Week 1 of College football kicks off tonight with 3 or 4 pretty good games and then tomorrow night with some good matchups then Saturday will have some epics with the Bama-FSU headlining the weekend. What a first game on Saturday Night at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Hotlanta. Can't wait. Auburn is amped up for their 2017 campaign and they should be with new signal caller Jarrett Stidham at the helm along with a ton of talent on both sides of the ball. The Tigers open with Georgia Southern on the Plains Saturday Night. Plenty of stellar SEC versus out of conference matchups in the hopper. Some other solid national games. Here's a look at the action in week 1 of the 2017 college football season. Should be spectacular.
Last year's record: 223-112, 67%
All games Saturday unless otherwise noted
No.1 Alabama vs. No.3 Florida State
Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA. 83,000
7 PM CT
Chris Fowler, Herbie, Tom Rinaldi Maria Taylor
Line: Bama by 7
What a blockbuster matching 2 Hall of Fame coaching minds, probably the best ever in Nick Saban, 2 stellar programs and one heckuva venue. Jalen Hurts is back for year 2 after being named SEC player of the year in 2016. I'm expecting huge things in year 2 from Jalen under the tutelage of new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, who comes to the Crimson Tide after serving as the tight ends coach for the New England Patriots. I really like this hire by S. Daboll is going to do some special things in Tuscaloosa. And Jalen has weapons galore around him. First, he'll have a line anchored by center Bradley Bozeman, and potential All American left tackle Jonah Williams. Jonah is another super left tackle in the footsteps of Cam Robinson and others to don the Crimson jersey. Bo Scarbrough, my favorite running back in college football, is healthy, along with the underrated Damien Harris and super freshman Najee Harris. That's seriously formidable rushing attack. Through the air, the great Calvin Ridley is back for his junior season. Super kid, hard worker and exceptional talent. I'm looking forward to seeing Robert Foster in his senior season. He's got so much talent, but he's just had some bad luck with injuries. He can be a standout as well. And awesome freshman Jerry Jeudy looks to be lightning in a bottle on the perimeter with take it to the house potential every time he gets his hands on the football. Really excited about Jeudy. Hunter Hentges will start at tight end. Hadn't seen much of Hunter as O.J. Howard owned the position before becoming a first round draft pick by the Tampa Bay Bucs where he is excelling. Looking forward to seeing how Daboll uses Hunter. On defense, I know S was looking for leadership, and I see plenty of options. Shaun Dion Hamilton is back from a tough knee injury he suffered in the SEC title game, but he's healthy, he's an awesome player and is a leader at middle linebacker. Minkah Fitzpatrick is another leader on defense and a key cog at strong safety in a highly talented secondary along with Anthony Averett and Trevon Diggs at the corners and the headhunter Ronnie Harrison at free safety. The talented Tony Brown will play the fifth secondary spot at star. The d line may be without Raekwon Davis, the promising defensive tackle who was shot last week at a bar in Tuscaloosa after watching the Mayweather- McGregor fight. He's day to day as it was not a severe injury, so we'll see. Still like De'Shawn Hand, and Da'Ron Payne up front and there is depth though a little untested.
The Noles have talent of their own. Deondre Francis is a stellar sophomore quarterback. He's accurate and can move around pretty well. He got sacked a lot last season and kept getting up. He's impressive. I like Jacques Patrick, who's listed as the starter at running back. Awesome freshman Cam Akers will see plenty of playing time and should be stellar. The wide outs don't have a ton of experience but Jimbo Fisher has recruited well and they coach'em up well in Tallahassee. The line is back with a lot of experience. They'll need to handle the Crimson Tide pressure, which will be a test. On defense, safety Derwin James is a first team All American player. He's superb. So this is a talented team as well.
Last call for... the outcome
I really like this FSU team. I'm highly bullish on them. They have a shot to be special. But I'm even more bullish on this Crimson Tide. They have an amazing assemblage of players and coaches, and the Tide is always impressive in week 1. Should be a classic, but I like the Tide to prevail in their march toward eliteness in 2017.
