Week 1 of the college football season finally has arrived. Here’s the first part of our weekly game-day guide to help you navigate the five-day stretch.
Lamest time window: Friday night and early Saturday. Take those off, if you need to pace yourself for a long, fun few days.
7: West Virginia at No. 17 Pitt (ESPN) marks the return of the Backyard Brawl, a fierce rivalry conference realignment shelved after a 2011 classic.
8: Fun fact: ESPN essentially traded the rights to the Penn State at Purdue game to Fox to allow NFL announcer Joe Buck out of his contract early so he could join the Monday Night Football crew. I love this fantastically weird sport.
8: Illinois at Indiana (FS1) gives us our first look at whether Tom Allen’s Hoosiers rebound from a 2-10 season.
Noon: No. 13 North Carolina State is 1-4 all-time at East Carolina (ESPN). It would be on brand for the Wolfpack to stumble again to start a season with such high expectations.
3:30: There’s a lot of familiarity between No. 3 Georgia and No. 11 Oregon (ABC); first-year Ducks coach Dan Lanning spent four years as a Bulldogs assistant under Kirby Smart.
4: USF hung with BYU last year. Can the Bulls get it done this time against the No. 25 Cougars (ESPNU)?
7: The Billy Napier era opens at Florida against No. 7 Utah (ESPN).
7:30: Not sure No. 5 Notre Dame can hang with No. 2 Ohio State (ABC), but it sounds great on paper.
7:30: A Florida State win over LSU in New Orleans (ABC) would be a massive statement for Mike Norvell.
8: No. 4 Clemson can answer some early questions about coordinator changes and quarterback DJ Uiagalelei by trouncing Georgia Tech (ESPN).
Local of the week
Ohio State kicker Noah Ruggles (Steinbrenner High)
If the Notre Dame game gets close, the Buckeyes boast one of the best kickers in the nation. Ruggles has never missed an extra point and, and his .952 field-goal percentage last year was the highest in program history.
Orange Blossom Classic
Sunday’s Florida A&M-Jackson State game in Miami has bigger storylines than Tigers coach Deion Sanders. The Rattlers are reeling after having 20-plus ineligible players last week against North Carolina, while Jackson State has been dealing with the city-wide water crisis. Here’s hoping a game can showcase both teams well on ESPN2.
By the numbers: Week 1
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39 — Consecutive times FSU has scored in the red zone, the nation’s longest active streak
27-3 — Utah’s regular-season non-conference record since joining the Pac-12
1974 — The last time Arkansas opened with a top-25 home matchup (a 15-point win over USC in Little Rock). The No. 19 Razorbacks host No. 23 Cincinnati on Saturday
10 — Consecutive home wins for the University of Texas at San Antonio, which opens against No. 24 Houston
14-3 — Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett’s record as a starter
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