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Week One College Football Importance Guide

Week One College Football Importance Guide (Ranking Every Game This Week)

 

  1. NORTHWESTERN STATE @ TEXAS A&M (THURS)

The Demons were just 4-7 last year and that was in the Southland Conference so why they are playing Texas A&M is still a mystery to me. One thing you can guarantee is that Jimbo Fisher begins his stint in College Station with a nice sized victory or NW State.

 

  1. FURMAN @ CLEMSON (SAT)

Furman ended last season 8-5 and ranked 25th in the FCS, however, this Clemson team is absolutely loaded at every position. This game will be over by the half if not the 1st quarter.

 

  1. AUSTIN PEAY @ GEORGIA (SAT)

Austin Peay is coming off a surprising 8-4 season in the Ohio Valley Conference in the FCS. However, Austin Peay is a nice 9-49 in the past 5 seasons. Yes, that includes the 8 wins they had last year. Meaning this team had won one game the previous 4 seasons. Why is this game even being played? Shame on you Georgia.

 

  1. STEPHEN F. AUSTIN @ MISSISSIPPI STATE (SAT)

Mississippi State suspended their star QB Nick Fitzgerald for this one but that doesn’t really make a difference. Stephen F. Austin not only went just 4-7 last season including a 44 point loss to SMU. They also had a scandal this offseason which led to their head coach stepping down just a few weeks ago. I could start under center for Mississippi State and they’d still grab the W.

 

  1. MISSOURI STATE @ OKLAHOMA STATE (THURS)

Yet another game we here at the Sports Gambling Podcast Network scratch our heads at. Missouri State went just 3-8 in the Missouri Valley Conference last year. Oklahoma State is replacing a ton but that doesn’t mean this game will be close.

 

  1. UT MARTIN @ MISSOURI (SAT)

UT Martin was just 6-5 last year but hey it’s a winning record so maybe Missouri can disappoint again. I’m not really too optimistic about this game but I think it’s accurately the 81st best game of the weekend. Drew Lock should kick his Heisman campaign off in style with a solid performance.

 

  1. DELAWARE STATE @ BUFFALO (SAT)

Delaware State is one of the worst FCS schools over the past decade or so. They are coming off a 2-9 season and well the days of former San Francisco 49ers wideout John Taylor are long gone. Buffalo is loaded for a run at the MAC Championship this year. This shouldn’t be much of a game.

 

  1. VMI @ TOLEDO (SAT)

Virginia Military is bad. Real bad. They went winless last year on the FCS level and well Toledo won a MAC Championship. Sure, they’re replacing some key pieces but yep I’ll even say this about the MAC. Shame on them for scheduling VMI. This game will be over by halftime and should never be played.

 

  1. EASTERN ILLINOIS @ ARKANSAS (SAT)

Eastern Illinois was 6-5 last season while playing in the Ohio Valley Conference. Just a shade above the definition of mediocre. Well, Arkansas struggled last year but that was in the SEC. This shouldn’t be much of a game.

 

  1. ALCORN STATE @ GEORGIA TECH (SAT)

Former Alcorn State QB Fred McNair (Brother of Steve) had a nice 7-5 first season at Alcorn and well now the team should be better. That still won’t mean anything when they face an underrated Georgia Tech team who’s triple option should cause hell on the Alcorn State defense.

 

  1. CHARLESTON SOUTHERN @ FLORIDA (SAT)

Charleston Southern is coming off a nice 6-5 season so it makes sense they would start the season off playing in the Swamp against the Gators. That’s sarcasm if you haven’t noticed. Dan Mullen wins his 1st game easily against Charleston Southern.

 

  1. SE MISSOURI STATE @ ARKANSAS STATE (SAT)

Arkansas State is a favorite in the Sun Belt and very well could end up playing for a Sun Belt championship. Meaning this game should also never be played. SE Missouri State is coming off a nice 3-8 season in the Ohio Valley Conference and well let’s just leave it at that.

 

  1. ABILENE CHRISTIAN @ BAYLOR (SAT)

Abilene Christian is coming off a nice 2-9 season and well Baylor is coming off a nice 1-11 season but still, Baylor has a ton of talent and they were breaking in a new coach. This game is a garbage ass game. Baylor blows them out the water.

