Week 1 of the college football season is here, with a week of terrific matchups.
Our handicappers Adam Burke, Tim Murray, Wes Reynolds and Scott Seidenberg are here to give you their best bets for nine games on the weekend's card.
Lines are consensus odds from VSiN's college football lines page, as of Wednesday night.
Fresno State Bulldogs at No. 11 Oregon Ducks (-20.5, 63.5)
Murray: Autzen Stadium in Eugene is one of the toughest environments in college football. But this Saturday, don’t expect a vintage crowd. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. PT and the fall semester does not start at Oregon until Sept. 20. As for the Ducks’ opponent, Fresno State got a tune-up game last weekend against UConn. Granted, the Huskies could be the worst football team in the FBS, but QB Jake Haener looked sharp in a 45-0 victory. The former Washington QB was 20-of-26 for 331 yards and 3 TDs. With Haener’s experience in the Pac-12, Autzen Stadium won’t intimidate him. Additionally, the Ducks will be without a pair of starters in its secondary. Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal announced that projected starters Jamal Hill and DJ James will not be available due to an off the field incident.
Cristobal has been recruiting at a high level, but the inexperience in the secondary could lead to some issues for the Ducks on Saturday. Phil Steele rated Fresno State’s wide receivers as the 11th best in the country in his preseason magazine. Oregon does have arguably the most talented defensive player in the country in DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, who could make Haener’s afternoon a nightmare.
Defensively, Fresno State shut out UConn last weekend and held the Huskies to 107 total yards, but Oregon is clearly on another level. The Ducks have big-time playmakers at wide receiver (including Mycah Pittman and Devon Williams) and Oregon’s top two running backs (CJ Verdell and Travis Dye) are back. The big question is QB Anthony Brown. Brown started at Boston College for three seasons before transferring to Oregon in 2020. He did not see much action last year. Highly touted freshman QB Ty Thompson could ultimately take Brown’s job during the season but for now it is the senior’s job.