Whose Hopes are on the Line as Early as Week 1?
Although the wife may not want to admit, there’s no denying that the college football season is here. Both fans and sportsbooks alike are getting ready for another successful season, but fans should be careful not to get their hopes up in case their favorite school fails to live up to expectations. In fact, some schools could see their season fall apart as early as week 1. So, without any adieu, here are several schools whose hopes are on the line this Saturday.
Kansas vs. Rhode Island
Unlike the NFL where every team is trying to win the Super Bowl, NCAA teams can have vastly different goals. For schools like Clemson and Alabama the season is only a success if they come away with the National Title. A successful season for the Jayhawks on the other hand, looks entirely different. One year removed from going 0-12 even winning a couple games would definitely give them something to cheer about. No sportsbook in the world is expecting them to go 11-1 but a handful of wins would be a step in the right direction. Losing the season opener two years straight certainly wouldn’t be. If Kansas wins they could ride the momentum for an easy two-game win streak. If they lose it could be the beginning of another winless season.
Oklahoma vs. Houston
The media certainly loves Oklahoma considering they’ve picked it to win the Big 12. The media has their back but the Sooners didn’t get any help from their administration, who picked one of the toughest schedules of 2016. Bob Stoops, the Sooners head coach, gets to start the season by facing the best Houston team in nearly 30 years. A loss here would certainly see them drop from their No. 3 ranking and would be a huge blow to their confidence. After Houston the Sooners will face Ohio State and TCU and will need a win in Week 1 if they hope to overcome such fierce opposition.
Kentucky vs. Southern Miss
Most coaches in the NCAA are hoping to make a bowl game so that the season is considered a success. Mark Stoop on the other hand, is hoping he makes it to a bowl game so he doesn’t get fired. While Stoop needs to get started on making this year a success he certainly won’t be getting any help from his Week 1 opponent, Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles are coming off a season that saw them average almost 40 points per contest and will have Nick Mullens – a potential Heisman candidate – returning once more. The sportsbooks favor Kentucky in this matchup with -250 compared to Southern Miss’ +210 odds. Stoop desperately needs to prove them right.
Ole Miss vs. Florida State
This game will actually be played on Monday, unlike the rest of the matchups on this list. Many fans within the NCAA betting community have pegged Ole Miss as a potential playoff contender. The Rebels certainly look good, but their first 7 opponents look even better. The contest against No. 4 Florida State is just the starter, they’ll have to follow Monday’s game with battles at home against Alabama and Georgia all before September ends. After that Ole Miss will get a much needed bye week but will have to start back on the road against Arkansas and LSU. With such tough opposition lying ahead Ole Miss will desperately need a win Monday to start the season on the right foot. This could however, be the first of several disappointing losses.