 

  1. INCARNATE WORD @ NEW MEXICO (SAT)

Incarnate Word is coming off a solid 1-10 season so it makes sense that they are playing an FBS opponent right? No, not at all. New Mexico was just 3-9 last year so what better way to work your way to an improved season than to schedule a shit game like this.

 

  1. SAVANNAH STATE @ UAB (THURS)

Savannah State may have just been 3-8 last year but its the school that produced Shannon Sharpe! UAB went bowling after not having a football team for a few years. They greatly exceeded expectations so I’ll somewhat give them a pass on this one. This should be a blowout though.

 

  1. SOUTH CAROLINA STATE @ GEORGIA SOUTHERN (SAT)

South Carolina State went just 3-7 on the FCS level last year. Georgia Southern struggled on the FBS level just going 2-10 but this team is primed for a decent season this year.

 

  1. JACKSON STATE @ SOUTHERN MISS (SAT)

Jackson State and Southern Miss battling in a little in-state matchup. Battling should be considered a strong word considering Jackson State was just 3-8 last season. Southern Miss is coming off a 8-5 season so I highly doubt this game is a close game come 4th quarter.

 

  1. SOUTHERN @ TCU (SAT)

Southern is coming off a 7-4 season in the FCS subdivision finishing 2nd in the SWAC. TCU is coming off an 11-3 season in which they played for the BIG 12 Championship. I still don’t like this game happening. TCU by 30 or more.

 

  1. PORTLAND STATE @ NEVADA (FRI)

Portland State somehow went winless last year but man did they play BYU and Oregon State close. Nevada lost to an FCS school last year. I doubt it happens again but perhaps Portland State plays up against an FBS again.

 

  1. SOUTH DAKOTA @ KANSAS STATE (SAT)

Weekend At Bernies Part 3 starts off in Manhattan, Kansas where Bill Snyder aka Bernie Lomax takes on South Dakota from the FCS level. South Dakota is coming off an 8-5 season and well K State is coming off another bowl season. K State historically starts slow but they should still be able to take care of business here.

 

  1. SE LOUISIANA @ LOUISIANA MONROE (THURS)

SE Louisiana is coming off a 6-5 season but they did suffer a 3 point loss to open the season against Louisiana Lafayette. So perhaps this will be a ballgame. Louisiana Monroe needs a big year and needs this game but I’m sure they’ll be a chip on the shoulder of the SE Louisiana players.

 

  1. MERCER @ MEMPHIS (SAT)

Mercer went just 5-6 last year but they’re projected to be better and gave Auburn a decent game last year. Maybe I’m rating this game too high because Memphis has been money the past few years. However, they are breaking in a new QB and replacing some key pieces.  

 

  1. ELON @ SOUTH FLORIDA (SAT)

Elon is coming off an 8-4 season and well South Florida is replacing a ton on a team that had double-digit wins last year. I doubt this will be a close game but if the new starters struggle perhaps it could be.

 

  1. BOWLING GREEN @ OREGON (SAT)

Bowling Green coming into Autzen? This game could get ugly fast! BG is coming off a 2-10 season and well this offseason hasn’t been so kind with key players transferring and getting into legal trouble. Jim Leavitt year 2 defenses normally really begin to figure it out. Watch out for the Ducks.

 

  1. STONY BROOK @ AIR FORCE (Sat)

Stony Brook is coming off a 10 win season at the FBS level and Air Force missed out on a bowl berth last season. Troy Calhoun should have his Falcons ready but this could be a game.

 

  1. HOUSTON @ RICE (Sat)

Rice won just one game last year and they’ve already tied that with a close win against Prairie View A&M in week zero. Houston has Ed Oliver who’s perhaps the best defensive player in the country and well they’re looking for a big year.

 

  1. CENTRAL CONNECTICUT STATE @ BALL STATE (THURS)

Central Connecticut State is coming off an 8-4 season and Ball State won just 2 games last year. This could be a very close game. Ball State got killed by the injury bug last year, those guys are healthy this year.

