The 2013 college football season has arrived. As always, week one features more than it's fair share of cupcake games, but there will be plenty of marquee games to keep an eye on as well.
Here are my top 10 games of week one:
10. Utah State at Utah - Thursday 7 p.m. Fox Sports 1
Rivalry games, its what college football is all about. For years Utah was the dominate team in this series, but the Aggies are now a respectable team, and the Utes have struggled since going to the PAC12. Should be a good game, but State is breaking in first year head coach Matt Wells, and I think Utah gets the win at home.
9. Washington State at Auburn - 6 p.m. ESPNUI
t's the Gus Bus vs. the Mad Scientist...This game will feature two up-tempo offensives, and two defensives that struggled last season. It will be interesting to see how much of a turnaround Mike Leach will have during year two in Pullman, Wa.. The mystery for Auburnis how fast they catch on to Malzahn's system and how fast new quarterback Nick Marshall grows. I think this will be a competitive game, but Auburn has more talent.
8. Rutgers at Fresno State - Thursday 9:30 p.m. ESPNU
Fresno might be this year's fly in the ointment, and a win over Boise State on September 20th could propel them to an undefeated season.Rutgers won nine game last year under first year head coach Kyle Flood, and will be a good team once again this year. I think Fresnowins, but is worth the late night watch...
7. #1 Alabama vs. Virginia Tech - 4:30 p.m. ESPN
The Tide kicks off their journey toward a historic three-peat, but the Chick-fil-a kickoff is being over looked by most college football fans. This is due in large part to the fact that Virginia Tech struggled last season, and The Tide if facing Texas A&M in the game of the year on September 14th. The Tide should handle Va-Tech, but still worth a watch.
6. Ole Miss at Vanderbilt - Thursday 8:15 p.m. ESPN
I'm really looking forward to seeing this game. In my mind both teams are even and both should be ranked around 25th. James Franklin has changed the culture in Nashville, and the fast turnaround of Hugh Freeze in Oxford has been remarkable. Should be a good hard fought SEC kickoff game.
5. #19 Boise State at Washington - 9 p.m Fox Sports 1
Last season the Broncos had a final record of (11-2) and that was considered to be a down year on the blue turf. Chris Petersen is one of the top coaches in college football, but can make it to the top of the college football world in Idaho? Washington has been a much improved team under Steve Sarkisian, but haven't been able to get over the hump. Their offense returns eight starters including quarterback Keith Price. This should be a entertaining game, but Boise is the better overall team, and should win in a close one.
4. Mississippi State at #13 Oklahoma State 2:30 p.m. ABC/ESPN2
Mississippi State is flying under the radar. I mean nobody is talking about the Bulldogs. But on paper the Bulldogs return 7 starters on offense including a senior quarterback. Still though, Oklahoma State is the much better team, and program. The Cowboys should outlast the Bulldogs, but I think MississippiState could surprise some people.
3. North Carolina at #6 South Carolina - Thursday 5 p.m. ESPN
What a way to kickoff the college football season. Even though North Carolina isn't ranked, they are still a very dangerous team. They won eight games a year ago, and have a shot at topping that behind quarterback Bryn Renner. Meanwhile, this might be the "ol ball coach's" best team since he arrived inColumbia. It will be a good game, but USC should prove to be too much.
2. #12 LSU vs. #20 TCU - 8 p.m. ESPN
The Tigers lost double digit juniors to the NFL Draft! You can't expect the Tigers to lose that much talent, and stay in the title hunt. Les Miles has recruited well, and LSU will not fall off the map, but it is a rebuilding year in Baton Rouge. The rebuilt Tigers will get a test right off the bat when they face TCU in the Cowboys Classic. TCU spent last season rebuilding and getting used to playing in a BCS conference. TCU should be much better team in 2013 and don't be surprised if they upset LSU. But history shows that the "Mad Hatter" is very hard to beat in season openers.
1. #5 Georgia at #8 Clemson - 7 p.m. ESPN
There's no drought that this is the marquee game of week one. Five yards short, that was the fate of the Bulldogs last season. Clemson finished the season on a strong note beating LSU in the Chick-fil-a Bowl, should be on pace to match last years (11-2) record. This match-up also features one of the top quarterback duels of the season. First team All-SEC QB, Aaron Murray, is on pace to becomeGeorgia's all time passing leader. Tajh Boyd, who is also on track to becomes Clemson's all time passing leader and a stat machine. Last season Boyd passed for almost 4,000 yards and 36 touchdowns. The winning quarterback could set up their run at a Heisman.
What game are you looking forward to the week? Connect with me on twitter @Patrickp13
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