2. Georgia Bulldogs
Opponent: Oregon (Neutral Site) | Time: Saturday, Sept. 3, 3:30 p.m. ET | Spread: UGA -17
Am I really putting the defending national champs on upset alert? You’re damn right.
Georgia comes into this season still loaded with talent, even after all of the players that they lost to the NFL, and as a potential College Football Playoff contender once again. Oregon is less so in that category, but with Auburn transfer Bo Nix at the helm, they are hoping that new head coach Dan Lanning — the defensive coordinator in Athens last season — can get the program to take the next step.
The Dawgs deserve to be favorites, but this is an extremely good Ducks defense and an Oregon offense that could potentially take a big step forward. When you then account for Lanning and Nix’s familiarity with Georgia, things could get even more interesting. The game is at a neutral site but still in Atlanta, so the champs will have an advantage there, but I still don’t see this game as a lock.
1. Pitt Panthers
Opponent: West Virginia (Neutral Site) | Time: Thursday, Sept. 1, 7 p.m. ET | Spread: PITT -7.5
It’s the Backyard Brawl. I could probably just leave it at that and be done with the upset picks for the week, but I’m not going to.
Point blank, I like this Pitt team a lot better than West Virginia. But the fact of the matter is that Pat Narduzzi’s team has undergone drastic changes with Kenny Pickett and Jordan Addison now gone. Kedon Slovis is now in at quarterback after his stint at USC but that’s possibly a bit of a downgrade. The defense, on the other hand, should be elite.
As for WVU, this is a team also with a former USC (and Georgia) quarterback as J.T. Daniels takes over, which should be an upgrade if he’s healthy. And there’s reason for hoping the defense will be better.
When you get into this type of rivalry game, though, the gloves come off and I think the Backyard Brawl lives up to its name in a bit of a slugfest. In that type of matchup, the favorites don’t matter, which means Pitt should be on high alert.