I know there were two games this past Saturday, but I think it’s safe to say now that college football is OFFICIALLY BACK!!! Week 1 kicks off Thursday and games will be played every day through Monday.
In preparation for kickoff, here are the links to all 10 conference previews plus Notre Dame. Included are projected records for all 130 FBS teams and a write up on all Power 5 conference teams with a look at recent history, players to watch, and 2019 notes.
Here is what you need to know and to watch for in week 1.
Top 5 Games of the Week
Oregon vs Auburn
Oregon has one of the top QBs in the country, Justin Herbert, and Auburn has one of the top DTs in the country, Derrick Brown. While the Ducks are starting an experienced senior, Auburn is going with true freshman Bo Nix. Both teams have expectations to finish near the top of their respective conferences and a win could kickstart a potential playoff push.
More on this game below.
Florida State vs Boise State
2018 was the end of Florida State’s 26 year bowl streak. Seminoles look to rebound in year two of the Willie Taggart era against a team with a history of winning these neutral site week 1 powerhouse games. Boise State is starting a true freshman at QB, Hank Bachmeier. Bachmeier was the 6th ranked pro-style QB in the 2019 class.
Oklahoma vs Houston
New Houston coach Dana Holgorsen is 0-7 in his career vs Oklahoma, from his time with West Virginia.
The last time these two teams met, Houston won 33-23 back in 2016. Houston QB Greg Ward threw for 321 yards, 2 TDs and did not turn the ball over. Baker Mayfield threw 2 TDs to TE Mark Andrews and RB Joe Mixon ran one TD in, but it wasn’t enough.
Greg Ward might be gone, but D’Eriq King was responsible for 50 TDs in 2018 (38 pass, 12 rush) and Cougars upgraded their head coach, firing Major Applewhite and replacing him with Dana Holgorsen, who left West Virginia for this job.
Oklahoma’s starting QB is Jalen Hurts, the third straight year they will start a guy who transferred into the program. Hurts is 26-2 in his career as a starter, including a loss in the 2016 National Championship game and he was replaced in the 2017 game by Tua Tagovailoa, and never started again.
Northwestern vs Stanford
Two of the smartest teams in the country, both match-up top QBs from recent recruiting classes – Hunter Johnson and KJ Costello. Johnson was the #2 QB in the 2017 class. He initially committed to Clemson, but transferred to Northwestern. Costello was the #3 QB in the 2016 class.
These teams have tied twice – once in 1994 (41-41) and 1933 (0-0). Stanford has won 3 games, compared to 2 for Northwestern in the all-time series. Northwestern won the most recent meeting in 2015. It was an ugly game, 16-6. Stanford RB Christian McCaffery was limited to just 66 yards rushing.
Virginia vs Pittsburgh
Don’t overlook the significance of this game. Pitt won the ACC Coastal in 2018 and Virginia is the favorites to do so in 2019. They might have done in last year, if not for a 1-3 finish, which started when they lost by 10 to Pitt at home.
Utah vs BYU
The Utes lead the all-time series 58-31 and have won 8 in a row overall. This game still means a ton to both programs, but nationally has lost a little luster since these teams shared space in the Mountain West conference. Utah hasn’t lost since they moved onto the PAC-12 and BYU became independent. BYU last won in 2009.
Colorado vs Colorado State
Colorado has tripled Colorado State in the all-time series, leading 66-22, including the last 4 by a combined score of 133-47.
Both coaches have ties to Georgia as assistants. Colorado State head coach Mike Bobo served as Offensive Coordinator from 2007-2014, while new Colorado head coach Mel Tucker was Georgia’s Defensive Coordinator from 2016-2018.
Recent Bowl Rematches
Oregon vs Auburn
This is a rematch of the 2011 BCS Championship Game, which Auburn won 22-19. Cam Newton threw for 265 yards and 2 TD and ran for 65 yards. RB Michael Dyer ran for 143 yards on 22 carries.
For the Ducks, QB Darron Thomas threw for 363 yards, but 2 interceptions. As a team, Oregon ran for just 75 yards.
Both coaches from this game left after 2012 for different reasons. Auburn fired Gene Chizik, who went 11-14 in the two years that followed this victory. Chip Kelly lost just 3 games, won the Rose and Fiesta Bowls and bolted for the NFL.
USC vs Fresno State
This is a rematch of the 2013 Las Vegas Bowl, which USC won 45-20. Cody Kessler completed 22-30 passes, 345 yards, 4 TD and INT. 2 of those TD passes went to Marquise Lee (7 catches, 118 yards) and 2 of them went to Nelson Agholor (5 catches, 94 yards). For Fresno State, they had Derek Carr (216 yards, 2 TD) at QB and Davante Adams (9 catches, 73 yards, TD) at WR.
USC opened the 2014 season with a 52-13 win over Fresno State. Kessler once again threw 4 TD (2 to Nelson Agholor) and WR Juju Smith-Schuster had 123 yards receiving on just 4 catches.
Notable P5 vs G5 games
- Ole Miss @ Memphis
- Wisconsin @ USF
- UCLA @ Cincinnati
- Purdue @ Nevada
- Missouri @ Wyoming
- Utah St @ Wake Forest
Notable G5 vs G5
- FIU vs Tulane
- SMU vs Arkansas St
Potential FCS vs FBS Upsets
- Cal Poly vs California
- South Dakota State vs Minnesota
- Northern Colorado vs San Jose State
- Howard vs Maryland
- Indiana St vs Kansas
- James Madison vs West Virginia
Other notable games notes
Alabama vs Duke – Duke beat Alabama in the 1945 Sugar Bowl. Duke Head Coach David Cutcliffe is an Alabama alum.
