It’s a new season, and a new season means a new start. That’s exactly what I’m looking for in 2017 after a rather mediocre 2016 in this Pick Six column. We finished only three games over .500 last year, and quite frankly, that’s just not good enough. When it comes to picking games against a spread, it’s ridiculous to think you’re going to be right every single time, but I should have been better than I was last season.
And I will be.
Just because thinking you’re going to go undefeated is unrealistic doesn’t mean I’m going to stop trying to do it, let’s get the 2017 season started with a 6-0 week.
Games of the week
No. 1 Alabama (-7) vs. No. 3 Florida State: This is a fantastic way to start the 2017 season, but it’s not one that’s easy to pick a side. For most of the past month, I was all on board with taking Florida State and the points, but I’ve changed directions in recent days. The biggest reason?
Just look at how Alabama has performed in the opening week of seasons. Yes, Florida State is the best opening week opponent Alabama has faced in a long time, but the Tide have opened each of the past five seasons against a Power Five team. Alabama has won all five of those games by an average of 25.2 points with no victory by less than 10 points. If we take away last season’s 52-6 decimation of USC, the average margin of victory is still 20 points per game.
So even though I think it’s entirely possible Florida State wins this game, history suggests Alabama will, and it’s going to do so somewhat easily. Alabama 31, Florida State 21
Michigan (+3.5) vs. Florida: This is another game in which I’ve changed sides. I was originally on Florida, but that was when I figured Florida would have an entire roster at its disposal. That’s not the case as the Gators have suspended numerous players, including key starters, all of which makes it much more difficult to trust them in this game.
Meanwhile, Michigan might not be naming its starters, but I bet Jim Harbaugh has a much better idea of who will be leading his offense than McElwain does at the moment. I do worry about Michigan’s defense a bit simply because it has so much to replace, but there’s still plenty of talent there. So, in the end, I have to go with Big Blue down in Jerry World. Michigan 27, Florida 17
Lock of the week
Navy (-9.5) at Florida Atlantic: Lane Kiffin sure has brought a lot more attention (as well as half the roster of Last Chance U) to FAU than the Owls are used to, but that might not be the best news here on opening weekend. I do believe that Kiffin will improve FAU and that those improvements will come on offense. As far as the Owls’ defense, I’m not sure I can trust it to slow down Navy’s option attack in its very first game, and I think the Middies are going to roll here. Navy 42, FAU 24
Underdog of the week
Miami (Ohio) (+2.5) at Marshall: The RedHawks are a team that could surprise in 2017. They started last season 0-6 before winning six straight to become bowl eligible, and then they took Mississippi State to the wire in their bowl game. It’s a team that I believe will be in the running to win the MAC this season, and I…