As the 2017-2018 college football season officially kicks off, Week 1 and 2 are packed full of games that could shake up the playoff landscape. We’ll be looking at three games of note this week starting off with the Week 1, Big 10 matchup of Ohio State and Indiana.
#2 Ohio State at Indiana, Thursday August 31st, 8pm (ESPN) The 2nd ranked Buckeyes travel to Bloomington for an early Big 10 game. Ohio State quarterback, J.T. Barrett looks to lead the Buckeyes back to another College Football Playoff appearance as a senior. He’s among 15 starters that return from last year’s squad that fell 31-0 to Clemson in their semifinal matchup. With that, there are high expectations in Columbus. Indiana is looking to beat the Buckeyes in Bloomington for the first time since 1988.
Another storyline to watch is the return of former Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson after his departure last season. Wilson was named the Buckeyes offensive coordinator but IU athletic director, Fred Glass and new head coach, Tom Allen, are solely focused on how to slow the Buckeyes down.
#1 Alabama vs. #3 Florida State, Saturday September 2nd, 8pm (ABC) The matchup between the #1 Alabama Crimson Tide and the #3 Florida State Seminoles has the makings of the biggest opening game in college football history. This marks the first ever matchup between a #1 ranked team and a team ranked third or higher. Alabama is looking to bounce back from its national title loss to Clemson, 35-31, and the loss of 7 defensive players in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Florida State, on the other hand, returns 9 contributors on a defense that could be one of the best in the country, led by do-it-all defensive back, Derwin James. Both schools have quarterbacks returning from strong freshman campaigns in Alabama’s Jalen Hurts and Florida State’s Deondre Francois but expect fireworks defensively in this mega-matchup.
#13 LSU vs. BYU, Saturday September 2nd, 9:30pm (ESPN) The 13th ranked LSU Tigers and the BYU Cougars will be facing off in the 2017 Advocare Texas Kickoff in LSU’s backyard as hurricane Harvey caused a change of venue from NRG Stadium in Houston to the Superdome in New Orleans. BYU (1-0) opened last weekend with a 20-6 win over the Portland State Vikings, led by quarterback Tanner Mangum but they’ll be facing a much tougher foe this week in the Tigers.
Expectations are once again high in Baton Rouge as Ed Orgeron begins his first full season as the Tigers head coach. Quarterback Danny Etling and running back Derrius Guice lead a revived offense that hopes to be a player in the SEC West once again.
Bonus Game: Central Michigan vs. Rhode Island, Thursday August 31st, 7pm Former Michigan quarterback, Shane Morris, looks to lead the Chippewas back into MAC contention in 2017 as they take on the Rhode Island Rams Thursday night. Central Michigan finished last season 6-7 with a bowl loss to Tulsa and look to bounce back against a Rams team that was 2-9 in 2016. Look for senior wide receiver Corey Willis to become a favorite target for Morris. Willis caught 71 passes for 1,087 yards and nine touchdowns in 2016.
Check back next week as Ohio State takes on Oklahoma, Georgia travels to Notre Dame, Clemson and Auburn face off and the Pac 12 showdown between USC and Stanford.
Other Saturday action:
Maryland at #23 Texas, 12 PM on FS1
Bowling Green at Michigan State, 12 PM on ESPNU
#22 West Virginia vs #21 Virginia Tech, Sunday at 7:30 PM on ABC
Texas A&M at UCLA, Sunday at 7:30 PM on FOX
#25 Tennessee vs. Georgia Tech (Atlanta, GA), Monday at 8 PM on ESPN
Yeah, it’s safe to say Alabama-FSU and Michigan-Florida will be the best games on this weekend. Luckily, Week 2 should be a lot better.