With the start of college football season approaching, let’s take a look at how you can spend your college football opening week without ever leaving the couch by highlighting the most interesting games to watch.
South Carolina at NC State (Thurs., 7 p.m. et, ESPN)
You just need to watch this game to serve as a filler before the premier matchup of the night. But don’t underestimate how good of a game this one could be.
South Carolina is under the radar this season, and if the Gamecocks could solidify their quarterback play, they could be a sleeper in the SEC.
NC State is a sleeper itself in the ACC, although it’s become more of a trendy pick as we inch closer to the start of the season. The player to watch in this game is NC State quarterback Russell Wilson, the ACC’s leading returning passer.
Oregon at Boise State (Thurs., 10:15 p.m. et, ESPN)
Thursday night features one of the most intriguing non-conference showdowns for the entire season, Oregon at Boise State.
Oregon is looking for a nice road win to start the season so that it can build some momentum to roll through non-conference action into Pac-10 play. The Ducks have a legitimate chance to win the Pac-10 title outright, as they host Cal, USC, and Oregon State at home.
Boise State, meanwhile, is in position to go BCS bowling again this season like it did in 2007.
Minnesota at Syracuse (Sat., noon et, ESPN2)
Expectations are high for Minnesota this season, as Tim Brewster leads an experienced Gopher team. Minnesota is expected to finish in the top half of the Big Ten.
Syracuse unleashes a new era of Orange football under coach Doug Marrone. Plus, former Duke point guard Greg Paulus will make his college football debut as the starting quarterback.
Marrone and Paulus are seeking to properly begin a rebuilding effort at Syrcause, one of college football’s most tradition-laden programs.
Georgia at Oklahoma State (Sat., 3:30 et, abc)
Tune in to this one to see what the Georgia offense can do after the departures of Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno. Georgia typically is a good road team. You can’t find a better early road test than Oklahoma State.
The Cowboys are trying to manage some lofty expectations this season. BCS dreams can’t stay dreams unless you take care of your first game. The high-powered offense will look to take care of the ‘Dawgs, thus beginning what could be a magical season for the folks in Stillwater.
BYU vs. Oklahoma (in Arlington, TX) (Sat., 7 p.m. et, ESPN)
Perhaps those of you on the East Coast have a bit of time to grab some dinner after the Georgia-Oklahoma State game before tuning in for this one. For those on the West Coast, your day’s just beginning on this magnificent day for college football.
Oklahoma opens its season in the new Cowboys Stadium with a worthy opponent, BYU. Sam Bradford will look to lead the Sooners and begin them on the right foot.
BYU, meanwhile, has every reason to believe that it has legitimate BCS aspirations, assuming it can survive the brutality that is its Mountain West schedule.
Alabama vs. Virginia Tech (Sat., 8 p.m. et, abc)
ESPN’s College Football GameDay will travel to Atlanta to spotlight this spectacular non-conference showdown.
Each team appearance in its respective conference championship last season. Alabama is breaking in a new quarterback, while Virginia Tech returns Tyrod Taylor.
Both defenses appear to be stout and among the best in the nation. Expect this game to feature quite an atmosphere inside the Georgia Dome.
Maryland at California (Sat., 10 p.m. et, ESPN2)
People on the West Coast will have an opportunity to see the nation’s best running back, Cal’s Jahvid Best, play in prime time.
Those on the East Coast may just want to tune in to see a glimpse of the great tailback, unless you’re one of the dedicated college football fans, the end of the Alabama-Virginia Tech game might be the end of your college football watching night.
This one’s also worth watching because it may be your first opportunity to see Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen, after he shed 80+ pounds during the offseason. Maryland football fans may be in for a long season, so you may not want to spend your time staying up late watching this game.
LSU at Washington (Sat., 10:30 p.m., ESPN)
We’re not done yet. The Tigers head west to take on the Huskies in Steve Sarkisian’s coaching debut.
Quarterback Jake Locker returns for Washington after an injury-plagued season last year.
LSU is hungry again. The Tigers appear to have rebounded after a shaky season last year, and nothing would feel better than picking up a road win in a tough Husky Stadium environment.
Cincinnati at Rutgers (Mon., 4 p.m. et, ESPN)
Perhaps the de facto Big East championship in Week One?
Cincinnati will look to start its season off on the right foot after a loss in the Orange Bowl.
Rutgers finished last season quite strongly and will look to maintain that level of success.
Miami FL at Florida State (Mon., 8 p.m. et, ESPN)
The in-state rivalry kicks off this opening week. Each team is looking to start conference play with a win.
Florida State will look to escape the troubles of its academic scandal by putting a thumping on the ‘Canes, while Miami FL is looking to return to national prominence, and nothing would help better than a road win against a ranked team in Week One.
Other games to watch:
Nevada at Notre Dame (Sat., 3:30 p.m. et, NBC)
Missouri vs. Illinois (in St. Louis) (Sat., 3:40 p.m. et, ESPN)
Navy at Ohio State (Sat., noon et, ESPN)