Sunday, May 31, 2015

Most Intriguing College Football 2015 Opening Week Games

I know that the summer of 2015 is just beginning, but the start of the college football season in September isn't all that far off, as we are now under 100 days until the first kickoff. With that in mind, here is my list of the most intriguing games scheduled on opening weekend (spans from September 3rd to the 7th). Here are the best offerings from opening weekend in no particular order...

Louisville vs. Auburn (at Atlanta)
This should be an Auburn win, but I am not buying in on Auburn just yet, and if the Tigers slip up early despite all the early adoration that Jeremy Johnson is getting, the Tigers may be proven as a fraud early on. Hell, Louisville just needs to find a QB that won't implode to injury.

Youngstown State at Pittsburgh
This is one of our early watch games when we look to see which FCS teams can make life hell on the FBS. Pitt is starting over again at head coach, and YSU is breaking in Bo Pelini. Advantage Penguins. Pitt is officially on upset alert as we start the month of June.

Virginia at UCLA
Mike London is a Dead Pooler early on. He almost upset UCLA at home last fall before falling late. The Bruins should be better with 17 returning starters, but UVA may have an upset recipe. Probably won't happen, but London needs this one...badly.

Ohio State at Virginia Tech
The Buckeyes are still stinging from this one blight on their national title season at home last season. The Hokies will likely get blasted this time around in Blacksburg, but we thought that would happen in Columbus, so this bears watching for a quarter or two.

Villanova at Connecticut
This may not look like much on paper, but Villanova is likely going to beat the Huskies in East Hartford. This is our second FCS team on upset prowl for the opening weekend, but this one could be showing the Wildcats as an actual favorite.

Illinois State at Iowa
The Redbirds will be likely ranked in the top five when the first FCS poll is released. Going into Iowa City will not be all that intimidating for ISU, as they could likely beat Iowa, and it would not be all that much a surprise. Iowa just isn't that good, and ISU is.

Richmond at Maryland
Maryland wants to be a legit force in the Big 10 (or is it 14?). Richmond has a chance to show the world that the Terps are largely a pretender in a bigger world. The Spiders have a very big chance to be our fourth FCS upset perpetrator on opening weekend.

Michigan at Utah
If for no other reason, this game bears watching on a Thursday night because it marks Jim Harbaugh's return to the college game, and it could also mark a very obvious nose bleed for overeager Michigan fans who think the Wolverines will dominate the world from day one because of Harbaugh's appearance. It's too soon for that Wolverine fans, just too soon.

Michigan State at Western Michigan
First of all, the Spartans are playing a road game against an instate MAC opponent. That's strange enough, but WMU is very good, and Sparty cannot take this game lightly. MSU has to get out to a strong start here, and show some dominance, because if they don't the questions will start piling up.

BYU at Nebraska
Welcome to Huskerland Mike Riley. Let me be the first to say that when BYU beats your ass in Lincoln on opening weekend, and they very well could as Taysom Hill makes that red turn blue, you may suddenly realize that even your most ardent supporters may be starting to rethink that whole Bo Pelini thing very quickly.

Wisconsin vs. Alabama (at Arlington)
I have this awful feeling that Wisconsin fans and Nebraska fans will be commiserating their coaching situations together on opening weekend as they realize that both schools downgraded that position. Nick Saban outclasses Paul Chryst by miles, but Chryst has enough talent on hand to make this game interesting for a little while, especially if whomever Alabama chooses at QB struggles early.

Northern Iowa at Iowa State
Again, a sleeper on paper, but a UNI upset win (possible) would go a long way to finally forcing the Cyclones to start to consider an overdue coaching change.

South Dakota State at Kansas
SDSU is yet another FCS power player marching into an FBS stadium with a reasonable chance at a win. Kansas is pathetically awful, and they have such a sterling recent record against teams from the Dakotas anyway.

Texas at Notre Dame
This game is extremely old school, and I applaud both for scheduling this as an opener at an actual home stadium for one or the other, not some miserable overhyped neutral site toilet. Texas needs this win on the road for legitimacy, and Notre Dame needs it to keep theirs. Both teams could struggle early on while looking for new identities, but as far as national recognition, this game means everything.

Sam Houston State at Texas Tech
KC Keeler is one hell of an FCS coach, and Kliff Kingsbury is a pretender of an FBS coach. Now that this has been said openly, SHS is a solid FCS program that could use a regional eye popper of a win, and this could be it. It's hunting season for FCS schools looking for signature wins, and Tech is low enough to let it happen right now.

Georgia Southern at West Virginia
GSU narrowly missed two major upset chances against Power 5 schools last fall, and here is another real shot for the newly minted FBS Eagles to take. WVU is just not good right now, and they are extremely vulnerable here. If the Eagles can control tempo early, they can get this.

Western Kentucky at Vanderbilt
Ok, we all know how bad Vandy is these days. We can all agree on that. However, beating an SEC opponent, any SEC opponent, is a huge deal at WKU, and it could give the Sun Belt another signature win to go along with Georgia Southern if they can handle WVU. Two power five wins in one weekend for the SBC would be enormous.

Bowling Green vs. Tennessee (at Nashville)
The Falcons are sneaky good, and they don't have to travel to Neyland for this one. The Vols are all over the place, and I don't see how they are better now than before. I will come short of predicting the upset here, but if the Vols don't get their heads right before this game, an upset could happen.

Washington at Boise State
How could we sneeze at a game that has Chris Peterson taking his Huskies to a Boise blue field that he dominated on for years as coach of the Broncos. Here is the bad news for Peterson...Bryan Harsin's Broncos are a better football team.

Arizona State vs. Texas A&M (at Houston)
Make no mistake, this is an Aggie home game. A&M should dispatch the Sun Devils here, as they are the better team by a bit. However, if the Aggies don't do their pregame work here, they could be primed to get beat just down the road from home.

Eastern Washington at Oregon
Won't it be interesting to see Vernon Adams suit up for the Ducks against his former team ,the FCS powerhouse Eagles? Wouldn't it be interesting if the Eagles used this as their ammo to make things interesting? No way EWU wins this, but it may not be a runaway either.

UL-Lafayette at Kentucky
Mark Stoops has made Kentucky better, of that there is no doubt, but the Cajuns are strong under Mark Hudspeth, and they will come into Lexington expecting to pull an upset. If the Cajuns won here, they could be the third Sun Belt team to beat a power five opponent on opening weekend. Not bad.

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