The morning was fun, to be sure. But as we veer into afternoon, approaching the corner into ‘Bama’s season-opener, the stakes get higher. What an opening afternoon and evening aside from ‘Bama: Two national title elimination matches await.
Here’s your schedule for the rest of the day and why to watch. We’ll be back about half an hour before kick with your Game Thread. All times below are Eastern.
Teams / Time / TV / Streaming
Austin Peay at #3 Georgia 3:30 PM ESPN WatchESPN.com
#6 Washington vs #9 Auburn 3:30 PM ABC WatchESPN.com
Appalachian State at #10 Penn State 3:30 PM BTN FoxSportsGo.com
Tennessee vs #17 West Virginia 3:30 PM CBS CBSSports.com
Albany at Pittsburgh 3:30 PM ACCN WatchESPN.com
Marshall at Miami (OH) 3:30 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
Central Michigan at Kentucky 3:30 PM ESPNU WatchESPN.com
Northern Illinois at Iowa 3:30 PM BTN FoxSportsGo.com
Washington State at Wyoming 3:30 PM CBSSN CBSSports.com
UNLV at #15 USC 4:00 PM P12N Pac-12.com
North Carolina at California 4:00 PM FOX FoxSportsGo.com
UT Martin at Missouri 4:00 PM SECN WatchESPN.com
Eastern Illinois at Arkansas 4:00 PM SECN WatchESPN.com
#22 Boise State at Troy 6:00 PM NEWS WatchESPN.com
Old Dominion at Liberty 6:00 PM None WatchESPN.com
Fordham at Charlotte 6:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
North Carolina A&T at East Carolina 6:00 PM None WatchESPN.com
Elon at South Florida 6:00 PM None WatchESPN.com
Richmond at Virginia 6:00 PM ACC Network WatchESPN.com
Delaware State at Buffalo 6:00 PM None WatchESPN.com
South Carolina State at Georgia Southern 6:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
Grambling at Louisiana 7:00 PM None WatchESPN.com
VMI at Toledo 7:00 PM None WatchESPN.com
Southeast Missouri State at Arkansas State 7:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
Mercer at Memphis 7:00 PM None WatchESPN.com
Central Arkansas at Tulsa 7:00 PM None WatchESPN.com
Louisiana Tech at South Alabama 7:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
Jackson State at Southern Mississippi 7:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
Cincinnati at UCLA 7:00 PM ESPN WatchESPN.com
Indiana at Florida Intl 7:00 PM CBSSN CBSSports.com
Nicholls at Kansas 7:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
South Dakota at Kansas State 7:00 PM None WatchESPN.com
#14 Michigan at #12 Notre Dame 7:30 PM NBC NBCSports.com
SFA at #18 Mississippi State 7:30PM ESPNU WatchESPN.com
Charleston Southern at Florida 7:30 PM SECN WatchESPN.com
Middle Tennessee at Vanderbilt 7:30 PM SECN WatchESPN.com
SMU at North Texas 7:30 PM Stadium TV WatchStadium.com
Northern Arizona at UTEP 7:30 PM None WatchESPN.com
Louisville at #1 Alabama 8:00 PM ABC WatchESPN.com
Bowling Green at #24 Oregon 8:00 PM P12N Pac-12.com
Akron at Nebraska 8:00 PM FOX FoxSportsGo.com
Abilene Christian at Baylor 8:00 PM FSN FoxSportsGo.com
South Dakota State at Iowa State 8:00 PM None Cyclones.tv
Incarnate Word at New Mexico 8:00 PM None WatchESPN.com
Idaho at Fresno State 10:00 PM None Facebook
UTSA at Arizona State 10:30 PM FS1 FoxSportsGo.com
BYU at Arizona 10:45 PM ESPN WatchESPN.com
Navy at Hawai’i 11:00 PM CBSSN CBSSports.com
Washington vs. Auburn (-1.5, o/u 49) — This one of the two biggest games of the day - and one of the most important of the season. Two very good defenses, two senior quarterbacks, two coaches with a penchant for trickery, two teams that are, or believe they should be, in the discussion for the playoffs. The loser isn’t out of that discussion, but you have to think the margin of error is practically eliminated for a Washington team with fewer opportunities to impress down the stretch.
Tennessee vs. West Virginia (-9, O/U 61) — Jeremy Pruitt’s debut as a head coach, and it’s not an easy draw, facing two Heisman contenders on the opposite sideline. Holgo needs to finally win a few of these, and he may finally have the team to do so. If this game is a one-sided beating by the ‘Eers, it will be interesting to see how Vawl Fan responds after an up-and-down offseason punctuated with some minor gaffes and more than a little hope.
Boise State (-10, O/U 55.5) @ Troy — Two well-coached Group of Five teams that are favored in their conferences. The difference is, Boise State is already in the discussion for the New Year’s Six Bowl: Troy can get in that mix with a win at home today. You have to think neither Brian Harsin nor Neal Brown will be at these programs much longer before they’re snatched up by P5 schools.
Michigan @ Notre Dame (-1.5, 46.5) — Two defenses that should bring the house, two quarterbacks with a lot to prove...and a practical must-win for UM’s Harbaugh. As much of a tossup as UW-Auburn may be, this one is truly flip a coin. If it comes down to offensive line play, or which coach has actually proved it at the college level, the nod goes to the home Irish. While a loss by Michigan doesn’t totally take the Wolverines out of the playoff mix, you have to think Notre Dame’s relatively softer schedule makes this a must-win for its post-season hopes.
The Scott Frost era begins at Nebraska (Akron). Not since Alabama hired Nick Saban has a fan base been this so thirsty and willing to fall in line to get the program back on track.
Blake Barneyt finally gets to be the starting QB — for USF He’ll do great there too.
Dan Mullen and the under-the-radar Florida Gators get to sacrifice Charleston Southern. Let’s see how far they’ve come along and how incredibly grateful the Jorts will be with their first functional offense in a decade.
SFA is not a bad FCS team at all. Joe Moorhead’s SEC coaching career begins, and it will be interesting to see how Clanga responds to high expectations, and whether he has polished the raw potential of Nick Fitzgerald.
Watch your butt:
Iowa State hosts the FCS powerhouse South Dakota State Jackrabbits. North Dakota State is the gold standard, but the Jacks are just a step below in quality.
Ditto Kansas State hosting the South Dakota Coyotes. This team isn’t quite as good as SDSU, but the difference isn’t vast — and, like ISU-SDSU, that may be enough to give the Wildcats a tough game.
If MTSU whacks Vanderbilt is that even an upset at this point?
Wazzu travels to Laramie: You have to have an iffy feeling about this one if you’re a Cougar fan. This is exactly the kind of game his teams traditionally fall flat in. And the Pokes have had a warmup game to knock the rust off.
Nicholls State at Kansas: If an FCS playoff team beats KU, is that even an upset at this point?
Both of these games are worthy, so stay up to watch Sumlin’s debut at Arizona. Star quarterback Khalil Tate is going to eviscerate BYU.
And, out on Oahu, you have a contrast of styles that makes the college game special. Rolovich’s Hawaii Rainbow Warriors, with its wide-open run-and-shoot, hosts the Naval Academy and the machine-like triple option efficiency. An interesting side note here: Both Navy’s Ken Niumatalolo and Hawaii’s Nick Rolovich are alumni of Hawaii and both played for the Warriors.
We’ll see you this evening for Alabama-Louisville. Who are your rooting interests today? Upset alerts?