2017-08-25 06:28

Hello dear readers,

unfortunately I'm not able to do the coverage of college football as I did in the last few seasons.
I'm in a quite demanding project and there is less time to spend on other interesting things, like this series here.

Still, letting the season just go would also be a bit unsatisfying so I decided to make TOP 3 games approach but skip the preview pages.

The upcoming weekend is the first gameday, even it is more or less a preseason gameday and does officially count for the first gameday stretching from this weekend until the night of Sunday to Monday, next week, beginning of September.
I will split those two weekends, so I can get a little warmup and I can present some teams which might not happen to become TOP 3 games on a full gameday schedule.

This weekend are 5 games only planned overall, but that's a lot more than last season, where only one game (Hawaii against Cal) did happen prior the real season start.

So of the 5 games scheduled I selected this 3 games as the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP 3 GAMES FOR WEEK 0

Sat. Aug. 26 - 2:30 pm ET
Oregon State @ Colorado State
Gary Andersen is in his 3rd season as Oregon State Beavers HC and so far, he managed to improve the win total from 2 in his 1st season to 4 in his 2nd season.
He did turn around Utah State in the past and did guide Wisconsin through 2 winning seasons, so he can coach, but I'm not sure he will be able to guide the Beavers this season to a bowl game.
The PAC12 is loaded and their schedule is heavy.
Still, this is a non-conference game, so they might pick up a win here.
Ah, not so fast.
The Rams are also in the 3rd season under HC Mike Bobo, who did inherited a winning football program and guided them to 2 7-6 seasons.
Now in his 3rd season expectations are quite high to lift them into the area the team was when he took it over.
I don't think they will win the Mountain West Conference, but they will for sure be one of the better teams.
It's a home game for the Rams, 1 mile above sea level, which is a huge factor.
The teams might be more or less equal, it's hard to tell, on 1st gameday and with the two different conferences.
I give the home team credit here to win this, because of that home field advantage and the feeling that they will come out a bit better than the Beavers.
Fair game, I had always problems judging a Beavers team and they did surprise me some seasons, but I stick with my gut feeling and pick the Rams to grind the Beavers down slowly, but relentless.
Rams win.

Sat. Aug. 26 - 6:00 pm ET
Hawaii @ UMass
This could become a mess or a fun game.
Hawaii has now Nick Rolovich in his 2nd season and the HC did inherited a losing team and guided it already in his 1st season to a 7-7 record.
Especially the offense did work much better under him and expectations are high already this season.
Their schedule might allow a better record, but I doubt a big boost, unless the other teams will play under expectations.
Opening the season against UMass is a smart move, since UMass is not really a tough team and that make the road trip winnable.
UMass is coached by Mark Whipple in his 10th season, he guided the team from glorious days in the FCS to FBS level, where they did play 2 seasons in the MAC and where they are now in their 2nd season as Independent.
I think they gambled for a spot in one of the better conferences, but they missed the realignment shuffle by a few seasons and even if the team is a big shot in basketball, the football team is not really interesting so far.
Their FBS record is 8-28 (with 2 seasons in the weak MAC) and last season they won only 2 games.
I'm not sure whether Whipple is already on a hot seat, but a program today accepts only a few losing seasons in a row until it pulls the trigger, so maybe something is coming already this season.
They have a wild mixture of opponents this season and I doubt a winning record at the end of 2017.
Starting with that game against Hawaii, which is the 2nd game in the series starting last season in Hawaii, where UMass lost 40-46.
This season I expect also a high scoring game, but I expect Hawaii to be better prepared on defense and making it a one dimensional game.
Still, we might see a high scoring game and a UMass win would be an upset which could start a good season for the Minutemen.
I don't believe in such an outcome and pick Hawaii to win.
Rainbow Warriors win.

Sat. Aug. 26 - 6:00 pm ET
#19 South Florida @ San Jose State
The South Florida Bulls do have a new HC, former Longhorns HC Charlie Strong.
I think he will be more successful in this environment than in Texas, but time will tell.
He got a winning team, so there should not really be a rebuilding phase, more an adjustment phase, and if Strong can win the team over fast, the Bulls will play a huge role in the American Athletic Conference outcome.
The championship is up for grab, because of the changes in the coaching landscape.
Honestly, I think the Bull won't win it, because of that adjustment phase, but they will set a mark.
San Jose State is also under new management; Brent Brennan took over a struggling team and will have to rebuild it.
It's his first HC gig, so this can become a success and then he likely will be gone for a better paid job soon, or he will struggle and we will see him let go, sooner or later.
But that's always the doomsday scenario for schools like the Spartans.
Anyway, this season he will have to pick up the pieces and build a team from scratch.
Last season the result was 4-8 (while the Bulls finished 11-2!) and a coaching change is always difficult, so it's anybody’s guess, whether the numbers will go up or down.
I'm very confident that the Bulls will win this game, maybe not that dominant as they could or should, but still a win, where the Spartans will have basically no chance to win and will play catchup the whole game.
Bulls win.

Other interesting games:
Sat. Aug. 26 - 10:00 pm ET
#14 Stanford @ Rice
Two academic oriented schools do meet, but I doubt that Rice will have a chance in this. Stanford is a very good team, very well coached in a tough conference, while Rice is on a down spiral in the Conference USA.
Cardinals win.

'Til next time

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