Alabama 35, FSU 24
No. 12 Auburn vs. Georgia Southern
Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, 87,451
6:30 PM CT
Tom Hart, Jordan Rodgers, Cole Cubelic
Auburn by 34 1/2
I'm also very bullish on this 2017 Auburn football team. I believe in Jarrett Stidham. He's going have a strong season. He is very accurate throwing the ball, can make explosive plays in the passing game, and he's an underrated, excellent athlete who can make things happen with his wheels. Kam Pettway and Kerryon Johnson are back for big years at running back. Both need to stay healthy, and if they do, they should both have super years. Malik Miller looks like a pretty good No.3 option. I'm really looking forward to seeing Nate Craig-Myers at wide receiver. He's a house call waiting to happen. He's going to have a tremendous season. Kyle Davis, Eli Stove and Darrius Slayton are outstanding targets as well. Really like this offensive line. Right guard Braden Smith is as tough as a wrought iron fence, and as mean as Al Capone. Austin Golson is stellar at center. This is a really tough, physical group. On defense, the Tigers have their best linebacker corps since Gus Malzahn has been at Aubrun with Darrell Williams, Tre Williams and DeShaun Davis starters. Really like them. The secondary is excellent with strong safety Tray Matthews as their leader. Cornerback Carlton Davis is primed for a potentially spectacular junior season. Stephen Roberts is solid at free safety. Javaris Davis will play the other corner spot opposite Carlton Davis, so he'll need to step up in his first year as a starter. The d line is anchored by big defensive end Marlon Davidson, but he's questionable for tomorrow. Davidson is a little banged up, but he's OK for the future. Gus may not play him tomorrow night. Derrick Brown is going to be a stud this season at tackle and Dontavius Russell is an exceptional nose guard. Also like Byron Cowart, a former 5 star like Davidson and Brown, to reach his potential this season. The awesome Daniel Carlson is back for kicking duties. Ian Shannon is the punter, in his first year. Punt returners are Stephen Roberts and Ryan Davis, and kickoff returners are Kerryon and Javaris Davis. There's some explosiveness in the return game.
Georgia Southern runs the triple option which is always tough to defend, so the Tigers defense will have their hands full. Southern upset Florida a couple of years ago, so AU needs to be on alert.
While Georgia Southern will give Auburn some early problems with their run game, I like the Tigers to take care of business and get ready for a colossal showdown @ Clemson.
Auburn 45, Ga. Southern 10
Appalachian State @ No. 15 Georgia
Sanford Stadium, Athens, GA., 92, 746
5:15 PM CT
Mike Patrick, Tubby, Paul Carcaterra
I like Nick Chubb and Sony Michel to have big games, but App State is a pretty solid group. Still like the Dawgs to take care of business and get ready for a trip to South Bend in week 2. But this will be tougher than some think.
Dawgs 31, App State 28
No. 11 Michigan vs. No. 17 Florida
AT&T Stadium, Jerry country, Dallas, 100,000
2:30 PM CT
Tess, Todd, Holly
Coach Mac has suspended 10 players for this game including standout receiver Antonio Callaway and starting running back Jordan Scarlett, who were 2 of the players involved in a school credit card scandal in which they were selling free stuff for extra money. Really unintelligent move by these players. But I still like new starting quarterback Feleipe Franks. I've watched him, he's a really good passer and he has good talent around him. Florida will have a good defense. Michigan is talented but young. Going with the Gators. Should be a classic though.
Florida 28, Michigan 27
LSU vs. BYU
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, N'awlins, 76,468
8:30 PM CT
Bob Wischusen, Brock Huard, Allison Williams
The game was moved from Houston due to the tragic flooding in that city. Hoping that Houston can come back from this historic tragedy. I'm sure they will. Like the Bengal Tigers to do well here. Coach O notches a victory in the season opener. Derrius Guice is a little banged up but expected to play. He should have a big night. I'm not sure if Danny Etling can take this team to elite status this season, but if he has a good game tomorrow night, maybe he'll have a solid season and that's all he'll need to do with the talent around him. They'll need him to play well if they want to be an SEC and national contender.
LSU 31, BYU 17
Texas A&M @ UCLA
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA. 92, 542
6:30 PM CT
Gus, Joel Klatt, Jenny Taft
This is a big year for Kevin Sumlin. He needs to have a good season to keep his job. I have alwaysreally liked Sumlin. He's a good guy and a good coach. But his teams have faded in late October and November and he needs to produce better results. Actually, Jim Mora at UCLA is in the same boat. I like the Aggies though. Christian Kirk is a spectacular playmaker. The starting quarterback situation is unclear, but I'll just guess it's senior Jake Hubenak. He's serviceable and he has playmakers around him. The Aggie defense looks improved under John Chavis. They lost both defensive ends, top draft pick Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall, to the NFL, but they have talent and an excellent secondary led by super safety Armani Watts. Like the Aggies to pull off a mild upset in LA.
A&M 34, UCLA 31
No. 25 Tennessee vs. Georgia Tech
Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta
7 PM CT
Rece, Kirk, Maria
I believe in new Tennessee quarterback Quinten Dormady. He's accurate and has a strong arm. Butch has recruited very well, and I like his talent to survive the pesky Georgia Tech triple option under coach Paul Johnson. This should be a really stellar game though.
