Saturday Meal Plan: Your Week 1 TV Viewer's Guide

The Saturday Meal Plan fills you in on what to watch, when to watch and where to watch every Saturday during the college football season.

The season started on Thursday night and there were some great games for us to watch, and Friday night has games of its own, but I think we all know that the college football season doesn't feel official until that first full Saturday of games.

And that first full Saturday is upon us, my friends. I hope you are ready to gorge on a full day of college football, I know I am.

Here's what we have on the menu in this opening week. All times listed are Eastern.


Buffalo Bulls at No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes -- ESPN2, Noon

Hey, look, Urban Meyer gets to coach his first game at Ohio State that actually counts. Now, even though the Buckeyes have suspended nearly half the team for this contest, you probably shouldn't expect Buffalo to shock the world or anything. The only reason you should be paying any attention to this game is because watching Braxton Miller is a good idea.

Purdue Boilermakers at Cincinnati Bearcats -- ESPNU, Noon

Poor Cincinnati, the forgotten team in conference realignment. First its coach leaves it for Tennessee and then it has to sit around and watch as all its friends get invited to parties and wonder why nobody ever asked it. Poor, poor Cincinnati. As for the game itself, it features two coaches making their debuts at new schools with Tommy Tuberville at Cincinnati and Darrell Hazell at Purdue. Plus, of all the games in this time slot, this one might have the best chance of staying interesting into the second half.

Villanova at Boston College Eagles -- ESPN News, Noon

This is a game that will be on that you can watch if you went to either Villanova or Boston College. Hey, listen, college football is back. It's been a long offseason, just take what you can get, all right?

Massachusetts Minutemen at No. 23 Wisconsin Badgers -- Big Ten Network, Noon

You probably shouldn't expect this to be a close contest, but at the very least you can peek in to see what Wisconsin looks like with Gary Andersen in control. My guess is that Wisconsin will look like a team running over UMass.

Rice Owls at No. 7 Texas A&M - ESPN, 1 p.m.

Has there been any news involving this game lately? Seriously, I'd say you should tune in just so you can remember what it was Johnny Manziel did to originally grab your attention and win the Heisman, but I'm not even convinced he's going to play in this game. Sure, he's only suspended for the first half, but what are the odds that the Aggies will even need to play Manziel in the second half?


No. 13 Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs (in Houston) -- ABC/ESPN2, 3:30 p.m.

This is one of the better matchups of the opening Saturday as it actually involves two teams from power conferences, but I honestly don't have high expectations for it. Yes, Mississippi State went 8-5 last season, but all five of those losses had something in common. They were the only five games the Bulldogs played against teams with a pulse last season, and they lost those games by an average of 21.4 points per game. 

Syracuse Orange vs. Penn State Nittany Lions (in East Rutherford, NJ) -- ABC/ESPN2, 3:30 p.m.

Here's another matchup pitting two teams from power conferences against each other, and I think this one will be a much closer matchup. Odds are this one will get ugly at times, but come the fourth quarter the outcome should still be in doubt.

Central Michigan Chippewas " data-canon="Michigan Wolverines" data-type="SPORTS_OBJECT_TEAM" id="shortcode0"> at No. 17 Michigan -- Big Ten Network, 3:30 p.m.

I think Appalachian State taught all of us that we should never take an opening week Michigan victory for granted, but I think we should take this one for granted. The most interesting thing about this game will be watching the Michigan offense now that Denard Robinson is gone and it is firmly Devin Gardner 's show to run.

Temple Owls at No. 14 Notre Dame Fighting Irish -- NBC, 3:30 p.m.

It feels like people are coming into 2013 just writing off Notre Dame because it has so many questions on offense -- particularly at quarterback without Everett Golson -- but remember last year when people weren't taking Notre Dame seriously because it had serious questions on offense? Yeah? How did that work out for the Irish? Of course, losing this game to Temple might just be the Most Notre Dame Thing imaginable.

Northern Illinois Huskies at Iowa Hawkeyes -- Big Ten Network, 3:30 p.m.

Last season Iowa needed a touchdown in the final minutes to complete a comeback and escape Chicago with a narrow victory over Northern Illinois. It was on that first Saturday that we all probably should have realized the direction the 2012 season would be heading for both of these teams. The question is, if Northern Illinois actually goes into Kinnick Stadium and beats Iowa this season, how big of an upset is it? I mean, sure, the Huskies are the underdogs, but they're also the team that was in the Orange Bowl last season.

