The return of college football is right up there among the most required activities ever. 2017 has been a beast, but maybe the time stretching quality of the news cycle these days will spill over to CFB as well, and it won’t seem like the season is over in 3 hours.
In 2017, the non-P5 schools are poised to make a ton of noise, again. While South Florida is the only one that made the top 25, and they were victorious in week 0.5 vs the hapless San Jose State and are on a bye opening weekend, it doesn’t mean that these are all cupcake games in Week 1.
There is a lot of great football to be played. Sure, Bama and FSU are going to be the centerpiece of a glorious opening slate, but some contets will be an excellent warm up for the main events.
FIU at UCF
6 pm ET, CBSSN
Call it the first Nibble. UCF *should* rout FIU, but the first half of this game will tide us over nicely until the main course. Butch Davis is coaching in his first game as a head coach since 2010, and how his team is prepared to respond in the face of the American Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year, SR LB Shaquem Griffin. FIU will be better than last season, but don’t expect them to be able to hang.
Tulsa at (2) Oklahoma State
7:30 pm ET, FS1
Okies gonna Okie.
Tulsa is legit. Mike Gundy’s stupid hair is not. Look, I know Ohio State v. Indiana is up against this game on ESPN. But this is the one to watch. Basically, both these teams return…everybody, Gundy claimed in a presser that he almost fell asleep the last time they played, and Tulsa is going to be really tough to beat, especially because Okie State is at some point going to lose a game horribly, and why not start the season right?
There are two games worth a damn on Friday, and they’re on in the same slot at 8 pm ET. If possible, watch both. This is what laptops and cell phones were made for. Yes, both Wisconsin and Washington are both playing that night too, against solid opponents, no less. Do not be distracted – you want entertainment, right?
Colorado vs. Colorado State (at Denver, CO)
8 pm ET, Pac 12 Network
CSU is feeling themselves after going all RUTS on Oregon State last weekend in their pretty new stadium. The national media is feeling them too, but guessing the Buffs don’t care at all and would really like to shut the Rams and their fans, up. This game will be a battle from start to finish, a true in-state rivalry game on week 1. May there be a game this fun every weekend, all year long.
Navy at Florida Atlantic
8pm ET, ESPNU
No matter what happens, at least Lane doesn’t have to argue with
Speaking of people looking to shut other people up, Navy is always good for a jab to the face (in the form of yards from that stupid Triple Option) of an obnoxious opponent. FAU had 9 P5 transfers in to the program this year, along with the biggest bro of them all – Lane Kiffin. Navy Coach Ken Niumatalolo doesn’t really seem like the type to allow his guys to put up with too much BS from the Owls, and should shut down any hopes and dreams that FAU have of winning. But Lane is always entertaining on the sideline, and definitely interesting enough to flip back and forth between while also UW (pick whichever) beat the hell out of their inferior opponents.
Wyoming at Iowa
12 pm ET, Big Ten Network
This game being on the BTN is ridiculous. Josh Allen, Wyoming’s QB is a hype monster, and Iowa fans seem to have unanswered questions about their team and are looking for reasons to stop arguing with Iowa State fans for a minute FFS. Hark! A distraction! Iowa probably should win this game, but its difficult to overlook what Coach Bohl has done with the most middle of nowhere of the nowhereville USA teams. The Cowboys are returning a ton of talent, Bohl got his DC back from his days at NDSU (Go Bizon!), and beat Boise State last year on their way to a MWC Championship vs. San Diego State. They have to replace a RB, but Iowa has a new QB too. The teams should be fairly evenly matched on D, if Wyoming has the depth to last in a bruising battle by progressing as they should over the summer.
Troy at Boise State
3:45 pm ET, ESPNU
When it comes to this game, this week, I can’t engage logic brain. Boise just doesn’t lose to Sun Belt teams. Currently, they’re 6-0. But Troy…they’re different. They almost took out Clemson last season. Then they *did* beat App State. The Trojans return basically everybody but a chunk of the OL and the linebackers. Kick returners? Yep, even them. Troy is scary, but they’re walking in to something possibly scarier. Boise State has a ridiculous home record and defend The Blue well, but are going to have to be sharper, at least on defense and in the red zone, than they were in 2016 in order to win. This game is going to be awesome, and the hopes for someone’s plausibly undefeated season will be trashed at the end.
BYU at LSU (New Orleans)
9:30 pm ET, ESPN
LOL Portland State is blocking passes at the line? Good luck against LSU, boys! Tanner, hope you get to keep your legs!
I’ve been waiting for this game for a while. BYU and LSU was going to be fairly interesting as a neutral site game in Houston (donate toward the Hurricane Harvey relief effort at a charity listed here), but moving it to New Orleans, quite frankly, made it that much fetching better. The Lord’s own football fans being turned loose in The Big Easy is an afternoon on Twitter that will be incredible. Then, make that kickoff super late, and give the Tiger Faithful time to get good and lit? 😈 Hella fun. The last time BYU headed south, they ended up in a brawl at the Miami Beach Bowl. While Tanner Mangum is probably going to show up with his A game, which is as good as any QB in the country, BYU just does not have the manpower to win vs. a promising LSU squad. Tune in to see a Tiger get punched in the nuts, stay to see RB Squally Canada turned in to a grease spot on the turf.
We’re fortunate to have a great slate of games for Week 1. The TV contracts have given us that one gift, at least. It’s good to have football back, and especially a long weekend, jam packed with excellent matchups. Happy holidays!