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Top 25 college football predictions

Let the blowouts begin.

OK, not every Top 25 team opens the season with a made-to-order patsy. And surely, if anything was learned from last season, it’s that nothing is automatic.

However, as the college season begins with wall-to-wall football from Thursday to Labor Day, most of the Top 25 shouldn’t have a problem starting 1-0.

No. 1 Georgia (against Georgia Southern) and No. 2 Ohio State (against Youngstown State) are among 10 ranked teams opening this week against FCS schools. Nine others are at least double-digit favorites.

Of course, one of those games matching a ranked team against a member of what used to be known as Division I-AA is a lot more intriguing than most.

Appalachian State, which became the first team from Division I’s second tier to beat a ranked team when it stunned Michigan to start last season, takes on defending national champion LSU.

Defending champs, huh. Well, the Mountaineers have won the last three championships at their level. How do you like that, Tigers?

Game The skinny Outcome


Georgia Southern (no line) at No. 1 Georgia You know, Georgia Southern plays in same conference as App State GEORGIA 42-13

Youngstown State (no line) at No. 2 Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel’s old employer gets big payday from Buckeyes OHIO STATE 35-6

No. 3 Southern California (minus 19.5) at Virginia USC QB Mark Sanchez expected to play after knee injury USC 34-7

Chattanooga (no line) at No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners get their running in OKLAHOMA 58-10

Hawaii (plus 35) at No. 5 Florida Remember what Georgia did to Warriors? And that was with Colt Brennan FLORIDA 58-21

No. 6 Missouri (minus 9) vs. No. 20 Illinois at St. Louis Tigers won last season’s track meet with Illini 40-34 MISSOURI 41-28

Appalachian State (no line) at No. 7 LSU No, not again LSU 38-17

Villanova (no line) at No. 8 West Virginia Who gets to 100 yards rushing first, Pat White or Noel Devine? WEST VIRGINIA 45-14

No. 9 Clemson (minus 4.5) vs. No. 24 Alabama at Atlanta Tide tries to derail Tigers’ season of great expectations CLEMSON 28-26

Louisiana-Monroe (plus 26) at No. 10 Auburn Tigers work out the kinks in their new spread offense AUBURN 44-14

Florida Atlantic (plus 24) at No. 11 Texas FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger said Longhorns were short on toughness TEXAS 60-28

Eastern Washington (no line) at No. 12 Texas Tech First of several stat-padding tuneups for QB Graham Harrell TEXAS TECH 58-10

Akron (plus 26.5) at No. 13 Wisconsin Badgers bully Zips WISCONSIN 42-10

Florida International (plus 36) at No. 14 Kansas Jayhawks won last year’s meeting 55-3 KANSAS 55-6

Northern Arizona (no line) at No. 15 Arizona State Sun Devils 10-0-1 in last 11 meetings with Lumberjacks ARIZONA STATE 45-14

Northern Iowa (no line) at No. 16 BYU Cougars take first step toward trying to bust into BCS BYU 39-14

No. 17 Virginia Tech (plus 9.5) at East Carolina Pirates played Hokies tough last year in Blacksburg VIRGINIA TECH 20-14

Tennessee-Martin at No. 19 South Florida USF starts season ranked for first time SOUTH FLORIDA 50-10

Washington (plus 13.5) at No. 21 Oregon Tyrone Willingham could really use upset of Ducks OREGON 35-20

Coastal Carolina at No. 22 Penn State JoePa can tie Bobby Bowden on career wins list PENN STATE 42-14

Bowling Green (plus 13) at No. 25 Pittsburgh Big season for Pitt; It’d be bad to start with loss to MAC team BOWLING GREEN 31-24


Bowling Green (plus 13) at No. 25 Pittsburgh Big season for Pitt; It’d be bad to start with loss to MAC team BOWLING GREEN 31-24

No. 18 Tennessee (minus 7.5) at UCLA Rick Neuheisel’s return to college sidelines could be rough TENNESSEE 28-13



No. 3 USC at Virginia, 12:30 p.m. (ABC)

How healthy is Trojans QB Mark Sanchez? Fans will find out as USC heads to Charlottesville, Va.

> Full TV, radio on Page 8C

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