Thursday, February 6, 2020

World’s Earliest Week 1 College Football Schedule

By Kevin Beane

It's time again for what has become an annual tradition around here, where we do a light preview of the notable games in Week 1 of college football, despite the fact that it is over 6 1/2 months away. As always, this is only possible thanks to the inimitable

The bad news: I don't think Week 1 is as strong in 2020 as it has been in years' past. The good news: there are six Week 0 games involving FBS teams, compared to two last year and four the year before.

I'll give those games a quicker rundown. They are Notre Dame vs. Navy in Dublin, UC Davis at Nevada, Idaho State at New Mexico, Cal at UNLV, Hawaii at Arizona, and New Mexico State at UCLA. The best of the bunch is probably Hawaii at Arizona, as the Wildcats try to avenge their dramatic last-second defeat at the hands of Hawaii last year.

On to notable games of Week 1 proper:

Thursday, September 3

Clemson at Georgia Tech — This kicked off Week 1 proper last year too, except it was in Clemson.

North Carolina State at Louisville — I see the ACC has really decided to hit Week 1 hard out of the gates.

Utah at BYU — Like Georgia Tech/Clemson, a Week 1 repeat of last year with the home venue reversed.

Oregon State at Oklahoma State — Like Utah/BYU, a Week 1 repeat of last year with the home venue reversed.

FAU at Minnesota — Now we can see if Lane Kiffin can be lead FAU to a big upse...wait, scratch that narrative.

Friday, September 4

Syracuse at Boston College — Only five ACC teams play out-of-conference foes on Week 1.

Indiana at Wisconsin — Will be interesting to see if Indiana, coming off their best season since 1993, can hang on the road against a Jonathan Taylor-less Wisconsin.

Saturday, September 5

West Virginia vs. Florida State in Atlanta — You can almost already feel the hype for the winner of this matchup going unfulfilled.

Temple at Miami (FL) — The Al Golden Used to Coach Here Bowl.

USF at Texas — The Charlie Strong Used to Coach Here Bowl.

Northwestern at Michigan State, Purdue at Nebraska — What's up with all these Week 1 conference games? I like it, because I also like the weirdness of latter season non-conference games, which these early conference games make happen.

Texas Tech at UTEP — There's really no excuse for UTEP to be bad as they are — their stadium is so gorgeous that P5 teams regularly come to play here, as well as the Sun Bowl.

Colorado at Colorado State — This is usually played in neutral Denver, but this one will be in Fort Collins and the last of this series to be held annually before it enters a hiatus.

UCLA at Hawaii — The Rainbow Warriors went 2-1 against the Pac-12 last year, and this year's slate has three Pac-12 foes on the schedule, as well.

Washington State at Utah State — Considering the Aggies have gone bowling eight of the last nine years, this was a pretty gutsy road game for the Cougars to schedule.

Alabama vs. USC in Arlington, TX — For as much as Clay Helton has been on the hottest seat, would there be a safer seat in the country if the Trojans somehow won?

TCU at Cal — This, I'm sure, was a sexier matchup when it was actually scheduled.

Michigan at Washington — Potential Rose Bowl preview?

Baylor vs. Ole Miss in Houston — A great chance for either Lane Kiffin or Dave Aranda to start their new lives with a bang.

North Dakota State at Oregon — This is the Week 1 game I'm looking forward to the most. You already know NDSU has utterly dominated FCS for a decade, but they've also knocked off their share of P5 schools. This one, though, will likely be the toughest of them all.

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