There’s no reason to dance around it. This is the best opening weekend of college football in my life.
Opening weekends were once jejune affairs. Devoid, empty, enfeebling affairs. There are still markers of this once-not-at-all-hallowed practice.
Michigan-Hawaii. Ohio State-Bowling Green. Florida-Massachusetts. Oregon-UC Davis...
To hell with that.
Today is a day of permanence. Of resurrection. Here are the major clashes bringing the sport back to life.
#3 Oklahoma at #15 Houston - 12pm ET, ABC
There was no way when the Sooners scheduled the Cougars to host them for the 2016 season opener two years ago that they could have predicted UH would hire Tom Herman, instantly catapult the program into top 10 status on the back of a 13-1 season and immediately transform the recruiting bedrock in Texas. That’s what has happened.
Houston is now a major player to lead Big XII expansion much the worry of the other programs. That Houston was able to land DT Ed Oliver this recruiting season explains why.
OU is angling for a playoff spot. Houston is carving out the makings of a power program much like Baylor did in the last decade.
This is one hell of an early contest.
#16 UCLA at Texas A&M - 3:30pm ET, CBS
#5 LSU at* Wisconsin - 3:30pm ET, ABC
* - Game to be played at neutral location: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin
There’s nearly enough NFL talent between these two games to craft an entire NFL roster. A damn good one at that.
#18 Georgia at #22 North Carolina - 5:30pm ET, ESPN
Two college football playoff sleepers here. I really wish they weren’t crossing conference lines to play this and in the process likely taking one out of playoff contention.
Aside from this game, UNC could win every game except for the trip to Florida State on October 1. Georgia, meanwhile, has a pretty strong path to the SEC Championship if they can get through today kicking off Kirby Smart’s head coaching career.
This one may not have the luster of the other games, but it could be one we point to in a couple of months...and maybe look back at in seasons to come as a course-charting game.
SMU at North Texas - 7pm ET, HAHA
A HUGE BATTLE WITH THE NATION WATCHING.
Go Mean Green
#20 USC at* #1 Alabama - 8pm ET, ABC
* - Game to be played at neutral location: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
The thing I said about the NFL talent in the 3:30 block? Yeah, that again. USC WR Juju Smith-Schuster and Alabama WR Calvin Ridley are better wideouts than anyone on the Los Angeles Rams’ roster. Could they change that by joining the Rams’ roster in the near future? (The answer is dear God, please yes, how much would this cost and how many banks do I have to rob to get that much because I swear it will go down)
#2 Clemson at Auburn - 9pm ET, ESPN
Clemson QB DeShaun Watson is the truth. Always has been. This is about staying healthy, getting to that late October meeting between Clemson and Florida State and deciding who will get to the college football playoff out of the ACC.
Hard not to bet on Watson getting back there again.
Today is a day to enjoy. Share it with friends. Eat well. Imbibe responsibly. Do everything you should do because you can and because you’re invited to.
This is joy. Have some.
