Last-minute predictions for the NFL, plus winners and losers from Week 1 of college football

Written by on September 8, 2021

Hello sports fanatics and happy return to football season. It’s Shanna McCarriston here. I hope you all enjoyed the start of college football and are getting ready for the NFL regular season to begin.

I’ll be taking over the newsletter the next few days and I’m gonna ask you guys for different predictions each day. Today I’d like to hear your predictions for the college football season. It can be anything — bold predictions, hot takes, national championship winners, most underrated teams — you pick it and let me know on Twitter what you’re thinking.

Please check the opt-in box to acknowledge that you would like to subscribe.

Thanks for signing up!

Keep an eye on your inbox.


There was an error processing your subscription.

We’re going to talk a lot about Week 1 of the college football season below, and we’ll also look at some NFL predictions.

Let’s get started.

? What you need to know

1. Last-minute picks and predictions for the NFL season ?

Congratulations to all football fans: you have suffered the last Sunday without football until the Super Bowl. The NFL’s regular season starts this week, which means predictions are here.

Typically at the beginning of football season, every fan has their early pick for which teams will end up in the big game. Not all those predictions come true every year, and it’s the same for our CBS Sports NFL experts. But that won’t stop us from making our picks

John Breech (who writes an NFL newsletter you should subscribe to!) gave us his picks based on what he’s seen in the league so far and threw a few bold predictions in there for us as well. 

Here are his division winners:

For his full predictions on who makes and misses the playoffs and bold predictions for each division, click here. As a bonus, here are his predictions for first five picks of the NFL draft:

As for me, I’d love to see the Patriots take back over the AFC East, but I don’t see them finishing with a better record than the Bills — though I do see New England ending with a better record this year than last year.

I wouldn’t be shocked if the Browns can dethrone the Steelers as AFC North division champs and if they don’t end up with a better record, I see it as a very tough race. Overall, I agree with most of Breech’s predictions, but I’m going to give the NFC West to the Rams over the 49ers in a close battle.

2. MLB Power Rankings: Finding positivity for all 30 teams ⚾

CBS Sports

Let’s do something sports fans don’t always do: look at the positive side of things. CBS Sports Matt Snyder is taking the optimistic approach and looking at all the great things from this MLB season in his latest power rankings.

This year we had fans back in the stands, a full season and the playoffs are expected to be fantastic. We’ve seen amazing moments, breakout stars and games come down to the wire. What fun it’s been! So, Snyder is saying something nice about every team in his latest power rankings. Really, all 30.

Here are the top of his power rankings:

  • No. 1 Giants: “I don’t think a single projection system in the spring had the Giants winning 85-plus games all season. With four weeks to go, they are already over that.”
  • No. 2 Dodgers: “Walker Buehler is one of the NL frontrunners for Cy Young … he would become the ninth Cy Young winner for the Dodgers.”
  • No. 3 Rays: “The franchise record in wins (97) is within reach. They are going to make the playoffs for the third straight year, which hasn’t happened before. Ditto for back-to-back AL East titles. We appear to be in the Golden Era of Rays baseball.”
  • No. 4 Brewers: “The franchise hasn’t seen a Cy Young winner since 1982 … Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff both have a real shot to take the honors this year.”
  • No. 5 Astros: “You know who rules? Dusty Baker. Keep on keepin’ on, my good man.”

For full power rankings and praise for each team, click here.

I love a little positivity, and these days it seems we really need it, so I’m a fan of this approach. We can postpone being miserable sports fans for a week.

3. Winners, losers and overreactions from Week 1 of college football ?

College Football is BACK and Week 1 did not disappoint. We saw No. 5 Georgia defeat No. 3 Clemson, other upsets and many playoff contenders were given a run for their money from lower ranked teams, reminding us how great college football is.

Even though it’s only Week 1, who would we be if we didn’t overanalyze what we witnessed. Here are our winners, losers and overreactions from the action we just saw:


  • The Tide keep rolling: The “Alabama’s demise is coming” rumors were exaggerated and their new quarterback Bryce Young had a stand-out performance. They are still the team to beat
  • Longhorns everywhere: Texas sophomore Bijan Robinson has lived up tp the hype so far, going for 176 yards and two touchdowns against No. 23 Louisiana
  • The FCS: This weekend there were six upsets for FCS teams over FBS teams


  • The American: No. 8 Cincinnati is the favorite for their New Year’s Six bid, but the rest of the Group of Five’s performances were less than up to standard
  • Heisman Trophy hopefuls: Other than Bryce Young, the elite quarterbacks did not have an explosive start to the season


  • The SEC can easily get two teams in the College Football Playoff
  • Maybe 2019 was the fluke for LSU, not 2020

For full commentary on winners, losers and overreactions, click here.

4. College football bowl projections: Make room for Georgia  ?

CBS Sports graphic

Remember a second ago when we were overreacting to college football Week 1? We’re gonna do some more of that, just with bowl predictions this time.

A major changes this week comes due to the fact that of the Georgia beat Clemson. As a result, the Bulldogs are replacing the Tigers in the College Football Playoff below. Here are our College Football Playoff predictions:

  • Cotton Bowl: No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Georgia
  • Orange Bowl: No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Oklahoma

Here are the New Year’s Six bowl games predictions:

  • Sugar Bowl: Texas A&M vs. Iowa State
  • Rose Bowl: Wisconsin vs. Oregon
  • Fiesta Bowl: Penn State vs. Cincinnati
  • Peach Bowl: Clemson vs. Notre Dame

This is of course subject to change as the season goes on, but for now this is how the CBS Sports college football experts see it playing out. And they are pretty smart.

? Odds & Ends

Getty Images

? What to watch tonight

Getty Images

⚾ Blue Jays vs. Yankees, 7:05 p.m. | NYY -203 | TV: MLB.TV

⚾ Rays vs. Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. | BOS +101 | TV: MLB.TV

White Sox vs. Athletics, 9:40 p.m. | OAK -135 | TV: MLB.TV

? Best thing I saw on the internet

Football bets are serious and Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence saw this first hand. The first overall pick had to wear Georgia gear after the Bulldogs defeated the Clemson Tigers. While it may seem like an innocent prank, anyone who knows how serious rivalries are knows that wearing a rival team’s gear is a nightmare. Lawrence was a good sport and carried out the bet — his first against an NFL teammate.

Current track