 

  1. WEBER STATE @ UTAH (THURS)

It’s hard for anyone to win in Salt Lake City let alone an FCS. Weber State is coming off a nice 10-3 season and a playoff berth. Utah should roll but I wouldn’t be surprised if the game takes a while to really open up.

 

  1. ALBANY @ PITTSBURGH (SAT)

Albany is coming off a 4-7 season and Pittsburgh is replacing a ton of talent that transferred out of the program. With Penn State on deck, the Panthers will need to figure some things out.

 

  1. IDAHO @ FRESNO STATE (SAT)

Idaho is coming off a 4-8 season and now takes a step back to the FCS level. Fresno State is coming off a 10 win season. Fresno brings back senior QB Marcus McMaryion and looks to compete for Mountain West Championship.

 

  1. HOWARD @ OHIO (SAT)

Howard is coming off a 7-4 season in which they upset FBS UNLV in Vegas. Ohio should take note of that. Everyone is high on Ohio this year. Including myself but I do like the job Mike London is doing at Howard.

 

  1. COASTAL CAROLINA @ SOUTH CAROLINA (SAT)

An in-state battle between one of the newer FBS teams in Coastal Carolina. Last year their head coach was out for the season with heart problems. This year he’s back. Bad news for him though is most of his teams experience is gone and South Carolina looks primed to be a top 15-20 team.

 

  1. WESTERN KENTUCKY @ WISCONSIN (FRI)

Star QB Mike White is now on the Dallas Cowboys and Western Kentucky struggled last year after the departure of Jeff Brohm. Wisconsin is a national championship contender. This game screams ugly blow out.

 

  1. MONMOUTH @ EASTERN MICHIGAN (FRI)

Monmouth was 9-3 last season and Eastern Michigan lost just about every game by less than single digits. Hopefully, they find a way to win close games because this could be a close one if they start slow.

 

  1. FORDHAM @ CHARLOTTE (SAT)

Fordham may have just went 4-7 last season but Charlotte was just 1-11 including a loss against the only FCS opponent they played. I like Charlotte to win this one but I wouldn’t be surprised if this game is close in the 2nd half.

 

  1. CENTRAL ARKANSAS @ TULSA (SAT)

Tulsa won just 2 games last year but they were incredibly young. One of those wins was a blowout win against Houston so you can see they have talent. Central Arkansas went 10-2 in the FCS last season and making the FCS playoffs. I like Tulsa in this one but this could be a close one.

 

  1. UC DAVIS @ SAN JOSE STATE (THURS)

UC Davis is coming off a 5-6 season but they have some talent on the roster. San Jose State was just 2-11 last year. This could be a close one.

 

  1. NORTHERN ARIZONA @ UTEP (SAT)

UTEP went winless last season and well they’re breaking in a new coach. NAU is an 8 point favorite at the moment. That line shocked me a bit but NAU does have a stud QB in Case Cookus.

 

  1. OREGON STATE @ OHIO STATE (SAT)

Look I know this isn’t going to be a good game but I’m interested to see what new head coach Jonathan Smith does with the Beavers. He’s walking into quite the project but I like Smith as a coach. Plus you have the whole Urban Meyer out at OSU situation. I don’t think it will matter.

 

  1. GRAMBLING @ LOUISIANA LAFAYETTE (SAT)

Grambling is coming off an 11-2 season and played for a National Championship. Louisiana Lafayette is breaking in a new head coach and well sometimes the first game is the hardest.

 

  1. TEXAS STATE @ RUTGERS (SAT)

Texas State has only won 2 games per year the past two seasons but head coach Everett Withers is entering year 3 and normally that’s when coaches really turn the corner. The irony with that is Rutgers head coach Chris Ash enters year 3 at Rutgers and the defense is looking really good.

 

  1. VILLANOVA @ TEMPLE (SAT)

It’s a backyard brawl being that both schools are in the same city. Nova is coming off a disappointing 5-6 season but over the years they’ve been a great FCS school. Temple is coming another bowl season and this year they should be even better.

 

  1. UNLV @ USC (SAT)

UNLV is trying to turn a corner with Tony Sanchez in a pivotal year in Las Vegas. Coming off a 5-7 season where they probably should have been bowl eligible. USC is breaking in a true freshman QB.

