College football is back!! WOO HOO!! There are some really interesting games to watch this week.
Wisconsin (-13) @ USF - Fri 08/30 7:00pm on ESPN
As we ALL know, USF opens the season this Friday evening on ESPN against #19 Wisconsin. The Badgers are rebuilding an offensive line around future a NFL center to open holes for Heisman candidate RB Taylor. QB Coan, who started five games last season, is the only QB on the depth chart with any experience. The heat and humidity of Florida in August will be a equalizer.
The American Games
UCLA @ Cincinnati (-2 ½) - Thu 08/29 7:00pm on ESPN [Cincinnati beat UCLA on the road, which sparked a turnaround year under then first-year coach Luke Fickell. Can the Bruins return the favor? Will Fickell see a sophomore slump?]
Wagner @ Connecticut (-17 ½) - Thu 08/29 7:00pm on ESPN3 [Wouldn't it be fun if the Huskies went 0-fer?]
Florida A&M @ #17 UCF (-45 ½) - Thu 08/29 7:00pm on CBSSN [The Rattlers just aren't a true test of the Knight's abilities, but it will show whether or not Wimbush was the right choice for QB.]
FIU @ Tulane (-2) - Thu 08/29 8:00pm on ESPN3 [The Green Wave should get off to a good start, and we will see if "Fritzmagic" will continue the Wave's upward trend.]
Tulsa @ #18 Michigan State (-20) - Fri 08/30 7:00pm on FS1 [Golden Hurricane coach Montgomery might be on the hot seat if they cannot improve this season. Tough way to start.]
East Carolina @ NC State (-16 ½) - Sat 08/31 12:00 Noon on ACCN [The Pirates face their geographically-closest in-state rival, and this game will be the start of the rebuilding under Mike Houston. (Cue the "Houston we have a problem" jokes.]
Ole Miss @ Memphis (-5 ½) - Sat 08/31 12:00 Noon on ABC [The Tigers are a darkhorse candidate to win the AAC West, despite losing a good chunk of their offense.]
Bucknell @ Temple (-40 ½) - Sat 08/31 3:00pm on ESPN3 [FCS opponents just aren't the best gauge in game one, especially in-state FCS teams. It will be interesting to see how the Owls handle their new coach. ]
Holy Cross @ Navy (-21 ½) - Sat 08/31 3:30pm on CBSSN [One interesting thing to watch, Navy brought in a passing game coordinator to use "run and shoot" aspects as part of the triple option's passing game.]
SMU @ Arkansas State (-2 ½) - Sat 08/31 7:00pm on ESPN+ [The Mustangs start their year as road underdogs at a Sun Belt team. Nuff said?]
Houston @ #4 Oklahoma (-22) - Sun 09/01 7:30pm on ESPN [One benefit of hiring a B12 coach, he will be familiar with what the Sooners will do. This is most definitely the "Game of the Week" for the American, as clearly a Cougar win would be a significant upset.]
USF Non-conference Opponents
Wisconsin @ USF (see above)
Georgia Tech @ Clemson (-36) - Thu 08/29 at 8:00pm on ACC Network [Tough opening game for a new coach implementing a new offense with players who fit a drastically different system.]
Wofford @ South Carolina State - Sat 08/31 at 6:00pm not on TV [The Bulldogs could be a player in the MEAC this season, with a returning QB who joined the 1000-1000 club last season.]
#14 Utah (-5 ½) @ Brigham Young - Thu 08/29 at 10:15pm on ESPN [Opening the season with a Holy War is always fun. A Cougar win would be beneficial for USF's strength of schedule, for sure.]
Other games of interest
Boise State @ Florida State (-5) - Sat 08/31 at 7:00pm on ESPN [Taggart continues to rebuild the Seminoles, and this game will be an interesting check of that progress.]
#11 Oregon vs #16 Auburn (-3 ½) at Arlington - Sat 08/31 at 7:30pm on ABC [Can Auburn replace their NFL QB? Compare that to a Hiesman candidate at QB for Oregon.]
Of the ranked teams playing this weekend, nearly all of them are favored to win by 3 or even more touchdowns -- #25 Stanford is not quite a TD favorite against Northwestern, #21 Iowa State and #22 Syracuse are just under 3 TD favorites against Northern Iowa and Liberty (SU on the road @ FCS??) respectively. Everyone else is 21+ favorites.