The most explosive offense in college football should be prepared to make a statement on Saturday night.
The Ohio State Buckeyes return one of the top five players at quarterback, running back and wide receiver in the entire country.
Ohio State has a tough opener on paper against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, but Notre Dame has a ton of key players to replace and may struggle in the first true road game of the Marcus Freeman era.
Ohio State is rightfully a 17-point favorite, and the Buckeyes could cruise past that number and cash the over in the process, if their offense picks up where it left off in the Rose Bowl.
We do have an all-day wait until the showcase game on the Week 1 slate, but do not fear, there are plenty of other games worth betting before kickoff in Columbus, Ohio.
Saturday CFB Picks
Notre Dame at Ohio State (-17) (7:30 p.m. ET, ABC)
Let's get the big game out of the way first.
Ohio State is going to run rampant on the Notre Dame defense.
C.J. Stroud is a Heisman front-runner, and he could be the favorite over reigning winner Bryce Young for most of the season. Jaxon Smith-Njigba put everyone on notice with his 300-plus-yard game in the Rose Bowl. TreVeyon Henderson is one of the most dynamic running backs in all of college football.
Additionally, Ohio State has a slew of five-star recruits at wide receiver that are ready to slide into roles beneath Smith-Njigba to ease the losses of Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson.
The minimum expectation for Ohio State is a 40-point performance against a top-five opponent in a showcase game on national television.
The Buckeyes' superior talent at the offensive skill positions should show. Notre Dame returns tight end Michael Mayer, but it needs to replace its leading quarterback and running back. The first starts for those players at Ohio Stadium is a tough task and that could affect Notre Dame's offensive output.
The Irish should put up 10-17 points and that may be all we need for the over to hit if Ohio State is firing on all cylinders.
Rutgers at Boston College (-7.5) (Noon ET, ACC Network)
Boston College returns its top rusher (Patrick Garwo) and top receiver (Zay Flowers) and it gets a healthy Phil Jurkovec back at quarterback.
BC was in a spot to make a big jump last season until Jurkovec got hurt and it hampered the expectations around the program.
The Eagles opened the 2021 season with victories of 51-0, 45-28 and 28-3 against Colgate, UMass and Temple.
Rutgers may not be at the horrendous level of those programs, but it might be close in September. The Scarlet Knights lost their top two offensive players and have questions about their quarterback situation.
Rutgers may put up some solid results in the middle of the season, but they have too much to replace to be competitive in Week 1 against a team that could finish third or fourth in the ACC.
North Dakota at Nebraska (3:30 p.m. ET, BTN)
Nebraska First Half Spread (-13)
Nebraska needs to show some type of response to its brutal second half in Ireland last week.
The Huskers have to come out with some type of offensive life to prove they can get past the defeat to Northwestern.
That's why my play is on the first half spread. If Nebraska is going to respond positively, it will do it in the first half. If not, the Huskers will drag their feet to a 20-13 type win and leave more questions about their team.
Miami (Ohio) at Kentucky (-15) (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+/SEC Network)
Kentucky will not be at full strength on Saturday with running back Chris Rodriguez suspended.
However, the Wildcats should be able to beat Miami (Ohio) without their top back because the RedHawks had to replace a lot of starters on defense.
Miami could stay in a game with a power-five foe because of experienced quarterback Brett Gabbert, but Will Levis is the better quarterback in the matchup and he plays for Kentucky.
Kentucky beat its last three foes out of the MAC by 14+ points to start the 2018 and 2019 seasons. The Wildcats should produce a similar result and have the game shored up by the middle of the third quarter.
The Wildcats have extra incentive to get a blowout on early so they can rest up for a battle with Florida next week.
Georgia State at South Carolina (-12.5) (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+/SEC Network)
Stop the run. Get a few big plays. Cover the spread.
If only every game was that easy, right?
Well, that is the game plan South Carolina has to follow against Georgia State on Saturday night.
The Panthers come into Williams-Brice Stadium with a rushing attack that averaged over 200 yards per game in 2021.
South Carolina's front seven needs to dictate the direction of the contest, and with its SEC size, it should achieve that for most of the contest.
Stops will open up opportunities for Spencer Rattler to create a few big plays in his South Carolina debut. The Gamecocks have the clear advantage in big-play potential and that can give them separation even if Georgia State produces one or two long scoring drives.
Memphis at Mississippi State (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU)
There is a revenge element to the Memphis-Mississippi State clash.
Memphis won 31-29 at home in a controversial manner last season, so expect the Bulldogs to come out firing in the Mike Leach Air Raid offense.
Another year at the helm for Will Rogers should help the Bulldogs get off to a faster start, and that may enable them to produce a big lead on Memphis to avoid a heartbreaking finish.
Rogers threw for 419 yards last year against Memphis and do not be surprised if he rivals Stroud as the nation's top passer after Week 1.
Memphis has an experienced signal-caller in Seth Henigan and he should lead a few scoring drives to aid the over, but the major offensive catalyst will be Rogers and the heavily motivated Bulldogs.
Louisville (-4.5) at Syracuse (8 p.m. ET, ACC Network)
Louisville has one of the most dynamic individual playmakers in the ACC in quarterback Malik Cunningham.
A year ago, Cunningham and the Cardinals torched Syracuse at home by a 41-3 score. Cunningham only threw 18 passes in that game, but he had 209 yards and four scores.
It is also worth noting that the Cardinals kept Syracuse running back Sean Tucker in check throughout last year's meeting. Tucker had 95 yards on 19 carries, which was one of the low points of his season.
Tucker had nine 100-yard rushing games in 2021. All three of his sub-100-yard performances resulted in Syracuse scoring 14 points or less in defeats.
If Louisville can contain Tucker again, it should pull away with ease behind Cunningham.