College Football games to watch: Week one

This will be a weekly article talking about specific games of the week that we should be watching for that week.

“Tiger Offense” by Parker Anderson is licensed CC BY-ND 2.0

It will include top 25 matchups all season long as we try to find out which four teams will compete in the College Football Playoffs in January.

It’ll also feature some games of teams who are looking to bounce back from a previous loss or an ugly win.

But let’s not forget about the games of interest that will likely have one top 25 team facing either a previous ranked team or a strong opponent (conference and non-conference).

Before we get started on this week, I wanted to take a minute and talk about the Saturday night kickoffs from this past week as we watched No. 8 Florida take down Miami in a good showdown that went to the very end.  We also watched Arizona and Hawaii.

But now, let’s see what we have to watch during the official week one of the College Football season.

Top 25 vs. Top 25:

11 Oregon vs 16 Auburn

This is the only top 25 matchup of this week,  but we will have several of these throughout the season.

For Oregon, it’s about making a big statement in not only the PAC-12, but the world of College Football. If you’ve read my conference previews you would know that the PAC-12 is the weakest of the power five, but with a win over Auburn they will put all teams on high alert. 

For Auburn,  it’s about starting the season off right and taking down a non-conference opponent that is ranked.  It’ll help their chances at the end of the season if they were to beat Alabama and Georgia to take the SEC title. If they were to loss to Oregon,  they would still have a chance at the SEC title, but it would definitely hurt Auburn images.

Bounce Back Games:

None of these teams have lost a game this year to be on the bounce back list, but we are taking it to the back to the bowl games they lost and where it will take them to start this season. 

3 Georgia vs Vanderbilt:

Georgia was a win a way from playing in the College football playoffs again, but a loss in the SEC championship to Alabama ruined that for them.
In the Bowl game against Texas, they had several players not playing as they focused on the NFL combine and getting ready for the draft. That lack of leadership hurt the Bulldogs as they lost to Texas 27-20.

With a win over Vanderbilt, the Bulldogs will quickly take a 1-0 lead in the Conference and turn the corner into a few light weights before having to face Notre Dame, Florida,  Auburn, and Texas A&M later in the season. 

4 Oklahoma vs Houston

Oklahoma not only lost a nail-biter to Alabama in the playoffs,  but they lost QB Kyler Murray to the NFL draft. They faced the same situation the year prior as well, so we know they’ll bounce back nicely.  But will former Alabama QB Jalen Hurts be able to lead them further?

A statement game against Houston will silence the doubters for Hurts as he had to battle for his starting job.  The Sooners will need to saddle up and prove why they will be in the playoff hunt again.

5 Ohio State vs. Florida Atlantic:

The Buckeyes are similar to Oklahoma in the fact that they also have a new QB and they will look to try to bounce back from the loss of Dwayne Haskins.  Ohio State also lost coach Urban Meyer which makes this first game a good one for them.  Of course it should be a win for the Buckeyes, but this game will allow everyone to get comfortable with each other. 

How will QB Justin Fields and coach Ryan Day do together in their first year with the university? That’s the biggest question for this Buckeyes season that should be answered early in this first game.

9 Notre Dame vs Louisville:

Notre Dame got embarrassed by Clemson in the playoffs and looked like they should’ve never been there in the first place. I honestly don’t think they deserve to be in the top 10 in rankings either.

But they will have their chance to prove themselves worthy of it this year with games like Georgia and Michigan in back to back weeks.

This season opener against Louisville will be the first of many test as the fighting Irish look to bounce back from the great season that ended terribly.

17 Central Florida vs Florida A&M:

Central Florida saw their 27-game winning streak snapped against LSU in their bowl game last year. Central Florida was trying to prove themselves worthy of a playoff spot after being ignored by the committee.

The loss means that Central Florida has to start a new streak of wind and earn their spot in the top 10 again this season.  Can they do it though? With games like this Florida A&M game, Central Florida will once again be out of the playoff picture. 

Their only chance of anything is if they managed to beat Stanford and Stanford finishes the year good. But let’s just watch as Central Florida tries to start a new winning streak and see how things go for them.

Games of Interest:

Now for the Games of interests, we look into ranked teams taking on teams who were ranked or had winning records last season. 

1 Clemson vs Georgia Tech

Clemson is the reigning National champion, so you know they have to be featured on the first weekly addition games to watch. Clemson is a favorite to win it all again and they have shown us why over the last four years. They will be coming into this season being live on the brand new ACC Network where they look to fight off the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

Georgia Tech is looking to add momentum to their season with a new offense and head coach.  They want to prove that they are one of the team’s that can be a tough competition in the ACC. How will they do this season for the first time without Paul Johnson as head coach?

14 Utah vs BYU

The Utes finished their season in the conference championship game against Washington and they want to be able to do that again this year.  But they have to play better against non-conference opponents like in-state rival, BYU.

I think this can be a big year for Utah again as long as they can take care of the weaker teams that they face like this BYU team.  BYU surprised us all when they upset Wisconsin last season.  BYU is another one of those teams that are independent and they try to prove that they should be.

But let’s see if BYU can get another win over the top 25 opponent again?

19 Wisconsin vs South Florida

Speaking of Wisconsin, they look to rebound from a season that was less than what they are expected of doing. That BYU loss last year really hurt them and their motivation to compete last year. 

They still had a chance to play in the conference championship game until they lost to Northwestern.

Wisconsin went through several changes this summer and hopefully it’ll help them find their way to big wins again. Let South Florida be the first of may successful wins this season for Wisconsin.

25 Stanford vs Northwestern

Stanford has a difficult non-conference schedule and they are looking to take advantage of it. The more challenges they have the better it looks in the rankings when they try to move up. Stanford is hungry for a PAC-12 title and this is the first step to it all.

For Northwestern,  it’s about proving they can win non-conference games.  That was were the struggled last year, but this season is looking to be different.  If Northwestern wants to have success in the Big Ten again this season,  it’ll have to come from outside the conference.

So who will come out on top? Watch this game and all the others as we kick off the real start to the College football season tonight,  Thursday, Aug. 29. Also don’t forget to stay tune for next week’s games to watch.

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