Week 1 of college football is officially here! It may not look like it did last season, with only 9 games being played, but there are still some very good games to watch. There are 5 games in particular that stand out to me as the best games of the week.
5. South Alabama +15.5 @ Southern Miss -15.5 O/U 53.5 Thursday 9/3 8:00 PM CBSSN
This is a very underrated quarterback matchup between two quarterbacks who each have their flaws. Desmond Trotter is the quarterback for South Alabama and I would expect to see him throw the ball early and often. He is going to have to contend with a Southern Miss defense that was at the top of their conference last year. On the Southern Miss side, Jack Abraham leads the way after averaging just under 270 passing yards per game in 2019. His decision making will be something to watch as he has thrown 25 interceptions over the last 2 seasons. Look for Jack Abraham to target receiver Tim Jones fairly often as he had 73 receptions last year. Another offensive player to watch is Kawaan Baker for South Alabama and he is used very similarly to how Antonio Gibson was used in Memphis. Southern Miss had the 36th ranked total defense and South Alabama had the 78th ranked defense in 2019. Southern Miss had a few players opt-out on defense but should still be good to go in 2020. South Alabama should be improved on the defensive side of the ball in 2020. This should be an entertaining first game of the college football season.
Prediction: Southern Miss 38 South Alabama 17
4. SMU -22 @ Texas State +22 O/U 70.5 Saturday 9/5 3:30 PM ESPN
This is going to be a fun game. Both teams have very potent passing offenses and not so good defenses. Texas State will be led by Brady McBride, who has not played a snap since his freshman year at Memphis. SMU had the 125th ranked pass defense in 2019, so don't be surprised if he goes over 300 yards passing. He will be throwing to Javen Banks, who caught 20 passes for 367 yards and 4 touchdowns in 5 games in 2019. On the other side is two players who might sound a bit more familiar in Shane Buechele and Reggie Roberson. Buechele is a senior who was phenomenal in 2019 and will look to build on that in 2020. Reggie Roberson is a redshirt junior who had 43 receptions for 803 yards and 6 touchdowns in only 8 games in 2019. Buechele also gets to throw to one of the best tight ends in the country in Kylan Granson. Granson caught 43 passes for 721 yards and 9 touchdowns in 2019. To make up for a bad passing defense, SMU led the nation in sacks in 2019. They have to reload on the defensive line, but that shouldn't be an issue against Texas State's line. Expect Shane Buechele to have a field day against an awful pass rush with a lot of time to throw.
Prediction: SMU 51 Texas State 21
3. Middle Tennessee +3 @ Army -3 O/U 56 Saturday 9/5 12:30 PM CBSSN
This is going to be a very interesting game between two opposites of teams. Middle Tennessee runs a light-speed offense, while Army runs a snail-slow offense. Leading the way for Middle Tennessee is underrated dual threat quarterback Asher O'Hara. O'Hara passes for 2616 yards and 20 touchdowns, while rushing for 1058 and 9. O'Hara will be looking for Jarrin Pierce all game in this dink and dunk style of offense. Pierce caught 42 passes for 562 yards and 4 touchdowns in 2019 and will have to step it up if Middle Tennessee wants to win. For Army, it looks like Jabari Laws will get the start at quarterback. He will try to orchestrate a triple option offense that will aim to keep Middle Tennessee off the field for a long time. In a triple option offense, everyone gets involved but look for fullback Sandon McCoy to get the most touches. Middle Tennessee might have to offense to win this game, but they don't have the defense as they lost 7 of their top 12 tacklers from 2019.
Prediction: Army 34 Middle Tennessee 21
2. BYU -1.5 @ Navy +1.5 O/U 52.5 Monday 9/7 7:00 PM ESPN
Like the Army game, this one will be determined by how long BYU keeps the ball. Junior quarterback Zach Wilson will try to score as many times as Navy lets them have ball. He will need to take care of the ball as he had an 11 to 9 touchdown-interception ratio in 2019. Running back Lopini Katoa is back and hopes to improve on his 646 total yard, 5 total touchdown performance in 2019. For Navy, a surprise was listed at quarterback in the latest depth chart in senior Dalen Morris. Morris has 5 rushing attempts for 20 yards for his career. He will look to fullback Jamale Carothers to get going. He had 734 yards and 14 touchdowns in 9 games in 2019. Expect this to be a tough, grind-it-out type of game because of BYU's excellent linebackers. In the end, Navy will go on a long 4th quarter game sealing touchdown drive to win the game.
Prediction: Navy 27 BYU 17
1. Arkansas State. +19 at Memphis -19 Saturday 9/5 7:00 PM ESPN
This might not be the closest game of Week 1, but it should be the highest scoring. We all know what Memphis offense can do but Arkansas State has one of the most underrated offenses in the country. Arkansas State is led by 2 quarterbacks in Alabama transfer Layne Hatcher and Logan Bonner. The latter was having an excellent season before having season ending thumb surgery. Hatcher stepped in and was fantastic in Bonner's absence. Coach Blake Anderson has already said both are going to play. Someone who might not play is running back Marcel Murray who is currently day to day with a leg issue. A heavy dose of wide receiver Jonathan Adams should be expected. For Memphis, Brady White is at the helm and he will be relied on a lot more than they thought with star running back Kenneth Gainwell opting out. Look for Kylan Watkins to replace him and wide receiver Damonte Coxie to star. Neither team has an elite defense and in a back and forth, high-flying game, look for Arkansas State to hang around until the 4th quarter where Memphis should pull away. One thing to look out for is for both teams to have over 400 passing yards.
Prediction: Memphis 56, Arkansas State 31
Will you be watching CFB Week 1? I know I will. Let me know which games you might watch in the comments!