As we enter the official Week 1 of College Football, four games involving two FBS teams facing each other are scheduled on Thursday, August 31.
Let’s dive into a rundown of these games and my predictions.
Kent State vs. UCF
Line: UCF -36.5
The Golden Flashes went 5-7 last season but will struggle to reach that mark in 2023. First-year head coach Kenni Burns will lead Kent State after Sean Lewis vacated the job to become the offensive coordinator at Colorado under Coach Prime.
Burns’ squad returns just four defensive starters from last season and none from the offensive side of the ball. Even though the MAC is not one of the tougher FBS conferences, FanDuel has the Golden Flashes over/under win total pegged at just 2.5.
The UCF Knights are coming off a 9-5 season where they went 6-2 in the AAC before losing the conference championship game to Tulane. The Knights are leaping to the Big 12 this season, and their projected win total has dipped to 6.5 on FanDuel.
UCF is led by head coach Gus Malzahn, who led the Auburn Tigers to a National Championship in 2010. Malzahn’s squad welcomes back six starters on each side of the ball.
Prediction: UCF 48 Kent State 10
NC State vs. UConn
Line: NC State -15
After five straight seasons of three wins or more, not including the canceled 2020 season, the UConn Huskies jumped to 6-7 in 2022 under head coach Jim Mora. The Huskies look to take another step forward this season with six returning offensive starters and eight on defense.
The overall schedule, however, isn’t easy, and FanDuel has the UConn over/win total set at just 4.5.
The NC State Wolfpack is coming off an 8-5 season but only slated with a 6.5 over/under win total. The Wolfpack welcome back six defensive starters and five on offense. Their quarterback, Devin Leary, transferred to Kentucky, but they did get former Virginia quarterback Brennan Armstrong out of the transfer portal, who is coming off a disappointing 2022 season.
Prediction: NC State 28 UConn 17
Florida vs Utah
Line: Utah -6.5
The marquee matchup of Thursday night is between the Gaors and Utes. The Gators beat Utah 29-26 in the swamp last season but head into 2023 with only four returning starters on defense and three on offense and must replace quarterback Anthony Richardson.
The oddsmakers have low expectations for the Gators’ whose over/under win total is set at just 5.5.
Utah comes in with an over/under win total of 8.5 and is expected to get revenge from last season. The Utes bring back quarterback Cameron Rising, giving them six returning offensive starters and seven on the defensive end.
Prediction: Utah 34 Florida 17
Nebraska vs Minnesota
Line: Minnesota -7.5
The Golden Gophers have won the last four meetings in this rivalry, each time by at least seven points. P.J. Fleck’s team comes into this season with an over/under win total set at 7.5, with five starters back on each side of the ball. They went 9-4 last season.
Nebraska is coming off a disappointing 4-8 season and will be under the first season of the Matt Rhule era. Rhule has college head coaching experience at Temple and Baylor and went 11-27 as the head coach of the Carolina Panthers. Under Rhule, the Cornhuskers over/under win total for the season is set at 6.5.
Prediction: Minnesota 24 Nebraska 14
IT’S GAMEDAY!! 🐊 pic.twitter.com/8snyiqSOgn
— Florida Gators Football (@GatorsFB) August 31, 2023
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| Title: Thursday August 31 FBS College Football Preview and Predictions
| Author: David Marotta
| Date: Aug 31th, 2023