 

  1. NEW MEXICO STATE @ MINNESOTA (THURS)

New Mexico State played well defensively in Week Zero. However, the offense looked bad. Really bad. Minnesota needs this game if they want to really make a bowl game. The Gophers are starting a walk-on true freshman QB.

 

  1. RICHMOND @ VIRGINIA (SAT)

Richmond has been a great FCS school over the years but last year they went just 6-5 and need a big year. Bronco Mendenhall took the Cavs to a bowl in his 2nd season in Charlottesville and he’ll be looking for some revenge because this Richmond team won in Charlottesville 2 years ago in Mendenhall’s first game in Charlottesville.

 

  1. KENT STATE @ ILLINOIS (SAT)

Lovie Smith is entering a big year for him at Illinois. Smith has just 5 wins in two years and has lost 10 games in a row. Kent State has been the MAC’s worst team for quite a while now. Defensively the Golden Flashes were always solid but it was the offense that was terrible. Can they get some offense under their new head coach?

 

  1. NICHOLLS @ KANSAS (SAT)

Oh man. This should be a good one. Kansas head coach David Beatty is coaching for his job. The Jayhawks hired a new AD in July and well I’d imagine he’d like a clean slate for his football team. Beatty does have his best and most experienced roster Kansas has seen in quite some time. Nicholls is no slouch though they’re coming off an 8-4 season and have been in the FCS playoffs recently.

 

  1. KENNESAW STATE @ GEORGIA STATE (THURS)

Georgia State went bowling last year but they lost a ton. Kennesaw State is a top 10 FCS school and coming off a nice 12-2 season. This one is going to be a good one.

 

  1. CENTRAL FLORIDA @ UCONN (THURS)

The defending National Champions open the season in a conference game against UCONN. This is still not a rivalry game despite what UCONN fans will tell you. UCF wins big. Edsall is going to work his magic with UCONN but trust the process.

 

  1. AKRON @ NEBRASKA (SAT)

Akron is replacing a ton on offense but they did play for a MAC Championship a year ago. Nebraska is breaking in a true freshman QB and a new head coach in Scott Frost. Can’t wait to watch this one. Lincoln is going to explode at every chance it will get.

 

  1. NORTH CAROLINA A&T @ EAST CAROLINA (SAT)

Oh boy, here we go again. As an ECU fan, it makes me scratch my head at not only who we fired at head coach and who we brought in but who we play from the FCS level. Last year it was JMU who beat the shit out of ECU. This year it’s North Carolina A&T who just went 12-0 last season and won a National Championship. A&T also played in week zero and as an underdog knocked off #6 FCS team Jacksonville State. This game scares the hell out me.

 

  1. OLD DOMINION @ LIBERTY (SAT)

Liberty’s first game at the FBS level! Fans should be stoked. Old Dominion is coming off a tough season where they were breaking in a 17-year-old true freshman QB. Well, he’s a sophomore now. This could be a good one.

 

  1. LOUISIANA TECH @ SOUTH ALABAMA (SAT)

A Conference USA vs Sun Belt matchup. Sign me up. Louisiana Tech is a projected bowl team. South Alabama is in rebuilding mode. I still wouldn’t be shocked if this is a game come 4th quarter.

 

  1. SOUTH DAKOTA STATE @ IOWA STATE (SAT)

South Dakota State is coming off an 11-3 and an FCS playoff appearance. Iowa State contended for the Big 12 championship last year before eventually falling short. They need not take this game lightly because the Jackrabbits can play ball.

 

  1. SMU @ NORTH TEXAS (SAT)

Like a game with zero defense and a ton of passing yards? Watch this one because both teams have great QBs and both are in pass-heavy offenses. North Texas is looking for a revenge after SMU beat them last year. Sonny Dykes the former Cal HC is making his debut at SMU.

 

  1. NAVY @ HAWAII (SAT)

Originally I thought this game was going to be blowout city but boy did Nick Rolovich and his Hawaii Rainbow Warriors look great last Saturday. The loss of now Oklahoma State QB Dru Brown wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. His replacement Cole McDonald looked legit. This could be a good one.

