The first full weekend of the college football season kicks off Thursday, concludes Monday night and features several major matchups in-between. The top game of the week features No. 11 Oregon and No. 16 Auburn meeting in Arlington, Texas, in a clash between the two participants in the 2011 BCS National Championship Game.
Top-ranked Clemson will kick off its national title reign on Thursday against Georgia Tech, No. 2 Alabama will battle Duke on Saturday afternoon, No. 3 Georgia will travel to Vanderbilt in a conference game Saturday night and No. 4 Oklahoma will host a dynamic Houston team on Sunday night in Norman.
Let’s take a look at the to lines for Week 1 with odds from SportsLine.
Lines you need to know
No. 11 Oregon vs. No. 16 Auburn (-3.5): Oregon star quarterback Justin Herbert will square off against the ferocious Tigers defense in an opening night matchup for the ages. Bo Nix will be the first true freshman to start the season under center for Auburn since 1946. Buckle up. This one is going to be fun.
Duke vs. No. 2 Alabama (-35): A motivated Bama is a scary Bama, and Duke is in line to get a pounding after the Crimson Tide players had to dwell on getting smoked in last season’s national title game. If you think that Blue Devils coach David Cutcliffe can draw up something to take advantage of the Crimson Tide secondary, maybe they can cover?
Georgia Tech at No. 1 Clemson (-36): Clemson has to replace its defensive front, and Georgia Tech has a tough task switching from Paul Johnson’s triple-option offense to first-year coach Geoff Collins’ spread/pro-style attack. It should be interesting to see what the Yellow Jackets do in Game 1 in a new system against the reigning champs.
No. 3 Georgia at Vanderbilt (+21): The Bulldogs and Commodores open with a conference game in 2019, and the Bulldogs will be doing it with a brand new wide receiving corps. If Demetrius Robinson, Tyler Simmons and the rest of the wideouts step up, look out for Georgia.
Houston at No. 4 Oklahoma (-23.5): The Jalen Hurts show will get going Sunday night as the former Alabama quarterback will take over for Kyler Murray. Meanwhile, new Sooners defensive coordinator Alex Grinch has been busy trying to fix the defense and gets to face Cougars quarterback D’Eriq King in the opener. Good luck with that.
FAU at No. 5 Ohio State (-27.5): Ryan Day will make his full-time coaching debut against Lane Kiffin and the Owls. What’s more, Georgia transfer quarterback Justin Fields will take his first snaps as the signal-caller for the Buckeyes.
No. 14 Utah at BYU (+5.5): The Utes were picked to win the Pac-12 at Media Day and get to open the season on the road against a bitter rival. The rivalry known as the “Holy War” will carry national intrigue.
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More games of note
Georgia Southern at No. 6 LSU (-28): The Tigers have been selling a more exotic offense all offseason and will debut it against an Eagles squad that finished third in the Sun Belt in total defense in 2018.
Middle Tennessee at No. 7 Michigan (-34): Coach Jim Harbaugh handed the keys to the offense to Josh Gattis in the offseason. If the Wolverines can keep up in shootouts, this could be the year they crash the CFP party.
No. 9 Notre Dame at Louisville (-20.5): The Fighting Irish and Cardinals will close the week out Labor Day night. Nobody’s talking about Brian Kelly’s crew contending for the CFP, but that was the case last year when they ran the table.
Louisiana Tech at No. 10 Texas (-20.5): Is Texas back? We will have an idea when the Longhorns host the Bulldogs one week before LSU comes rolling into town.
Northwestern at No. 25 Stanford (-6.5): The Wildcats were on the outside looking in of the preseason AP Top 25, but will get the chance to prove if it’s a mistake on the farm against the Cardinal.
Boise State vs. Florida State (-5.5): The Broncos will travel across the country to take on the Seminoles in Jacksonville. If the Seminoles drop this one, Year 2 for coach Willie Taggart might get dramatic.
Best of the rest
Texas State at No. 12 Texas A&M (-33.5)
Eastern Washington at No. 13 Washington (-21)
Tulsa at No. 18 Michigan State (-20)
No. 19 Wisconsin at USF (+13)
Miami (OH) at No. 20 Iowa (-21.5)
Northern Iowa at No. 21 Iowa State (-18.5)
No. 22 Syracuse at Liberty (+18)
New Mexico State at No. 23 Washington State (-32)
South Alabama at No. 24 Nebraska (-36)
UCLA at Cincinnati (-2.5)