The wasteland that is the off-season has finally drawn to a close. Starting tomorrow we have actual football games to watch!
For those that of you that are new to OFD this weekly installment will take a look around the country and discuss the games that we are most interested in watching. The Notre Dame game is automatic but there are always several other matchups that I try to keep an eye on for one reason or another. So if you are one of those fans like yours truly that tends to have 2 or 3 TVs going on Saturday this weekly feature is for you.
While most major programs kick off the season with a glorified scrimmage against an FCS foe there are a few programs out there that have quality matchups on the slate for week 1. Between those quality matchups, scouting future Notre Dame opponents, and a few games that made the cut due to curious interest we have a full slate for the weekend.
Don't forget that we will also be hosting an open thread here at One Foot Down for the Notre Dame vs. Temple game on Saturday so if you have your laptop, tablet or smartphone handy stop by and join the conversation.
If any of you are looking for full TV schedules I suggest the link below. It's the best.
*All times listed are EST.
Rankings are per the USA Today Coaches Poll
Thursday 29 August
North Carolina at #7 South Carolina 6:00 ESPN
So begins the official start of the "Clowney for Heisman" campaign sponsored by tWWL. Whatever. Larry Fedora is still picking up the pieces in Tarheelville so this one likely results in a comfortable W for Ol' Ball Coach. Regardless it is live college football so turn it on!
Utah State at Utah 8:00 FOX Sports 1
I keep forgetting that Utah is in the PAC 12! Does it matter? No, not really. The Utes haven't been to a bowl game in a couple of years but Kyle Whittingham's squad should be taking a step back in the right direction this fall. On the Utah State side new Head Coach Matt Wells will be making his debut after replacing Gary Andersen who bolted for Wisconsin. I will likely give this one a quick look just to check out the Fox Sports 1 broadcast.
Ole Miss at Vanderbilt 9:15 ESPN
Essseeesssseee y'all. Tune in to see Hugh Freeze and the Nkemdiche brothers whip it on against James Franklin and the Commodores. Some people think Ole Miss might actually be pretty good.
Rutgers at Fresno State 10:30 ESPNU
Kyle Flood will be breaking in a couple of new coordinators in this game including new Offensive Coordinator and former Kansas State front man Ron Prince. You can't replace a wraith! I'm still scarred by the Rutgers offensive performance against Virginia Tech in the Russell Athletic Bowl last year! Nobody wanted to win that game! Hopefully the Rutgers offense has taken a step forward. On the other side of the field Tim DeRuyter and the Green V's have 8 returning starters on both sides of the ball and should be able to keep the Scarlet Knights in check tomorrow night.
#24 USC at Hawai'i 11:00 CBS Sports
Who is Lane going to play at quarterback? Will Norm Chow miss a beat after firing Offensive Coordinator Aaron Price a few weeks ago? Either way this is a good excuse to stay up too late and get a look at the Trojans.
*There are literally 21 other games being televised onThursday night but most of them are airing on channels that may or may not be buried in your cable package. Don't worry, you aren't interested.
Friday 30 August
Texas Tech at SMU 8:00 ESPN
Get your guns up! And so begins the Kliff Kingsbury experiment in Lubbock. We don't need no stinkin' playbook to run Play Six, I mean Four Verticals! This game boasts the added storyline of bringing the Airraid full circle. Kingsbury, a former Mike Leach quarterback, will be looking across to the field at new SMU assistant Hal Mumme who developed the Airraid with Leach at Valdosta State. Needless to say this one should feature plenty of points. I'm in.
Western Michigan at Michigan State 8:00 BTN
This game should be little more than a warmup for Sparty but I will likely keep an eye on it just to see what Mark Dantonio's crew looks like.
Saturday 31 August
Buffalo at #2 Ohio State 12:00 ESPN2
Seriously? This is the first game that tWWL is going to air on Saturday? Awful.
