Games to Watch the First Week of College Football

Bryan FlynnAnalyst ISeptember 3, 2009

BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 08:  Julio Jones #8 of the Alabama Crimson Tide has a pass broken up by Chris Hawkins #29 of the Louisiana State University Tigers on November 11, 2008 at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The Tide defeated the Tigers 27-21 in overtime.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

College football kicks off this weekend and there are good games all weekend long.  So here is a list of games that you should watch or at least keep an eye on.

We will break it down by day first. Next, a quick synopsis of each game, and then who needs the win more.

While everyone will be following their favorite team and the big games, I will try to find some that might fall through the cracks. Some teams might be on this list for the whole season and some might be on for just this week.

I might not get all the games every one thinks should be on the list, but I will try to find some gems for everyone.

Thursday Night

South Carolina Gamecocks vs. North Carolina State Wolf Pack

This is the fourth consecutive time the Gamecocks open on Thursday night. They are 3-0 in the three previous seasons. North Carolina State wants to get revenge for last season’s opening loss against South Carolina.

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Who needs the win more: South Carolina

With a tough SEC slate and questions about how long Steve Spurrier will be at South Carolina, a fast start is what the Gamecocks need most. Six to seven wins might be hard to come by for South Carolina in conference play. They must winn all thei non-conference games.

Oregon Ducks vs. Boise State Broncos

This will be the biggest game of opening night. Oregon wants revenge after losing at home last season to Boise State. The Broncos will want to defend the smurf turf and Oregon is the biggest game on the Schedule.

Who needs the win more: Boise State

If Boise State wants to be a BCS buster, they have to win this game. An 11-1 season will not get them in to one of the big games. If the Broncos lose, they will only have a conference title to play for.

Saturday and night

Utah State Aggies vs. Utah Utes

This is an interstate rivalry and will be a chance for the Aggies to ruin the Utes season. The thought is Utah could be down this year and will get a chance to show the voters what kind of team they are going to be this season.

Who needs the win more: Utah

If the Utes have any dreams of going to back to back BCS games, they cannot stumble even once.

Appalachian State Mountaineers vs. East Carolina pirates

A lot of people think East Carolina could be the class of C-USA. While a BCS bowl is not in the Pirates future, they do want to win the conference. Appalachian State went to the “Big House” in 2007 and beat Michigan in one of the biggest upsets in college football history.

Who needs the win more: East Carolina

Skip Holtz does not need a Lloyd Carr moment to derail the job he has done at East Carolina. Appalachian State is dangerous and has beaten several Division I teams.

Georgia Bulldogs vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys

Most think Georgia will be down this year and could show everyone that they are still ready to challenge the Gators. Oklahoma State thinks this could be a special season if they can find some defense to go with that high power offense.

Who needs the win more: Oklahoma State

The Cowboys think they can challenge not only for the Big 12 South title but a National Championship as well. If they lose to the Bulldogs, that special season could be over before week 2 starts.

Nevada Wolf Pack vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

The Irish head coach Charlie Weis could be on the chopping block if he does not win 9 or more games. The Wolf Pack is a very tough team and would love to beat the Irish at home with their spread offense.

Who needs the win more: Notre Dame

The Irish cannot afford to lose any games most of the country thinks they should win if they want Weis to keep his job. If Notre Dame loses this game, Weis is out of a job before the end of the season. It is must win in week one.

Baylor Bears vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Baylor is a sexy pick to be a bowl team this season. Robert Griffin is a player to watch all season long at quarterback. Wake Forest is at home and wants to get off to a good start and prove they are still a power in the ACC. This is a Wake Forest team that beat Ole Miss last season.

Who needs the win more: Baylor

If Baylor is going to be a bowl team they need to show it on the road at a very good team. They need to keep this game close if not win it. If the Bears lose look for a lot of people to jump off the band wagon.

Missouri Tigers vs. Illinois Fighting Illini

Most think Missouri is rebuilding this season after major losses last season. Illinois wants to show that they are ready to challenge Ohio State and Penn State for the Big Ten title.

