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Watch Guide: Week 1, Part 1

Tonight marks the true return of college football (sorry Cal-Hawaii).

Georgia v Tennessee

Every year, sometime in late August or early September, I begin to feel like a young Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone, sprinting down a flight of stairs, screaming in excitement and anticipation. But instead of clamoring for a cheese pizza that no longer exists, I’m fired up over the college football season looming on the horizon. For better or for worse, I, like many of you, spend as much time as I can watching this sport, and any weekend plans for the next few months will depend on Michigan’s game time.

This weekend provide an onslaught of college football, and this guide aims to help traverse this crowded landscape. I will be doing this every week, with a slight focus on B1G matchups at times. Here is the first part of a two part series for Week 1.

Thursday, September 1st

Best Bets

Appalachian State at #9 Tennessee, 7:30 ET, SEC Network

Even though Tennessee’s a three-touchdown favorite in this one, there’s plenty to keep an eye on. How do the Vols look with such lofty 2016 expectations? Can the Mountaineers follow up a solid 2015 campaign (11-2, won their first bowl) with an upset? Regardless of the outcome, I’ll set the over/under on “Number of times the broadcast mentions UofM/2007” at three, with the over looking good if you think App State pulls another shocker.

South Carolina at Vanderbilt, 8 ET, ESPN

This game has three things going for it:

1) What’s the state of the Gamecocks following the departure of the Head Ball Coach and the arrival of Will Muschamp?

2) It should be close (but also ugly).

3) It’s a conference game.

B1G Games

Indiana at Florida International, 7:30 ET, ESPNU/WatchESPN

Oregon State at Minnesota, 9 ET, BTN

FIU hosts IU for the back end of a home-and-home that started with a 36-22 Indiana victory in Week 2 of last season. The Hoosiers should be able to handle the Golden Panthers, but assume nothing when it comes to #CHAOSTEAM.

As for Minnesota, Oregon State provides a comfortable matchup for Tracy Claey’s debut as the official head coach of Golden Gophers football.

Friday, September 2nd

Best Bets

Kansas State at #8 Stanford, 9 ET, FS1

After topping the polls for a couple of weeks late in the 2012 season, Kansas State has been unable to regain that stature. On the other side, Stanford will be looking to atone for stumbling out of the gate against Northwestern last season, which may have kept them out of the CFP. The Cardinal are the favorite, but it’s Bill Snyder’s 25th season as the Wildcats head coach, and we’ll see if he has any magic left.

Colorado State vs. Colorado, 8 ET, ESPN

The Rocky Mountain Showdown! This game doesn’t offer much more than an in-state rivalry, but those always have the potential for fireworks. While the Buffaloes have traditionally dominated the matchup, the Rams have won two of the last three, including a 31-17 victory last season.

Toledo at Arkansas State, 9 ET, ESPNU

Defending Sun Belt champs Arkansas State face-off against reigning Boca Raton Bowl champs in a game that should be close and high scoring. What’s more fun on a Friday night than a #MACtion-Fun Belt shootout?

B1G Games

Furman (FCS) at #12 Michigan State, 7 ET, BTN

The Spartans should dominate this game, but everyone remembers Michigan’s season opener in 2007. I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t enjoy a similar outcome in East Lansing on Friday night.

Check back tomorrow for part two.