Nearly every FBS school in the nation will be on the field for the official start of the college football season in Week 1. While most programs will be playing a weaker non-conference or FCS opponent, there are some marquee matchups. The biggest game of the week is undoubtedly Georgia heading to Death Valley to take on Clemson. One of these two teams will get a huge leg up in their bid to make the revamped College Football Playoff with a win.

Week 1 Schedule

Wednesday, September 1

UAB vs. Jacksonville State

 

Thursday, September 2

  • Weber State at Utah
  • Eastern Washington at UNLV
  • Houston Baptist at New Mexico
  • Temple at Rutgers
  • Long Island at Florida International
Boise State at UCF (-5)

The news of an expanded College Football Playoff is huge for UCF and Boise State. These have been the two best Group of Five programs in the 21st Century with Boise State owning the 2000s and UCF claiming the 2010s. This will be the first game on the sidelines for both Boise State’s Andy Avalos and UCF’s Gus Malzahn.

  • Western Illinois at Ball State
  • Wagner at Buffalo
  • The Citadel at Coastal Carolina
  • South Florida at North Carolina State
  • East Carolina vs. Appalachian State
  • UC Davis at Tulsa
  • Bowling Green at Tennessee
  • UT Martin at Western Kentucky
  • Ohio State at Minnesota
  • Southern Utah at Arizona State

 

Friday, September 3

North Carolina at Virginia Tech (+6.5)

Sam Howell is a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate. Howell’s play under center has helped make Mack Brown’s return to Chapel Hill a rousing success through the first two seasons. The Tar Heels might be able to challenge Clemson for ACC supremacy this season with the Tigers losing Trevor Lawrence and a boatload of other starters, and a trip to Blacksburg to start off the 2021 season will be a good test.

  • Duke at Charlotte
  • Old Dominion at Wake Forest
  • St. Francis (PA) at Eastern Michigan
  • South Dakota at Kansas
Michigan State at Northwestern (-6.5)
  • Northern Colorado at Colorado
  • South Dakota State at Colorado State

 

Saturday, September 4

  • Montana State at Wyoming
  • Portland State at Hawaii
  • Lafayette at Air Force
  • Louisiana-Monroe at Kentucky
  • Colgate at Boston College
Western Michigan at Michigan (-17.5)
Penn State at Wisconsin (-4)

The Nittany Lions were probably the unluckiest team in the country last season. Penn State lost its first five games when it probably should have been no worse than 2-3 at that juncture. The Nittany Lions came together to win their last four games, and they won all those games by double digits. They will have a great chance to pull off the upset in Camp Randall.

  • Holy Cross at UConn
  • Stanford vs. Kansas State
  • Oklahoma at Tulane
  • Army at Georgia State
  • Fordham at Nebraska
  • Rice at Arkansas
  • Fresno State at Oregon
Alabama at Miami (FL) (+17.5)
  • Marshall at Navy
Indiana at Iowa (-5.5)
  • West Virginia at Maryland
  • Northern Iowa at Iowa State
  • Miami (OH) at Cincinnati
  • Louisiana Tech at Mississippi State
  • Central Michigan at Missouri
  • UMass at Pittsburgh
  • Louisiana-Lafayette at Texas
  • San Jose State at USC
  • Campbell at Liberty
  • Gardner-Webb at Georgia Southern
  • Akron at Auburn
  • Eastern Illinois at South Carolina
  • Monmouth at Middle Tennessee State
  • Syracuse at Ohio
Oregon State at Purdue (-5.5)
  • Texas Tech vs. Houston
  • Missouri State at Oklahoma State
  • Baylor at Texas State
  • Nicholls at Memphis
  • Abilene Christian at SMU
  • Norfolk State at Toledo
  • Central Arkansas at Arkansas State
  • Southern at Troy
  • Florida Atlantic at Florida
Georgia at Clemson (-3.5)

This should be the College Gameday Game as Georgia and Clemson are both expected to start the season ranked in the top ten, if not the top five. The Tigers are replacing more talent than they have at any point over the last five years, as Trevor Lawrence and four other starters on offense were selected in the 2021 NFL Draft. That will give Kirby Smart a golden opportunity to pick up a statement win early in the season.

  • Northwestern State at North Texas
  • UTSA at Illinois
  • Northern Illinois at Georgia Tech
  • William & Mary at Virginia
  • Kent State at Texas A&M
  • East Tennessee State at Vanderbilt
  • Southern Miss at South Alabama
  • Duquesne at TCU
  • Montana at Washington
LSU at UCLA (+3.5)
  • Bethune Cookman at UTEP
  • Nevada at California
  • BYU at Arizona
  • New Mexico State at San Diego State
  • Utah State at Washington State

 

Sunday, September 5

Notre Dame at Florida State (+10)

The last four seasons have seen Florida State turn from a title contender into a downtrodden program. The Seminoles won at least 10 games for five straight years under Jimbo Fisher, but they haven’t had a winning record since he left for Texas A&M near the end of the 2017 season. A win over Notre Dame would be enormous for a program in desperate need of a shot in the arm.

 

Monday, September 6

Ole Miss at Louisville (+7.5)

 

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