As is usually the case in week 1, schedules tend to be soft and don’t allow for much in terms of upsets. With that said Jacksonville State did knock off Mississippi last year. A couple potential upsets (or at least close games):
@ Baylor +6.5 TCU. Griffin III is back for the Bears at QB, while TCU will be turning the keys of the offense over to Paschall. If Baylor can improve last year’s defense, the Bears can make some noise in the Big 12.
James Madison OFF @ North Carolina. I’m interested to see how UNC will come out game one, with NCAA violations looming and Butch Davis no longer as head coach. JMU knocked off Virginia Tech last year, following VT’s loss to Boise State.
UCLA +3.0 @ Houston. This supposedly is “the year” for UCLA to make a statement. Case Keenum is coming off major surgery. UCLA beat Houston and Texas on back to back weeks last year; both Houston and Texas ended up as disappointments at 5-7.
Tulsa +25.0 @ Oklahoma. I’d be very surprised if Tulsa springs the upset, but Oklahoma has opened rather slowly the past few years. (31-24 over Utah St in 2010; 34 point favorite. 14-13 loss to BYU in 2009; 22 point favorite.) Tulsa has a solid quarterback in G.J. Kinne; Tulsa would be capable of double digit wins if not for a non-conference schedule including Oklahoma State and Boise State.
Marshall +22.5 @ West Virginia. West Virginia has won each game in the “Friends of Coal Bowl,” but last year’s game went to overtime. Many are picking West Virginia to win the Big East and for Marshall to have a rebuilding year. With West Virginia’s coaching change, will Holgorsen be the first WVU coach to lose to their in-state “rival”? Or will he be able to succeed where Stewart failed?