A look at five games to watch during Week 1 of the college football season.
No. 14 Utah at Brigham Young, Thursday, ESPN, 7:15 p.m. PDT
What better to get the first full weekend of college football off to a good start than a bloodthirsty rivalry? Utah is the better team, but the game is in Provo, so anything could happen. The Cougars blew a 20-0 lead last season in the regular season finale against the Utes
before falling 35-27. Utah was without quarterback Tyler Huntley and running back Zack Moss because of
injury, but the fact that BYU came so close to the upset means it will have confidence going into this one.
Northwestern at No. 25 Stanford, Saturday, FOX, 1 p.m.
In 2015, Stanford lost at Northwestern 16-6 in the first part of this home-and-home series. That loss kept the Cardinal out of the College Football Playoff. Stanford finished the year in the Top 5 with a 12-2 record and a Rose Bowl win over Iowa. It’s payback time for Stanford, but is this team good enough to put Northwestern down with ease? The Cardinal have a veteran quarterback in K.J. Costello, which should give them the edge, even though the Wildcats’ Hunter Johnson — a transfer from Clemson — was a highly-rated prospect.
Boise State vs. Florida State, Saturday, ESPN, 4 p.m. PDT
After this game in Jacksonville, Fla.,
one of these programs is going to feel closer to being back to standard than it actually is. Of course, that is what the first week of the season is all about, right? If Boise State wins against Florida State, it will feel like a giant killer again and carry aspirations to represent the Group of Five in a New Year’s Six bowl. If the Seminoles win in their first game with Kendal Briles as offensive coordinator, they will feel like a team that can at least dream of competing with Clemson and Florida.
No. 16 Auburn vs. No. 11 Oregon, Saturday, ABC, 4:30 p.m. PDT
The game of the weekend, to be played in Arlington, Texas,
is a rematch of the 2010 national championship game, won by Cam Newton’s Auburn squad. This is the second straight year the Tigers open with a high-profile Pac-12 opponent, as the Tigers beat Washington last year 21-16. For the Ducks to fare better than the Huskies, they will need senior quarterback Justin Herbert to outperform Auburn’s true freshman quarterback Bo Nix, who was rated as one of the top prospects nationally and beat out redshirt freshman Joey Gatewood in fall camp.
Houston at No. 4 Oklahoma, Sunday, ABC, 4:30 p.m. PDT
The Sooners are heavy favorites in this one, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be one of the most entertaining games of the weekend. Houston features dynamic dual-threat quarterback D’Eriq King in his first game being directed by new head coach Dana Holgorsen. Holgorsen knows Oklahoma well from his time at West Virginia. The big question is how former Alabama quarteback
Jalen Hurts fares running Lincoln Riley’s prolific offense in his Sooners