As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.
- Colorado State @ Michigan (ABC): I literally just cracked my knuckles, such is my determination to finish this before I need to finish packing and get out of town. So! Michigan follows up their dream season with a… not to challenging start. Good move! Wolverines win easily.
- North Carolina State @ East Carolina (ESPN): Yeah, so, ordinarily I would say something like I just said about doing road games at your pesky, but lower division, in-state rival… but NCSU has nothing to worry about here.
- South Dakota State @ Iowa (FS1)
- North Carolina @ Appalachian State (ESPNU): Whereas this one, hoo boy. Y’all, look, UNC should win easily! Should! I’d feel less certain if this was at night in Boone, but despite that there’s going to be some moment in the first half where App runs back a pick-6 or something and it’s going to, at least for a moment, feel like a potential long day for the fightin’ Mack Browns.
- Sam Houston State @ Texas A&M (SEC)
- Rutgers @ Boston College (ACCN): The fact I had to think about this for a moment says a lot about where both these teams are going. Rutgers got apparently the only person in the universe who can make Rutgers competent back, whereas BC hasn’t done much of… anything recently. Am I taking Rutgers? Against another Power 5 team? Hold me, I’m scared.
- Buffalo @ Maryland (BTN): There are times where I’d like Buffalo here. This isn’t one of them.
- Delaware @ Navy (CBSS)
12:30: Richmond @ Virginia (ACC/RSN)
2:00: Southeast Missouri State @ Iowa State (ESPN+)
2:30: Bowling Green @ California-Los Angeles (Pac12): It’s probably appropriate for UCLA to start beating up on hapless MAC teams like their soon-to-be-Big Ten brethren.
- Arizona @ San Diego State (CBS): We should be talking about the Aztecs finally breaking in their brand-new stadium, but we aren’t. I’m going to refuse to pick this game as well, but it’s hard not to root for Arizona to crash the party.
- Oregon vs. Georgia (Chick-Fil-A Kickoff @ Atlanta, GA; ABC): This probably isn’t the game of the day. Or the weekend. Reasonable minds accept that UGA will probably win. But! That sure is a lot of talent that was on that defense that isn’t anymore. There sure are still completely reasonable questions about Stetson Bennett leading an offense. By any reasonable prediction, Georgia’s defense is still going to be a top 1, 2, or 3 defense, but there’s no reason to think currently that they’re going to be able to field possibly the best defense in the history of college football again. And! Let’s recall last year, if Clemson was able to field a functional offense for the first three-quarters of the season, they probably would’ve won! And I can’t help but notice that almost all the questions about this game are about the nominal nearly-three-score favorites. So screw being reasonable, let’s get crazy: I’m taking the Ducks. Straight up.
- Texas-El Paso @ Oklahoma (FOX): It was fun for UTEP last year, but even with Brent Veneables (of all people!) being the head coach for the Sooners now, I expect them to win handily.
- Cincinnati @ Arkansas (ESPN): I think this game could be sneaky good. The problem is, of course, that Cincy is replacing their quarterback and best defenders, and Arkansas is the kind of physical that could definitely be a problem for the Bearcats. So, unfortunately, I think they’re gonna get womp’d.
- Tulsa @ Wyoming (FS1): I didn’t know until earlier today that Craig Bohl was still at Wyoming, and it’s sure been back for them the past year or two. But it’s been worse for the Golden Hurricane.
- Bethune-Cookman @ Miami (ACCN)
- North Dakota @ Nebraska (BTN): Breaking my usual rule of not commenting on FCS vs. FBS games to ask… is this gonna be it for Scott Frost? It’s not unreasonable. UND isn’t one of the classic “good” Dakotas, but the thing is… they’re all good now. Don’t schedule them!
- Houston @ Texas-San Antonio (CBSS): Meep meep and all was fun last year, but I actually think the Cougs have this one pretty handily?
- Norfolk State @ Marshall (espn3.com)
- Brigham Young @ South Florida (ESPNU): Oh, this could be bad for the Bulls. Real bad.
- Troy @ Mississippi (SEC): It’s been a long time since Troy was good enough, and Ole Miss was bad enough, to make this interesting.
- California-Davis @ California (Pac12)
5:00: Nicholls State @ South Alabama (espn3.com)
- Rice @ Southern California (Pac12): This sure seems like a quick, feel-good start for Lincoln Riley, getting to beat up on Rice again.
