SALT LAKE CITY – College football season is back! With another of the best times of the year ahead of us, I’ll be rolling out a new feature every week here at KSL Sports, Weekly College Football Picks.

I’m going to give you my predictions for all local team games here in Utah give, along with the top games across the country. Look for it every Thursday of the season from now on.

College football starts week 0 on Saturday, August 28th. I will not lie; There are some fascinating matchups here. Let’s dive in.

A team from the state of Utah is on duty this week; it’s the Southern Utah Thunderbirds.

Only 140 days have passed since Southern Utah played the last game. The Thunderbirds participated in the FCS spring season and finished with a 1-5 record. However, they have a tough job ahead of them when they take on the Mountain West Conference defending champions, the San Jose State Spartans.

SJSU has a good offensive led by former Texas A&M and Arkansas QB Nick Starkel. SUU is no match for a Spartan team looking for their first consecutive winning season since 1992.

Nebraska head coach Scott Frost is in a pivotal year. With the former Cornhusker star Trev Alberts, he is responsible for a new boss as the new AD. It doesn’t help that the NCAA is investigating him for illicit practices amid the pandemic. He has a tough test ahead of him to open the 2021 season against an Illinois program that hired former Wisconsin / Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema. Bielema knows the Big Ten landscape. I’m calling for a surprise on Bielema’s debut.

The New York Times defending champion is out on the street against the state of Fresno. Yes you’ve read correctly. The NYT crowned UConn their National Champions last season for not playing games due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is the Huskies’ first year as an Independent, and the Huskies are expected to be one hard tobogganing becomes. It’s crazy to think that just 10 years ago they were a program that was being considered for the Big 12. Those days are long gone.

This is my game of the week in week 0. Chip Kelly’s fourth year at UCLA has what it takes to be a very good team, a team I believe will make it into the game Top 3 of the Pac-12 South could join. You have a tough schedule. But this is one of those games against a Hawaii program coached by an enigmatic retread in Todd Graham that they should play.

QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson has the potential to make a meteoric rise in college football , similar to what Zach Wilson did at BYU a season ago.

I’m pretty confident this will be the last time I mention UTEP or New Mexico in my weekly picks this season. But it’s week 0 so why not? The “Battle of I-10” is a matchup of two programs that have been a mess over the past three years. They have achieved a total of 11 victories between the two since 2018.

𝐏𝐑𝐄𝐕𝐈𝐄𝐖 | Miners Open NM State’s 2021 Season in the Battle of I-10 Showdown.

New Mexico State played a two-game spring season earlier this year and nearly lost to Dixie State. This could be one of the few times UTEP can win a game this season. You need to capitalize on it.

Mitch Harper is a BYU insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (12-3pm Saturday) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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