That's right Illini nation, College Football is back! Time to celebrate!
I understand that most people consider baseball's opening day to be the most exciting day in the sporting world. But to me, the first kickoff to a new football season is something I think about as soon as the last bowl game ends.
That being said, this week is the first week we will be able to enjoy watching this glorious game from our favorite couches/armchairs/la-z-boys/bars/etc. Being the case, we here at TCR have polled our most anticipated games of the week and compiled them into a perfectly orchestrated list of Games 2 Watch in Week 1. Enjoy!
#21 Texas A&M @ #9 South Carolina ~ 5pm CT (SEC Network)
For those of you who will be at Murphy's for Thirsty Thursday, check out the debut of the new SEC Network. I don't have this built into my cable package, but it sure will be interesting to see how the Gamecocks move on without Clowney and how the Aggies move on without Johnny Football.
Boise State @ #18 Ole Miss ~ 7pm CT (ESPN)
If you're like me and have the basic cable package, this is the game you'll be watching. If this game is anything like last year's Vanderbilt and Ole Miss game, it surely will be a close game and a great start to the season. Also keep an eye on Boise State to see how they adapt without Chris Peterson under the headset.
Rutgers @ Washington St ~ 9pm CT (FOX Sports 1)
Take it away Aaron Rench!
"There are several good games to choose from this week, games that mean more to the outcome of the Playoff and the BCS bowl games, but for some reason, I'm really interested in watching this one. This is Crazy Ol' Mike Leach and his fun offense against a shiny new B1G team starting late at night. It feels like some trashy B-movie, and I'm not sure I care. Thursday night, I'm getting in my PJ's, poppin' some popcorn, and falling asleep in the third quarter! I love college football."
I couldn't have said it better myself.
BYU @ UCONN ~ 6pm CT (ESPN)
Oh yes it's Friday night, and the feeling's right! But seriously before you go out and celebrate the first week of classes, turn to ESPN. UCONN will be an opponent of ours come 2019 and BYU always seems to play tough on the road. Could be a close game, and a nice appetizer for the weekend.
Penn State vs UCF ~ 7:30am CT (ESPN2)
Trevor Vallese, this one is all yours (love your videos btw).
"Volcanoes! James Franklin’s debut! A Blake Bortles-less UCF! 7:30 AM kickoff! What’s not to love about this contest in Ireland? I want to see what the Nittany Lions look like under Franklin and UCF was a very good team in 2013. Should be a close game to help me wake up this Saturday morning."
Rice @ #17 Notre Dame ~ 2:30pm CT (NBC)
Brandon Cain breaks down the Fighting Shamrock's opener:
"The Irish lost Tommy Rees and TJ Jones to graduation while Everett Golson is back after missing last season. How will Golson look for the Irish's tune up for Michigan in Week 2?"
Cal @ Northwestern ~ 2:30pm CT (ABC/ESPN2)
How will the shrubbery in Ryan Field benefit the Wildcats? Will we see foreshadowing of the season for the Purple team up north? It would really be embarrassing to lose to a team that went 1-10 last year...
#16 Clemson @ #12 Georgia ~ 4pm CT (ESPN)
Hutson Mason come on down! You're the next QB for the Bulldogs...and believe me after seeing Aaron Murray go through his fare share of injuries in his career at Georgia, I'd really like to see Mason light up the Tigers. Then again, I do like the color orange...
#1 Florida State vs Oklahoma State ~ 7pm CT (ABC)
ABC's game of the week. You never know how Oklahoma State's offense is going to look now that they are Lunt-less, but I feel it's going to be a blowout win for the Noles. That, and I always get frustrated when I see Osceola trotting around on a horse doing the flaming spear bit...not to mention we'll get to hear their "War Chant" over and over and over and over (etc.).
#14 Wisconsin vs #13 LSU ~ 8pm CT (ESPN)
This one is going to be a dandy. You have the Wisconsin Badgers with a relatively easy road to Indy in December trying to prove they can hang with the big boys, and the LSU Tigers who are trying to win a conference recently dominated by the state of Alabama. This could really be fun to watch. Remind me to ask Les Miles how the grass tastes in Reliant Stadium...we never got chance to try it in 2010.
Utah State @ Tennessee ~ 6pm CT (SEC Network)
UPSET SPECIAL! Tennessee is currently re-building their program and Utah State has one powerful weapon under center in Chuckie Keaton. Expect lots of points, and hopefully a win for Aaron Rench's NCAA Football Dynasty Team. "Do I finally get to revel in a victory of my team chosen by the Xbox gods? Does SEC always trump non-Power 5? Can college football make good Sunday TV? These are questions that need answering, and I intend to find out." Plus, the more the Aggies score, the less of Rocky Top you'll hear.
Miami (FL) @ Louisville ~ 7pm CT (ESPN)
Are you ready for some football!??! Our first Monday night football game of the season and it happens to be a college game. Louisville is heading into their post Teddy Bridgewater era and Miami has one powerful offense...but Louisville was ranked 2nd in points allowed (12.2) last season. It'll be a nice change of pace from watching the pros play on Monday night.