19 Best College Football Games of Week 1

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Joe Broback

Joe is a writer covering the NFL, NBA, NHL and college football. He also currently writes for SB Nation’s Underdog Dynasty, covering the American Athletic Conference since 2016. Joe enjoys collecting shoes, playing sports, and anything fitness related.
Joe Broback
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In just 19 days, we’ll have college football games on our televisions/phones/laptops/however you watch games. Isn’t that exciting? Week 1 games provide so much excitement across the country. First games mean new beginnings and new potential. They present opportunity and hope, and no one has lost any games yet. Everyone’s in the race, and we learn a lot from these games. More importantly, fans are just happy the best sport in the world is back. Let’s take a look at the top games for Week 1 of the 2019 season.

UCLA at Cincinnati

What to watch: Dorian Thompson-Robinson vs. Desmond Ridder

Luke Fickell’s team launched their successful 2018 campaign with a win at UCLA last year. The Bruins are far from the same team they faced last year, and the Bearcats won’t surprise anyone this season. Chip Kelly’s success hinges on his quarterback’s play. Dorian Thompson-Robinson showed flashes of being a reliable starter, but will be tested heading into the season. Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder took over as the starter last year, and played a big role in the Bearcats offensive success. Cincinnati’s also at home, so advantage Bearcats.

Georgia Tech at Clemson

What to watch: Georgia Tech’s new look offense

Geoff Collins’ first task as the new Yellow Jackets head coach is to face the defending national champions. While no one’s expecting this game to be close, it will be weird to watch a Georgia Tech team run an offense that isn’t the triple option. After that, we’ll sit back and enjoy watching one of the best offenses in the country. Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne, Justyn Ross, Tee Higgins get off to a great start for 2019.

Utah at BYU

What to watch: The uniforms and intensity

Both teams wear their home uniforms, which needs to happen more around college football. Besides that, this rivalry gets us started for the season. Favorites get thrown out of the window with this one, as 15 of the last 18 contests were decided by one score. The intensity will be high, and both teams are out to prove something. Frankly, it’s must watch television. Zach Wilson vs. Tyler Huntley provides entertainment, and both teams have stingy defenses.

Wisconsin at USF

What to watch: USF D-Line vs. Wisconsin O-Line

Charlie Strong’s on the hot seat, but it would cool down significantly with a win against the Badgers. For that to happen, the Bulls defensive line needs to play the best it’s ever played. Wisconsin produces some of the best offensive lines in college football history. They also have one of the best running backs in the country in Jonathan Taylor. USF’s hands are full trying to stop the Badgers ground game, and it could be a long game if they lose the battle in the trenches.

Utah State at Wake Forest

What to watch: Gary Andersen’s new Aggies era

After a double digit win season, Utah State needed a new coach. Matt Wells left for the vacant Texas Tech job, and the Aggies brought back a familiar face. He went 26-24 in his first tenure with the Aggies, and produced the program’s first ever 11-win season. Wake Forest will be on upset alert, and must find a way to slow down Aggies quarterback Jordan Love.

Purdue at Nevada

What to watch: Purdue WR Rondale Moore and Nevada QB Malik Henry

Moore gives the Boilermakers arguably the most dynamic playmaker in the country. Nevada will find that out quickly, and the better be thinking of a way to stop him. Moore could win this game by himself with a monster performance, and should command most of the spotlight. Some of that attention will head over to the Wolfpack’s quarterback. Malik Henry hasn’t won the starting job yet, but he should.

Colorado State vs. Colorado (Denver)

What to watch: Colorado’s Steven Montez and Laviska Shenault Jr.

Pay attention to Colorado State’s QB Collin Hill too. Hill worked with Peyton Manning in the offseason, and should be better than last year. Montez and Shenault should steal the show in this one. The Buffs quarterback has an NFL arm, and their receiver is a Heisman candidate. Colorado should win this one by a decent margin, but rivalry games are weird.

Oklahoma State at Oregon State

What to watch: Cowboys quarterbacks and Beavers RB Jermar Jefferson

Mike Gundy needs a quarterback, and doesn’t have a definitely answer at the position. It likely won’t be solved by the time this game is played either. Spencer Sanders and Dru Brown are battling for the starting spot, and neither has separated themselves from the other. Oregon State appears headed for another losing season, but their running back will be fun to watch. Jefferson rushed for 1,380 yards last year as a freshman, and the Cowboys don’t exactly thrive defensively.

Ole Miss at Memphis

What to watch: Memphis new coaching staff

Ole Miss must replace AJ Brown, DK Metcalf, and DeMarkus Lodge at receiver, but some believe the next guys up are just as talented. The Rebels have their hands full to start the season with the Tigers too. Memphis head coach Mike Norvell’s habit of winning has consequences. He needs to find new coaches seemingly every year. The Tigers have the talent on both sides of the ball to go undefeated, but will they gel with the new coaches by the time they play Ole Miss?

