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The Weekend That Will Be: Week 1 Predictions...And A New Challenge

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After years of putting picks out into the wild world of interwebs, challengers have risen.

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Here she comes, the beginning of a new college football season and proof that we as humans are still doing something right.

Last season, these weekly prediction posts stepped up a notch from simply picking winners a losers to betting the line. We are raising the stakes once again. Our friends over at Razorbloggers have made a friendly challenge (the only on the internet not of the ice bucket variety). Writer Walking on Sunshine puts out weekly picks against the line, and after seeing our success rate -- which was a hair under 60% last season -- the Razorbloggers wanted a piece of this.

Each week we will compare picks and help some of their readers learn how to make money in Vegas. If you can come up with a friendly wager we should consider leave it in the comment section.

Here are Walking on Sunshine's picks

Normally these posts will come out on Friday, giving you a full 24 hours to get in touch with your bookies, but with college football Christmas coming early, the picks are posted two days early.

Now on to the part that you've all been scrolling for...

Thursday

No. 21 Texas A&M at No. 9 South Carolina, 6 p.m., SEC Network (-11 USC)- Forget Johnny Manziel. Forget Jadeveon Clowney. How will the Gamecocks fare without Conner Shaw? Shaw has been the hero of the NFL preseason. The Aggies defense will be improved from a year ago, but the stage will be too big early for the Aggies, and America's favorite coach my man Steve will earn his 129th SEC victory by at least 12 points.

Wake Forest at Louisiana-Monroe, 7 p.m., ESPNU (-2 ULM)- This is a freebie. Put your money on ULM, but don't watch. There are better games on. And even more because we hate ULM for creating the first cut of 2012 before John L. could not stop the bleeding stuck pig.

Boise State vs. No.  18 Ole Miss, 8 p.m., ESPN (-11 Miss)- The last time Boise opened their season in Atlanta it was against Georgia, who was dressed up as Power Rangers. I went around the Georgia Dome talking entirely too much to Bronco fans about how much better the SEC was, welcoming them to the big leagues, assuring their team's demise. Then a Mark Richt team did what they do in big games, and I was embarrassed. Now Boise is Chris Peterson-less and I holding on to my confidence in the SEC. Give those boys from the West a warm Southern welcome, Rebs. Oh... and cover, please.

Saturday
Noon

No. 5 Ohio State at Navy, CBS Sports (-16 OSU)- If Braxton Miller hadn't reinjured his shoulder during practice this fall the game in Baltimore wouldn't be as intruiging. But he did and now the once-title contenders will trudge forward with a signal caller in J.T. Barrett who hasn't been overly impressive in practice thus far. With so many unknowns at the quarterback postiion and how the Buckeye defense will handle the triple-option it isn't the safest bet to take Ohio State, but betting isn't always safe.

No. 7 UCLA at Virginia, ESPN (-21 UCLA)- Caveliers coach Mike London has put together a solid string of recruiting classes and has not shied away from scheduling worthy non-conference opponents. His team will have thier hands full as Bruins quarerback Bret Hundley begins his Heisman campaign. He'll throw for three and run for another as UCLA covers late.

Afternoon

West Virginia vs. No. 2 Alabama, 3:30 p.m., ABC (-26 Bama)- What could be worse than losing to Auburn and starting 0-1 in the conference in Week 1? Being an Atlanta resident with all these Bammers and Ole Miss folks invading your city. Unless your Mountaineer starting QB Clint Trickett and you admitted to kissing Nick Saban's daughter. Good luck, Clint. Take the Mountaineers to cover because the Tide will be even more run-heavy than normal because of the uncertainty at quarterback.

Arkansas at No. 6 Auburn, 4 p.m., SEC Network (-20 Aub)- I hate this line, which means it's right on point. My old man texted me today, "There is a 100% chance of rain in Auburn on Saturday!" My response: "Good that'll help our run game." We are relying on weather to act as an aid in simply not getting blown out. Always proud, but it's a sad those were our first thoughts. Come on Hogs. A cover sort of feels like a win here.

No. 16 Clemson at No. 12 Georgia (-7.5 UGA)- Clemson has said they will play freshman quarterback DeShaun Watson at some point during Saturday's game. (I covered him a few times while he was shattering Georgia high school passing records, and he's the best high school player I've ever seen in person. He'll be a star.) The Bulldogs' secondary will have a new look, but shouldn't be fooled if they do intend to compete for an SEC title. I like the Dawgs to cover in a revenge game after being embarrassed a year ago.

Night

No. 1 Florida State vs. Oklahoma State, 8 p.m., ABC (-18 FSU)- The national championship and Heisman defense starts in Dallas on Saturday night. Jameis Winston has played time and time again in big games. Expect this to be no different.

No. 14 Wisconsin vs. No. 13 LSU, 9 p.m., ESPN (-4 LSU)- Sure the Tigers are replacing talent all over the field; they do it every year. But with the game in Houston, so close to Baton Rouge, still feel extra confident in the Tigers covering.

Late Night

South Dakota vs. No. 3 Oregon, 10:30 p.m., PAC-12 Network- There is no line out on this game but if you're up for more football late (as you should be) then enjoy watching Marcus Mariotta's first half.

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A native of Arkansas now calling the Hogs from yonder in Georgia, you can follow Graham on Twitter @grahamreaves or read his blog, On My Mind In Georgia.