College football's Week 1 is officially open for business. After all of the various Games-of-the-Year business, we have a full set of lines for the first week of the season.
Nebraska, as of Monday morning, was a 34-point favorite over South Alabama in the season opener. That's . . . a big number. The Huskers haven't been as big a favorite over an FBS team since facing Western Kentucky in 2010 as a 37.5-point favorite. That was the Hilltoppers' second season of FBS football.
This line has moved a bit, opening at Nebraska -30.5 at CG Technology (one of the big line originators) on June 8, -32 at Southpoint and -33 at Westgate.
South Alabama went 3-9 last season, coach Steve Campbell's first season. The Jaguars return a couple of playmakers on offense–running back Tra Minter and wide receiver Kawaan Baker–but need to find a quarterback for 2019. Four-of-five starters on the offensive line are back, though that group still has a lot of growing to do. Defensive end Tyree Turner is the name to know on defense.
The Huskers last faced South Alabama in 2015, a 48-9 win that was the first victory of the Mike Riley era.
Here are the rest of the Big Ten lines for Week 1. Ten of the 11 conference teams with lines on their games are favorites.
Friday, Aug. 30
Tulsa at Michigan State (-21.5)
Purdue (-9) at Nevada
UMass at Rutgers (-13.5)
Saturday, Aug. 31
Akron at Illinois (-16.5)
Wisconsin (-11) at USF
Florida Atlantic at Ohio State (-26.5)
Ball State at Indiana (-17)
Northwestern at Stanford (-6.5)
Middle Tennessee at Michigan (-31)
Miami (Ohio) at Iowa (-21.5)
Some quick thoughts:
>>Why is Purdue going to Nevada to open the season on a Friday night? The Wolfpack wasn't bad last year, going 8-5 with a bowl win over Arkansas State.
>>I'm a little surprised that Wisconsin is only -11 on the road at South Florida. A few books opened that line at Badgers -9.5.
>>There was a time not long ago when Miami (Ohio) was one of the worst FBS programs in the country. That time is not now. The Redhawks went 6-6 in 2018, a year after going 5-7. This line has bounced about a half-point either way since opening on Friday.
The Grab Bag
- Our staff tackled some of the big Big Ten questions in a roundtable over the weekend.
- An Arizona prospect is considering an official visit to Nebraska.
- Good read from Jacob Padilla on the three Huskers that took part in last week’s Volleyball Nations League.
- Greg Smith caught up with linebacker Cody Simon after his weekend visit to Lincoln. (Premium)
Today’s Song of Today
Brandon is the Managing Editor for Hail Varsity and has covered Nebraska athletics for the magazine and web since 2012, Hail Varsity’s first season on the scene. His sports writing has also been featured by Fox Sports, The Guardian and CBS Sports.