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Fantasy College Football: Week Zero Breakdown

The concept of Week Zero football in the NCAA only recently came to be. Last season’s Week Zero matchup consisted of the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors and the California Golden Bears. The one-sided 51-31 win over Hawaii showed College Fantasy owners that Davis Webb was going to live up to the hype. This game also saw the rise of Chad Hansen, who went on to be a WR1 in most formats. With six Week Zero matchups, who will rise to the occasion this season?

Oregon State @ Colorado State

Oregon State Player Radar:

  • Jake Luton QB
  • Noah Togiai TE
  • Ryan Nall RB
  • Thomas Tyner RB

Why Oregon State will win:

The Beavers come into 2017 boasting one of the more talented backfields in college football with Ryan Nall returning after rushing for 951 yards last season. Oregon State also activates Oregon transfer Thomas Tyner, who accumulated 1,485 total yards in two seasons. Colorado State finished last season 107th in the nation in pass defense, and they showed just how bad they were in a loss to Idaho in the Idaho Potato Bowl. The Rams allowed 381 passing yards and four scores through the air in a 61-50 loss to the Vandals. If Idaho transfer quarterback Jake Luton can find a way to move the ball through the air without Seth Collins, Oregon State could make this interesting. Perhaps Noah Togiai, the tight end that found the end zone three times in Oregon States spring game, could be of assistance.

Colorado State Player Radar:

  • Michael Gallup WR
  • Nick Stevens QB
  • Dalyn Dawkins RB
  • Izzy Matthews RB

Why Colorado State will win:

[the_ad id=”384″]Colorado State returns an incredible passing offense with quarterback Nick Stevens and wide receiver Michael Gallup. Gallup finished second in the Mountain West in receiving yards last season. Oregon State’s defense improved last season from where it was in 2015, but they are far from an elite squad. The linebackers for the Beavers look good, but are they good enough to stop a rushing offense that saw three 500+ yard rushers in 2016? If the Rams want to take their home opener in Week Zero, they need to maintain that offensive momentum they had rolling in the second half of the 2016 season.

Prediction: Colorado State 35, Oregon State 31


Portland State @ BYU

BYU Player Radar:

  • Tanner Mangum QB
  • Squally Canada TB
  • KJ Hall HB
  • Riley Burt TB

Why BYU will win:

No need to over-complicate this one. BYU is simply the better team all around. Portland State finished 114th in the nation in total defense for FCS schools in 2016, and they won’t have a Jacksonville State-type defense in one season. Tanner Mangum should have no problem slinging the ball all over the Viking defense. BYU’s linebackers should have a field day against an offense that loses a 4,000+ yard passer and 1000+ yard rusher in Alex Kuresa and has yet to figure out who they stand with at quarterback going forward. BYU should ease into victory this week.

Portland State Player Radar:

  • Darnell Adams WR
  • Josh Kraght WR/QB
  • Za’Quan Summers RB

Why Portland State will win:

After shuffling guys in and out along the defensive line toward the end of last season, the Vikings found a combination of guys that work well enough to make a few stops. The main hope for Portland State, if they expect to win against BYU, is that the losses of Taysom Hill and Jamaal Williams are too much for the Cougar offense and they are unable to find a way to move the ball.

Prediction: BYU 45, Portland State 17


Hawaii @ UMASS

Hawaii Player Radar:

  • Dru Brown QB
  • Diocemy Saint Juste RB
  • John Ursua WR
  • Keelan Ewaliko WR

Why Hawaii will win:

Hawaii had a surprisingly good offense last season, especially when Dru Brown took it over. They lose leading receiver Marcus Kemp, but Brown proved last year against UMASS that he could spread the ball around by hitting four different receivers for touchdowns. The Minutemen have a weak offensive line, which will make the Hawaii defense look stronger than they are. However, the Rainbow Warrior offense will be the strength of this squad, and if they win, it will be due to the talent of Dru Brown.

UMASS Player Radar:

  • Adam Breneman TE
  • Andrew Ford QB
  • Marquis Young RB
  • Andy Isabella WR

Why UMASS will win:

The Minutemen return 10 of 12 starters from their defense last season. It’s not the most talented 10, but it’s still 10. Penn State transfer Adam Breneman was stellar last season with 808 receiving yards and eight touchdowns, making him a huge threat to an okay secondary. Andy Isabella’s ability to stretch the field will take the top off of the Rainbow Warrior defense. If their horrendous offensive line can hold up for one game, Andrew Ford can torch the Hawaii defense en route to a win.

Prediction: Hawaii 38, Umass 34


#19 South Florida @ San Jose State

USF Player Radar:

  • Quinton Flowers QB
  • D’Earnest Johnson RB
  • Darius Tice RB
  • Stanley Clerveaux WR

Why South Florida will win:

Quinton Flowers is an incredible athlete and is only getting better with age. The quarterback with 5,213 yards in 31 games with 2,594 yards on the ground is back for one final go with the Bulls, and there are high expectations for him. D’Earnest Johnson also returns after racking up 800+ total yards while playing second fiddle to Marlon Mack in 2016. San Jose State has a horrible defensive line and will not be able to stop this rushing attack. USF has the potential to go over 300 yards on the ground in this one.

San Jose State Player Radar:

  • Montel Aaron QB
  • Justin Holmes WR
  • Tre Hartley WR
  • Bryce Crawford K

Why SJSU will win:

South Florida’s defense isn’t good, which gives the Spartans a fighting chance with an inexperienced quarterback. If Strong still can’t formulate a defense and San Jose State somehow some way finds a way to get the offense rolling into a shootout, there might be a chance.

Prediction: USF 45, SJSU 20


#14 Stanford vs Rice in Sydney, Australia

Stanford Player Radar:

  • Bryce Love RB
  • Keller Chryst QB
  • Dalton Schultz TE
  • Trenton Irwin WR

Why Stanford will win:

Yes, Christian McCaffrey is gone. But, Bryce Love has shown promise of being a stellar player. Rice also couldn’t stop anyone last season, allowing close to 500 yards per game. Rice’s defensive front is small compared to the large offensive linemen that Stanford has to offer. Expect a huge game from Bryce Love en route to a win.

Rice Player Radar:

  • Jackson Tyner QB
  • Samuel Stewart RB
  • Austin Walter WR
  • Kylen Granson WR

Why Rice will win:

The strength of Rice is their secondary, and most aren’t sure that Stanford even has a passing game. If Rice can somehow force some turnovers through the air and get something going on offense against a strong Stanford defense early, then they might have a chance. They need to find a way to make the Cardinal pass or hope Bryce Love’s take-over appears similar to Jeremy Johnson’s Auburn take-over in 2015.

Prediction: Stanford 35, Rice 14

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