This Weekend in College Football: Week 1

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Thursday
6:00: North Carolina @ South Carolina (ESPN): Aaaand we’re back! It’s the first game of the college football season, and it can’t get here soon enough. In the battle of the Carolinas, though, I expect the southern one to prevail.

7:00:

  • Tulsa @ Bowling Green (ESPNU): Tulsa will probably win, but it has plenty of potential to be more exciting than…
  • Nevada-Las Vegas @ Minnesota (BTN): Minnesota should win.

8:00: Utah State @ Utah (FS1): Both of these teams have made strives in recent years, but the level at which those strides are taking place vastly differs. Utes should roll.

9:15: Mississippi @ Vanderbilt (ESPN): It’s Week 1 ESS-EEE-CEE football. Vandy has 3 straight wins in this series (and 6 of the last 8), and I’d probably expect them to get another.

10:30: Rutgers @ Fresno State (ESPNU): I’m not required to have an opinion on this game, right? Huh. Well, apparently I am. Let’s go with Fresno just for the hell of it.

11:00: Southern California @ Hawaii (CBSS): Okay, now this is really the last time that I can say the last time the Trojans played a game they lost to Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl. I’m going to miss that. Also despite not apparently having a quarterback, they should win this one.

Friday
8:00:

  • Texas Tech @ Southern Methodist (ESPN): A potentially fun in-state showdown, but still a likely Texas Tech win.
  • Florida Atlantic @ Miami (ESPNU): I’ll be employing the “Miami context clue” gimmick this year. But in this case, does it really matter which one? Either would probably win.
  • Western Michigan @ Michigan State (BTN): Well, it’ll be a useful tuneup for Sparty, I guess. (Editor’s note: there are other games Friday, on major networks even, but our general policy is only to list games between two FBS teams, with limited exceptions.)

Saturday
Noon:

  • Buffalo @ Ohio State (ESPN2): And finally, the first proper football Saturday of the year. Just think Ohio State, you’d probably be a shoe-in title game pick if you’d scheduled a proper team here.
  • Villanova @ Boston College (ESPNEWS): Included entirely because ESPNEWS is apparently showing live football games now.
  • Purdue @ Cincinnati (ESPNU): Two things: Cincy still has a player named “Munchie Legaux”, and they’ll probably win.
  • Massachusetts @ Wisconsin (BTN): Remember, the BTN game in this timeslot is usually regional and it’s not always obvious which one will get shown nationally. That said, the other one involves a FCS team, so I get to actually say Wisconsin will probably win.
  • Toledo @ Florida (SEC): Maybe it’s just because I follow edsbs on Twitter, but Florida’s offense this year may have more in common with rocket explosions than the Toledo Rockets. But that said, it’s still Toledo, and the Gators will roll.

12:30:

  • Louisiana Tech @ North Carolina State (ACC): For a second I thought the first team said “LSU” but then I saw that this was on the ACC syndication package, so yeah, probably not. That said, this one is debatable. Oh, right, Louisiana Tech hired Skip Holtz and will probably be less explosive on offense. Yeah, that bodes well for the Wolfpack.
  • Florida International @ Maryland (ACC): I had forgotten about this until this tweet, and it got me scratching my head all over again.

    It’s game week and I’m still half waiting to hear FIU say firing Mario Cristobal was some kind of longform performance art prank
    — Holly Anderson (@HollyAnderson) August 26, 2013

    I think karma dictates that Maryland wins.

1:00: Rice @ Texas Agricultural and Mechanical (ESPN): Rice could well be very good this year. It won’t matter against TAMU.

3:30:

  • Temple @ Notre Dame (NBC): [checks “is Temple still bad?” watch] Hrm, yep, yeah, I never said the first weekend of the season was going to be filled with thrills. You’re just supposed to be happy real football is back.
  • Syracuse vs. Pennsylvania State (@East Rutherford, NJ; ABC/ESPN2): Penn State mostly surprised everyone last year by not being as awful as everyone though. Same with the ‘Cuse. Of course, the primary difference is that one of these teams isn’t on a set of scholarship restrictions which generally hurt later more than they do now. That said, Penn State may well still be good enough to eke out a win here.
  • Mississippi State vs. Oklahoma State (@Houston, TX; ABC/ESPN2): Mississippi State had the rare distinction of being a “middle tier” SEC team last year. That said, it’s hard to see them keeping up with the Cowboys.
  • Brigham Young @ Virginia (ESPNU): Boy howdy Virginia probably isn’t very good this year. I’ll go with the Stormin’ Mormons in this one.
  • Central Michigan @ Michigan (BTN): Victors will, perhaps, be hailed after this one.

