The Five Most Interesting Games of College Football's Week One
With the SEC Media Days already upon us, and the opening to fall camps all across the country not too far behind, college football season is only a hop, skip, and jump away.
A lot of teams choose small time teams to begin their season, but there are some great match-ups to wet our appetite from week one. Here are some of the greatest story lines to watch as the season opens:
No. 5 - North Carolina vs. LSU
This is one of the few BCS vs. BCS games worth mentioning in week 1.
LSU was once the toast of the SEC. In 2007, the Tigers were crowned the kings of college football. Last year, LSU didn't make a BCS bowl, and ended the season in defeat at the hands of Penn State.
Now, LSU has to play catch-up to get back at fellow SEC heavyweights Alabama and Florida and reclaim its former glory. Will the missing leadership LSU desperately needs to achieve that goal step forward to lead the Tigers to victory against the Tar Heels?
North Carolina, on the other hand, has very little former glory to dwell on in college football. However, this upstart program has begun to have a say in who wins the ACC Coastal Division.
This year, they'd like to have the title for themselves and make some history of their own. And what better way to intimidate their opponents then to have a SEC scalp already secured?
The Tar Heals return 10 from a decent offense and nine from one of the best defenses in the ACC. Will that be enough to take down the Tigers? Or will LSU once again demonstrate SEC superiority?
No. 4 - Pitt at Utah
This game comes on day one of the new season, and is one of the few games worth noting (North Dakota at Idaho? Presbyterian at Wake Forest? Yawn). This is more than your typical BCS vs. non-BCS game.
Utah, after all, will shed its "mid-major" title next season as it joins the newly expanded Pac-10. But dig just a bit deeper, and you can see why this game is more exciting than you might think.
Rewind to 2004. The Utes under Urban Meyer became the first team to crash into a BCS game.
How did they respond to their rise to a "big boy" berth? By dismantling their opponent 35-7, finishing as one of three undefeated teams that year (and without Reggie Bush making money off of it, but I digress...). Who was the unfortunate victim of the Utes?
Why, none other than the Pittsburgh Panthers.
Throw in there that Utah could use such a game to begin a final bid to crash the BCS before it won't have to do that anymore, and you've got one intriguing game.
Pitt, on the other hand, would like nothing more than to avenge their Fiesta Bowl loss. Beating the Utes could also help inspire the Panthers to take back the Big East and return to BCS glory.
Besides, what else are you going to watch? Southeastern Louisiana against Tulane?
No. 3 - Oregon State at TCU
I know, this is technically a neutral site game, but how much closer can you get to TCU and still not have it be on their own field? Last year, TCU ran the table and made it to its first BCS bowl.
However, Boise State would deprive them of their first BCS victory. Oregon State came so close to going to the Rose Bowl, but the Beavers instead had to settle for windy Las Vegas. There, the BYU Cougars, just like the wind, blew the Beavers away.
Both teams would like to forget how last season ended and start off with a bang. What better way to do that than in Dallas Cowboys Stadium in front of a national audience?
This game will feature Jacquizz Rogers, who rushed for 1,440 yards last year, against one of the best defenses in college football. The Beaver defense will also have their hands full since TCU has some offense of its own behind the arm of Andy Dalton.
Not to mention that the Horned Frogs will likely start the season in the top 10, and the fact that TCU has national title aspirations.
Oh, and kudos to the Beavers for scheduling the two non-BCS teams that have title aspirations: TCU and Boise State.
No. 2 - Washington at BYU
A couple of years ago, these two teams faced off right at the beginning of the infamous "Quest for Perfection" campaign for BYU. That "Quest" was put into jeopardy when Jake Locker led the Huskies on a remarkable comeback drive.
Unfortunately, Jake Locker got flagged for excessive celebration for throwing the ball over his head, and the ensuing extra point was blocked by BYU, giving them the victory.
A win is a win, but few like to win this way.
Now, it should be noted that had Washington made that extra point, that would have sent the game into overtime, and who knows what would have happened.
Also, though the penalty backed the kicker up, it's still not an easy thing to block a kick like that. Still, this caused all sorts of controversy throughout college football.
A couple of years and one head coach later, the Huskies come to Provo to try to avenge their loss. Though, at least one thing hasn't changed since then.
Jake Locker will lead Washington against the Cougars once again.
However, it is Locker that is getting the preseason hype this time. Washington has already launched his Heisman campaign for 2010.
The Cougars, on the other hand, have no preseason hype and no "Quest for Perfection". There will be a new starter at quarterback and a lot of questions about how this team will do.
And then there's the story of Jake Heaps, the Washington native who spurned the Huskies to play for the Cougars. He might be the one leading the Cougars against his former home team.
Revenge, Heisman hopes, Pac-10 vs Mountain West, and a recruit that got away all make for an interesting game.
Oh, and did I mention that Washington Head Coach Steve Sarkisian led BYU to a 14-1 record and a No. 5 ranking in 1996?
That's a lot to talk about.
No. 1 - Boise State vs. Virgina Tech
This is the game to circle on your calenders.
Boise State has the hype, the offense, the defense, and the coaching to be the first no-BCS team to play for a national title. For the Broncos, the road to glory begins at Fed-Ex stadium against ACC powerhouse Virginia Tech.
Virginia Tech will likely be the highest ranked team that Boise State will have to face all season. If they win here, their hopes and hype will go through the roof.
Or, it could all come to a screeching halt, and the season could be a disappointment for the Broncos even before the second week.
But the Broncos aren't the only ones who have BCS Championship hopes.
It's been a long time since the ACC brought home a national title. In fact, it last happened in 1999 when Florida State won it all (Miami was still in the Big East when they won it in 2001).
Sure, Virginia Tech has been to a few BCS bowl games, but it's thirsty for more. And a win against the Broncos would be a major step forward in achieving that goal.
Boise State is replacing only one starter from last year. Virginia Tech has some experience of its own.
We have one of the most high powered offenses in Boise State vs. Virginia Tech's rebuilding defense. Boise State carries the hopes of the non-BCS, whereas Virginia Tech can put an end to this upstart's dreams on behalf of the establishment.
A lot of hopes and dreams will either come closer to reality or will be shattered on September 6th.