Picks for Week 1's biggest games

Predicting Week 1's big games, including A&M-S. Carolina and Clemson-UGA

Updated: August 28, 2014, 7:20 PM ET
By Phil Steele | ESPN Insider

Les Miles, Melvin GordonAP Photo, Icon SMIWho will come out on top when Les Miles' LSU team faces Wisconsin?

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Each week during the 2014 college football season I will offer up my picks and score predictions for the biggest games, in addition to a handful of other key matchups.

Last year, my picks in the regular season went 101-34 straight up and a solid 73-61-1 (54 percent) against the spread.

The opening week of the 2014 season features three Top 25 matchups along with several other key nonconference games that will begin to shape the first year of the College Football Playoff. Here's my take on 10 games as the first week of the season kicks off.


No. 16 Clemson Tigers at No. 12 Georgia Bulldogs (-7.5)

Saturday at 5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Last year, this series (63 all-time meetings) resumed for the first time since 2003 and the situation greatly favored the Tigers. The Bulldogs had the game of their season the following weekend against South Carolina, while Clemson had UGA at home in front of an electric crowd and only had South Carolina State on deck. Regardless, Georgia had a 545-467 yard edge, and its bobbled snap on a field goal attempt late in the game proved costly in the Bulldogs' 38-35 loss.

This year, Georgia has the situational edge, with a bye on deck before playing South Carolina. The Bulldogs also have the more experienced team (42 spots higher in my experience rankings), are playing with revenge (they were actually favored a year ago) and will be facing Clemson QB Cole Stoudt, who will be making his first collegiate start in a hostile environment.

Phil Steele

ESPN Insider