4:00: Louisiana-Lafayette @ Arkansas (SEC): UL-Lafayette will probably be pretty good this year, well, for a Sun Belt team. Razorbacks roll.

5:30: Virginia Tech vs. Alabama (@Atlanta, GA; ESPN): Well, short of the bus (does Alabama even take a bus to any game?) breaking down on I-20, things don’t look very good for the Hokies. Maybe Alabama will forget to pack some cleats? Maybe both the first and second teams accidentally take the wrong exit on the Connector? Maybe Saban decides to go off the rails and installs a read option offense in the middle of the second quarter while still using AJ McCarron at quarterback? I guess what I’m trying to say is good luck VPI, you’re probably going to need it.

7:00:

  • Kentucky vs. Western Kentucky (@Nashville, TN; ESPNEWS): More ESPNEWS games! Will wonders ever cease? Yeah, probably, since Kentucky will still win this game in the most mediocre fashion possible.
  • Washington State @ Auburn (ESPNU): This game has the potential to be the best game of the day featuring two teams who won 6 games last year. That is, 6 games combined. Also, there is the potential for lots of points, but since Wazzou has had an extra year to get acquainted with the ideas of “playing offense” and “scoring points” I’ll have to favor them.
  • Miami @ Marshall (CBSS): I like Marshall slightly in this one, but I’m not sure why.

8:00:

  • Georgia @ Clemson (ABC): This is the real game of the day. I hope to catch at least some of this, despite being otherwise totally preoccupied this weekend. What will carry the day? Georgia sports an inexperienced defense, but returns a bunch of excellent players on offense. So does Clemson, though, and remember that their last win was a thrilling victory over LSU in the Chick-fil-a Bowl. On a different forum, I went with Georgia, and I’m going to stick to my guns, but I can really see this going either way.
  • Wyoming @ Nebraska (BTN): It’s too bad that in football the road team traditionally wears lighter colors, because I find it hard to resist Wyoming’s ugly brown uniforms. Alas. Oh, and yeah, Nebraska wins.

9:00: Louisiana State vs. Texas Christian (@Arlington, TX; ESPN): This is the second most interesting game of the day. TCU has done well so far in the Big 12, but can they go toe-to-toe against one of the SEC’s powerhouses? Of course, most any coach will have a schematic advantage against the Hat, but I suspect that once again the Bayou Bengal’s immense pool of talent will eke out the win.

10:00:

  • Boise State @ Washington (FS1): As stated earlier, I’m really looking forward to seeing confused Idahoans in downtown Seattle on Saturday. That said, they should be happy Idahoans, as I think they’ll get the win.
  • Nevada @ California-Los Angeles (PAC12): Well, the only upside of not being a DirecTV customer anymore is that I do get the Pac-12 channels. So, yeah, if anything I’ve read about UCLA this offseason is true, they’ll probably win.

10:30: Northwestern @ California (ESPN2): I guess we’ll find out pretty quickly if Cal made the right move firing Tedford. Still going with NU though.

Sunday
3:30: Ohio @ Louisville (ESPN): How good is Teddy Bridgewater? I would say we’ll find out, but mostly this game will just ensure he’s not, like, really awful.

6:00: Colorado vs. Colorado State (@Denver, CO; CBSS): Here’s a rivalry game for your troubles. Unfortunately, there’s been a lot of trouble in Colorado football as of late, as both these teams were pretty not-good last year. But then again, both of them should be slightly better this year, which is bad news for the Buffs since they lost and all. And it’s quite tempting to pick them to lose again.

Monday
8:00: Florida State @ Pittsburgh (ESPN): Crazy fact: Pitt has a coach coming back for a sophomore season for the first time since 2006. Will that help them against Florida State? Well… probably not.

Hopefully things will be more informative next week. Until then, enjoy the weekend!

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