A quick note on the week one guide: contrary to my usual policy, I do list FCS vs. FBS matchups because there’s so darn many of them, but as you’ll see below I dispense with them quickly.
As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.
- Stanford @ Northwestern (ESPN): I think this will be closer than many think, but still hard to see how Northwestern comes through here.
- Richmond @ Maryland (ESPNU): Maryland.
- Norfolk State @ Rutgers (ESPNEWS): Rutgers.
- South Dakota State @ Kansas (FSN): Kanâ€“er, wait. Going with South Dakota State here.
- Louisiana-Monroe @ Georgia (SEC): I’m trying to give better than one-word responses for games between two FBS teams, but, well, even for games like this hard to see any other outcome than the obvious.
- Tennessee-Martin @ Mississippi (SEC): Ole Miss.
- Colgate @ Navy (CBSS): Navy.
- Illinois State @ Iowa (BTN): Iowa.
12:30: Wofford @ Clemson (ACC): Clemson.
2:00: Portland State @ Washington State (Pac12): Wazzou.
- Louisville vs. Auburn (@Atlanta, GA; CBS): I think this game is probably more intriguing on paper than otherwise, but if there’s any point in the season when you want to attempt to stop the Malzahn Death Machine, it’s in Week 1.
- Virginia @ California-Los Angeles (FOX): UVA should offer slightly more resistance than a punching bag. Slightly.
- Brigham Young @ Nebraska (ABC): This game may wind up being the most interesting in this time slot. Nebraska will debut Bill Riley, yet I think I’ve missed the previews of the transition to the new coach. Do the Cornhuskers still have the talent advantage to prevail over the Stormin’ Mormons? I’m thinking they do.
- Pennsylvania State @ Temple (ESPN): The last time Temple beat Penn State, the attack on Pearl Harbor had not yet happened. Thanks to the magic of ties, the Owls have not-lost more recently, in 1950. Other than that, this series has been mostly pain. It does not look to change.
- Texas-El Paso @ Arkansas (ESPNU): “So… you’re saying there’s a chance?”
- Sam Houston State @ Texas Tech (FSN): Texas Tech.
- Florida Atlantic @ Tulsa (CBSS): These teams were both terrible last year and there’s not much reason to think it’ll be different this year. But, hey, it’s football, and it’s on TV! Also rolling with Tulsa.
- Southern Illinois @ Indiana (ESPNEWS): Indiana.
- Bowling Green @ Tennessee (@Nashville, TN; SEC): It took me forever to figure out if this was a Tennessee home game or not, more in the de jure sense (i.e., how ticket sales are split and other contractual stuff), and not in the de facto sense, which it most definitely is. Vols should roll in front of a partisan crowd.
- Southeast Missouri @ Missouri (SEC): Mizzou.
5:00: Grambling @ California (Pac12): Cal.
- Arizona State vs. Texas A&M (@Houston, TX; ESPN): I still remain bummed that “A&M” does not actually stand for anything. This one could go either way, depending mostly on if A&M’s secondary has gotten any less flammable in the off-season. I’m betting it has.
- Louisiana-Lafayette @ Kentucky (ESPNU): I think Kentucky can win this one? Probably?
- Texas @ Notre Dame (NBC): It felt like several times last season that the Longhorns were just this close to figuring it out. Well, Week 1 will likely do them no favors try to get a handle on this season early. I like the Domers here.
- Georgia Southern @ West Virginia (FSN): I think the Mountaineers are going to win, but man, strangers things have happened at night in Morgantown.
- New Mexico State @ Florida (SEC): Florida will win, but boy howdy I suspect many Gator fans will be watching with bated breath that there will be some sort sign, any sign, that this team has an offense.
- McNeese State @ Louisiana State (SEC): LSU.
- Nevada-Las Vegas @ Northern Illinois (CBSS): Again, the chances of MACtion this early do not seem strong.
- Alabama vs. Wisconsin (@Arlington, TX; ABC): Look, Alabama is going to win. That out of the way, that doesn’t make the matchup any less intriguing. Of course, this is kind of offense that Nick Saban’s defenses have been the best at stopping over the years, so it doesn’t seem like it’ll be the best preparation for the SEC foes that have given him the most trouble. On the flip side, Wisconsin executes their bruising style better than almost anyone else, which means we’re going to see a game of strength-versus-strength. Alabama’s questions at quarterback and the secondary are also potential areas of concern, but I don’t think Wisconsin is the team that will be able to expose them well enough.
- Texas State @ Florida State (ESPNEWS): Remember, when you have as much talent as Florida State does, it’s not rebuilding, it’s reloading. I personally think the predictions of their demise may be a bit premature, but it won’t matter in this game anyway.
- Eastern Washington @ Oregon (Pac12): Oregon.
10:00: Mississippi State @ Southern Mississippi (FS1): A rare trip to Hattiesburg for either of the (relatively) blue-chip programs in Mississippi, I’m not sure that USM has quite recovered from the Dark Years to go toe-to-toe with SEC foes again, but it’s a sure bet the crowd will be trying to turn back the clock.
11:00: Arkansas State @ Southern California (Pac12): Even if I were on the West Coast right now I probably wouldn’t stay up to watch this one.
3:00: Purdue @ Marshall (FS1): Marshall, just ’cause.
3:30: South Carolina State vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff (@Orlando, FL; ESPN): There’s not much else on on Sunday afternoon, and it’s interesting to see the FCS get into the neutral-site game. And, again, your alternative is watching Purdue.
8:00: Ohio State @ Virginia Tech (ESPN): A year ago, the ESPN write-up for VPI’s victory raised questions about Urban’s direction and whether VPI was a darkhorse national title contender. Whoops. At any rate, don’t expect a repeat this time around. Wacky stuff can happen in Blacksburgh at night, but I don’t expect lightning to strike two years in a row.