Week one of college football is just days away. With over 85 games to choose from that weekend, which ones should you watch? If you can only fit about four games into your college football schedule, you won’t want to miss these.
Oklahoma vs. Houston
Sept. 3 at 12 p.m. ET
While this might be the first game on the list, it might be the best match up to watch among the four.
Oklahoma, ranked third in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll, comes off of an 11-2 season where the Sooners made their way to the Orange Bowl, only to be defeated by Clemson. Commanding offensive players like quarterback Baker Mayfield and running back Samaje Perine look to dominate the field and drive up the score. However, on the defensive side, there are plenty of powerful players, like Steven Parker and Ahmad Thomas, as well. These players will need to work hard in order to keep Houston’s offense from overwhelming them.
And, Houston’s offensive power shouldn’t be ignored. Houston, ranked 13 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll, comes off a 13-1 season where they defeated Florida State in the Chick-fil-a Peach Bowl. Led by quarterback Greg Ward Jr., the Cougars’ offense remains versatile in both its run and passing game, and with new talent in the back field, this game will most likely unveil how the rest of Houston’s season will go. Still, the defense took some major hits in the offseason, losing four experienced defensive backs. However, a lot of talent was recruited.
Both teams are fighting to make a solid initial impression on the 2016 season, and the outcome of the game could poise the winning team on the track to the College Football Playoff. While the losing team will still have the whole season to prove themselves, the attitude after this game may largely impact the rest of the season.
Clemson at Auburn
Sept. 3 at 9 p.m. ET
This game will be the 50th all-time meeting of the two schools, but it will most likely be a tough game for Auburn.
Coming off a 7-6 season where the defense had trouble holding teams to low numbers and an offense that couldn’t keep up, Auburn has been spending a lot of time in the offseason attempting to build up their defense. And, it could come down to how well the defense does against Clemson.
Clemson, coming off a nearly perfect season with a single loss to Alabama in the National Championship game, looks to make its way to the top again this year, and it doesn’t look like it will be that much of a stretch since the team is packed with return starters.
However, Auburn is set to have a tough schedule this year, and this may be the first of many upsets for a team coming out ready to prove themselves.
Notre Dame at Texas
Sept. 4 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Last year, Notre Dame opened against Texas and was able to walk away with a 38-3 win, but this year, the two teams play in Austin. Will the home field advantage help the Longhorns defeat the Fighting Irish?
Notre Dame, coming off a 10-3 season, looks to have enough talent to do as well, if not better, as last year. While losing Will Fuller is a huge blow to the Fighting Irish’s offense, the quarterback position shouldn’t be hurting too bad with multiple talented options to choose from. As for the defense, if they can become more consistent than last year, the Fighting Irish could have a spectacular year, but if not, they may be in for a rough season.
Coming off a rough 5-7 season, the Texas Longhorns worked on boosting the programs overall success in the offseason. With a new offensive coordinator, the tempo of the offense should improve, giving the Longhorns a better chance at driving their score up. Also, if the defense can play like it did in 2014, this game could end in the Longhorns’ favor.
Ole Miss vs. Florida State
Sept. 5, 8 p.m. ET
This Monday night game could go either way. Both teams have their own key offensive players and some questions on defense, so it is sure to be an interesting watch as the teams open their seasons.
For Ole Miss to beat Florida State, the Rebels’ defense is going to have to stop Dalvin Cook, and that might be easier said than done. Five of the starters for the Rebels have been replaced, and while there is a lot of talent there, it might take a while for them to come together and play successfully. On the offensive side, with QB Chad Kelly leading, the Seminoles’ defense may have trouble keeping the Rebels from finding their way to the goal line.
Still, Florida State has Dalvin Cook, and with the Seminoles’ experienced offensive linemen like Roderick Johnson, it will be tough to stop him. As for the passing game, plenty of new talent gives the Seminoles plenty of options to choose from. The defense lost a number of starters from 2015, and while the recruiting class coming in looks promising, Florida State will have to strategically place these players in order to match the defensive success the team had last year.
Because of this, these two teams look to be fairly matched, and it should result in an interesting game to watch.