Who needs the win more: Illinois

If the Illini lose to a rebuilding Missouri team, they can kiss their Big Ten title dreams away. Ron Zook could be on the hot seat as well since most wonder if he can coach like he recruits.

BYU Cougars vs. Oklahoma Sooners

The Sooners are getting ready to defend their Big 12 title from last season and BYU will be a good test. Both teams have high hopes this season and an early loss could ruin the season.

Who needs the win more: Both

BYU wants to break their way into a BCS game and think they have the talent to do it this season. If they lose this game, they might not get a high enough to get in.

Oklahoma not only wants to win the Big 12 championship, but they want another chance to play for a national title. A loss to the Cougars could end that dream before Big-12 play even starts.

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs vs. Auburn Tigers

Louisiana Tech might have cost Miss State coach Sly Croom his job last season after beating the Bulldogs.  Gene Chizik makes his debut as head coach for the Tigers.

Who needs the win more: Auburn

The Tigers’ hire of Chizik has not been all that popular on the Plains. If Chizik wants to stay in Auburn for more than a year, getting off to a fast start will help. A loss here will have everyone understanding why Chizik went 5-19 at Iowa State.

Western Michigan Broncos vs. Michigan Wolverines

The season kicks off after a rough offseason for Rich Rodriguez and he just wants to play football. The Broncos want to join a growing list of teams to beat Michigan at home.

Who needs the win more: Michigan

With all the off the field problems before the start of the season and questions about Rodriguez ability to turn the Michigan program around, they need the win. In fact, Rich Rod might need to win this game more than Charlie Weis needs to win his.

A loss here means no year three for Rodriguez.

Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Virginia Tech Hokies

This could be the best game of the weekend. It's two top ten teams going at it on a neutral field and the winner could have a leg up for the national championship. Take time to watch this one.

Who needs the win more: Both

Alabama wants to try to get to the championship game after coming oh so close. The Tide also would like to the taste of that Utah defeat out of their mouths.

Virginia Tech thinks they have a championship caliber team this season. They would love to show the rest of the country what they already know.

After a loss here, one of teams will have to play catch up for the rest of the season.

LSU Tigers vs. Washington Huskies

Washington is rebuilding and would love to upset an LSU team to help recruiting. LSU had a down year for them last year and want to get off to a good start.

Who needs the win more: LSU

I wanted to say Washington. However, if the Tigers are not ready to play after the long flight and looking past the Huskies, it could hurt what could be a great season for LSU.


Colorado State Rams vs. Colorado Buffaloes

This is an in-state rivalry game and they are normally always a tossup. Both teams have high hopes and want to get off to good starts.

Who needs the win more: Colorado

The Buffaloes believe they can be a contender for the Big-12 North.  A loss here could mean that Colorado is not ready to challenge in the North or for the championship of the Big-12.

Mississippi Rebels vs. Memphis Tigers

Hopes are high in Oxford and the Rebels are hoping for a special season. The Tigers would love to upset their long time rival and ruin the season for the Rebels before they get to week two.

Who needs the win more: Ole Miss

The Tigers always play the Rebels hard and Ole Miss cannot overlook anyone on the schedule if they hope to fulfill all the promise of this season. If the Rebels lose this game, it could be a long season in Oxford.


Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Rutgers Scarlet knights

It is an early Big East matchup in the first game of the season. Both teams could be in a rebuilding mode this season. This game should show who is closer to challenging for the Big East title this season.

Who needs the win more: Both

The Bearcats want to defend their Big East title from last season.  The Scarlet Knights want to move their way back up the Big East standings. This game could loom large later in the season.

Miami Hurricanes vs. Florida State Seminoles

It’s a matchup between two once powerful programs that are trying to regain their place at the top of the college football world. Both the Hurricanes and the Seminoles want to win this in-state rivalry game. This also could be the last time Bobby Bowden coaches in this game depending on the NCAA taking wins away from him.

Who needs the win more: Miami

The Hurricanes play four brutal games to open the season. They do not need to start out with a loss with Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, and Oklahoma being the next three games.

Miami could be 0-4 if they do not win this game.

Check back next week as we give you the best college football games to watch and the opening weekend of the NFL. It should be a great football season in 2009.