College Football Kickoff: 5 Straight Days of Action
The 2013 college football season kicks off tonight, the first of five consecutive days of games that concludes with No. 11 Florida State playing at Pittsburgh at 8 p.m. on Labor Day. Thus, the near 8-month break from the 2012 title game to opening weekend is here, with football fans from Boise to Biloxi and beyond yelling, “Let’s play some football!”
Key Games and Regional Rivalries
As usual, the season kicks off with a number of games where powerhouse teams take on much smaller programs, but there are a number of key games of interest including several regional rivalries.
The earliest “big” match up takes place in Columbia, SC, where the Gamecocks will host the North Carolina Tarheels. South Carolina starts the season ranked No. 6, the third-highest rating for an SEC team. Speaking of the powerful SEC, the preseason rankings has Alabama on top, with the Crimson Tide hoping to garner a “three-peat” this Jan. in the last BCS title game. Beginning in Jan. 2015, a four-team playoff series will be held.
The first weekend also means regional rivalries taking to the gridiron including the following in-state games: Indiana State at Indiana, Utah State at Utah, Southern Illinois at Illinois, Central Michigan at Michigan, Kentucky vs. Western Kentucky, Northern Iowa at Iowa, Northern Arizona at Arizona, and Colorado vs. Colorado State.
The only other ranked team seeing action on Thursday night is USC. The No. 24 Trojans are in Hawaii and should handle the Warriors with ease.
Friday Night Lights
Friday’s slate is relatively tame with Army, Michigan State, Miami, Kansas State and Arizona seeing action. On Saturday, No. 2 Ohio State hosts Buffalo at noon and No. 23 Wisconsin will welcome Massachusetts. Top-ranked Alabama will play Virginia Tech at 5:30 p.m., a contest with a bowl game venue: the Georgia Dome. That’s also the annual Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game.
But, if it is action between ranked teams you prefer to see, then Sat. night won’t disappoint you. Your only challenge will be deciding whether No. 5 Georgia at No. 8 Clemson is what you will watch beginning at 8 p.m. or switching one hour late to No. 12 LSU taking on No. 20 TCU.
With the NFL starting its season one week from now, you’d think that there would be more Sunday match ups, but there are only two games scheduled. Ohio takes on No. 9 Louisville at 3:30 p.m. followed by Colorado and Colorado State beginning at 6 p.m. All game times listed are for the eastern time zone.
ESPN Dominates the Airwaves
Nearly every game this weekend will be available on cable with only a handful of contests blacked out or available locally only. ESPN has the lion’s share of contests although some of those games will be broadcast later. Other networks in action including Fox Sports 1, the Big Ten Network, CBS Sports and ABC. Check with your cable or satellite provider for more information.