Here's your guide to the most intriguing matchups in college football this week.

By Kaelen Jones
August 31, 2018

Week 1 of the NCAA football season commences this weekend, beginning this season's quest for the national title.

The Jimbo Fisher era at Texas A&M kicked off Week 1 on Thursday, and exciting matchups will keep you going through the holiday weekend. Washington and Auburn meet in Atlanta in Saturday's first big game at 3:30 p.m. ET. Michigan takes on Notre Dame later in the day at 7:30 p.m. ET in a highly anticipated rivarly game, and Sunday is all about Miami and LSU in Arlington, Texas. ACC opponents Virginia Tech and Florida State will face off on Monday to close out Week 1. 

Here are the rest of the top matchups on tap. 



Friday, Aug. 31

Western Kentucky @ No. 4 Wisconsin -- 9 p.m. ET

How to Watch: ESPN or WatchESPN

Why: This is a big year for Wisconsin. The Badgers enter the season as the fourth-ranked team in the nation. Junior Tailback Jonathan Taylor is a legitimate Heisman candidate running behind a group of talented behemoths on the offensive line. Junior quarterback Alex Hornibrook is seasoned. An opening week bout with Western Kentucky offers intrigue.

San Diego State @ No. 13 Stanford -- 9 p.m. ET

How to Watch: FOX Sports 1 (FS1)

Why: Stanford senior running back Bryce Love launches his Heisman Trophy campaign against a San Diego State team with a penchant for being sturdy. When the two teams met last year in San Diego, Love needed just 13 carries to amass 184 yards and two touchdowns. Yet, the Aztecs managed to pull out the win, thanks to a last-minute go-ahead score. There's potential for the rematch to be just as dramatic.


Saturday, Sept. 1

No. 6 Washington vs. No. 9 Auburn -- 3:30 p.m. ET

How to Watch: ABC or WatchESPN

Why: This is the only matchup pitting two top-10 schools against one another and it features a pair of programs that fell short in reaching the College Football Playoff last season. The game will be held at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, where Auburn was defeated by UCF in the Peach Bowl to end last year. However, the last time Washington played at the venue, they were routed 24-7 by Alabama in the Peach Bowl during a Playoff semifinal. Both teams look to overcome some haunting demons and start the year on the right note.

Tennessee vs. No. 17 West Virginia -- 3:30 p.m. ET

How to Watch: CBS

Why: The quarterback-receiver combination of Will Grier and David Sills V is why many consider the Mountaineers a team to watch this year. West Virginia's roster also features other stars as well. Tennessee is heading into its first season under the guidance of former Nick Saban assistant Jeremy Pruitt. They finished last year with a 4-8 record.

No. 14 Michigan @ No. 12 Notre Dame -- 7:30 p.m. ET

How to Watch: NBC

Why: One of the longest-established rivalries in college football returns in primetime fashion with plenty of intrigue belying it. The last time these two programs met, it wasn't much of a match. Notre Dame ran away with a 31-0 home win. While Brian Kelly was at the helm of the Fighting Irish then, Jim Harbaugh gets introduced to the rivalry since joining Michigan. Since the rivalry's hiatus, Harbaugh's Wolverines have had plenty of bite and perhaps even more with a former five-star quarterback under center in Shea Patterson.

Louisville vs. No. 1 Alabama -- 8:00 p.m. ET

How to WatchABC or WatchESPN

WhyCollege football fans will finally get an answer to the question they've been asking since the conclusion of the National Championship: who will start at quarterback for Alabama? For the first time in three years, Louisville will take the field without Lamar Jackson under center and pass the baton to redshirt sophomore Jawon Pass. It is a difficult challenge replacing a former Heisman Trophy winner, but especially when the first opponent the Cardinals are faced with is the defending champion Crimson Tide.


Sunday, Sept. 2

No. 8 Miami (FL) vs. No. 25 LSU -- 7:30 p.m. ET

How to WatchABC or WatchESPN

Why: The Hurricanes projected an aura of destiny throughout the first half of the 2017 campaign, squeaking out close wins seemingly every week and then dismantling Notre Dame in a 41-8 win. Miami's season did not end well, but there is a reason that it opens the season as a top-10 program. The roster includes rising stars like junior defensive end Joe Jackson and senior cornerback Michael Jackson and junior receiver Ahmmon Richards. LSU hopes it can build off a 9-4 campaign under Ed Orgeron.


Monday, Sept. 2

No. 20 Virginia Tech @ No. 19 Florida State -- 8 p.m. ET

How to Watch: ESPN or WatchESPN

WhyWillie Taggart begins his tenure at Florida State with the Seminoles hosting Virginia Tech. This is the first meeting between the two schools since 2012. Taggart inherits one of the toughest quarterbacks in the country in junior Deondre Francois. Keeping him upright is key to the Seminoles competing for an ACC title and the first test will come against a Hokies defense that ranked 11th in total yards allowed in 2017.

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