 

  1. UTSA @ ARIZONA STATE (SAT)

I have no idea what to expect here. Herman Edwards is the new coach of the Sun Devils and UTSA was a bowl-eligible team last year. If the Sun Devils are behind on learning or adapting to the new system this could end up being a game.

 

  1. MIDDLE TENNESSEE @ VANDERBILT (SAT)

Middle Tennessee is looking for revenge after Vandy blew them out in Murfreesboro last year. The Blue Raiders return star QB Brent Stockstill for what seems like his 100th year as QB.

 

  1. UMASS @ BOSTON COLLEGE (SAT)

I’m high on both these teams this year. Umass played Duquesne in week Zero and looked pretty damn good. BC has one of the best offensive lines in the country and AJ Dillon is perhaps the nations most slept on RB.

 

  1. INDIANA @ FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL (SAT)

I love to see the Hoosiers playing on the road at a mid-major. This could be a trap game if the Hoosiers play around though. FIU went to a bowl game last year and is also breaking in a grad transfer QB from Bowling Green who showed flashes of being a legit QB.

 

  1. CINCINNATI @ UCLA (SAT)

Chip Kelly enters game one in Westwood/Pasadena and I expect the Bearcats to give him a game. Both teams underachieved last season but Cincinnati was breaking in a new coach in Luke Fickel.

 

  1. MARSHALL @ MIAMI (OH) (SAT)

Once again, two teams I’m pretty high on this year. These teams played each other last year in Huntington, West Virginia and Marshall won by 5. Could revenge be coming to the Thundering Herd?

 

  1. SYRACUSE @ WESTERN MICHIGAN (FRI)

Once again kudos to Syracuse hitting the road to play a mid-major. Western Michigan is replacing a ton so it comes at a nice time for Syracuse. The downside to this game being played on the road is Syracuse has been god awful on the road for quite some time. This should be a good one.

 

  1. JAMES MADISON @ NC STATE (SAT)

The preseason #2 ranked FCS team hits the road to take on the Wolfpack of NC State. NC State is replacing their entire defensive line along with some other key pieces so this could be a game.

 

  1. CENTRAL MICHIGAN @ KENTUCKY (SAT)

Benny Snell is back at Kentucky but they are breaking in a new QB. Central Michigan has been a bowl team every year since 2011, however, this is their most inexperienced team since then.

 

  1. ARMY @ DUKE (FRI)

Army won 10 games last year including a win against Duke in West Point. Duke is getting a ton of hype this year to be a contender in the ACC Coastal. Daniel Jones is back at QB for the Blue Devils.

 

  1. COLORADO VS COLORADO STATE (FRI)

The Rocky Mountain Showdown is normally a close game for the most part but after watching Colorado State last week I’m not sure this one will be. Mike Bobo had health issues all of August so perhaps they were just not that prepared for Hawaii and perhaps they will be ready for the Buffs.

 

  1. UTAH STATE @ MICHIGAN STATE (FRI)

These are two of the most experienced rosters in all of college football which could mean we find ourselves in a decent game. Utah State plays stout D and must not turn the ball over on offense if they want to be in this game.

 

  1. APPALACHIAN STATE @ PENN STATE (SAT)

Both these teams are replacing a ton but Penn State is at least bringing back their star QB in Trace McSorley. App State plays great defense and loves running the ball and controlling the clock which always improves your chances to be in this game come 2nd half.

 

  1. BYU @ ARIZONA (SAT)

The Kevin Sumlin era in Tucson begins Saturday and well his starting QB Khalil Tate is getting a ton of preseason hype. BYU had a really disappointing season last year and they return longtime starter, Tanner Mangum.

 

  1. WAKE FOREST @ TULANE (THURS)

Maybe I’m overrating this game because I’m high on Tulane this year. Wake Forest suspended their starting QB for 3 games so a true freshman will take the helm come Thursday night. This should be a good one.

 

  1. TEXAS @ MARYLAND (SAT)

This game is being played in Landover, MD and not College Park. Maryland upset the Longhorns in Austin last year and I’m sure Tom Herman is looking for revenge. The Terps have had an awful offseason with tons of distractions.

 

  1. NORTHERN ILLINOIS @ IOWA (SAT)

Iowa seems to always start the season slow to me. This year should be no different considering how many players have been suspended or transferred within the past month. The Hawkeyes still have future NFL QB Nathan Stanley but NIU has one of the best defenders in the country in Sutton Smith.

