Time to make some picks  

September, 2, 2009

The season is here, which means my Thursday blog entries will be picks-based.

A little history: Last season was a good one for me in terms of picking games against the line. Thanks to a strong bowl season, I ended up 24 games over .500 against the number. Sadly, that probably means this season will prove to be a dismal one.

North Carolina State Wolfpack 20, South Carolina Gamecocks 14 (Thursday, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Interesting quarterback matchup, pitting State's Russell Wilson against the Gamecocks' Stephen Garcia. I'm going with the QB who makes fewer mistakes and is more even-keeled (Wilson). Being at home is another plus.

Utah Utes 24, Utah State Aggies 6 (Thursday, 9 p.m. ET)

The Utes ride the nation's longest winning streak (14 games) into the opener as they face their former defensive coordinator Gary Andersen. Because of Andersen's familiarity with his former team and the fact that he took over a program with some seasoned guys -- while adding a few gifted JC transfers -- I think USU can keep things kinda close as the Utes break in their new QB.

Oregon Ducks 48, Boise State Broncos 45 (Thursday, 10:15 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Expect a wild one in Boise, Idaho. Both teams have dangerous offenses. I had been leaning toward BSU, but after hearing about some of the losses to the middle of the Broncos' defense, I look for the Ducks to have a big night running the ball, especially 240-pound LeGarrette Blount and Chip Kelly's new "Tazer" attack.

Want to see Bruce's picks for the Saturday games, including Oklahoma State versus Georgia, Notre Dame versus Nevada and Alabama versus Virginia Tech? You must be an ESPN Insider. Insider