College football is finally here.
After a long eight months without our beloved college football, the season is now set to begin on Thursday. The last college football game saw Ohio State hoist the national championship trophy in the first, and successful, season of the college football playoff system.
College football does not waste time before getting to some of the best match-ups of the season, which is why we are here to give you our predictions for the most intriguing match-ups of Week 1 of the college football season.
Arizona State vs. Texas A&M
Saturday, September 5, 7:00 p.m. ET
NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
In this neutral site game that will act as a home game for the Aggies, two teams will meet that are both sleeper picks to make it to the college football playoff from their respected conferences. This is A&M’s first game under the coaching of John Chavis as defensive coordinator, which may cause trouble for them, as the Arizona State offense is filled with talent, led by Mike Bercovici, who could win the Heisman Trophy at quarterback. Not only does Arizona State have a great quarterback, but DJ Foster is one of the best wide receivers in all of college football. If Arizona State can win this tough “neutral site” game, they have a somewhat easy path into the college football playoff, since their toughest conference match-ups are on their home turf. I think Texas A&M will stay close in this game, since they will have the crowd behind them, but the fourteenth ranked team in the country will stay one step ahead at all times.
Arizona State 35 Texas A&M 28
Michigan at Utah
Thursday, September 3, 8:30 p.m. ET
Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, Utah
Jim Harbaugh must play a very talented team in his highly anticipated debut as the Michigan head coach. Utah has one of the best running backs in college football in Devontae Booker, and one of the best front sevens on defense. There will be a good crowd in Utah, in a stadium that has proved to be very difficult for away teams. The Utes have a record of 53-16 at home since 2009. While Utah has skill in many positions, Michigan has question marks in practically every position, especially on the defensive line. Also, Michigan does not even know who they will be starting at quarterback in this new system, instituted by Harbaugh. The only position Michigan has solidified is the secondary, which will help to keep the score low, and keep Michigan close. This game has been built-up for months, but will be a huge let-down for Michigan fans, as the team from Ann Arbor is barely a bowl team, while Utah will prosper this season.
Utah 17 Michigan 10
Louisville vs. Auburn
Saturday, September 5, 3:30 p.m. ET
Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia
In this true neutral sit match-up, Louisville and Auburn face-off in a game that will be filled with scoring. Similar to John Chavis’s situation with Texas A&M, Will Muschamp is the new defensive coordinator for Auburn. While it’s believed that Muschamp will revamp Auburn’s defense, they will still be finding their footing in their first game of the college football season. Auburn could win the SEC with only a slightly above average defense. Louisville has yet to decide who will start this game at quarterback, which is unsettling, and they have a young secondary, which lacks experience. One thing Louisville has going for them is a decent front seven. If Louisville’s secondary is solid, then they could win this game, but it most likely won’t be. With new quarterback Jeremy Johnson, who has been compared to Cam Newton, Auburn can now throw the ball instead of relying on the run game, which spells trouble for the Louisville defense. While this game will remain close, the sixth-rated Tigers will edge out the Cardinals.
Auburn 34 Louisville 24
Wisconsin vs. Alabama
Saturday, September 5, 8:00 p.m. ET
AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
In yet another neutral site game, two teams in the AP Top 25 face off in an intriguing match-up. While Wisconsin can run the ball very well with Corey Clement, who has been compared to Wisconsin alums Melvin Gordon and Montee Ball, Alabama has the best front seven in college football, with A’Shawn Robinson at defensive tackle. This means that quarterback Joel Stave will have to play very well against a shaky Alabama secondary if they hope to come out victorious. The Wisconsin defense must also perform admirably to keep themselves in this game, which will be interesting to see, since Alabama has yet to choose their starting quarterback for the game. This game will remain close throughout, but Wisconsin will have to play their absolute best college football to win this game.
Alabama 20 Wisconsin 13
Texas at Notre Dame
Saturday, September 5, 7:30 p.m. ET
Notre Dame Stadium, Notre Dame, Indiana
This is a match-up between two teams that are still trying to find their identities on offense. Without Everett Golson, who transferred to Florida State, Notre Dame must deal with a new quarterback situation, while Texas is still trying to find its footing on offense with second-year coach Charlie Strong. Both teams have good defenses, which will keep the game somewhat close and low scoring, but seeing as Notre Dame is a potential playoff team, there is no way they are losing this game to a Texas team that went 6-7 last season. In Malik Zaire’s debut at quarterback for Notre Dame, the team will be running more than they will be throwing, seeing as they have one of the best offensive lines in college football. This game will show if Notre Dame is a team that will be competing in the college football playoff, or if they will just miss the cut. As long as Notre Dame establishes the run early, this will be a comfortable win for the Fighting Irish over the Longhorns.
Notre Dame 24 Texas 10
Ohio State at Virginia Tech
Monday, September 7, 8:00 p.m. ET
Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, Virginia
In a rematch of last season’s Week 1, where Ohio State thought they had suffered a crushing blow, the Hokies hope to continue their hot streak against the Buckeyes, who were the winners of the inaugural college football playoff. Virginia Tech has a chance in this game, since Ohio State is facing four suspensions, including one to Joey Bosa, who may be the best player in college football, and Virginia Tech will contend in the ACC. The Virginia Tech defense can, and will, keep this game close, but their offense must remain consistent, which is where their troubles arise. Ohio State’s offense is led by Cardale Jones, who could prove himself as the best quarterback in college football after a stunning rookie season. Virginia Tech will not be able to keep up with Ohio State’s level of scoring, which will lead to a nail-biting victory for the team from Columbus.
Ohio State 30 Virginia Tech 23
[Image Source: Jamie Sabau / Getty Images]