 

  1. WASHINGTON STATE @ WYOMING (SAT)

Washington State had a crazy offseason with losing key players and almost their coach. They also brought in ECU grad transfer QB in Gardner Mineshaw. Wyoming and Craig Bohl may have lost Josh Allen but this defense is legit as you saw in week zero against New Mexico State. Leach vs Great D is a compelling matchup.

 

  1. FLORIDA ATLANTIC @ OKLAHOMA (SAT)

This could be another one I’m perhaps overrating but FAU has talent and OU is replacing the top pick in the draft. Teams normally struggle in Norman but perhaps the new bodies and lack of experience will keep this game close.

 

  1. LOUISVILLE VS ALABAMA (ORLANDO) (SAT)

I must admit I had this game ranked further back a few weeks ago but seeing Bobby Petrino call out Alabama has made this somewhat interesting to me. The Louisville O Line and Wideouts should be better than Jackson ever had. However, this game screams blowout. Especially after calling them out.

 

  1. OLE MISS VS TEXAS TECH (HOUSTON) (SAT)

This is one of the harder games to predict for week 1. I was originally favoring Ole Miss and then swung back to Texas Tech the past week or so but the truth is I don’t have a good feel on this game. I expect it to be close I’ll say that.

 

  1. NORTH CAROLINA @ CALIFORNIA (SAT)

I had this game ranked higher before the Jordan shoe selling suspensions at UNC. Cal won last year in Chapel Hill as huge underdogs. This should still be a highly entertaining game despite the suspensions.

 

  1. SAN DIEGO STATE @ STANFORD (FRI)

Last year Stanford got upset by San Diego State when they took an L at San Diego State. This year they get their chance at revenge when the Cardinals take on the Aztecs to start the season. San Diego State is bringing back their senior QB in Christian Chapman and well Stanford brings back Heisman hopeful Bryce Love.

 

  1. BOISE STATE @ TROY (SAT)

This is a great mid-major matchup. Both these teams are legit and can beat the big boys on any given day. Last year Troy lost at Boise in a close one. If Boise wants to run the table like some are saying they must find a way to win this one and a week 3 matchup in Stillwater.

 

  1. TENNESSEE VS WEST VIRGINIA (CHARLOTTE) (SAT)

West Virginia and Will Grier are getting a ton of hype this year. Tennessee is breaking in new head coach Jeremy Pruitt. On paper, WVU should easily win this game but that’s why they play the games.

 

  1. NORTHWESTERN @ PURDUE (THURS)

A Thursday night week 1 Conference matchup? I love it. Both these teams overachieved last year and both these teams are trending in the right direction. Brohm may take a step back in year 2 with how many defensive pieces they lost but this should be a great matchup.

 

  1. LSU vs MIAMI (FL) (ARLINGTON) (SUN)

I know I said the same thing about Texas Tech and Ole Miss but this is the game I really have no feeling on. Joe Burrow is the starting QB for LSU after coming over from Ohio State. Miami is bringing back senior QB Malik Rosier and is a preseason favorite to play for the ACC championship. This will be a close one.

 

  1. VIRGINIA TECH @ FLORIDA STATE (MON)

Woah what a great Labor Day matchup. Yet another conference game with huge implications. Florida State is breaking in a new head coach in Willie Taggart and Virginia Tech is replacing a ton on the defensive side of the ball.

 

  1. MICHIGAN @ NOTRE DAME (SAT)

Finally, this rivalry is back. I can’t wait for this one. Michigan brings back almost the entire defense and brings in Shea Patterson at QB. Notre Dame replaces a lot on the offensive line but the defense almost entirely comes back. This is must-see TV.

 

  1. AUBURN VS WASHINGTON (ATLANTA) (SAT)

Although this is a bullshit neutral site game man I’m excited about it. Both teams are extremely talented and capable of beating anyone. Both teams have great QB play and great defenses. Something has to give!

Colby Dant is a stand up comedian and The Sports Gambling Podcast's official college football and basketball expert. Unfortunately he's also a huge Jets fan.

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