Eastern Washington at Washington

What to watch: Jacob Eason’s home debut

Eason returned home to play for the hometown Huskies, and we finally get to watch him in purple and gold. His transfer came at the perfect time with Jake Browning exhausting his eligibility. Washington’s schedule doesn’t appear too daunting, and we’ll get a glimpse of how good they’ll be under their new quarterback.

South Carolina vs. North Carolina (Charlotte)

What to watch: Mack Brown’s return to coaching

Mack Brown’s been working for ESPN for seemingly a long time, but he finally got back into coaching. North Carolina brought him back after struggling under Larry Fedora. A few years ago, this game would garner a ton of attention, but the Tar Heels have gone in the wrong direction. South Carolina still can’t look past them though, and they have things to prove of their own.

Duke vs. Alabama (Atlanta)

What to watch: Margin of victory of Alabama

Anyone taking Duke to win this game needs help. Throw in the fact that Alabama has a collective chip on their shoulder from getting smothered by Clemson, and this game’s already out of hand. The question becomes how many points will Alabama score? Right now, 60 seems too low. Duke might not cross the 50 all game.

Northwestern at Stanford

What to watch: Cardinal O-Line vs. Wildcats’ front seven

Skill positions beware, we’re not watching you in this one. It’s the battle in the trenches that determines the game. Stanford’s offensive line will be one of the best in the country once again. However, Northwestern’s defense has some of the best players in the nation at their respective positions. Guys like Paddy Fisher and Blake Gallagher are elite, but will be tested by the Cardinal offense (physically and mentally).

Virginia Tech at Boston College

What to watch: VT DC Bud Foster vs. AJ Dillon

Foster’s first task of 2019 is finding a way to stop a freight train. His defense wasn’t nearly up to his standards last year, and Dillon’s a monster coming out of the Eagles backfield. That’s not exactly what you would call easing into the season. We’ve seen what happens to defenders who don’t bring their best to tackle Dillon, and usually it ends up on SportsCenter. Virginia Tech has division title hopes, but they must focus right off the bat for those dreams to come true.

Boise State vs. Florida State (Jacksonville)

What to watch: FSU’s new offense

Willie Taggart can’t win in this game. Either he wins and it won’t be by enough, or they lose and fans call for his head. A win at least would get his team headed in the right direction. Taggart got so desperate in the offseason that he brought in Kendal Briles to run the offense. Briles turned around both Houston and FAU’s offenses the last two years, and he’ll try to go 3-for-3 with the ‘Noles. Boise State’s not afraid of anyone, so Florida State must bring their best game. Hopefully, a new OC is all they need to come out 1-0.

Georgia at Vanderbilt

What to watch: Pretty much anyone on Georgia

Kirby Smart’s team essentially has three warm up games before they face Notre Dame. Okay, Vanderbilt’s not a warm up, but it seems that way. The Bulldogs are arguably more talented at every position, but there are a handful of players to watch for the Commodores. Running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn, receiver Kalija Lipscomb, and TE Jared Pinkney are three of the best at their respective positions. They’ll just have a tough time against the Georgia defense.

Oregon vs. Auburn (Arlington)

What to watch: Oregon O-Line vs. Auburn D-Line

Oregon wins this game if their offensive line is a good as we’re all hyping them up to be. Auburn won’t make it easy. Guys like Derrick Brown, Nick Coe and Marlon Davidson will test the Ducks offensive line. If they can win the battle in the trenches, CJ Verdell and Travis Dye will run all over the Tigers defense. Justin Herbert will also have time to throw. Auburn has their own concerns about their offense, but can help themselves by winning line of scrimmage defensively.

Fresno State at USC

What to watch: USC’s air raid?

Fresno State could give the Trojans a tough game, and that’s something to watch. What more fans are curious about is Graham Harrell’s offense. The former North Texas offensive coordinator was lured to USC to run his offense. JT Daniels and his receivers will be doing a lot more work this year, but we’re not sure if that will work. If Daniels and Harrell are a match, USC will compete in the Pac-12. If they don’t, Clay Helton is shown the door quickly.

Houston at Oklahoma

What to watch: D’Eriq King vs. Jalen Hurts

Hurts is getting his final chance to start, and King’s looking for respect. Both have something to prove in this game, and we’d probably prefer it if both defenses didn’t show up. This has the makings of a shootout with all of the offensive talent, and it should go Oklahoma’s way. Then again, we thought that in 2016 when the Cougars upset the Sooners in Week 1. As long as both quarterbacks dominate, this one should be the most entertaining game of the week.

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