The time has finally come, and week one offers a smorgasbord of entertaining games right off the bat. Each week I’ll offer a viewing guide on the games I find most intriguing. As a reminder, I will not typically include Big Ten games, as they will already be covered in the B1G Preview, as well as games that are in the same timeslot as the Penn State game, since, well, you’ll be watching the Penn State game.
Happy football viewing, everyone!
(#10)North Carolina at Virginia Tech
6 p.m. ESPN
The expectations are sky high this season for North Carolina, with some pundits even predicting them to snatch the ACC crown from Clemson. Justin Fuente will be coaching for his job as he enters the season on the hot seat with a record of 38-26 in his first five years with the Hokies. There will be plenty on the line for both teams in this early Friday evening battle.
Prediction: North Carolina-40, Virginia Tech-28
(#1)Alabama at (#14)Miami
3:30 p.m., ABC
This looks like an exceptional week one game on paper, but in reality, it sure feels like there’s a much bigger difference than 13 spots in the AP poll. While Alabama is losing an eye-popping collection of talent on offense, they did the same thing last year and yet fielded one of the best offenses in college football history. I’m not expecting enough of a dropoff on either side of the ball to give the ‘Canes much of a chance in this one.
Prediction: Alabama-44, Miami 20
(#23)Louisiana at (#21)Texas
4:30 p.m., FOX
We already buried the annual ‘Nebraska is back’ conversation, will the yearly ‘Texas is back’ chatter be put to bed next? Steve Sarkisian will face a stiffer test than expected in his Longhorns debut as Louisiana comes in ranked #23 following a 10-1 season that included a victory over Iowa State. This could kick off another 7 or 8-win season for Texas before they eventually shift to the SEC where that number will drop to 4 or 5 wins per year.
Prediction: Louisiana-37, Texas-34
(#5)Georgia vs. (#3)Clemson
7:30 p.m., ABC
The gem of the week one schedule is all set for a ABC prime time clash. It doesn’t seem to matter what Clemson lost from the previous season - they are a finely-tuned machine that can be penciled into a playoff spot before the season even begins. Georgia has been tearing things up on the recruiting trail under Kirby Smart, but it hasn’t translated to them getting past ‘Bama yet. The Bulldogs have a shining opportunity to prove they are among the elites of college football, and not just one of the good ‘also-rans’ that are close, just not quite there.
Prediction: Clemson- 27, Georgia-24
(#16)LSU at UCLA
8:30 p.m., FOX
UCLA was impressive in blowing past Hawai’i in week 0, but we’ll see how things shake out as the competition becomes more fierce this Saturday night. This is a huge game for Chip Kelly, as he tries to replicate the success he once had at Oregon, while finally bringing the Bruins back to glory. LSU wants to prove that last season’s 5-5 record was a fluke, and they are on the level of a perennial national championship contender after winning it all in ‘19.
Prediction: LSU-34, UCLA-28
(#9)Notre Dame at Florida State
7:30 p.m., ABC
This match-up will always remind me of my first “Game of the Century” as a college football fan when the Irish toppled the ‘Noles in a nailbiter back in ‘93. That has to feel like eons ago for the folks in Tallahassee, as Florida State continues to battle back to relevancy. They likely still have some work to do before another instant classic with a top 10 team. At least there’s college football to enjoy on a Sunday evening.
Prediction: Notre Dame- 28, Florida State- 16