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NCAAF Rewind/Lookahead: Colorado Ready for Prime Time

Texas State Also Wins as 20-Point Underdogs

While there weren’t many compelling matchups in Week 1 of the college football season, with many of the teams taking the path of least resistance by scheduling overmatched opponents, there were still some results that defied the college football predictions.

Leading the way was Colorado, featuring 50-plus incoming transfers, stunning 2022 national runner-up Texas Christian in Deion Sanders’ first game as Colorado’s head coach.

Losses to Group of Six programs are not how Baylor, Boston College, Purdue and Texas Tech planned on starting the 2023 season – all were favored by the NCAA football picks.

Week 1 comes to an end on Monday with Clemson favored by 13 points against Duke.

Georgia (+225) leads the way in the odds to win the national title. Alabama (+550), Michigan (+700) and Ohio State (+800) are the next closest competitors according to the college football odds.

Ready for Prime Time

The Deion Sanders era at Colorado began with the Buffaloes a three-score underdog against TCU, which was coming off a run to the national championship game.

More than 500 passing yards from Sanders’ son, Shedeur, lifted Colorado to the 45-42 victory.

Never one to mince words win or lose, Sanders used his postgame press conference to call out those who doubted that he could use the No. 1-rated class of incoming transfers to immediately transform the worst Power-5 conference program in the nation into a team that could take down a ranked TCU team.

It was Sanders’ players who did their talking on the field as the Buffaloes were one of two teams listed by the college football betting lines as at least 20-point underdogs to win outright.

Colorado was 0-10 outright in the last 10 games as 20-point underdogs and was 2-8 against the college football spread in those games. Next up is a game against Nebraska, with the Buffaloes favored by 3½ points.

It was part of a perfect week in the Pac-12 as all 12 teams won. Oregon set a program record with 81 points in a win over Portland State. USC, Washington State and California also had at least 50 points.

Power (5) Outage

So much for teams from the Power-5 conferences having the edge against the Group of Six conference squads.

In four of those matchups, teams outside the Power-5 conferences won outright.

Texas State was a 26½-point underdog before taking down Baylor 42-31.

Staying in the Big 12, it was Wyoming topping Texas Tech 35-33 as the 12-point underdog while Northern Illinois, 1-9 in its last 10 games against teams from Power-5 conferences, won 27-24 in overtime as the eight-point underdog to Boston College.

Fresno State, a four-point dog against Purdue, came away with the entertaining 39-35 win.

Week 1 Bad Beats

Those who bet online had reasons to check out multiple Week 1 games right until the bitter end.

The Oregon State-San Jose State was under the total of 56 before San Jose State’s Brenden Alvarez caught a touchdown pass with four seconds left that pushed the game over the total in the 42-17 rout.

Northern Illinois hit a game-winning field goal in overtime to take down Boston College 27-24. The kick sent the game over the 50-point total.

Midway through the fourth quarter, it was looking like the matchup between Wisconsin and Buffalo would land under the 52-point total before Braelon Allen’s TD run sent the game over the total to give Wisconsin the 38-17 win. The game opened with a 55-point total before moving to the 52-53 range by kickoff.

South Florida had a chance to get the ball back with more than 2½ minutes to play but failed to get off the field on a third-and-17 play as Western Kentucky ran out the clock to send the game under the 71-point total. Western Kentucky was listed by the college football odds as a 13½ -point favorite so that last drive by the Hilltoppers all enabled Western Kentucky to cover in the 41-24 win.

Penn State led West Virginia 31-15 with less than 10 seconds to go in a game with a 48½ -point total.

A short scoring run by Beau Pribula sent the game over the total as Penn State won 38-15.

Liberty was favored by 7½-8 points against Bowling Green before a Teagen Landerink field goal with 2:52 left put the Flames up 34-24. Bowling Green went in the opposite direction and faced a fourth-and-26 at its own 2 before turning the ball over on downs.

Kentucky, listed as a 25-point favorite versus Ball State, got a 30-yard run by Ray Davis with 6 seconds left to cover in the 44-14 romp.

Living Up to the Hype

There were plenty of matchups where the winner was not in question before the game kicked off.

A rare exception was the top-10 matchup between Louisiana State and Florida State in Orlando that featured Heisman Trophy candidates Jayden Daniels of LSU and Jordan Travis of Florida State.

LSU led 17-14 at halftime before the Seminoles took over and came with the 45-24 win.

LSU came into the game as the two-point favorite but couldn’t keep up in the second half. The game went over the 57-point total with 1:26 left to play. The Tigers were the only top-10 ranked team to lose. Travis threw for 342 yards with four touchdown passes and a scoring run. Daniels threw for 347 yards and led LSU with 64 rushing yards.

Bragging Rights

There were six non-league matchups between the teams from the Power-5 conferences.

The Pac-12 led the way by going 2-0 with wins by Colorado and Utah.

The Big Ten went 1-0 with the ACC finishing 2-1 (all against SEC teams) while the Big 12 and SEC combined to go 1-5.

Looking ahead, here are other matchups to look at.

Alabama is listed by the Las Vegas college football odds as a seven-point favorite against visiting Texas while Wake Forest is a 12½-point favorite against Vanderbilt. Texas A&M is favored by five points on the road against Miami. Auburn (-6½) is favored versus California and Mississippi State (-9) is the favorite in the matchup with Arizona.

Also, Pittsburgh is an eight-point favorite against Cincinnati while the Purdue-Virginia Tech showdown is a Pick’em.

Kansas is favored by a field goal against Illinois, Utah heads to Baylor as the six-point favorite and Iowa (-4) is a favorite against Iowa State.

Oregon (-6½) versus Texas Tech, Oklahoma State (-3½) versus Arizona State and Wisconsin (-4½) as a road favorite against Washington State are among Pac-12 games up next.

Then there is the Colorado-Nebraska game, with the Buffaloes favored for the first time at home in two years.

On the Move

Let’s take a look at the bigger line movements of Week 1.

Stanford opened as a 10½-point favorite before the line went off at 2½ points. It made little difference with the Cardinal winning 37-24 over Hawaii.

Staying in the Pac-12, Washington State went from being favored by 16½ points to nine points. It should have headed in the opposite direction with the Cougars cruising to a 50-24 win over Colorado State.

Finally, Iowa went from being favored by 19 points to becoming a 24-point favorite. Iowa failed to cover despite topping Utah State 24-14.

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