The beginning of college football is right around the corner and I thought I would look at some match ups to watch the first weekend. I know we will all have our eyes on Michigan versus Alabama , Boise State versus Michigan State and Auburn versus Clemson. Those are the " marquee match ups" in the eyes of many college football fans. I think the first weekend brings a breath of fresh air and there is is plenty of compelling games outside the big three.
-South Carolina at Vanderbilt (thurs August 30). This is not only a conference game but a potentially dangerous trip for Steve Spurrier. A win for a rising Vandy program could lead them to a seven win plus season and who knows a New Year's Day Game.
-North Carolina State vs Tennessee (Friday August 31). I think this is a must win for both coaches especially Derek Dooley. This is at the Georgia Dome and the ACC would love to notch a win versus the SEC. The Vols could have the best receiving corps in the country and I am not sure the Wolfpack can match up.
-Southern Miss at Nebraska- Ellis Johnson's debut for the Golden Eagles at Big Ten power Nebraska. The Huskers style will keep Southern Miss in the game.Taylor Martinez needs a fast start or people will begin to doubt him.
-Miami Ohio at Ohio State- Urban Meyer's first game is the same as the first game of his last season at Florida. Don't imagine the Redhawks have a chance but seeing the refreshed Meyer on the sideline should be interesting.
-Miami at Boston College- Conference games opening weekend ar always more fun to watch. Montel Harris returns for Boston College, while it seems nobody but Al Golden returns for the Canes.
-UCF at Akron- Welcome back to FCS football Terry Bowden, your return is long over due.
-Washington State at Byu ( Thursday August 30) Welcome back to college football Mike Leach.
-Kentucky at Louisville ( Sunday Sept 2nd) in state rivals square off inside the Bluegrass State.You get the feeling Joker Phillips could use this game. With a daunting SEC schedule in front of the Wildcats they need all the wins they can get to make a bowl game. Charlie Strong wants to make sure that not only his team represent the downtrodded Big East but get inside the rankings as well.
-Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech (Monday Sept 3) Labor Day night brings us an ACC divisional showdown. The Hokies had all summer to prepare for Paul Johnson's offense, is that too much time? Can the Jackets shore up their defense to make a run to Charlotte? Logan Thomas becomes the focul point of the Hokie offense and I like it. If Va Tech can throw they will once again be playing in Charlotte for an ACC title.
Others worth watching:Notre Dame vs Navy in Dublin-Irish have a tough schedule and cant afford to give this game away.Hawaii at USC-Lane Kiffin begins to show he can handle expectations.Arkansas State at Oregon-Gus Malzhan versus Chip Kelly again, but this time the players are on the ducks side!