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Fearless predictions: Week 1

Friday, Sept. 2

No. 14 TCU at Baylor (+4.5), 8 p.m.: Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III goes up against a stout TCU defense, led by linebacker Tank Carder. TCU will miss quarterback Andy Dalton. This game has that upset feel. But TCU’s defense comes through. TCU 23, Baylor 17

Saturday, Sept. 3

Northwestern at Boston College (-3), 12 p.m.: Boston College star running back Montel Harris is out and Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa is doubtful. Advantage goes to Boston College with depth at running back and Chase Rettig showing promise last season as a true freshman quarterback. The Wildcats are a different team without Persa. Boston College 20, Northwestern 17

South Florida at No. 16 Notre Dame (-10.5), 3:30 p.m.: Expectations are high in South Bend. South Florida doesn’t return many starters, but dual-threat quarterback B.J. Daniels is back and dangerous when not erratic. Dayne Crist is back from a knee injury and will be Notre Dame’s starting quarterback. Notre Dame ended last season with a four-game winning streak and that momentum carries over. Notre Dame 27, South Florida 23

Brigham Young at Mississippi (+3), 4:45 p.m.: Mississippi is back in rebuilding mode. BYU begins life as an independent with promising sophomore quarterback Jake Heaps. Playing at Mississippi isn’t an easy game, but the Cougars have the better overall team at this point. BYU 28, Mississippi 27

Tulsa at No. 1 Oklahoma (-25), 8 p.m.: Tulsa should not be taken lightly. The Sooners are serious national title contenders and the road to New Orleans for the BCS title game starts here. Heisman contender and quarterback Landry Jones and wide receiver Ryan Broyles lead one of the top offenses in the country. The loss of linebacker Travis Lewis hurts, but Oklahoma won’t any problems on Saturday. Oklahoma 48, Tulsa 13

No. 3 Oregon vs. No. 4 LSU (+4), 8 p.m. (at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas): LSU will miss starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson. The Tigers have a great defense loaded with talent. But the Ducks will have a bit too much offense with running back LaMichael James and quarterback Darron Thomas leading the way. Oregon 24, LSU 20

No. 5 Boise State at No. 19 Georgia (+3.5), 8 p.m. (at Georgia Dome, Atlanta): Boise State can’t afford a loss if it wants to stay in the national title hunt. Broncos senior quarterback Kellen Moore is a proven winner, while Georgia sophomore quarterback Aaron Murray is still learning. Advantage goes to Moore and the Broncos. Boise State 31, Georgia 27

Sunday, Sept. 4

Marshall at No. 24 West Virginia (-22), 3:30 p.m.: West Virginia fans looking for offense should like what they see from new head coach and offensive guru Dana Holgorsen and quarterback Geno Smith. This game was very close last season, but it won’t be this time. West Virginia 38, Marshall 13

SMU at No. 8 Texas A&M (-15), 7:30 p.m.: Texas A&M was one of the hottest teams in the country over the second half of last season. The Aggies, with quarterback Ryan Tannehill and running back Cyrus Gray returning, should contend with Oklahoma for the Big 12 title. You’ll see why starting Sunday night. Texas A&M 41, SMU 17

Monday, Sept. 5

Miami (Fla.) at Maryland (+1), 8 p.m.: Miami will be without numerous players, including starting quarterback Jacory Harris and defensive stars Sean Spence and Ray-Ray Armstrong. There’s no doubt Al Golden will have his team ready, but the losses on defense for this game are huge. Maryland could be a sleeper this season and quarterback Danny O’Brien has a lot of potential. The Randy Edsall era gets off to a strong start. Maryland 23, Miami (Fla.) 20



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