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Thursday Night Thrills: College Football Picks and Predictions Against the Spread for Top Week 1 Games



Thursday Night Thrills: College Football Picks and Predictions Against the Spread for Top Week 1 Games

Week 0 was just a teaser, but Week 1 of the 2023 college football season promises to be the main event. With a full slate of games spanning from Thursday through Labor Day, fans are in for a treat as the season kicks into high gear. As with every new college football year, Week 1 is filled with the potential for drama and surprises that will keep us on the edge of our seats.

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Thursday’s lineup is particularly exciting, featuring 11 games that span the country and offer a taste of everything college football has to offer. However, the true highlights of the evening are a pair of 8 p.m. kickoffs featuring powerhouse programs.

One of these matchups is a rematch of last season’s thrilling opener between Florida and Utah. The No. 14 Utes, still seeking revenge for falling short against the Gators last year in The Swamp, are eager to set the record straight. The big question mark surrounds the availability of Utah quarterback Cameron Rising, who is recovering from a knee injury suffered in last January’s Rose Bowl.

Simultaneously, the Matt Rhule era kicks off at Nebraska with a Big Ten opener against Minnesota. The Cornhuskers are hungry for a return to glory, and Rhule’s track record as a program builder suggests that a competitive game against the Golden Gophers is on the horizon.

Make sure to stay tuned to CBS Sports for comprehensive college football coverage throughout the evening. Now, let’s dive into our expert picks for the top games on Thursday of Week 1.

Florida at No. 14 Utah

Regardless of whether Cameron Rising plays for Utah, the spotlight will be on their defense, which is expected to keep the Gators’ offense in check for the full four quarters. While Florida boasts a talented running back duo in Montrell Johnson Jr. and Trevor Etienne, the Utes are likely to focus on shutting them down and challenging quarterback Graham Mertz to win the game with his arm—an area where he might struggle. Expect the Utes’ offense to control the game from the beginning and secure a double-digit victory in the fourth quarter.

Nebraska at Minnesota

This game presents a unique challenge for both defensive staffs, as there’s not much relevant tape to study. Both schools have new coordinators, new starting quarterbacks, and some fresh talent on the field. This element of surprise gives an advantage to the offensive coordinators, especially considering the game is expected to be played in favorable weather conditions. Minnesota, in particular, is likely to shift towards a more pass-heavy offense this season following the departure of star running back Mohamed Ibrahim. With one of the Big Ten’s best pass-catching units, the Golden Gophers are poised to air it out and deliver an exciting game with plenty of offensive action.

Week 1 is finally here, and college football fans can’t wait to immerse themselves in the excitement, drama, and surprises that this season promises to bring. With thrilling matchups like Florida vs. Utah and Nebraska vs. Minnesota, Thursday’s games are just the beginning of what’s sure to be an unforgettable season.

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