Texas State at Texas Tech | Saturday | 6 p.m.
The pride of the Southland Conference heads to Lubbock to face the vanilla Red Raiders in their second season under Tommy Tuberville. The Bobcats are going to be pumped about a potential upset, but the Red Raiders don’t usually lose these games.
Prediction: Texas Tech 27, Texas State 17
Seth Doege will make a favorable impression in his first game in five years, which will spark optimism in Lubbock. WARNING: It will probably be a false assumption.
Rice at Texas | Saturday | 7 p.m.
JFK once asked, “Why does Rice play Texas?” Well, so they can debut of the Longhorn Network, of course. The Longhorns are loaded with question marks after a terrible 5-7 season last year, but even then they beat Rice 34-17. This game is important for Texas to just win a game. Rice is a good academic school, and I’ll just leave it at that.
Prediction: Texas 42, Rice 17
Garrett Gilbert will rack up impressive passing stats against a porous Rice secondary that allowed a ton of yards last year. It won’t impress Texas fans until he does it against somebody more impressive than Rice.
Tulsa at Oklahoma | Saturday | 7 p.m.
One of the more intriguing opening weekend games pits two high-flying offenses against each other in Norman. The Golden Hurricane are getting closer and closer to annual Top 25 contention, and an upset would vault them into America’s hearts. But Oklahoma is a way better team with the home-field advantage.
Prediction: Oklahoma 56, Tulsa 35
If you want to see a lot of offense, watch this game. The Golden Hurricane will fall behind early, play catch-up and score a lot of points. But without Demaris Johnson, who’s suspended for embezzling (!) money, they’re stud playmaker is out. OU wins a landslide.
Oregon vs. LSU | Saturday | 7 p.m.
The main event of the weekend at Cowboys Stadium will probably be as disappointing of a game as the BCS National Championship. I say that only because people will expect the high-flying Ducks to put up a lot of razzle-dazzle points, but LSU’s defense is always stout and never gets blown out. Plus a lot of playmakers are out of this game.
Prediction: LSU 24, Oregon 20
When I say disappointing, I don’t mean it won’t be a good game. It’ll be close and tight until the end. But LSU always finds a way to win these games, and I expect this game to be no different. Also, Jarrett Lee will look good.
SMU at Texas A&M | Sunday | 6:30 p.m.
All offseason long I’ve pointed this game out as an upset waiting to happen, but now I’m second-guessing it. Texas A&M has had the spotlight blared straight on it since the whole SEC/Longhorn Network issue began, and now a lot of people are eyeing this as a potential upset. Call it hipster, but I called it first.
Prediction: Texas A&M 31, SMU 23
It’s hard to win in College Station, especially when Texas A&M is good. This is a storyline that’s bound to continue all season long, and it won’t be ruined in week one. SMU will have trouble punching it in the end zone, and Cyrus Gray will run for a ton of yards and two touchdowns.
So am I way off? Tell me why I’m an idiot and state your case in the comments below.