Purdue at Cincinnati 12:00 ESPNU/ Watch ESPN
I will wave off on tOSU game and get eyes on the Boilers as they tangle with Tommy Tuberville and the Bearcats. As an added bonus you might catch a glimpse of Gunner Kiel holding a clipboard on the Bearcat sideline.
Rice at #6 Texas A&M 1:00 ESPN/ Watch ESPN
Johnny Footbaw! Or not. Either way you will hear his name no less than 100,000 times over the course of the weekend. #YESSIR
Temple at #11 Notre Dame 3:30 NBC/ NBC Sports Live Extra
The staff here is all over this one so I will leave them to their duties. I just hope the team looks sharp and that the 2's are out there early in the 3rd quarter. Don't forget to stop by the open thread and chat with us during the game!
Syracuse vs Penn St (East Rutherford, NJ) 3:30 ABC/ESPN2
The Orange are breaking in a new head coach and Penn State is still picking up the pieces. No thanks.
Mississippi State vs. #14 Oklahoma State 3:30 ABC/ESPN2
Esseessee on the road against Okie Light? Doesn't a week 1 road game like this violate some kind of SEC policy? Phil Steele thinks Okie Light is going to give Texas a run for their money in the Big 12 this year. I am admittedly curious about this game so it will likely get a spot on TV #2.
BYU at Virginia 3:30 ESPNU/ Watch ESPN
I would like to get eyes on BYU but since ND doesn't play them until November I will most likely let this one ride.
Virginia Tech vs. #1 Alabama (Atlanta, GA) 5:30 ESPN
I just don't know if I can watch the Crimson Tide play again quite yet. I might get a mean case of the shakes or something as the memories start to flow. As for the game itself I think it is safe to say that the Hokies are going to be in over their heads in this one. Don't worry Hokie fans your boys will likely still win 9-10 games and play FSU in the ACC title game.
Washington State at Auburn 7:00 ESPNU
Leach vs. Malzahn sounds cool but the total lack of a Wazzu defense likely won't keep this one interesting for very long. Not to worry, there are a couple of good games starting in an hour.
#5 Georgia at #8 Clemson 8:00 ABC
Will Clemson waste any time whatsoever pulling a Clemson? They might just go ahead and get it over with right here. Then again that broken Howard's Rock might give them enough mojo to win this game. This is obviously the game of the week so stand by for Herbstreit yammering on and Musburger mumbling inappropriately about a lady or two in the stands.
#13 LSU vs #20 TCU (Arlington, TX) 8:00 ESPN
Hey check it out, tWWL engineered a week 1 bowl game of sorts. Georgia at Clemson is a better game on paper but I think I'm actually more interested in watching this one. TCU was rebuilding last season but they might be able to give LSU a game in Jerrydome on Saturday night. With the chatter back and forth leading up to this game this Gary Patterson vs. Leslie Miles duel should be fun to watch. This game officially makes Saturday night a two TV deal.
#19 Boise State at Washington 10:00 Fox Sports 1
When Sarkisian first took over at Washington I thought he might actually get them back to being good again. Thus far it has been a struggle for him. The Huskies do return a ton of starters this fall and they have been out cruitin' so who knows? Maybe this will be the year that it all comes together. Chris Petersen doesn't care what the Huskies bring to the table. He's going to show up with a bunch of 2 and 3 star kids and tear it up.
Sunday 2 September
Ohio at #9 Louisville 3:30 ESPN
What happened to Louisville opening vs. Kentucky? They used to always open up against one another. This game is awful but it does prove that Charlie Strong and Teddy Bridgewater have officially made tWWL's love list.
Colorado vs Colorado State (Denver, CO) 6:00 CBS Sports
Remember when this game used to be good? I couldn't even remember who coaches these two teams now. I had to look it up! Note to self, Sunday is wide open for running errands and catching back up on things around the house.
Monday 3 September
#12 Florida State at Pittsburgh 8:00 ESPN
The Noles are supposed to be pretty good despite losing EJ Manuel and a lot of experience on defense. I'll be tuning in for an early look at Act II of the Paul Chryst show at Pitt.
What other games should I be trying to keep an eye on?