Clemson, LSU, Texas Featured in 1st 3 Weeks of ABC's Saturday Night Football

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 15, 2019

SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 07: Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Clemson Tigers throws a touchdown against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the College Football Playoff National Championship held at Levi's Stadium on January 7, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. The Clemson Tigers defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide 44-16. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)
Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images

The 2019 season of ABC's Saturday Night Football will kick off Aug. 31 with a high-profile clash between the Auburn Tigers and Oregon Ducks at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

ESPN PR announced the first three matchups Wednesday, which include appearances from the LSU Tigers, Texas Longhorns, Syracuse Orange and the reigning national champion Clemson Tigers:

Although Clemson (9-4 odds) is the only championship favorite among the group, Texas (25-1), LSU (28-1), Oregon (40-1) and Auburn (60-1) are all second- or third-tier College Football Playoff contenders, per Vegas Insider. Syracuse is the only long shot at 300-1.

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence figures to headline the Heisman Trophy conversation for most of the year following his dynamic freshman season. He completed 65.2 percent of his throws for 3,280 yards with 30 touchdowns and four interceptions in 15 games.

His immediate success and obvious NFL skill set has led to a conversation about whether he should sit out the next two years until he's eligible for the 2021 NFL draft to avoid injury.

"Nah, no," Lawrence told reporters in March. "Everyone's talking about that, but I don't really care about that. It's definitely not coming from me, all that stuff, so just kind of ignore it and keep working."

The Tigers face a difficult start to their title defense with games against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Texas A&M Aggies before their nationally televised meeting with Syracuse.

Making it through those early tests, including their first road game against the Orange inside the Carrier Dome, would put them in position to challenge for another undefeated season.

The rest of the early-season Saturday Night Football teams will look to earn some statement victories that could bolster their resume at year's end.

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