Michigan's trip to Notre Dame in Week 1 will is deserving of every second of attention. Same goes for Washington's clash with Auburn in Atlanta and LSU vs. Miami (FL) in Texas. But there are plenty of other games to watch in Week 1, including some beauties between Group of Five teams and Power FIve teams.
The 2018 college football kicks off with Week Zero on Saturday, Aug. 25, though all five Week Zero games are a small appetizer to what comes the following week. Lane Kiffin's invasion of Norman highlights the best Group of Five vs. Power Five games in Week 1.
5. Washington State at Wyoming
Washington State routinely starts slower than an episode of Mad Men, so every Cougars' opener is worth watching. It's especially worth watching this year as they replace a stud quarterback on the road vs. a good defensive team.
The battle to be Luke Falk's successor is far from settled, as redshirt juniors Trey Tinsley and Anthony Gordon, freshman Cammon Cooper and ECU grad transfer Gardner Minshew are expected to compete into fall camp.
The winner gets a talented Wyoming defense led by cornerback Andrew Wingard, an All-American candidate.
4. UT-San Antonio at Arizona State
The great coaching experiment at Arizona State began when the Sun Devils introduced Herm Edwards as head coach last winter but they start playing for keeps on Sept. 1 when UTSA visits Tempe.
The Roadrunners are not expected to be a formidable foe after the departures of Dalton Sturm, Marcus Davenport and others but it doesn't matter. Arizona State could be playing Arizona Christian and I'd be all-in.
3. Cincinnati at UCLA
I'm predicting a rocky start for Chip Kelly's return to college football after a five-year hiatus, and his first game could be interesting for a lot of reasons.
Can Kelly find stars on a mostly average roster? How will Josh Rosen's replacement — grad transfer Wilton Speight or freshmen Devon Modster or Dorian Thompson-Robinson look in the new system? And will former No. 1 recruit Jaelen Phillips take the first step toward a monster sophomore season?
This is a winnable game for Cincinnati, though I'll stop just short of picking the Bearcats.
2. San Diego State at Stanford
San Diego State and Stanford close a home-and-home series with a Week 1 game at Stanford Stadium.
The Aztecs won last year's Week 2 game, 20-17, thanks to a 175-yard effort from Rashaad Penny. Penny is gone but his successor Juwan Washington could be just as good. Meanwhile, Bryce Love is back for a Cardinal team capable of reaching their first playoff, as is quarterback K.J. Costello and most pieces from one of the best offensive lines in the country.
1. Florida Atlantic at Oklahoma
"Don't be surprised if Florida Atlantic keeps it close in Norman."
You'll hear that a million times in August, and though trendy proclamations become nauseating with each repetition, it's true. Florida Atlantic can keep it close vs. Oklahoma. The Owls have the offensive firepower to score 30 on the Sooners. If the defense is improved — a huge, huge, huge if — they can make this a fun game.
If the defense is subpar again, Kyler Murray, Rodney Anderson and Oklahoma may score 60.