Contrary to what ESPN is advertising on their social media accounts, college football is back tomorrow! The lineup of five games this Saturday features two ranked teams and two games on ESPN (??). Let’s take a look ahead at the first glorious glimpse of the college football season.
Oregon State @ Colorado State
1:30 PM CT CBSSN
I think this game will likely be the closest and most entertaining game of the day. Colorado State is an up and coming G5 school that was on the list of potential Big 12 expansion candidates this last expansion go around. They are favored by four over Oregon State out of the Pac-12. Even though the Beavers went 4-8 last season, I expect them to continue to improve in their third year under Gary Anderson. This game will be an early indicator of if that improvement is to be expected or not. But, one of the biggest draws for this game is definitely Colorado State’s brand new, super cool stadium:
Portland State @ BYU
2:00 PM CT ESPN
This game I expect to be far less interesting than the one before it. BYU should roll over FCS foe Portland State. The Cougars return junior Tanner Mangum at quarterback and coach Kalani Sitake looks to improve on last year’s 9-4 mark in his second year. I’m hoping for an upset or two this weekend but this probably isn’t the place to find it. The college football fan in me hopes I’m wrong.
Hawaii @ UMass
5:00 PM CT NESNPLUS
Yeah, I have no idea what that channel is or how to get it. Hawaii finished last season at 7-7 and UMass finished at 2-10. Clearly this would be a big win for UMass if they hope to improve on last season’s dismal mark. Maybe they’ll catch Hawaii jet lagged since these schools are about as far away from each other as possible, a whopping 5060 miles. I still think Hawaii wins this game with ease. Regardless, I doubt any of us will be able to watch it.
#19 South Florida @ San José State
6:30 PM CT CBSSN
This is definitely an interesting game to watch for Big 12 fans. After being ousted from the Longhorns, Charlie Strong has taken over the reins for the Bulls of South Florida this season. The preseason hype machine has them at #19, and for good reason IMO. USF finished last season with only two losses: an early L to Florida State and a later loss to Matt Rhule’s Temple team. But, all of that was under coach Willie Taggart who has taken over at Oregon. SJSU, on the other hand, finished last season 4-8. But Brent Brennan starts his first year as head coach and their is a lot of hype surrounding his hire out of Oregon State. Their offense is loaded with potential firepower, but the biggest question marks will be their quarterback and defense. I do think South Florida pulls this game out, pretty easily at that. But you never know, Charlie Strong did find a way to lose to Kansas after all... anything is possible.
Also, if you’re looking for another Big 12/Texas connection, San José State plays at Texas in their third game of the season. This game could be a good preview of what to expect when they travel to Austin.
#14 Stanford vs. Rice
9:00 PM CT ESPN
Finally, the headliner of the day, the battle of smart people schools in Sydney, Australia. Yeah, it’s a bit of a late kickoff, but we’ve been without football for so long I know you’re going to want to stay up for at least part of this. Stanford has its eyes glued on a Pac-12 championship and CFP berth this season after putting together a very quiet 10-3 season last year, capped off with a Sun Bowl win. Coach David Shaw returns a veteran O line and a running back to keep an eye on in Bryce Love. And as is Stanford tradition at this point, the defense ought to be overwhelming. Rice, on the other hand, is looking to stop its slow slide into irrelevance over the past few seasons. Four years ago, the Owls had a 10 win season. Last season they only had 3 wins. Coach David Bailiff is firmly on the hot seat and a win “down under” against a very good Stanford team would be the best possible start to his reelection campaign. That being said, I think Stanford runs away with this game and we can all probably go to bed soundly before midnight. But, I would love to see Rice give us a reason to stay up into the early morning hours.