Tennessee 35, Georgia Tech 31
South Alabama @ Ole Miss
Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, 64,038
6:30 PM CT
Amish Shroff, Ahmad Brooks, Roddy Jones
This should be a tough test for the Rebels after a tumultuous offseason with the Hugh Freeze disaster. Joey Jones does a terrific job at South and they'll be ready for the Rebels. I'm going to pick an upset.
South Alabama 35, Ole Miss 34
North Carolina State vs South Carolina
Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, N.C. 75,412
2 PM CT
Dave Pasch, Gregory McElroy, Lugues
I really like Gamecocks quarterback Jake Bentley. I believe in him. He's going to have a really good sophomore season after an impressive freshman year. Going with another upset here. I like Will and his troops to survive a battle with the Wolfpack.
South Carolina 31, N.C. State 28
Kentucky @ Southern Miss
M.M. Roberts Stadium, Hattiesburg, MS. 36,000
3 PM CT
CBS Sports Network
Dave Ryan, Corey Chavous, Melanie Collins
Mark Stoops has recruited well and I expect it to pay off with a solid season from the Wildcats. This is a tough matchup for them though, with a team that upset them last year in Lexington. So they better be ready.
Kentucky 35, Southern Miss 31
Vandy @ Middle Tennessee
Floyd Stadium, Murfreesboro, TN. 30,788
7 PM CT
CBS Sports Network
Carter Blackburn, Aaron Taylor, Jenny Dell
Derek Mason and his team have their hands full in this opener on the road versus a team that is hungry to knock'em off. Mason ends his 3 year opening game L streak squeaking it out over a hostile rival.
Vandy 34, Middle TN. 31
Charleston Southern @ Mississippi State
Davis Wade Stadium Starkvegas, MS. 61,337
3 PM CT
Taylor Zarzour, Andre, Olivia Harlan
I like Nick Fitzgerald, State's quarterback. He can really run, and his accuracy is usually pretty good though he threw 3 ints in the spring game. State's defense looks much improved. State should be in good shape here as Dan Mullen needs a bounce back season after a 6-7 year in 2016. They did win their bowl game against Miami of Ohio, 17-16, in the St. Petersburg Bowl. They qualified with a 5-7 record but had a very good Academic Progress Report amongst their team which allowed them to go to a bowl game as there were too many bowls and not enough 6 win teams. But Mullen needs to do better this season.
State 48, Charleston Southern 7
Florida A&M @ Arkansas
War Memorial Stadium, Little Rock, AR. 54,120
7 PM CT
Tom Hart, Jordan Rodgers, Cole
Not a massive game, but it's an SEC team, so it'll be interesting. I like Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen. He's a stud in my opinion. The SEC is back this season. After some mixed results last year, I see the conference as really good this year. Bama is the favorite, but there is a lot of talent, so we'll see.
Hogs 45, Florida A&M 10
Missouri State @ Missouri
Memorial Stadium/ Faurot Field, Columbia, MO. 71,004
11 AM CT
David Neal, Matt Stichcomb, Dawn Davenport
Drew Lock is another stellar SEC quarterback in what looks like the year of the quarterback in this conference though there are many other talented players. Damarea Crockett is a returning 1,000 yard rusher for the Tigers. I like this team to do well this season and be a challenger in the East.
Missouri 38, MO. State 6
UAB 45, Alabama A&M 3
Like the Blazers to have a potential bowl season. There is a lot of talent on the Southside that Coach Bill Clark has amassed. I'm impressed. I see the Blazers doing well in C-USA.
2:30 PM, Legion Field, Channel WABM Channel 68. Channel 702 on Charter
Sunday @ 6:30 PM CT on ABC
Steve Levy, Brian Griese, McShay
No. 21 Virginia Tech 34, No. 22 West Virginia 28
Friday, 7 PM CT PAC 12 Network
Colorado 31, Colorado State 30
Saturday, 4:15 PM CT, PAC 12 Network
No. 4 USC 38, Western Michigan 14
Tonight, 7 PM CT ESPN
No.2 Ohio State 45, Indiana 14
Dave Flemming, Herbie, Laura Rutledge
Saturday, 11 AM CT, ESPN
Beth Mowins, Anthony Becht, Rocky Boiman
No.5 Clemson 42, Kent State 6
Saturday, 11 AM CT, ABC
Mark Jones, Rod Gilmore, Quint Kessenich
No.6 Penn State 42, Akron 28
Tonight 6:30 PM CT, Fox Sports 1
Joe Davis, Brady Quinn, Bruce Feldman
No. 10 Oklahoma State 45, Tulsa 38