Final Thoughts - Rich Cirminiello
Posted Aug 29, 2013

Rich Cirminiello's Final Thoughts Before Week 1 Gets Rolling

Great players do great things in marquee games. With that in mind, Jadeveon Clowney will show up in a big way in Thursday night's season opener with North Carolina.

Yeah, lots of one-sided contests have somewhat watered down the Week 1 schedule, but the opening week has become a great opportunity to pour over the nation's quarterbacks battling for a top job. USC, Oklahoma State, West Virginia and Arizona, to name a few, are still in the auditioning phase, which makes for interesting plotlines.

Don't get lulled by the lack of media attention into believing that the in-state battle between Utah and Utah State won't warrant your attention Thursday night. With Aggies QB Chuckie Keeton commanding a starring role, this could be one of the sneaky-good thrillers of the first weekend.

Thinking big opening game for Fresno State, which hosts a Rutgers team a little light on sure-fire stars this season. The Bulldogs are trending and eager to back up the buzz with a statement performance.

Forget the simplicity of the final score. USC better play with 60 minutes of unbridled passion and enthusiasm, or else it'll qualify as a slow start for head coach Lane Kiffin.

Texas Tech has a dangerous opener with former Southwest Conference rival SMU, a situation exacerbated by an injury to QB Michael Brewer. If one of the rookies, Davis Webb or walk-on Baker Mayfield, excels, the legend of Kliff Kingsbury will shine a little brighter on Friday night.

Kansas State will be in a dogfight with North Dakota State before pulling away for a win. It's become an annual thing for the Wildcats against an FCS visitor.

Wisconsin backs James White, Melvin Gordon and Corey Clement will all rush for 100 yards in a rout of Massachusetts.

Stop sweating the loss of QB Everett Golson to academic suspension. Of course Notre Dame would be better off with Golson behind center, but this program got minimal help from the offense in 2012, yet still ran the regular season table.

Eager to see what Bill O'Brien has done with his newest crop of quarterbacks at Penn State. Whether it's Tyler Ferguson or Christian Hackenberg, there's a very good chance that it'll be the start of something special in Happy Valley.

Obviously, this is an enormous year for Virginia Tech QB Logan Thomas, with plenty of future money at stake. Hard to imagine the erratic senior's finale starting strong since Alabama will be on the other side of the ball. It'll be a shock if the Tide gets threatened after halftime.

With Mike Leach and Gus Malzahn coaching against one another at Auburn, defensive purists might want to look elsewhere for their Saturday evening entertainment.

Which defense shows up in the big showdown in Death Valley, Georgia's rebuilt group or the Clemson unit that was headed in the right direction under Brent Venables last year?

Howard's Rock can use a little TLC from Clemson players Saturday night after morons vandalized it earlier in the year.

Don't be shocked if LSU delivers one of the more impressive performances of the opening weekend, disposing of a good TCU team. The talented Tigers are being somewhat overlooked this fall.

Saturday night's visit from Boise State is the most important regular season game Washington has played in a very long time. Not only are the Huskies reopening their home stadium, but a win over the Broncos would give them the fast start they desperately need in 2013.

Six picks that may not make you rich, but will make your local casino a little glum on Sunday morning: Nevada and Washington State as underdogs, and Northwestern, UCF, Florida State and LSU as favorites.