As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.
8:30: Pennsylvania State vs. Central Florida (@Dublin, Ireland; ESPN2):
- California-Los Angeles @ Virginia (ESPN): And so begins the “Mike London is So Fired” watch. This should give the hands a good shove toward “so very, very fired”, but not quite all the way there.
- Appalachian State @ Michigan (ESPN2): Would it absolutely wonderful if Appalachian State won again? Yes, yes it would be. Will it happen? No, probably not.
- North Dakota State @ Iowa State (FS1): Iowa State. Er, wait, didn’t NDSU beat Kansas State last year en route to a 15-0 season and the FCS national title? In that case, well, I like NDSU odds better than Appy State’s.
- Western Michigan @ Purdue (ESPNU): I’d like to think that even Purdue could win this game, but life is full of uncertainty. (These two teams combined to go 2-22 last year.)
- Indiana State @ Indiana (ESPNEWS): Hoosiers. (Did you know Indiana State are the Sycamores, though? And did you know Larry Bird went there? Just saying.)
- Ohio State vs. Navy (@Baltimore, MD; CBSS): As fun as it would be to see Navy do their thing to the Buckeyes, it just doesn’t seem in the cards, Braxton Miller or no.
- Tennessee-Martin @ Kentucky (SEC): Kentucky.
- Northern Iowa @ Iowa (BTN): Iowa. Well, probably. They’ve messed this up before.
- Youngstown State @ Illinois (BTN): Illinois.
- Troy @ Alabama-Birmingham (FCS): It’s the Little Iron Bowl! I’m pretty sure no one calls it that, but hey, you take what you can get from these sorts of games. I’ll go with Troy.
- Georgia Southern @ North Carolina State (ACC): NC State… probably.
- Wofford @ Georgia Tech (ACC): It’s been a bit of a rough offseason for Tech. Attrition, injuries, etc. This game, if nothing else, will serve as a useful yardstick for how the offseason might have affected the team, and what we might see going forward this year.
- Rice @ Notre Dame (NBC): Wait, isn’t Notre Dame the team that’s always going to Ireland to play American Football games? Why is it Penn State this year? Well, Penn State and UCF, but that doesn’t really help it make any more sense.
- West Virginia vs. Alabama (@Atlanta, GA; ABC/ESPN2): It’s hard to see how the Mountaineers have much of a shot in this. Even calling it “much of a shot” might be a bit generous.
- California @ Northwestern (ABC/ESPN2): No team seemed to be as affected by one loss as last year’s Northwestern. Rising to #16 and playing at home, they lost by 10 at home to Ohio State. From there, they lost seven straight games, including wrenchingly close losses to teams like Minnesota and Iowa that cost them bowl eligibility. Of course, the question is whether this Northwestern team is still mostly okay, and more importantly, whether they’re still better than Cal. My guess is yes.
- South Dakota State @ Missouri (ESPNU): Missouri.
- Florida Atlantic @ Nebraska (BTN): Nebraska.
- James Madison @ Maryland (BTN): Maryland.
- William and Mary @ Virginia Tech (ESPNEWS): Virginia Tech (but see the Iowa caveat above).
- Arkansas @ Auburn (SEC): More stupidly early conference games to satisfy TV, ahoy! Hopefully Arkansas is the entertaining sort of terrible they’re capable of being and not the more milquetoast sort of terrible they’re currently more poised to be.
- Portland State @ Oregon State (Pac12): Oregon State.
- California-Davis @ Stanford (Pac12): Stanford.
5:30: Clemson @ Georgia (ESPN): Both these teams have lost a key players on the offensive side of the ball, with both starting quarterbacks gone. However, Georgia still returns a large chunk of their offensive production while Clemson replaces almost all their skill players. I reluctantly have to go with UGA in this one.
- Idaho @ Florida (ESPNU): Florida.
- Northern Arizona @ San Diego State (CBSS): San Diego State.
- Fresno State @ Southern California (FOX): It’s a rematch of literally the last game these two teams played. Helpfully, USC won easily, which makes this one also easy.
- Southern Mississippi @ Mississippi State (SEC): Miss State.
- Oklahoma State vs. Florida State (@Arlington, TX; ABC): It’s the game of the year of the week! That said, how do you pick against the defending national champs that still have their dynamic, Heisman winning quarterback?
- North Carolina Central @ East Carolina (ESPNEWS): ECU. (There’s a reason why I don’t ordinarily list these games.)
9:00: Louisiana State vs. Wisconsin (@Houston, TX; ESPN): I already used this in my OOC schedule preview, but dammit I really need to wrap this up, so: it’s hard to imagine two fanbases more broadly similar yet utterly different than Wisconsin and LSU. Obviously, every college football tailgater likes drinking (well, except maybe BYU fans), that’s not in dispute. Many of them also like eating. But I really feel like there could be some good inter-sectional bonding in the parking lots of Reliant Stadium (well, provided they don’t ban tailgating like at Levi’s Stadium), or at least some Midwesterners discovering the wonders of andouille. Also, LSU is probably going to win.
- Washington @ Hawaii (CBSS): Washington.
- South Dakota @ Oregon (Pac12): Oregon.
7:00: Utah State @ Tennessee (SEC): Sunday college football, for what I’m going to assume is the only time this year. I’m going to wearily pick the Vols here.
7:30: Southern Methodist @ Baylor (FS1): As noted in my OOC schedule previews, I am enthusiastic about the continued Southwest Conference rematches. I’m somewhat less enthusiastic about the Mustangs’ chances, though.
8:00: Miami @ Louisville (ESPN): Frankly, it’s hard to give Louisville much of a shot here in their ACC debut. They did not exactly excel in the depleted remnants of the Big East last year, and Miami returns a singular talent in Duke Johnson. It’s difficult to see how the Cardinals will keep up.