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Week 1 Football: What to watch

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A look at games that might pique your interest

Camellia Bowl - FIU v Arkansas State Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images

It’s back, y’all!

Seriously. It’s back. Football is back. Real, actual, honest, live football has returned.

Now, maybe you were one of those people (/raises_hand) who stayed up super late last Saturday night to watch the eventually entertaining end to an otherwise horrendously played game between Austin Peay and Central Arkansas. Technically, that was the start of the 2020 College Football season, but I don’t blame you if you don’t count it. For most fans, it was a game that was hard to get excited for.

And while this week’s slate of games won’t necessarily get the blood pumping for the casual fan, it at least features some FBS squads and figures to be a higher quality product on display. If nothing else, this week will provide nine games to tune into.

For those college football junkies among us, it’ll do.

As for the games themselves, if the Central Arkansas QB can fire the ball around Thursday night like he did at the end of last week’s game, they may well give UAB a run for their money... but I’d still bet on Bill Clark’s UAB squad that’s gone 28-13 since their revival three years ago.

Everyone’s looking at the Monday night BYU-Navy game as the highlight of the week, but I’ll tell you that the Arkansas State-Memphis game Saturday night will be the most entertaining of the week. Arkansas State had a Top-25 offense last year and returns their QB (Layne Hatcher, a redshirt sophomore who began his career at Alabama) and their top RB (Marcel Murray). Memphis lost their head coach (Mike Norvell) to Florida State and their superb RB (Kenny Gainwell), but the new head guy (Ryan Silverfield) was the OL Coach for them for the last several years, and he managed to retain their OC (Kevin Johns) and QB from a Top-10 offense last year. That QB, Brady White, has thrown for 7,310 yards and 59 TDs in two years at Memphis. This game is going to be awesomely fun.

FOOTBALL, Y’ALL!

SP+ Ratings and Sagarin Ratings listed, respectively, ahead of each team’s name.

Thursday

FCS/133 Central Arkansas @ 66/108 UAB - 8:00pm - ESPN3

119/128 South Alabama @ 92/112 Southern Miss - 9:00pm - CBSSN

Saturday

FCS/189 Eastern Kentucky @ 74/89 Marshall - 1:00pm - ESPN

107/101 Middle Tennessee @ 99/79 Army - 1:30pm - CBSSN

53/61 SMU @ 124/148 Texas State - 4:30pm - ESPN

FCS/225 Houston Baptist @ 114/94 North Texas - 7:30pm - ESPN3

91/97 Arkansas State @ 25/36 Memphis - 8:00pm - ESPN

FCS/203 Stephen F. Austin @ 128/178 UTEP - 9:00pm - ESPN3

Monday

51/58 BYU @ 62/53 Navy - 8:00pm - ESPN