College football opening weekend 2016 is almost upon us. This could be the biggest opening weekend in college football history and that has everything to do with the matchups.
Teams like the Alabama Crimson Tide and USC Trojans will take the field against one another, and it is only the first game of the season. The Oklahoma Sooners and Houston Cougars will also battle it out. So will the Georgia Bulldogs and North Carolina Tar Heels. Try to guess what those games have in common. In each battle, both teams are ranked. There are plenty of other must-watch games for college football opening weekend 2016, though.
As a bonus, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish will take on the Texas Longhorns on Sunday. Then, just when people might have thought all of the madness was over, the Ole Miss Rebels and Florida State Seminoles will take the field on Monday.
To get into the spirit of college football being back, let’s tackle five bold predictions for the monster weekend that is college football opening weekend 2016. Expect fireworks early, often, and then some more after that.
Texas A&M Aggies Take Down The UCLA Bruins
The main reason why this prediction falls under the bold category is that the Bruins are ranked as high as No. 16, and the Aggies aren’t even ranked. With that in mind, Texas A&M gets this game at home. Oklahoma transfer Trevor Knight was given the keys to the offense as the starting quarterback and, well, upsets happen all the time in college football.
Texas A&M has given fans some fireworks in recent Week 1 games. In the past two years, they have knocked off ranked opponents in the first contest of the season.
Leonard Fournette, Nick Chubb Both Run For 200 Or More Yards
The only reason why this prediction is bold is because Leonard Fournette and the LSU Tigers will be going up against the Wisconsin Badgers, who usually compete for a Big Ten title. Nick Chubb and the Georgia Bulldogs will be going up against the North Carolina Tar Heels, who enter the season being ranked as high as No. 20 in the polls.
With that in mind, Fournette is many people’s pick to win this year’s Heisman, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that he is coming off of a season in which he rushed for 1,953 yards and 22 TDs. If Fournette is not at full strength, then he might not be able to hold up his end of the deal for this prediction. However, the Heisman contender seems to be just fine, according to ESPN.
As for Chubb, he looked like a Heisman contender last season before going down with a brutal leg injury. All eyes will be on him since this is his big return.
J.T. Barrett Looks Like The Best QB In The Nation
Ohio State Buckeyes fans might have to learn some new names this season, but one they will surely remember is J.T. Barrett.
While many people thought Ohio State’s quarterback battle in 2015 was a blessing, it turned out to be a curse. Eventually, Barrett took over the job for good, but sloppy play at the quarterback position for a good portion of the season had many people wondering if the Buckeyes could repeat as champions. They didn’t.
In terms of college football opening weekend 2016, Barrett should have no problem making it rain. The Buckeyes are going up against the Bowling Green Falcons and they get the contest at home. Ohio State is ranked as high as No. 5 in the polls, and is expected to compete for a national title once again.
Unfortunately, if Ohio State is up by a lot, which is expected, then Barrett might not play for the entire game. That might deflate his stats some. Meanwhile, fellow quarterback and serious Heisman contender Deshaun Watson will have a big opportunity to win some Heisman votes when his Clemson Tigers take on the Auburn Tigers. The same thing can be said about quarterback Baker Mayfield when the Oklahoma Sooners play the Houston Cougars. As a result, this prediction has bold written all over it.
Ole Miss Knocks Off The Seminoles
Speaking of quarterbacks who could get the nation’s attention during college football opening weekend 2016, Chad Kelly’s Ole Miss Rebels will be taking on the Florida State Seminoles. Florida State is ranked No. 4 in both major polls. Ole Miss is ranked No. 11 in the AP Top 25 and No. 12 in the Coaches Poll. Based off of those rankings, both teams are expected to compete for a spot in the College Football Playoff in 2016.
While running back Dalvin Cook could take the nation by storm early and often in 2016, it is Kelly & Co. who knocked off the Alabama Crimson Tide last season. In fact, Ole Miss was the only team in the country to knock off the national champs.
No matter who comes out on top, this could be the most entertaining game of the weekend and it has serious College Football Playoff implications on the line.
USC Actually Gives Alabama A Game
In this game, two of the most storied programs in the history of college football will be going up against one another. Still, Alabama is the huge favorite for two reasons. It won the national championship last season. Alabama is ranked No. 1 in both major polls. In comparison, the USC Trojans are ranked as high as No. 17.
Derrick Henry, the man who won the Heisman Trophy last season, is no longer on the Crimson Tide, but that shouldn’t stop Alabama from staying relevant and then some in the 2016 season.
Still, Alabama does enter the season with some question marks and fans can bet that the Trojans will treat this game like it is the national championship. In prediction fashion, the Crimson Tide will eventually win this major showdown, but expect the Trojans to put up one heck of a fight.
College football opening weekend 2016 is going to be filled with madness, highlights, upsets, and some of the best football of the season. Enjoy.
[Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images]