We made it, folks. By the end of tonight the Kalen DeBoer era will have finally started on Montlake. And in addition to Washington playing there’s also a solid opening slate of games although the matchup of brands may be better than the actual quality of football. Still, there is meat on the bone out there if you look around a little.
SUGGESTED VIEWING GUIDE (all times PT)
9:00 AM: Colorado State at #8 Michigan, ABC
DraftKings Betting Line: Michigan -27.5
There’s not a great 9a game for the opening Saturday so you’re going to have to make due with this one for a little while. Former Nevada head coach Jay Norvell takes over at CSU and has a very tough opener heading into the Big House. If you get ESPNU then head over and watch North Carolina on the road at Appalachian State speaking of the Big House.
12:30 PM: #11 Oregon vs. #3 Georgia (Neutral-ish in Atlanta, Georgia), ABC
DraftKings Betting Line: Georgia -17
This is going to be the game with the most story lines as the defending national champs have their former defensive coordinator return to take them on. The Bulldogs lost an insane amount of talent off their defense to the NFL Draft but still have plenty more in reserve thanks to years of elite elite recruiting. No one gave Oregon much of a chance last year at Ohio State but they managed to get it done. It will be an even stiffer challenge this season playing a psuedo-road game against Georgia. Go Dawgs indeed.
(Alternate choice) 12:30 PM: Arizona at San Diego State, CBS
DraftKings Betting Line: San Diego State -6
If Georgia happens to end up routing Oregon then there’s an alternate Pac-12 game you could put on instead. I’m intrigued to see if the talent infusion that Arizona has gotten in the passing game with QB Jayden de Laura and WRs Jacob Cowing and Tetaroia McMillan will allow them to rise to something approaching respectability. San Diego State’s defense will certainly put them to the test early.
4:00 PM: #7 Utah at Florida, ESPN
DraftKings Betting Line: Utah -2
The Utes enter the season as the Pac-12 favorites in the eyes of most and a darkhorse CFP contender. If they want to validate that status they’ll need to enter the Swamp on opening day and kick the crap out of the Gators under new head coach Billy Napier. Should that happen it will give them a fighting chance and boost the conference regardless of what happens in the Georgia/Oregon game.
4:30 PM: #5 Notre Dame at #2 Ohio State, ABC
DraftKings Betting Line: Ohio State -17
If you want to see an example of how much of a gap there is between the top tier of college football and the 2nd tier then look no further than a 17-point spread in a game between top-5 teams. The Buckeyes are on the warpath and absolutely loaded this season while it’s the first game for the Irish with new head coach Marcus Freeman. This has the potential to get ugly quickly.
7:30 PM: Kent State at Washington, FS1
DraftKings Betting Line: Washington -21.5
DraftKings Betting Line: Oregon State -3
If the UW game is on a commercial or at halftime, you have my permission to switch over briefly to this game. It should be a good barometer for where each team is right now. Do the Beavers have enough firepower this year to be more than an upstart in the Pac-12 North this season? Is Boise State ready to get back to where they were under Chris Petersen and Bryan Harsin or is Andy Avalos in over his head? If either team wins going away it could hint towards answering those questions.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.