For the second year in a row, the college football schedule will start early, on Saturday, Aug. 26. The first weekend isn't laced with big-time matchups that carry playoff weight, but there are still five games to get the juices flowing.
Last year, Hawai'i and Cal kicked off the season with an Aug. 26 game in Sydney, Australia. The Rainbow Warriors open the season early again in 2017, and while they're playing in the United States this time, they're a very, very long way from Honolulu.
Here are the five FBS games for college football's opening weekend, ranked.
5. Portland State at BYU
Time (ET) and Channel: 3:00 p.m., ESPN
We won't learn much from this game, an expected blowout for BYU, who returns an army of key players from last year's nine-win team, among them quarterback Tanner Mangum. However, it's a chance to see the Cougars before they embark on one of the most difficult three-game stretches in college football this season: LSU (in Houston), Utah (home) and Wisconsin (home).
Time (ET) and Channel: 6:00 p.m., Local TV
Hawai'i opened the 2016 season 5,000 miles away in Sydney. Now they go 5,000 miles in the opposite direction to play UMass.
Second-year Warriors' head coach Nick Rolovich has delivered a much-needed injection of excitement and optimism into the program who's aiming to take another big step forward in 2017. Longtime UMass head coach Mark Whipple is still doing a lot of rebuilding and tinkering their roster and they might be a couple more years away from returning to bowl eligibility.
3. South Florida at San Jose State
Time (ET) and Channel: 7:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network
South Florida has the talent and schedule to go undefeated. Though that won't get them in the playoff — unless multiple 2017 opponents enormously outperform expectations — they're still chasing a New Year's Six bowl in Charlie Strong's first year.
Their opener at San Jose State will be a track meet for potential All-American quarterback Quinton Flowers. This won't be a great game but the first half should be fun.
Time (ET) and Channel: 10:00 p.m., ESPN
Stanford kicks off the post-Christian McCaffrey era with a game against Rice in Sydney.
The Cardinal — ranked No. 10 in the HERO Sports College Football Top 100 — are the superior team by a mile. They return an elite runner in Bryce Love and one of the better secondaries in the nation. The Owls, meanwhile, enter a critical year under 11th-year coach David Bailiff. His win total has declined each of the year four years.
1. Oregon State at Colorado State
Time (ET) and Channel: 2:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network
This is the biggest opening-weekend matchup and it's not even close.
First, it will be the most competitive game. Rams' head coach Mike Bobo — a potential Power Five coaching candidate — welcomes back enough talent to compete for the Mountain West title, while Gary Andersen's Beavers featuring some dangerous offensive weapons. Second, everyone loves a potential Group of Five upset. And third, the Rams are opening a stunning on-campus stadium.