This Week in College Football: Week 1

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Thursday

7:00:

  • West Virginia @ Pittsburgh (“The Backyard Brawl”; ESPN): We are starting the weekend in the most appropriate manner possible: the return of the Backyard Brawl. Two teams from Appalachia face off in a battle of the city boys versus country roads. If you wanna read up on your history, you’d do well to read probably the most definitive retrospective on the game. Okay, done? Yeah, so the renewal of the rivalry features two programs at a bit of a crossroads. West Virginia has never really gotten it going in the Big 12, while Pitt is coming off its best season in a very long time while losing their starting quarterback (to the NFL) and best wide receiver (to Southern Cal). I’m taking Pitt here as the favorite at home, but I don’t feel great about it.
  • Central Michigan @ Oklahoma State (FS1): The Pokes should have this one wrapped up around halftime.
  • Ball State @ Tennessee (SEC): Same for the Vols. Possibly even earlier.
  • Bryant @ Florida International (espn3.com)
  • Long Island @ Toledo (espn3.com)
  • South Carolina State @ Central Florida (ESPN+)

7:30: Virginia Military @ Wake Forest (ACCN)

8:00:

  • Pennsylvania State @ Purdue (FOX): While many eyes will be on the happenings in Pittsburgh, this game, well… okay, you’ll probably want to keep your eyes there. But still, this is an interesting start for the Nittany Lions, as they’ve sort of… not been that good the past few years? It is possible for that to catch up to James Franklin? Well, if they drop this one, and they probably won’t, we may start to find out.
  • Louisiana Tech @ Missouri (ESPNU): Unless LaTech finds some magic from those years when it was competent, this won’t be much of a watch.
  • Alabama A&M @ Alabama-Birmingham (CBSS)
  • Eastern Illinois @ Northern Illinois (ESPN+)

9:00: New Mexico State @ Minnesota (BTN): There’s a lot of offseason anxiety about whether PJ Fleck schtick is getting tired in Minneapolis, but I don’t think you can take anything from this. Well, other than whether the apparent beef between former head coach Jerry Kill and Fleck boils over in the pre- or post-game handshake.

10:00: Northern Arizona @ Arizona State (Pac12)

10:30: Cal Poly @ Fresno State (FS1)

Friday

7:00:

  • Western Michigan @ Michigan State (ESPN): Yeah, again, there’s the downside of Week 1: Sparty should have this wrapped up by halftime.
  • Virginia Tech @ Old Dominion (ESPNU): Then again, you sometimes get weird stuff like this. There’s no reason for VPI to travel to their up-and-coming in-state rival, and nothing good could happen here. I’m not saying it will, but I won’t be shocked either.
  • Eastern Kentucky @ Eastern Michigan (espn3.com)
  • William & Mary @ Charlotte (espn3.com)

7:30: Temple @ Duke (ACCN): I… um… I’m going to pick Temple here? It’s going to be a long season for all 12 Duke football fans out there.

8:00:

  • Illinois @ Indiana (FS1): Last year was a huge disappointment for the quest for #9WIndiana, but I feel okay that the kickoff this season in Bloomington won’t be.
  • Tennessee Tech @ Kansas (ESPN+)

10:00: Texas Christian @ Colorado (ESPN): For the first time since 1999, someone else will coach TCU other than Gary Patterson, who if he had his way, would probably still be there. Instead, he decided to flip the bird while walking out the door by getting a job at Texas, and Sonny Dykes heads back to his home turf. Meanwhile, as noted previously, Colorado has a hell of a schedule to start the season (this game, at Air Force next week, and then at Minnesota) that certainly doesn’t help their chances of getting back to 6-6. I suspect the pain will start right here.

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