Since you were such a patient college football fan this offseason and did everything you were asked, the Gods of Sitting On Your Couch All Weekend Watching Football have decided to reward you. Not only will you get to spend your entire Saturday breathing in the football with your eyes, but you even get a game to watch on Sunday and Monday, too.
Life can be pretty good sometimes.
Of course, it’s possible you’re a bit rusty. We haven’t had any football to watch since January after all. So in order to help you knock that rust off and make sure you get through the weekend unscathed, I decided to go ahead and put together this handy little viewer’s guide for you. It’ll let you know what’s worth watching as well as when and where you can watch it.
No need to thank me. I do this out of the goodness of my heart.
All times Eastern
No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners vs. No. 15 Houston Cougars (Houston) — ABC, Noon: Not only do we get a full day of action, but one of the best games of the day kicks off the entire slate. The last time we saw Oklahoma, it was losing to Clemson Tigers in the Orange Bowl semifinal of the College Football Playoff. Even if that was a disappointing end, it’s hard to feel too bad about winning the Big 12 and qualifying for the CFP. Then there’s Houston, which won the AAC, earned the Group of Five’s New Year’s Six bid and then beat Florida State Seminoles in the Peach Bowl. Now both teams open 2016 against one another — at the “neutral” site of Houston’s NRG Stadium. Both teams have lofty expectations again for 2016, and this game will give us all an early idea of how capable either is of living up to them.
No. 16 UCLA Bruins at Texas A&M — CBS, 3:30 p.m.: While this contest may not be one of the “premier” games of the weekend, it has a good chance to be one of the most entertaining. UCLA travels to College Station, Texas, with a quarterback in Josh Rosen who could end up being one of the best in the country. He might even garner Heisman Trophy consideration. Then there are the Aggies, a team I think we might be sleeping on a bit too much. Even if you don’t have a rooting interest, like me, you’ll want to tune in just to see Texas A&M’s monster defensive end Myles Garrett get after Rosen.
No. 5 LSU Tigers vs. Wisconsin Badgers (Green Bay) — ABC, 3:30 p.m.: I don’t blame you if you’re weary of Big Ten teams like Wisconsin opening the season against an SEC opponents. We’ve seen it a lot on opening weekends the last few years, and the games tend to be bloodbaths. What’s different in this contest, though, is that LSU is making the trip up to Wisconsin. I know — an SEC team is traveling north! I hardly believe it myself. I’m still leaning LSU here because of the sheer talent on that squad, but this one could prove to be pretty surprising for all involved. Maybe we’ll let the winner keep Dave Aranda.
No. 18 Georgia Bulldogs vs. No. 22 North Carolina Tar Heels (Atlanta) — ESPN, 5:30 p.m.: I’m very intrigued by this one as these are two teams that I’m unsure of heading into the season. North Carolina had a great season last year, but can the Tar Heels carry that same level of success into a new year … or what it one of those perfect storms? Then there’s Georgia, which got tired of not meeting its own expectations and decided to make a change by replacing Mark Richt with Kirby Smart. Can Smart Sabanize the Bulldogs and stop a potent North Carolina offense? I have a feeling that will be the biggest key in this one.
No. 20 Southern California Trojans vs. No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (Arlington, Texas) — ABC, 8 p.m.: You know who I don’t want to play in the first week of a season? Alabama. Hell, I don’t really want to play Alabama in any week of the season. But here’s what USC should know going into this one: Bama’s opened every season since 2012 against a Power Five opponent, and it’s gone 4-0, winning by an average of 20 points per game. The good news for USC is that the last two years, as Alabama’s worked in a new quarterback, they’ve been a bit more vulnerable in openers. The bad news is it’s still Alabama. But, hey, who knows? Maybe USC will shock the world.
No. 2 Clemson at Auburn Tigers — ESPN, 9 p.m.: You have to respect this game for one simple reason. I’ve highlighted a few marquee matchups in this post already, and four of them are taking place in NFL stadiums at neutral (some more than others) sites. This game, however, is being played on campus. I wish more top Power Five teams would do this, but I also understand that money is alluring, so it usually doesn’t happen. If this game was being played at a neutral site, I’d fully expect Clemson to roll, because I just don’t know what to make of Auburn. The fact it’ll be played on The Plains though, well, that means anything can happen.
Sunday — No. 10 Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Texas — ABC, 7:30 p.m.: Do you like quarterbacks? Well, what if I told you that instead of a game featuring two quarterbacks, you could have one with four? Oh hell yeah, that’s exciting, right?! OK, maybe it’s more confusing than exciting, but that’s the situation we’re currently in as Notre Dame plans on playing both of its quarterbacks, and Charlie Strong isn’t tipping his hand about which one of his will play. So I’m expecting something of a defensive struggle as both offenses have a hard time finding a groove. It’s still Notre Dame and Texas, though. Two teams you either love or love to hate. So, it’s totally worth your time.
Monday — No. 11 Ole Miss vs. No. 4 Florida State (Orlando) – ESPN, 8 p.m.: Spoiler alert: Florida State is my preseason pick to win it all in 2016, so you can probably figure out which way I’m leaning here. That said, I’m certainly not taking anything for granted. Ole Miss lost a lot of key contributors, but the Rebels have recruited well and now we get a chance to see if they can reload. Florida State, meanwhile, has a ton of talent but will be starting a freshman at quarterback. He may be talented, but he’s still a freshman, and freshmen tend to make mistakes. So there’s no telling how this one goes.
Best of the rest
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets vs. Boston College Eagles (Dublin, Ireland) — ESPN2, 7:30 a.m.
Missouri Tigers at West Virginia Mountaineers — FS1, Noon
Rutgers Scarlet Knights at No. 14 Washington Huskies — Pac-12 Network, 2 p.m.
Brigham Young Cougars vs. Arizona Wildcats (Glendale) — FS1, 10:30 p.m.
Source: CBS Sports / What to watch: College football games you need to see in Week 1