- Morgan State @ Georgia Southern (espn3.com)
- Middle Tennessee State @ James Madison (ESPN+)
- Florida Atlantic @ Ohio (ESPN+)
- Utah @ Florida (ESPN): Ah, it’s nice to see the Gators schedule actual intersectional games where they’ll actually leave the state of Florida and non-SEC teams and non-tomato-cans will actually visit the Swamp. Let’s see who they picked… oh, oh no. Yeah, the same Utes that demolished Oregon twice with physicality and nearly pulled the same trick on Ohio State in the Rose Bowl are coming to town. I’ve got the Utes here.
- Illinois State @ Wisconsin (FS1)
- Grambling State @ Arkansas State (espn3.com)
- Army @ Coastal Carolina (ESPN+)
- Southeastern Louisiana @ Louisiana (ESPN+)
- Elon @ Vanderbilt (ESPN+)
- South Dakota @ Kansas State (ESPN+)
- Albany @ Baylor (ESPN+)
- Massachusetts @ Tulane (ESPN+)
- Miami @ Kentucky (ESPN+)
- Mercer @ Auburn (ESPN+)
- Liberty @ Southern Mississippi (ESPN+)
- Notre Dame @ Ohio State (ABC): Speaking of the Buckeyes, there’s some big expectations for them this season, and a new look Marcus Freeman-led Irish side are looking to challenge them immediately. I think the Buckeyes will simply out-talent them in the Shoe, but if last season was any guide, if you can out-physical them, then they are beatable, as Oregon and Michigan showed.
- Memphis @ Mississippi State (ESPNU): Mike Leach teams are always good for a baffling loss or two in the non-conference schedule, so while this isn’t fun Memphis anymore, this could get spicy.
- Utah State @ Alabama (SEC): Let’s see, this one might be over by the… end of the first quarter? Yeah, that’s pretty much what relegates Bama to the SEC network.
- Southern Methodist @ North Texas (CBSS): I kinda liked SMU this season and in this game, but North Texas went into El Paso last weekend and won pretty convincingly at a sold-out Sun Bowl. I’ll take the Mean Green.
- Georgia State @ South Carolina (ESPN+)
- Louisville @ Syracuse (ACCN): This is certainly an ACC game that will happen. Yep. ‘Cuse?
- Colgate @ Stanford (Pac12)
- Louisiana-Monroe @ Texas (LHN):
- Murray State @ Texas Tech (ESPN+)
9:30: Idaho @ Washington State (Pac12)
- Boise State @ Oregon State (ESPN): I have had this as a Boise win, straight up, since the moment I laid eyes on this matchup. This could be one worth watching.
- Kent State @ Washington (FS1): Okay, so, look, UDub has had occasional trouble with season openers against lesser competition in the recent past. Like, the very recent past. Like, last season. At any rate, that’s a good way to get a coach fired, and (ultimately) it did. I suspect the new guy won’t have a problem with this one.
3:00: Jackson State vs. Florida A&M (Orange Blossom Classic @ Miami Gardens, FL; ESPN2)
7:30: Florida State vs. Louisiana State (Sugar Bowl Kickoff @ New Orleans, LA; ABC): Hey, are you ready to reach too much into one of these teams’ seasons based on one game? Because that’s pretty much what’s gonna happen with this one. As a reminder, Brian Kelly (yes, the former Notre Dame head coach) is now the head guy at LSU. I am still baffled at that hire, but at any rate, I suspect it’ll probably net them the win here.
8:00: Clemson vs. Georgia Tech (Chick-Fil-A Kickoff @ Atlanta, GA; ESPN): Well, I guess I shouldn’t be starting a tracker of how many days until Geoff Collins’s buyout goes down so he’ll get fired, but that’s sort of where we are. I highly suspect I won’t have a long goodbye post whenever it happens. That is, unless something happens this season. The general consensus is that it’s 6 wins or bust, and I don’t know if you’ve heard, but we’ve got a pretty tough schedule this season. Like really tough. But here’s the thing, when the whole premise of your tenure was that we’re gonna recruit the Atlanta metro, Georgia, and the south, and make Tech an elite ACC team, at some point you’ve gotta show some progress. At that’s what’s been completely missing: progress. The UNC game last season looks more and more like an outlier. At any rate, Clemson doesn’t figure to spend the first three-quarters of this season not knowing how to offense again, but on the flip side, Dabo is replacing both coordinators with more-or-less unknowns. This one could be interesting, but I’m not filled with optimism.