Predictions for five faculty soccer video games to look at in 2021
Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei (5) throws the ball during their annual spring game at Memorial Stadium on April 3, 2021; Clemson, South Carolina, USA.
There are a number of must-see college football games on the agenda for the 2021 season, but some stand out from the rest.
In this list, we’re looking at a week 1 no-conference showdown between two powerhouse programs, some epic matchups between known enemies, and another underrated duel in the Midwest. Oh, and earnings predictions are included, along with spreads courtesy of DraftKings.
Georgia Bulldogs vs. Clemson Tigers (Week 1)
|Saturday 4th September||19:30 o’clock||ABC|
Trevor Lawrence acquisition won’t be easy for Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei, or will it be? A real freshman last year, Uiagalelei stepped in when Lawrence fell ill with COVID-19, throwing 781 yards over two starts, almost beating Notre Dame before falling into double overtime.
Uiagalelei is obviously the man at the center of the Tigers’ offensive now and should benefit from better defense to complement him in 2021.
Georgia, on the other hand, was struggling for continuity at QB last season until JT Daniels emerged as the clear starter. Daniels played extremely well on the track. Now we’ll see if that was a flash in the pan or a sign that he might lead the Bulldogs into the College Football Playoffs next year.
With Georgia losing starting cornerbacks Eric Stokes and Tyson Campbell to the NFL Draft, and Uiagalelei beating Daniels for sheer arm talent and dual threat ability, Clemson has to come out on top at this showdown at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte to have.
- Forecast: Clemson 27, Georgia 24 – Bulldogs (+4) cover spread
Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Florida Gators (Week 3)
04/17/2021; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; White quarterback Bryce Young (9) fights for a first down after pulling away from crimson linebacker Christopher Allen (4) during the Alabama A-Day game at Bryant Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports
|Saturday 18th September||3:30 PM||CBS|
Alabama is heavily favored in this competition and in its opener against the Miami Hurricanes. Even so, there is a lot to take on the shoulders of a young signaler in Bryce Young.
Successor to two NFL first-round QBs in Tua Tagovailoa and Mac Jones is challenging for Young. He is also moving to a different system under the new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien. He was last seen ramming the Houston Texans into the ground.
So this is far from a slam dunk road trip for the Crimson Tide when they step onto The Swamp in Gainesville. And remember, Nick Saban fights the most against QBs who can play with their legs, and this is where Florida’s Emory Jones is most dangerous.
Jones is unproven and untested as a passerby. He will have Saban’s complex plans and his insane negotiating skills. Kyle Pitts would have been of great help if he hadn’t gone to the pros.
Alabama should win this tournament, but it shouldn’t be the bang that many odds makers expect.
- Forecast: Alabama 35, Florida 24 – Gators (+14.5) cover spread
Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Week 5)
January 1, 2021; Atlanta, GA, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Desmond Ridder (9) throws a pass against the Georgia Bulldogs in the second quarter of the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
|Saturday October 2nd||2.30||ABC|
Notre Dame fans should be prepared for a down season as the Fighting Irish are currently only 3.5-point favorites at home in week 5 ahead of Cincinnati.
But that shouldn’t take anything away from the Bearcats. They are bringing back many players from last year’s exceptional team, including longtime QB Desmond Ridder and star cornerback Ahmad Gardner, to lead an elite defense.
The Fighting Irish will use Wisconsin transfer Jack Coan to lead the offensive and despite a solid year for the Badgers in 2019, he didn’t play last season.
Coan faces massive expectations and is not good at escaping the pocket. That’s not great considering how strong Cincinnati is defensive. More importantly, Notre Dame lost three offensive line starters in the first three rounds of the 2021 NFL draft.
A 24-21 loss to Georgia in the Peach Bowl proved this core of Bearcats players can play with the best in the country. They’ll back that up when they defeat the Irish in South Bend.
- Forecast: Cincinnati 28, Notre Dame 21 – Bearcats (+3.5 spread; +123 moneyline)
Ohio State Buckeyes v Indiana Hoosiers (Week 8)
Indiana Hoosiers quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) goes over as the Ohio State Buckeyes relieve pressure from Tommy Togiai (72) during the fourth quarter of an NCAA Division I soccer game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Indiana Hoosiers on Saturday, November 21st, take a defensive approach. 2020 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Photo credit: Joshua A. Bickel / Columbus Dispatched via Imagn Content Services, LLC
|Saturday 23 October||still open||still open|
Michael Penix Jr.’s left arm absolutely set the Buckeyes high school on fire for 491 yards and five touchdowns in 2020. Had he not thrown a pick-six in that 42-35 defeat, Indiana might have emerged from the Columbus Horseshoe with a breathtaking win.
Penix later went down with a torn cruciate ligament, but will be healthy in time for this marquee propensity. Indiana may historically be known as a basketball school. The tide has turned lately, however, and the Hoosiers are a punchy, strong defense with a legitimate QB.
Indiana forced Justin Fields to make multiple mistakes the last time these teams met – three interceptions to be precise. Given Fields’ struggles, how does CJ expect Stroud to develop? Probably not much better.
The Hoosiers will be ahead of their home fans on the defensive and will likely have an advantage in the most important position on the field. Sounds like getting upset in Bloomington.
- Forecast: Indiana 35, Ohio State 31 – Hoosiers (+11 spread; +300 moneyline)
Michigan Wolverines vs. Penn State Nittany Lions (Week 11)
11/28/2020; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh on the sidelines in the second half against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
|Saturday November 13th||still open||still open|
Big things aren’t necessarily expected from Michigan under Jim Harbaugh, but it does get to the point where he needs to start delivering in big places. Otherwise his alma mater won’t be with him for long either.
Penn State struggled through much of 2020, but after losing five early on, the Nittany Lions roared back with four straight wins.
Real freshman JJ McCarthy is at least pushing Cade McNamara for Michigan’s starting quarterback job, but the latter is more experienced so Harbaugh will be relying on him. Maybe the season is lost at this point and McCarthy will be there anyway. Regardless, there is a lot of uncertainty.
Sean Clifford is more of a safe starting field general for the Nittany Lions, whose incredible home advantage comes out big in this case. Expect a full white-out crowd ready to rumble as the Wolverines try to hold out and keep this one competitive.
If Michigan plays desperate enough and wins, it will reflect Harbaugh well. However, should the Wolverines blow out just two weeks before the big rivalry game against Ohio State, it could really raise the temperature on Harbaugh’s hot seat.
Nothing about these circumstances is good for Michigan to stand tough or even cover a generous distribution.
- Forecast: Penn State 24, Michigan 13 – Nittany Lions (-7.5) cover spread