College Football Upsets: Expert picks, odds, and lines for Week 1

The 2021 college football season continues to creep closer and closer, so it is time to talk about the upsets we could witness in Week 1.

A new season means new opportunities for every program. But it also means some teams will find heartbreak early. In college football, especially in Week 1, upsets are frequent, mostly because no one truly knows what to expect. This year’s no different, so we take a look at the most likely college football upsets in Week 1 for the 2021 season.

Week 1 college football upsets

What are some of the college football upsets we could see in Week 1?

Boise State (+4) at UCF

Gus Malzahn and Andy Avalos inherit great rosters in their first seasons with their respective schools. Avalos, the first-time head coach, has his work cut out for him. UCF took a step back last year in Josh Heupel’s final season, but they’re looking to bounce back to the top of the AAC this year.

Dillon Gabriel and Hank Bachmeier are two of the best quarterbacks in the country according to our QB power rankings, and this game deserves way more recognition because of the signal-callers. Winning in the Bounce House won’t be easy for the Broncos, so they better come prepared. UCF’s offense will give them fits, and they’re not going to slow it down because they feel bad for Boise State.

Louisiana (+9.5) at Texas

Texas rolls out a new head coach and a new addition to their stadium, but the result on the field has the potential to be a negative one. Louisiana stunned Iowa State to begin 2020 and return nearly every starter on both sides of the ball. Texas hasn’t exactly been close to “back” for a while now, but fans hope Steve Sarkisian can turn that around.

The Ragin’ Cajuns held Iowa State to just 14 points on their way to one of the most surprising college football upsets of 2020. While Texas boasts more talented players on their roster, they’re not immune to an upset, especially early in the year. Just ask Maryland how much fun they had beating the Longhorns recently.

There’s also a reason Billy Napier continues to be one of the most coveted coaches in the coaching carousel, and Louisiana’s struggle to keep him around becomes even more difficult if they pull off this stunner.

Georgia (+3.5) vs. Clemson

Okay, so it’s not going to be one of the craziest college football upsets, but one of everyone’s favorite early-season battles returns to college football in 2021. Two consistent Top 25 teams are essentially within a field goal of each other depending on where you look. And the ensuing battle should provide plenty of entertainment.

J.T. Daniels and D.J. Uiagalelei lead their respective teams at quarterback, and the winner jumps on the fast track to the College Football Playoff. The hype surrounding this game continues to grow. Georgia being the underdog here seems wrong, so we’ll gladly take the chance to pick them to win.

Double-digit dogs

Who are some of the longshot underdogs with a realistic chance of disrupting the 2021 college football season?

Minnesota (+14) vs. Ohio State

This one certainly would turn some heads. Yet, it’s the perfect upset that no one’s talking about outside of Minnesota. Don’t get me wrong, Ohio State should still win this game with ease, but we’ve also seen this story recently. The Gophers suffered from COVID issues for most of 2020 and get back players like potential first-round tackle Daniel Faalele. P.J. Fleck’s been thriving on the recruiting trail, too — the future is bright for the Gophers.

Even though the Buckeyes feature an elite group of receivers and defensive linemen, there are concerns. Quarterback play is expected to be great, but what if it’s not? Additionally, the secondary has been a topic of concern for the Buckeyes this offseason. It’s also the first game of the season, and even the best teams in the country aren’t immune to early-season struggles. Most upsets in college football come when you least expect it, and no one’s picking the Gophers here.

Miami (+18.5) vs. Alabama

The same principle from above applies to Alabama here. The Crimson Tide roll out a new quarterback, starting running back, and lose two of the best receivers in the country.

If you don’t think the offense will have some growing pains, you’re wrong. Bryce Young has tons of potential, but can he live up to the hype? The spring game showed us he’s capable, but we’ve yet to see him take meaningful snaps.

Miami’s hoping quarterback D’Eriq King returns 100% healthy for this one because they’ll need him more than ever. The Canes enter 2021 with high hopes, and an upset over the best team in the country certainly gets those plans in motion.

King must ball out against an elite defense, and he needs his defense to do their part as well. It’s a tough ask, but it’s early enough in the season where you have a chance for it to happen. Once Alabama gets rolling with Young, good luck stopping them.

Other college football upsets to watch

East Carolina (+11.5) vs. Appalachian State
Houston (+2.5) vs. Texas Tech
Kansas State (+1.5) vs. Stanford
UTSA (+6.5) at Illinois
South Alabama (+1.5) vs. Southern Miss
Maryland (+3) vs. West Virginia
UCLA (+4) vs. LSU
Charlotte (+7) vs. Duke
Nevada (+3.5) at Cal

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