Game Week is officially here and there’s not likely a college football fan that isn’t excited to be making plans to see their personal favorite play some ball. My allegiance need not be named, at this point, but a big “Sic ‘Em” goes out to my fellow Dawg lovers.
That said, Sam Houston State kicked things off this past Saturday night by losing to Eastern Washington 56-35 and the Georgia State Panthers will face-off against Abilene Christian on Wednesday night (ESPNU), so if you’re really hungry for some college football action, you received a small taste on Saturday and can get a few more bites in on Wednesday night.
The first BIG game of the week will be delivered courtesy of the South Carolina Gamecocks. Steve Spurrier’s bunch will take on Texas A&M, at Williams-Brice, on the SEC Network, at 6:00pm. You can expect to see and hear all the bells and whistles that tend to accompany a major SEC match-up, and I expect that to be a good one—the Aggies and the Gamecocks will have new starters under center (although South Carolina’s Dylan Thompson will likely be a bit more prepared for the moment having a few starts under his belt already)—and it could end up being much closer than many believe.
Other games worth a click that night: Boise State at Ole Miss (ESPN) and Temple at Vanderbilt (SEC Network).
Friday night shows up with a couple of interesting match-ups, as well, with BYU at Connecticut (ESPN) leading the way in that regard. The Cougars still have a fairly solid defense, even after losing some bodies, and quarterback Taysom Hill will look to improve his passer rating from last season (54%), but the Huskies are still searching for their new identity under new coach head coach Bob Diaco, and will lean heavily on their defense, at least in the early-going, to get the ball rolling in the right direction.
All that being said, Saturday is when the true season begins, and there are more games than you can shake a stick at, to be sure.
Here’s a link to every single college football game—televised or not—being played in week one, just in case you need to set your DVR, and here are just a few that I’ll be sampling:
Penn State at UCF (ESPN2) will pit the George O’Leary against new Nittany Lions coach James Franklin. I expect the offense for the Knights to be a different animal minus Blake Bortles, but O’Leary has always fielded a fairly solid defense, and I don’t expect the effort from this year’s unit to be any different. That said, Franklin has shown a knack for making a statement and you can bet he’s gunning to make the Happy Valley faithful smile.
UCLA at Virginia (ESPN) isn’t likely to be all that close—if Bruins QB Brett Hundley is on—but that won’t stop folks from stopping in and taking a look at what they might look like this season—pretenders or contenders?
Clemson at Georgia (ESPN) has been the talk of the town around Athens this summer. A good many feel the game could have gone either way last season, and like the Bulldogs chances for revenge with a healthy Todd Gurley running the football, and a refocused defensive strategy under new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt—will the proof show up in the pudding?
Florida State at Oklahoma State (ABC) is sure to be an interesting match-up to watch. I don’t look for the Seminoles to be upset by the Cowboys, but it would be wise for the current National Champions to maintain their focus heading into this game to avoid any undue surprises.
Wisconsin at LSU (ESPN) is really on my radar for Leonard Fournette. I’ve heard so much about him this summer that I’m curious about the hype.
Others I plan to check in on: Miami at Louisville is a Monday night game, but I’m curious to see what happens to Petrino in his first game back on the Division-I level.
I assure you I will be watching far more than I’ve named (particularly from the SEC schedule), but what games are you the most excited to see?