Our long national nightmare is over. Wait a second. No, it’s not. It’s as bad as ever. But college football is back. That part is true.
Welcome to Week 0 of the college football season where one Pac-12 team will be in action in addition to a Big 10 conference matchup. And that’s about all I can say for the schedule. It’s not great. If you’re anything like me though, it doesn’t matter. I am ready.
SUGGESTED VIEWING GUIDE (all times PT)
10 AM: Nebraska (-7) at Illinois, FOX
If you’re expecting the typical 9a game on Fox when you turn on the TV this morning, it isn’t there. The first kickoff of the college football season will happen an hour later which isn’t the end of the world. According to Bill Connelly’s SP+ preseason rankings this is team #32 against team #81. The Cornhuskers didn’t exactly endear themselves to the college football world over the last year but if they come out and win decisively you can bet there will be plenty of “are they back?” articles written. The answer will be no, but the columns will nonetheless be written.
And if the game at the end of the 1st quarter is 17-0 Nebraska then you can head over to CBS Sports Network to watch UConn at Fresno State starting at 11 AM. The Bulldogs have ex-Huskies Jake Haener at QB and Ty Jones at WR so there’s a decent chance they’ll have your support. They’re also playing Oregon next Saturday so if you’re hoping for an upset then you get an initial scouting report this week.
12:30 PM: Hawai’i at UCLA (-17.5), ESPN
I’m actually looking forward to this one quite a bit. Last season UCLA’s offense looked unstoppable against bad opponents and they could easily drop 50+ here against Hawai’i. Similarly, UCLA’s defense was capable of giving up 40+ to most of the teams they faced. If the offense can look better against quality opponents and the defense takes a step forward then the Bruins are a darkhorse contender in the Pac-12 South. An offense with Dorian Thompson-Robinson at the helm along with Michigan transfer RB Zach Charbonnet, WR Kyle Phillips, and TE Greg Dulcich has all the makings of a potent attack.
4:00 PM: Alcorn State vs. North Carolina Central, ESPN
This is a test to determine how starved you truly are for college football. Alcorn State won the SWAC East division title this past spring but didn’t make the FCS playoffs. North Carolina Central finished towards the bottom of the MEAC. If you refrain from helping your significant other with making dinner because you tell them you absolutely have to watch the 2nd half of this game then you are a terrible person.
7:00 PM: Southern Utah vs. San Jose State, CBS Sports Network
You aren’t a complete degenerate if you choose to watch this as your nightcap however. San Jose State came out of nowhere to go undefeated in Mountain West play last year before losing to Ball State in their bowl game. Head coach Brent Brennan is suddenly a potential rising star coach on the West Coast and if SJSU has a repeat of last year then there’s a good chance he’ll find himself coaching a Pac-12 team next year. The Spartans also are the opener for USC so if there’s any chance they can pull off a monumental upset we should see some sign of it here. Although of course Southern Utah is a bad FCS team in the Big Sky so if San Jose State doesn’t look impressive that will be even more telling.