College Football 2011: 5 Exciting Opening Weekend Matchups

Paul CookContributor IIIJuly 7, 2011

College Football 2011: 5 Exciting Opening Weekend Matchups

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    Tell me if this sounds familiar.

    You wait all summer long for the start of college football.  You suffer through the long, miserably hot days.  You work, you love, you live.  You go to the beach.  Start an herb garden. Spend time with family and friends.  You even try to fake an interest in tennis. 

    You wade through countless pages of season previews that, ultimately, have precious little to tell you that you didn’t already know. 

    Oh, so Boise State will go with the orange pants in their season opener.  Huh. 

    Then, it finally happens.  Opening weekend arrives with all the pageantry and pomp of a royal wedding. 

    And suddenly it hits you.  The most eagerly-awaited Saturday in all of sports is here at last, and most of what’s on the menu are the lamest, most lopsided and pointless match-ups you can possibly imagine.

    No worries.  I’ve got you covered with this handy guide. 

    Here are the 5 opening weekend contests you don’t want to miss.

5. South Florida at Notre Dame: 3:30pm ET (on ABC)

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    Both teams finished 8-5 in 2010, and Notre Dame knocked off a 14th-ranked Utah Utes team that would go on to finish a none-too-shabby 10-3 on the year. 

    Most observers seem to think the Irish are getting their swagger back.  But if Notre Dame were to suffer an opening weekend loss to a middle-of-the-pack Big East team, the fact that Kelly has an Irish surname likely won’t be enough to shield him from some stiff scrutiny.

4. Brigham Young at Ole Miss: 4:45pm ET (on ESPN)

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    Newly-independent Brigham Young is attempting to re-establish its status as a contender on the national scene.  Ole Miss is just trying to survive in what might be the toughest division in all of college football.

    Don’t forget that the Ole Miss Reb…er, I mean, “Black Bears” were a trendy preseason favorite just two short seasons ago after knocking off the Florida Gators in 2008.  Even though they finished a dismal 4-8 last year, some believe Houston Nutt has the pieces in place to make a run in the stacked SEC West.

3. Appalachian State at Virginia Tech: 12:30pm ET

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    Virginia Tech won the ACC last year and finished 11-3 overall.  But after dropping their first two games of the 2010 season to Boise State and James Madison, the Hokies took more abuse in the national media than a Motel 6 bedspread. 

    And who can forget what Appalachian State did to Michigan in 2007?

2. Oregon vs. LSU (in Arlington, Texas): 8:00pm ET (on ABC)

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    Louisiana State is looking to climb back to the top of the SEC West after playing second fiddle to the likes of the Auburn Tigers and the Arkansas Razorbacks for the last couple of years. 

    For the Oregon Ducks, this year’s opener against the Bayou Bengals might be the closest they come to a rematch with Auburn for a long time.

1. Boise State at Georgia (in Atlanta): 8:00pm ET (on ESPN)

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    This one has it all. 

    The Georgia Bulldogs are struggling to reclaim relevance in the SEC.

    The Broncos just want the chance to be relevant on a national scale.

    If Boise State can pull out a convincing win against Georgia, the rest of their schedule should be a cakewalk.

    But wait, wasn’t that precisely the problem in the first place?