Do you recall the Week 1 slate of College Football games from 2016? It was an explosion of gargantuan matchups that included Southern Cal vs Alabama, Clemson vs Auburn, Oklahoma vs Houston, LSU vs Wisconsin, UCLA vs Texas A&M, Georgia vs North Carolina, Notre Dame vs Texas, and Ole Miss vs Florida State, all on the opening weekend! I hope you enjoyed it because it will not be duplicated this season. However, there are a few gems on the opening weekend.
1. Florida State vs Alabama (-7½), Falcons Stadium, Atlanta, GA, Saturday 7pm CT ABC
If you asked college football fans what game they would most want to watch besides their own team, 90% would say this game. The other 10% are big fat liars. These two titans could easily meet again in the playoffs.
2. Michigan (-4½) vs Florida, JerryWorld, TX, Saturday 2:30pm CT ABC
This is a matchup of two coaches (Jim McElwain and Jim Harbaugh both starting Year 3) and two programs with a great deal to prove. The victor of this game will have made a big statement of their place on the national stage.
3. Texas A&M vs UCLA (-3), Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA, Sunday 6:30pm CT FOX
The Aggies won this game in overtime a year ago but now they travel to the Bruins’ home stadium to face sophomore QB Josh Rosen, who is another year wiser. A win for TAMU would go a long way to cooling the Kevin Sumlin hot seat.
4. BYU vs LSU (-13½), Texans Stadium, Houston, TX, Sunday 8:30pm CT ESPN
It is the first full year for the Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron. If he screws this one up, invest heavily in pitchfork futures. The Coogs started out the year 1-3 but finished strong winning 7 of their last 8.
5. Tennessee (-3½) vs Georgia Tech, Falcons Stadium, Atlanta, GA, Monday 7pm CT ESPN
This game could go either way. The Vols were 104th in rushing defense last year (218.54 ypg allowed) and now they have to find a way to stop the triple option with former DE Derek Barnett playing in the NFL. A Tennessee loss to a second tier ACC team could be devastating to the program.
6. West Virginia vs Virginia Tech (-4½), Redskins Stadium, Landover, MD, Sunday 6:30pm CT ABC
Here we have two teams clamoring for respectability. The loser may just be eliminated from any playoff hope (Yes, in Week 1!).
7. NC State (-5) vs South Carolina, Panthers Stadium, Charlotte, NC, Saturday 2pm CT ESPN
To be honest, I am a bit surprised to see the Wolfpack as a five point favorite.
Temple at Notre Dame (-15) - The Owls had one of their biggest seasons ever in 2016, finishing 10-4 but three of their best players were drafted into the NFL back in April and head coach Matt Rhule left for Baylor. The Irish were (lol) 4-8. Their fans are already tired of Brian Kelly in South Bend.
Appalachian State at Georgia (-14½) - When Mark Richt agreed to this game back in 2014, the UGA administration probably thought this would be an easy tune-up before a trip to South Bend (Sept 9). The Mountaineers (10-3 in 2016) will give them a game.
South Alabama at Ole Miss (-26) - The Jags, coming off their first bowl appearance ever, catch the reeling Rebels on the ropes. I wouldn’t put money on USA to win but crazier things have happened.
Navy (-13½) at FAU! (Friday) - New Owls coach Lane Kiffin will get a difficult challenge right off the bat as he has to figure out how to stop the triple option of the suddenly powerful Midshipmen.
Best chance for an upset:
This poll is closed
BYU over LSU
Florida over Michigan
Georgia Tech over Tennessee
Temple over Notre Dame
None of the above will happen.