|Game||Time||TV / Online streaming|
|Georgia Tech vs. Boston College (Ireland)||7:30:00 a.m. ET||ESPN2 / WatchESPN|
|Boise State at UL Lafayette||Noon ET||ASN / WatchESPN|
|Bowling Green at No. 6 Ohio State||Noon ET||BTN / BTN2Go|
|EKU at Purdue||Noon ET||ESPNews / WatchESPN|
|Fordham at Navy||Noon ET||CBSSN|
|Hawaii at No. 7 Michigan||Noon ET||ESPN / WatchESPN|
|Howard at Maryland||Noon ET||BTN / BTN2Go|
|Missouri at West Virginia||Noon ET||FS1 / FS Go|
|No. 3 Oklahoma vs. No. 15 Houston (NRG Stadium)||Noon ET||ABC / WatchESPN|
|South Alabama at Mississippi State||Noon ET||SECN / WatchESPN|
|Western Michigan at Northwestern||Noon ET||ESPNU / WatchESPN|
|Liberty at Virginia Tech||12:30 p.m. ET||ACCN / WatchESPN|
|Villanova at Pittsburgh||1:30 p.m. ET||ACCNExtra|
|Abilene Christian at Air Force||2 p.m. ET||MWN|
|Rutgers at No. 14 Washington||2 p.m. ET||Pac-12N / Pac-12.com|
|Kent State at Penn State||3:30 p.m. ET||BTN / BTN2Go|
|No. 5 LSU vs. Wisconsin (Green Bay)||3:30 p.m. ET||ABC / WatchESPN|
|Miami (Ohio) at No. 17 Iowa||3:30 p.m. ET||ESPNU / WatchESPN|
|Murray State at Illinois||3:30 p.m. ET||BTN / BTN2Go|
|Richmond at Virginia||3:30 p.m. ET||ACCNExtra|
|SE Louisiana at No. 21 Oklahoma State||3:30 p.m. ET||FSN / FS Go|
|Texas State at Ohio||3:30 p.m. ET||CBSSN|
|No. 16 UCLA at Texas A&M||3:30 p.m. ET||CBS / CBSSports.com|
|Louisiana Tech at Arkansas||4 p.m. ET||SECN / WatchESPN|
|UC Davis at No. 24 Oregon||5 p.m. ET||Pac-12N / Pac-12.com|
|No. 18 Georgia vs. No. 22 North Carolina (Atlanta)||5:30 p.m. ET||ESPN / WatchESPN|
|Austin Peay at Troy||6 p.m. ET||WatchESPN|
|Florida A&M at Miami, FL||6 p.m. ET||ACCNExtra|
|Hampton at Old Dominion||6 p.m. ET||CUSA.tv|
|NC Central at Duke||6 p.m. ET||ACCNExtra|
|Savannah State at Georgia Southern||6 p.m. ET||WatchESPN|
|Southern Illinois at Florida Atlantic||6 p.m. ET||CUSA.tv|
|Western Carolina at East Carolina||6 p.m. ET||WatchESPN|
|VMI at Akron||6:30 p.m. ET||WatchESPN|
|Alabama A&M at Middle Tennessee||7 p.m. ET||TBA|
|Alabama State at UTSA||7 p.m. ET||KMYS-CW 35|
|Rhode Island at Kansas||7 p.m. ET||Jayhawk TV|
|San Jose State at Tulsa||7 p.m. ET||CBSSN|
|SE Missouri State at Memphis||7 p.m. ET||WatchESPN|
|SMU at North Texas||7 p.m. ET||ASN|
|South Carolina State at UCF||7 p.m. ET||WatchESPN|
|Southern at ULM||7 p.m. ET||WatchESPN|
|Towson at USF||7 p.m. ET||WatchESPN|
|Southern Miss at Kentucky||7:30 p.m. ET||ESPNU / WatchESPN|
|UMass at No. 25 Florida||7:30 p.m. ET||SECN / WatchESPN|
|EWU at Washington State||8 p.m. ET||Pac-12N / Pac-12.com|
|Fresno State at Nebraska||8 p.m. ET||BTN / BTN2Go|
|New Mexico State at UTEP||8 p.m. ET||beIN SPORTS|
|Northern Iowa at Iowa State||8 p.m. ET||Cyclones.tv|
|South Dakota State at No. 13 TCU||8 p.m. ET||FSN / FS Go|
|Stephen F. Austin at Texas Tech||8 p.m. ET||FSN / FS Go|
|No. 20 USC vs. No. 1 Alabama (Arlington)||8 p.m. ET||ABC / WatchESPN|
|New Hampshire at San Diego State||8:30 p.m. ET||TBA|
|No. 2 Clemson at Auburn||9 p.m. ET||ESPN / WatchESPN|
|Arizona vs. BYU (Glendale)||10:30 p.m. ET||FS1 / FS Go|
|Northern Illinois at Wyoming||10:30 p.m. ET||CBSSN|
|Northern Arizona at Arizona State||10:45 PM||Pac-12N / Pac-12.com|