South Carolina vs North Carolina – Mack Brown will coach his first game since 2013 (Texas) and his first game at UNC since 1997.
Clemson vs Georgia Tech – It’s going to be difficult enough for new coach Geoff Collins to install a whole new offensive system at GT, one that involves throwing the football down the field and utilizing WRs and TEs as pass catchers, not blockers. It doesn’t help that the Jackets travel to Clemson to face the champs week 1.
Notre Dame vs Louisville – The same as above for GT, can be said for Louisville. Scott Satterfield is a good coach who did amazing things at Appalachian State, but 2019 projects to be a difficult year for the Cardinals. Notre Dame went 12-0 last year and despite losing a few pieces, should be back in the Playoffs conversation this season.
Last season I picked games straight up with 75% accuracy. In 2019, I am 1-1 (picked Florida and Arizona in Week 0)
|UCLA at Cincinnati||Cincinnati|
|Wagner at UConn||UConn|
|Albany at Central Michigan||Central Michigan|
|Morgan State at Bowling Green||Bowling Green|
|Robert Morris at Buffalo||Buffalo|
|Florida A&M at #17 UCF||UCF|
|Central Arkansas at Western Kentucky||Western Kentucky|
|Gardner-Webb at Charlotte||Charlotte|
|Georgia Tech at #1 Clemson||Clemson|
|Florida International at Tulane||Tulane|
|Alabama State at UAB||UAB|
|Texas State at #12 Texas A&M||Texas A&M|
|South Dakota State at Minnesota||Minnesota|
|Kent State at Arizona State||Arizona State|
|Northern Colorado at San Jose State||San Jose State|
|#14 Utah at BYU||Utah|
|Rice at Army||Army|
|Tulsa at #18 Michigan State||Michigan State|
|#19 Wisconsin at South Florida||USF|
|UMass at Rutgers||Rutgers|
|Utah State at Wake Forest||Utah State|
|Purdue at Nevada||Purdue|
|Colorado State at Colorado||Colorado|
|Oklahoma State at Oregon State||Oklahoma St|
|Florida Atlantic at #5 Ohio State||Ohio St|
|Northern Iowa at #21 Iowa State||Iowa St|
|South Alabama at #24 Nebraska||Nebraska|
|Akron at Illinois||Illinois|
|Indiana vs. Ball State||Indiana|
|Howard at Maryland||Maryland|
|Indiana State at Kansas||Kansas|
|Toledo at Kentucky||Toledo|
|Ole Miss at Memphis||Memphis|
|Mississippi State vs. Louisiana||Mississippi St|
|East Carolina at NC State||NC State|
|James Madison at West Virginia||West Virginia|
|Rhode Island at Ohio||Ohio|
|Eastern Washington at #13 Washington||Washington|
|Bucknell at Temple||Temple|
|Duke vs. #2 Alabama||Alabama|
|Idaho at #15 Penn State||Penn St|
|Colgate at Air Force||Air Force|
|Holy Cross at Navy||Navy|
|Eastern Michigan at Coastal Carolina||Coastal Carolina|
|South Carolina vs. North Carolina||South Carolina|
|Georgia State at Tennessee||Tennessee|
|East Tennessee State at Appalachian State||Appalachian State|
|Northwestern at #25 Stanford||Stanford|
|Portland State at Arkansas||Arkansas|
|Montana State at Texas Tech||Texas Tech|
|Virginia Tech at Boston College||Boston College|
|#22 Syracuse at Liberty||Syracuse|
|Sam Houston State at New Mexico||New Mexico|
|Incarnate Word at UTSA||UTSA|
|Campbell at Troy||Troy|
|UC Davis at California||UC Davis|
|VMI at Marshall||Marshall|
|Norfolk State at Old Dominion||Old Dominion|
|Alcorn State at Southern Mississippi||Southern Miss|
|Illinois State at Northern Illinois||Northern Illinois|
|Monmouth at Western Michigan||Western Michigan|
|SMU at Arkansas State||Arkansas St|
|Boise State vs. Florida State||Florida St|
|Nicholls at Kansas State||Kansas St|
|Stephen F. Austin at Baylor||Baylor|
|#3 Georgia at Vanderbilt||Georgia|
|Georgia Southern at #6 LSU||LSU|
|Middle Tennessee at #7 Michigan||Michigan|
|#11 Oregon vs. #16 Auburn||Oregon|
|Miami (OH) at #20 Iowa||Iowa|
|Missouri at Wyoming||Missouri|
|Abilene Christian at North Texas||North Texas|
|Virginia at Pittsburgh||Virginia|
|Louisiana Tech at #10 Texas||Texas|
|Houston Baptist at UTEP||UTEP|
|Arkansas-Pine Bluff at TCU||TCU|
|Grambling at UL Monroe||UL Monroe|
|Weber State at San Diego State||San Diego St|
|New Mexico State at #23 Washington State||Washington St|
|Southern Utah at UNLV||UNLV|
|Fresno State at USC||USC|
|Houston at #4 Oklahoma||Oklahoma|
|#9 Notre Dame @ Louisville||Notre Dame|
For more college football previews, click here