With the opening weekend of college football upon us, the excitement over Week 1 of the Saturday tradition has hardcore and casual fans alike ready for the action.
If you’re a college football novice or the most seasoned Saturday warrior, we have the ultimate guide for everything to watch for on this true opening day of the season.
There may have been games Thursday, but the meat of Week 1 is happening now!
Keep an eye out for all of the following topics as the day progresses, but don’t forget to make time to cheer on your own team. Enjoy what should be an explosive start to an amazing 2012 season.
Saturday’s Marquee Matchup
No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 8 Michigan—8 p.m. ET on ABC
Of all the great matchups the opening weekend of college football action offers fans, there is none better than the heavyweight battle between the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide and the No. 8 Michigan Wolverines at Cowboys Stadium.
With a grand stage for a nationally televised football game with top-25 implications galore, the stakes don’t get much higher.
Whether you are a casual college football fan or a hardened veteran of the sport, the meeting of Alabama and Michigan is exactly what fans want to see.
These are two of the most storied college football programs in the country, and now that there are ranking implications on the line and national championship goals to be filled, this will be an all-out war.
Bleacher Buzz: Predicting Alabama vs. Michigan (Jeff Grant)
The Start of the 2012 Heisman Trophy Chase
One of the most intriguing aspects of the college football season is the chase for the Heisman Trophy and how the balance of power in the hunt for the trophy can shift from week to week.
With so many great candidates in 2012, this will be one of the fiercest battles in recent history.
Stars like USC’s Matt Barkley, Wisconsin’s Montee Ball, Michigan’s Denard Robinson and West Virginia’s Geno Smith are all preseason favorites for the award, but the first week of action will reveal the true stars of this season.
There are plenty of young players flying under the radar that will force themselves into the Heisman Trophy chatter.
There are always Andrew Luck’s in college football, but keep an eye out for the underestimated stars that excel and steal the show (Robert Griffin III, for example).
Bleacher Buzz: Logan Thomas Is Best Candidate to Be This Year's RGIII (Michael Felder)
More Nationally Televised Games You Can’t Miss
Miami (FL) at Boston College—3:30 p.m. ET on ABC
Saturday is going to turn out to be an amazing day in college football, and one of the biggest games to watch will be the Miami (FL) vs. Boston College matchup on ABC.
While BC isn’t the elite school many fans would hope to watch, this is all about the Hurricanes and whether or not they are ready to be a national championship-contending team.
This game will be a great litmus test for their readiness.
No. 14 Clemson vs. Auburn—7 p.m. ET on ESPN
If you love defensive football between two southern schools built on tradition, you need to look no further than the Clemson vs. Auburn matchup in Week 1 to satisfy your desire. This will be a full-on battle.
As tough as Auburn has been recently, turnover has thinned its roster dramatically. On the other hand, the Clemson Tigers are arguably the strongest they have ever been.
Clemson is a sleeper in the BCS National Championship chase, but how realistic its chance is will be displayed Saturday night.
Arkansas State at No. 5 Oregon—10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Another team ravaged by the NFL draft was the Oregon Ducks, and their softball matchup Arkansas State could either be a blessing or a nightmare.
Arkansas State can't match up talent wise with Oregon, but if the Ducks are complacent, an upset is not out of the realm of possibilities.
If Oregon comes out on fire to start the game, though, this will be the first of many Eugene blowouts in 2012.
Check back for more on the NCAA football as it comes, and don’t miss Bleacher Report’s college football page to get your fill of college football.