College football schedule, games today 2018: What to watch in Week 1, TV kickoff times
The first full Saturday of the college football season is loaded with intriguing matchups
Our appetites were whet with Week Zero, and we got to taste greatness with a few weekday games. But the college football main course is looking to set our tongues on fire this weekend with intriguing games scheduled for three straight days beginning on Saturday.
A top-10 matchup hits us smack in the middle of the day, and the revival of a heated rivalry in the evening will be a major highlight. There's also the potential for plenty of upsets all day long, including when a tough Tennessee team heads to Charlotte to face preseason darling West Virginia.
Stretch those fingers out because you're going to need your remote limbered up for this college football feast.
All times Eastern
The biggest games
No. 6 Washington vs. No. 9 Auburn, ABC, 3:30 p.m.: The Huskies and Tigers have eyes on the College Football Playoff, and Saturday's matchup at Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be a good test to see who's ready. Auburn returns a stellar defensive front almost completely intact, a star at quarterback in Jarrett Stidham and hopes to avenge late struggles to finish 2017-18. Meanwhile, Washington boasts one of the nation's best secondaries, a veteran offensive line and stars at running back in Myles Gaskin and quarterback Jake Browning.
A loss doesn't eliminate either team, but that margin for error for the rest of the season will be razor thin.
No. 14 Michigan at No. 12 Notre Dame, NBC, 7:30 p.m.: A lot will be on the line when the Wolverines travel to South Bend to take on the Fighting Irish in a game featuring two teams with massive questions and high hopes to re-enter the College Football Playoff discussion. Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson will be at the helm for Jim Harbaugh's squad, while Notre Dame signal-caller Brandon Wimbush hopes to rebound from a bitter end to last season.
No. 8 Miami vs. No. 25 LSU, ABC, Sunday at 7:30 p.m.: Miami was in the playoff hunt to the bitter end last season, while LSU is high on talent but traditionally short on success. Both offenses are massive question marks and both defenses have the potential to be lights out during this Sunday night tilt. Something's gotta give ... and it might be the playoff chances of the loser.
Other big games
Florida Atlantic at No. 7 Oklahoma, FOX, Noon: You know it, I know it and everybody knows it ... Owls coach Lane Kiffin would love nothing more than to spring the upset in Norman and then talk about it for months. New Sooners starting quarterback Kyler Murray might have a big say in whether he can or not. Murray was an MLB first-round draft pick, but chose to play football at Oklahoma for one season and replace Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield. Can he step out of that shadow? Will baseball be a distraction?
No. 17 West Virginia vs. Tennessee, CBS, 3:30 p.m.: Mountaineers quarterback Will Grier's Heisman march begins Saturday in Charlotte against Jeremy Pruitt's Volunteers. Hmm ... a Heisman campaign for a player on a team with an explosive offense opening up against an SEC team on a national stage? Yes, there will be fireworks. Many, many fireworks. If the Mountaineers can muster up any kind of defense, they'll show the world they can contend for the Big 12 title.
No. 1 Alabama vs. Louisville, ABC, 8 p.m.: Who are we kidding, there's a very slim shot that the Crimson Tide fall to the Cardinals. But we will have an answer (hopefully) to how coach Nick Saban plans on handling his quarterback battle between Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts moving forward. Can Tagovailoa have the same kind of success he had in last season's national title game when a defense knows he's coming? Can Hurts stretch the field consistently? We'll finally get some answers after a long offseason of never-ending quarterback questions.
No. 20 Virginia Tech at No. 19 Florida State, ESPN, Monday at 8 p.m.: A conference game on opening weekend is always a plus, especially this one on Labor Day night in Tallahassee. We'll get to see what new Seminoles coach Willie Taggart has up his sleeve with his up-tempo, power-based spread offense going up against a Hokies defense that is well-coached, but missing some key pieces. If the combination of running back Cam Akers and quarterback Deondre Francois look sharp, it could signal a return to the national stage for the Seminoles.
Keep an eye on ...
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