As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.
- North Carolina vs. South Carolina (@Charlotte, NC; ESPN): It’s a bit odd, as this is finally the year where people aren’t saying that this is North Carolina’s year. Does that mean they will actually be good for once? Steve Spurrier is also under about as much fire as a coach of his stature can come under, but despite all the issues I think the Gamecocks have, at least, this one.
- Florida International @ Central Florida (CBSS): Down in Florida, George O’Leary’s Knights may be poised for a very, very darkhorse run at being the best Group of Five team. It should start with a victory.
7:00: Oklahoma State @ Central Michigan (ESPNU): An odd away game for a Big 12 team, venturing up into MAC country, but unless MACtion is already in mid-season form it’s hard to see how this will work out for the Chippewas.
7:30: Alcorn State @ Georgia Tech (ACC/RSN): This is the most bizarre offseason I can recall in my 12 years of following Georgia Tech. We lost virtually all of our skill position production. Our defense was terrible last year, so the hope is mostly that it can’t be worse this year. Yet, we’ve got hype. We’re being mentioned as potential ACC champions along with Clemson and a reloading Florida State. We’re getting some press as a darkhorse playoff candidate. I mean, hey, if we get through the schedule we have this year with only one loss, then we’ll certainly deserve it, but still. By far the most plausible thing, though? Justin Thomas as a Heisman candidate.
I’m also happy to say I’m currently in the Atlanta area and poised to attend my first Georgia Tech home game since I graduated. Woo!
8:00: Western Kentucky @ Vanderbilt (SEC): I’m still scratching my head over how Vandy got so bad so quickly last year, and not only that, how it continues to look bleak this year. Can they top the Hilltoppers? I won’t call for the upset, but I wouldn’t be surprised.
8:30: Michigan @ Utah (FS1): Michigan playing in a strange land? On a Thursday? I’m sure some blue-and-maize types are really scratching their heads, but this provides a really interesting matchup and a test for Jim Harbaugh in his first college game in a while. I think Harbaugh proves how much of an upgrade his is pretty quickly, though I am only picking them in this one very tentatively.
9:00: Texas Christian @ Minnesota (ESPN): The Golden Gophers provide a stiff test as TCU shakes off the rust and dust, but once that happens sometime around halftime this one is not going to be pretty.
9:30: Duke @ Tulane (CBSS): I’m comfortably picking Duke in non-conference road games now? I mean, it is Tulane, but still, what is this world coming to?
10:00: Texas-San Antonio @ Arizona (Pac12): Hard to see the Roadrunners providing the Wildcats much of a test.
1:00: Colorado @ Hawaii (CBSS): I know I just said this, but terrible or otherwise banned from postseason teams are supposed to save this game for, like, November. Come on! Also, will CBSS just be broadcasting the feed of the super-homer Hawaii local announcers? Hopefully, yes. Also, the Buffs should win.
3:30: Charlotte @ Georgia State (ESPNU): Georgia State might win this one! Emphasis on the might. I’ll call that anyway. Also, who kicks off a game at 3:30 PM on a weekday?
- Baylor @ Southern Methodist (ESPN): Baylor.
- Michigan State @ Western Michigan (ESPNU): No matter how much PJ Fleck rows, it’s Sparty all the way.
- Fordham @ Army (CBSS): Army, probably.
8:00: Weber State @ Oregon State (Pac12): Oregon State.
9:00: Kent State @ Illinois (BTN): So, again. Remember that time Illinois fired their head coach a week before the season started? Oh, right, that was last week. Geez louise, I mean, they were going to be terrible anyway, but still! They’ll win at least this one, though. Probably.
10:15: Washington @ Boise State (ESPN): This one should be worth staying up for, as Chris Peterson faces his old team immediately after leaving for his new one. As for a winner, I have almost no idea, but let’s go with Boise because it’d be more fun.