#3 Oklahoma Sooners vs #15 Houston Cougars (Noon) NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
The college football season gets off to a fast start Saturday with the No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners taking on the No. 15 Houston Cougars. Many expect Oklahoma to contend for a national title this year with Heisman candidate Baker Mayfield once again at quarterback and Samaje Perine running beside him. Houston isn’t going to go down easy though. Greg Ward Jr. is one of if not the top dual-threat quarterback in the nation, and Tom Herman is looking to show the big schools once again that his teams can compete with anyone. Expect a shootout with plenty of fireworks, as this one already has playoff implications.
#5 LSU Tigers vs Wisconsin Badgers (3:30 p.m.) Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI
Will this be Les Miles’ last year? That is the question on the minds of many as LSU heads up to Wisconsin to take on the Badgers. With 19 returning starters, including superstar Leonard Fournette, this could be Miles’ most talented team. If Brandon Harris can step up his game, LSU could find themselves in the playoffs. Many expect Wisconsin to take a few steps back this year, but Paul Chryst believes the Badgers could shock some people. If Corey Clement can come back from his sports hernia injury that kept him out for the season last year, Wisconsin has a shot to stay with anyone. This game is going to be a slow grind and likely very low scoring.
#18 Georgia Bulldogs vs #22 North Carolina Tar Heels (5:30 p.m.) Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA
Because of the loaded week one slate, No.18 Georgia vs No.22 North Carolina is not getting a lot of love. This game is HUGE though as the losing team can pretty much already kiss their playoff chances goodbye. Georgia decided to go with senior Greyson Lambert at quarterback, and the return of running back Nick Chubb has Bulldog fans very excited. With a brand new starting front seven on defense, it’ll be interesting to see how they handle Elijah Hood. Hood, UNC’s running back, ran for 1,463 yards last year and 17 touchdowns, astounding numbers. North Carolina is breaking in a new quarterback in Mitch Trubisky, but he has 8 returning starters around him on the offensive side. This one is going to come down to defense. Whichever team shows up defensively and shuts down the run will win this game.
#20 USC Trojans vs #1 Alabama Crimson Tide (8 p.m.) AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
The defending national champions are back and just as good as ever. The Crimson Tide are once again the favorites to win the national title. For Alabama, it’ll be interesting to see how Cooper Bateman replaces Jake Coker and if Bo Scarbrough is as good as advertised. The defense is expected to be just as dominant even though Kirby Smart left for Georgia. If Cody Kessler had one more year of eligibility, USC would be the favorites to win the Pac-12. They return 16 starters from last year, 10 on the offensive side, and Adoree Jackson is a name that everyone will know by the end of the year. There is a good chance this game turns ugly as Alabama is going to look to assert its dominance early.
#10 Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs Texas Longhorns (7:30 p.m.) Royal Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, TX
How about some Sunday night college football. No.10 Notre Dame and Texas get to start their years off in primetime in Austin, Texas. For Notre Dame, many are wondering if this will finally be the year they get over the hump. They only return 9 starters from last year, but Brian Kelly feels that this could be his best team. Week one could also ultimately decide who will be Notre Dame’s QB, DeShone Kizer or last year’s original starter Malik Zaire. On the other side, Charlie Strong could be coaching for his job this year. He returns 15 starters from last year, so there are some expectations for Texas this year. Jerrod Heard is going to have to take a big step forward though at quarterback if Texas wants to win this game and eventually play in a bowl game.
#11 Ole Miss Rebels vs #4 Florida State Seminoles (8 p.m.) Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL
In a loaded first week of college football, the best game could be saved for last when No.11 Ole Miss travels to Orlando to take on No.4 Florida State on Monday night. The Rebels lost three of their top players to the NFL in Laremy Tunsil, Laquon Treadwell, and Robert Nkemdiche. This just means that Chad Kelly is going to have to step up, and he seems very equipped to dominate in the SEC. As for Florida State, the expectations for this year are huge. They return 18 starters from last year, including all 11 starters on offense. Sean Maguire is currently nursing a broken foot, but with Dalvin Cook at running back, Florida State should only face a minor hiccup. This game is going to come down to the wire as both teams have two solid offenses, good defenses, and great coaching.