This is the second part of my watch guide for Week 1, covering Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. For tonight’s games, see here.
Saturday, September 3rd
Top Picks Before 3pm ET
Georgia Tech vs. Boston College in Ireland, 7:30am ET, ESPN2
This is for the early birds, especially those on the West Coast. An insignificant game overseas should be more than enough as you wipe the sleep from your eyes.
Hawaii at #7 Michigan, Noon ET, ESPN
Visit Maize n Brew for more information about this one. Those guys and gals do a swell job.
#3 Oklahoma vs. #12 Houston, Noon ET, ABC
Aside from our own Maize and Blue, this should be the only other game you spend time paying attention to in this slot, for many different reasons. Houston’s coming off a dominating 2015 - 13-1 with a victory over FSU in the Peach Bowl - and as they attempt to join the Big 12 in the coming years, this game presents a massive opportunity to prove they belong. As for Oklahoma, they’ll be looking to build upon an early exit from last year’s College Football Playoff.
Top Picks Between 3pm and 7pm ET
#5 LSU vs. Wisconsin at Lambeau, 3:30pm ET, ABC
Michigan-Hawaii excluded, this is the game I’m most excited for on Saturday. I love rooting for Les Miles, and since the Wolverines play the Badgers this year, I’m more interested than usual in how they look. It’s also a “neutral” game as it’s being played at Lambeau Field, a whopping 136 miles from Camp Randall Stadium. Regardless of the validity of the stadium’s nonpartisanship, the location should add some extra excitement to a game that already doesn’t need it.
#16 UCLA at Texas A&M, 3:30pm ET, CBS
The Aggies stumbled to an 8-5 record in 2015 following a 5-0 start. After a steady decline from an 11-2 finish in his first year as head coach in ‘12, Kevin Sumlin & Co. need to show some life if they want to stick around. This one could be decided by the QB battle, as A&M attempts to resurrect the career of Oklahoma transfer Trevor Knight while Josh Rosen aims to build on a solid freshmen campaign for UCLA.
#18 Georgia vs. #22 North Carolina, 5:30pm ET, ESPN
A game of many storylines, including how will the Bulldogs look under Kirby Smart? Can the Tar Heels prove that last year wasn’t a fluke?
Top Picks After 7pm ET
#20 USC vs. #1 Alabama at Jerry World, 8pm ET, ABC
Another neutral-site game that will probably end in Crimson Tide domination, but you never know. The Trojans have the talent, and perhaps new head coach Clay Helton has some tricks up his sleeve. Though, I doubt they fool Nick Saban. Also, Lane Kiffin against his old team is fun.
#2 Clemson at Auburn, 9pm ET, ESPN
Bet on the Tigers to beat the Tigers in this one.
Arizona vs. BYU, 10:30pm ET, FS1
The best super-late option for those on the East Coast, and maybe some of you still care about RichRod.
Sunday, September 4th
#10 Notre Dame at Texas, 7:30pm ET, ABC
Bust out your best burnt orange attire for this one. Everyone hates Notre Dame. They blew out the Longhorns 38-3 last season, and I’ll be rooting for Charlie Strong to exact revenge.
Monday, September 5th
#11 Ole Miss at #4 Florida State, 8pm ET, ESPN
A couple of talented southern teams trying to start 2016 off with a big W. It should be a competitive nightcap for this year’s opening weekend.
Bowling Green at #6 Ohio State, Noon ET, BTN
Eastern Kentucky (FCS) at Purdue, Noon ET, ESPNews
Western Michigan at Northwestern, Noon ET, ESPNU
Rutgers at #14 Washington, 2pm ET, Pac-12N
Kent State at Penn State, 3:30pm ET, BTN
Murray State (FCS) at Illinois, 3:30pm ET, BTN
Miami (OH) at #17 Iowa, 3:30pm ET, ESPNU
Fresno State at Nebraska, 8pm ET, BTN
That is a lot of garbage, but...
Illinois could be interesting to see if Love Smith face plants in his first game. Penn State gives up sacks to two-man rushes, so take nothing for granted. Look for Western Michigan to potentially give Northwestern fits. Tune in to Rutgers at Washington if you want to see a blowout. Do not, under any circumstance, watch Eastern Kentucky at Purdue. And smile if there’s bedlam in Columbus.