As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.
7:00: California-Los Angeles @ Cincinnati (ESPN): AND SO IT BEGINS… with a Pac-12 team travelling to the Midwest and likely losing to a G5 team in what may not be that great of a game, but it’s college football and we’ll just be happy it’s back. I’m going with Cincy.
8:00: Georgia Tech @ Clemson (ACC): How can I even begin? It’s the literal beginning of a new era of Georgia Tech football, and a new conference network that I can only pray Comcast decides to pick up for… California. Cool, awesome. Even better, we get to be the ritual sacrifice to break in the first live football action on the network. I’m serious, are they going to kill a yellowjacket with like a tiny knife on Howard’s Rock or something, and then the fireworks go off and the band plays as Clemson runs down the hill, and then right over our team as merely their first obstacle to another playoff appearance? Look, I’m all for Fun Alabama continuing to remind folks that college football exists outside of the SEC and for Clemson fans to remind us that they can spell, but why us? I guess the flip side is that getting them in Week 1 a) gets it over with and b) maybe they’ll be sleepy or something and we can maybe be within a touchdown or two at the half. Am I sandbagging this a little bit? Okay, a lot? Yeah, probably. But still! We have a new coach, a completely new offense and defense, and I’ll be scrambling to find somewhere in Seattle (I’ll be at PAX this weekend, as usual) that carries the network for a conference whose closest member is *checks notes* 2,000 miles away? Yeah, get over here and help me get this sand in these bags, we’re running out of time.
8:30: Texas State @ Texas A&M (SEC): On second thought, maybe that UCLA-Cincy game isn’t so bad. I’ll take TAMU here.
9:00: South Dakota State @ Minnesota (FS1): I don’t usually include FCS vs. FBS games here, but this is on a major network and SDSU isn’t half bad. They’re coming off two straight FCS semifinal appearances (which means a lot more in FCS than it does in FBS, because, well, you don’t start with the semifinals down there) and the Jackrabbits could catch the Golden Gophers napping. I’m not saying they will, but I’ll throw that out there.
10:00: Kent State @ Arizona State (Pac12): Can Kent State do what Hawaii did to Arizona? I’m going to go with no.
10:15: Utah @ Brigham Young (ESPN): HOLY WAR. Yeah, that’s right folks, we’ve got righteous football action in Provo, UT once again. But despite the high energy levels the BYU students will bring while being completely sober and uncaffeinated, I think the talent gap between Utah and BYU is starting to get too wide.
6:00: Rice @ Army (CBSS): I was going to say that this game may be more Rice’s speed than playing Texas, but then I remembered that just because Army is slower doesn’t mean it’ll be any less painful for the Owls.
- Wisconsin @ South Florida (ESPN): Well, on the one hand, the humidity will keep the Wisconsin fans making the trip down nice and saturated, preventing them from just straight up bursting into flame. This should help the players slip a few tackles, as well. I’ll take the Badgers here.
- Tulsa @ Michigan State (FS1): Mark Dantonio’s bunch embarks on another season of reminding us that life is pain and nothing matters, wherein they’ll beat a Tulsa squad they will thoroughly outmatch 12-2 or something else that looks like a baseball score.
7:15: Massachusetts @ Rutgers (BTN): Look, I mean, this is technically a game involving two FBS teams. I mean, it’s not as nihilistic as Tulsa-Michigan State promises to be, it’s just bad. Rutgers I guess?
8:00: Utah State @ Wake Forest (ACC): Is Wake good again yet? I genuinely don’t know. If you get the ACC Network, can you watch this game and find out for me? Thanks. I’ll take the Demon Deacons here anyway.
9:30: Purdue @ Nevada (CBSS): Why? Can’t say. What I can say is that this game may be sneaky fun. They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but notice how no one ever says that about Reno? Yeah, because nothing escapes Reno. Nothing. Well, except Purdue with a win, probably.
10:00: Colorado State vs. Colorado (@Denver, CO; ESPN): The talent disparity alone here makes the Buffs heavy favorites, but it’s a neutral-site Week 1 rivalry game, so throw that out the window but pick Colorado anyway just to be safe.
10:30: Oklahoma State @ Oregon State (FS1): I was hoping that Corvallis would be a-rockin’ for what could be a sneaky fun #Pac12AfterDark game, but apparently their fall quarter doesn’t start until September 25th. So… it may be a subdued victory for Oklahoma State.