Brigham Young Cougars vs. Virginia Cavaliers -- ESPNU, 3:30 p.m.

BYU is an interesting team to me this season because it's a team that certainly has its share of talent on the roster, but also because it's playing a tough schedule. So if the Cougars put things together and reel off some wins, they're a dark horse candidate to nab a BCS at-large berth this season. We'll likely get a good idea of how realistic a notion that is against Virginia on Saturday.

Nicholls State at No. 3 Oregon Ducks -- Fox Sports 1, 4 p.m.

Oregon isn't going to score 100 points but Oregon might score 100 points.


Virginia Tech Hokies vs. No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (in Atlanta) -- ESPN, 5:30 p.m.

Remember how awesome this matchup sounded a few years ago when it was first announced? Because it certainly doesn't feel that way any more. No, this one has the feeling of yet another Alabama blowout, and I don't expect it to be all that interesting in the second half. But, then again, this is the first week of the season and the first week of the year is when crazy has the best chance of happening.

Eastern Washington at No. 25 Oregon State Beavers -- Pac-12 Network, 6 p.m.

If you're like me this is the first year you actually have the Pac-12 Network as part of your cable package. So maybe you want to flip to this game for a few minutes just to see what the Pac-12 Network is like.

Washington State Cougars at Auburn Tigers -- ESPNU, 7 p.m.

This game is interesting not just because it's a rare matchup of SEC and Pac-12 schools, but because it involves two fan bases that are telling themselves "surely this season can't be as bad as last season was" and one of those fan bases is going to find out that yes it most certainly can be.

Kentucky Wildcats vs Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (in Nashville) -- ESPN News, 7 p.m.

Listen, this game is interesting enough on its own based on the fact it involves the return of Bobby Petrino and it is also Mark Stoops' first game at Kentucky. So watch it for that reason, but what I need to know is why the hell a game being played between Kentucky and Western Kentucky is being played in Tennessee. In what world does that make sense?

Miami (OH) at Marshall Thundering Herd -- CBS Sports Network, 7 p.m.

You might think I'm only listing this game because it's on CBS Sports Network, but you'd only be partially right. I'm also listing this game because the Marshall offense is actually pretty fun to watch. I mean, the Thundering Herd averaged over 530 yards and 40 points per game last season. And the Thundering Herd defense allowed over 43 points per game last season, so if you like video game football, this might just be your game.

No. 5 Georgia Bulldogs at No. 8 Clemson Tigers -- ABC, 8 p.m.

Without a doubt this is the crown jewel of our opening Saturday. A rare game that not only involves two teams ranked in the top ten, but also promises to be a very close and fun game to watch. This one has the chance to last four and a half hours and feature at least 80 points. It'll be a great way to truly get your college football season started.

Wyoming Cowboys at No. 18 Nebraska Cornhuskers -- Big Ten Network, 8 p.m.

Hey, the game between Georgia and Clemson is going to have commercials just like any other game, and you don't want to stare at commercials do you?

No. 12 LSU Tigers vs No. 20 TCU Horned Frogs (in Arlington, TX) -- ESPN, 9 p.m.

There's been a whole lot of posturing between both Les Miles and Gary Patterson leading up to this game, and while you might be thinking things are setting up for an easy LSU victory here, there's one thing you should remember. This game will be a battle of wits between Gary Patterson and Cam Cameron. So TCU might just have a better chance than you're giving it credit for.


No. 19 Boise State Broncos at Washington -- Fox Sports 1, 10 p.m.

Finally, it's that Las Vegas Bowl rematch you've waited over eight months for! In all seriousness, this should actually be an interesting game to turn to following Georgia and Clemson. Plus it's the first game in the newly renovated Husky Stadium, so you'll want to see if the place still shakes.

Nevada Wolf Pack at No. 21 UCLA Bruins -- Pac-12 Network, 10 p.m.

While this game is actually the least appealing of our late-night options to me, it also has Brett Hundley in it, and he's fun. So while I may not be giving it the main event treatment, I'll be checking in from time to time. You should too.

No. 22 Northwestern Wildcats at California Golden Bears -- ESPN2, 10:30 p.m.

This is actually a great way to end your first Saturday of the season. Two offenses that are fun to watch -- though Cal's Bear Raid is still in its infancy stages -- and should provide a lot of exciting plays and points to help you fight the possible fatigue.

CBS Sports Writer

Tom Fornelli has been a college football writer at CBS Sports since 2010. During his time at CBS, Tom has proven time and again that he hates your favorite team and thinks your rival is a paragon of football... Full Bio

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