NCAA College Football Week 1 Picks - Late Games

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NCAA Week 1 Late Games

All times Eastern

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Saturday, September 5

4:30 pm SMU (-23, 69 1/2) at Texas State - Looking for a mismatch? This game's for you. Texas State ended last season with three straight losses - 63-27 to Troy, 35-13 at Appalachian State, and 24-21 to the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, not a team on anybody's power rankings.

The Bobcats ran aground in nine of their 12 games, winning only against Georgia State, Nicholls, and South Alabama. While the Sun Belt has a number of pretty good teams, Texas State isn't one of them. Last season's contest at SMU resulted in a 47-17 romp by the Mustangs, who went 10-3 on the season and 6-2 in the American Athletic. In the latter stages of this game, the Texas State defense may appear to have taken Dr. Fauci's advice to heart, staying at least six feet away from opposing players.

Coin Flip: SMU

Prediction: Mustangs 52 Bobcats 24

7:30 pm Houston Baptist at North Texas (-24 1/2, 68) - The Huskies of Houston Baptist may not be the pushover that the North Texas Mean Green is expecting. They went 4-1 to start the season before disintegrating, going 1-6 through the end of 2019 for a 5-7 mark.

Not only does North Texas have to contend with their in-state rival, they're fighting a scandal as well. According to ESPN, QB Coach Tate Wallis was placed on leave after he was arrested Thursday on charges that he allegedly had an improper relationship with a student while he was coaching at a high school last year.

The Baptists are probably going to use that to motivate their squad and things could get a little testy on-field. North Texas was 4-8 last season.

Coin Flip: North Texas

Prediction: Huskies 31 Mean Green 20

8:00 pm Arkansas State at Memphis (-18, 74) - The Red Wolves will be looking to make a statement against a quality foe. Memphis has been a standout in the American Athletic Conference. The Tigers went 12-1 and won the conference championship with a 29-24 win over Cincinnati, after beating them 34-24 a week prior. They went to the Cotton Bowl, losing to Penn State, 53-39.

Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson has taken the Red Wolves to two Sun Belt titles and six bowl appearances since taking over in 2014 should have the Red Wolves prepared to do battle, but they're probably overmatched, especially on defense.

Memphis was one of the more offensive-minded teams in the country last season, averaging 40.4 points per game, sixth in he nation.

Coin Flip: Arkansas State

Prediction: Tigers 54 Red Wolves 28

9:00 Stephen F. Austin at UTEP (-7 1/2, 54) - The Lumberjacks of Stephen F. Austin may want to bring an extra chainsaw or two at UTEP in this late night affair. SFA was just 3-9 last season, plagued by a punchless offense that forced the defense to be on the field an inordinate amount of time. There isn't much good to say about a team that lost, 37-26 to Tarleton State or 48-30 to Nicholls.

On the other hand, UTEP is a team against which the Lumberjacks may find some success. The Miners are coming off back-to-back 1-11 seasons under head coach Dana Dimel and heads into 2020 having to replace its top two quarterbacks, leading rusher, five of seven receivers, two of three defensive linemen, five of six linebackers, and top three safeties. OUCH!

Coin Flip: Stephen F. Austin

Prediction: Lumberjacks 24 Miners 21

Monday, September 7

8:00 pm BYU (-2, 49 1/2) at Navy - The final game of the opening weekend looks to be a good one. Perennial Top 25 BYU visits the Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD, for the Labor Day finale.

Navy had an outstanding 2019 campaign, going 11-2, including a 20-17 win over Kansas State in the Liberty Bowl after dusting arch-rival Army, 31-7, in the annual clash of armed forces academies. The Middies led the nation - as they usually do - in rushing last year, averaging 360.5 ground yards per outing. Navy lost QB Malcomb Perry to graduation, but his replacement, senior Dalen Morris may add a bit of a passing attack to the Navy arsenal.

BYU is coming off its second straight 7-6 season, but should fare well this season against a slimmed-down schedule of opponents, including home games against the likes of Texas State, Western Kentucky and North Alabama. The Cougars are vulnerable on the road, going 3-5 last season away from home, including back-to-back losses at San Diego State (13-3) and Hawaii (38-34, Hawaii Bowl).

Cougar QB Zach Wilson starts his third straight season behind center and will be looking for more consistency. He threw nine picks last year but is a reliable runner and thrower. BYU suffered some lopsided losses (Utah, 30-12; Washington, 45-19) but wins over Tennessee, USC, and Boise State prove the Cougars are still a tough beat.

Coin Flip: Navy

Prediction: Cougars 31 Midshipmen 20

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