Can't-Miss Matchups on College Football's Opening Weekend

Gregory John VitaleContributor IIIAugust 30, 2013

ATHENS, GA - NOVEMBER 24: Aaron Murray #11 of the Georgia Bulldogs passes against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Sanford Stadium on November 24, 2012 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

College football's opening weekend is mostly full of warm-up games for ranked programs and no-name schools like Howard and Eastern Michigan getting television exposure. Thursday night provided the college football faithful with a couple doses of high-quality drama, bringing in the season on an exceptionally competitive note.

I can't promise overtime victories or epic fourth-quarter comebacks, but if you are looking for the best games that the rest of college football's first week has to offer, then check out the four games below.


No. 5 Georgia vs. No. 8 Clemson - Saturday, 8 p.m. ET

This is a no-brainer, folks. If there is one game to watch in Week 1, it is this one.

Both teams come into the season with great talent and Top 10 rankings. The teams are led by two Heisman hopefuls: quarterbacks Aaron Murray and Tajh Boyd. Because of these two, Vegas is expecting a 70-plus point game.

There are other pieces at work, but something tells me the quarterback who has the better game will lead his team to victory.


No. 12 LSU vs. No. 20 TCU - Saturday, 9 p.m. ET

The only other game featuring two ranked opponents this weekend should see two different offensive styles battling it out. LSU looks to enforce their ground game, and TCU will likely go to the air.

Although LSU lost 11 regulars to the NFL draft last season, their running back core is arguably the best in the nation. They do have holes in their secondary, however. TCU's quarterback Casey Pachall will try and exploit the questions in LSU's defense, while the speed and agility of TCU's Jason Verrett, considered one of the nation's best cornerbacks, will attempt to slow the push of LSU's offense.

This contest looks to be a close one, but LSU's size should dominate in the end. 


No. 1 Alabama vs. Virginia Tech - Saturday, 5:30 p.m. ET

Whenever the No. 1 ranked team in the nation plays, stop what you are doing and watch. Alabama has been a force to be reckoned with in college football ever since Nick Saban took the reins back in 2007. They have won the BCS National Championship Game three of the last four seasons (2010, 2012, 2013) and are favorites to do so again.

This game will see no great competition, as Alabama should handle the Hokies deftly, but it is the Crimson Tide's first game of the year, and their performance will be heavily scrutinized by analysts as the first showings of the defending champions.


Mississippi State vs. No. 13 Oklahoma State - Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET

This game is a rather dangerous one for Oklahoma State, as they come in ranked No. 13 against a tough, unranked, fired up Mississippi State team.

In order to impose their will, Oklahoma State will likely utilize their two-quarterback system. Both Clint Chelf and J.W. Walsh should see time behind center and look to make the game a scoring match by exploiting Mississippi State's young secondary.

Mississippi State, meanwhile, would like the game to stay low-scoring, keeping the potent Oklahoma State offense in check. Head coach Dan Mullen also really likes the team's helmets for the game, as he posted a photo of one to Twitter.