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Week 1 Football: What to Watch

A look at games that might pique your interest

NCAA Football: East Carolina at North Carolina State Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Game week for the Wolfpack is finally here and it starts off with a road trip to long-time in-state rival East Carolina. Greenville is going to be hot and it’s going to be rocking.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet - there are two days worth of games before we get to that Saturday noon kick.

Thursday night features a couple of ACC teams playing, with the key game that night being defending ACC champion Pittsburgh hosting their own long-time rival in West Virginia. There have been 93 games played in that series (Pitt leads 55-35-3), but the two haven’t played each other since 2011. Prior to that, they had squared off every year since 1943. It’s great to see rivalries revisited, but a decade-plus off between games kinda kills it for the players involved. Even a 23-year-old senior would have only been 12 the last time the two faced off. That sucks.

The other Thursday ACC squad in action is Wake as they take on VMI in a game they should cruise in. Oh, and old friend Eli Drinkwitz kicks off his 2022 season with Missouri, hosting Louisiana Tech and first-year head coach Sonny Cumbie, who may actually just be Quentin Tarantino studying for a new film.

The games get better Friday There are more games Friday, with another pair of ACC squads being featured. Virginia Tech takes on Old Dominion in Norfolk for the first time since the Monarchs hit the Hokies with a stunning 49-35 upset in 2018. But it’s No Hard Feelings, right, Hokies? That game will be the first for new Virginia Tech head man Brent Pry.

Speaking of first games for first-time ACC head coaches, new Duke head coach Mike Elko kicks off his tenure in Durham with a Thursday night tilt against a Temple squad featuring their own first-year head coach in Stan Drayton. Cool beans!

Okay, so Saturday - SATURDAY - is when the games really get going, and it kicks off immediately with NC State facing East Carolina. It’s going to be a fantastic atmosphere and should be a great game, but there’s going to be plenty of other coverage here at BTP on that, so let’s look at the other Saturday games.

Also at noon, the game you’re going to flipping back over to keep an eye on, is the battle for Connecticut! The winner gets all the nutmeg!

No, nobody really cares about that game, but at that time Appalachian State is hosting their former coach Mack Brown and the current iteration of the sleeping giant “this is their year, guys, for real this time” Tar Heels.

Go Happy Appy!

(Start Jimmy V voice) Rutgers football heads to Boston to take on the Eagles at noon, while yet another first-year ACC head coach, Virginia’s Tony Elliott, starts off his tenure against in-state foe Richmond.

The mid-day Saturday timeslot has some fantastic games, headlined by the Oregon vs Georgia game in the dome in Atlanta. The defending national champ Bulldogs are a huge favorite over the Ducks, who are led by Dan Lanning, the guy who just happened to be Georgia’s Defensive Coordinator for last year’s championship team. #awkwardwelcomehome

Also at 3:30pm Saturday, Miami and... seriously, yet a-freaking-nother first year ACC head coach (Mario Cristobal) kick off against Bethune-Cookman.

That Cincinnati-Arkansas game should be great, although Cincy lost a ton off of last year’s CFP participant team.

Not that anyone here really cares about Houston-UTSA, but I’m only featuring it because the line as it stands right now (Tuesday night) is Houston -4.0, and every bone in my body is screaming “Hammer Houston to cover!” The Cougars return their stud QB, their top two RBs, and their best WR, while the Roadrunners lose their best offensive weapon who just happened to be one of the nation’s best RBs last year, as well as their best defensive player who was their only pass-rushing threat. Maybe I’m wrong, but that just seems like an odd line to me.

There are two big Saturday night games with Utah travelling to Florida (to face, you guessed it, first-year head coach Billy Napier) and Notre Dame (and... well, I’ll be a horse’s patoot... their first-year head coach Marcus Freeman) travelling to Ohio State. Those are really the only two games you’re going to want to watch that night, but there are some other games going, including a couple should-be-fun late night games for the insomniacs.

We do get a Sunday night game to get you right back going when that hangover wears off. Florida State, in dire need of a big year from Mike Norvell, will head to the Superdome in New Orleans and take on LSU and their... someone is messing with me, I swear... first-year head coach Brian Kelly.

If you’re looking for a reason to head to bed early on Monday night before getting back to work on Tuesday, Clemson is going to murder Georgia Tech on national TV.

That’s a lot of football! Put it straight in the bloodstream, let’s do this!

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


58/45 West Virginia @ 23/34 Pittsburgh - 7:30pm - ESPN

FCS/188 VMI @ 47/32 Wake Forest - 7:30pm - ACCN

13/16 Penn State @ 34/51 Purdue - 7:30pm - BTN

115/122 Louisiana Tech @ 50/66 Missouri - 8:00pm - ESPNU


61/54 Virginia Tech @ 93/124 Old Dominion - 7:00pm - ESPNU

124/131 Temple @ 119/104 Duke - 7:30pm - ACCN

79/74 Illinois @ 86/76 Indiana - 8:00pm - FS1

41/36 TCU @ 92/78 Colorado - 10:00pm - ESPN


18/23 NC State @ 73/87 East Carolina - 12:00pm - ESPN

FCS/225 Central Connecticut @ 128/152 UConn - 12:00pm - ???

80/107 Rutgers @ 70/60 Boston College - 12:00pm - ACCN

38/49 North Carolina @ 55/44 Appalachian State - 12:00pm - ESPNU

FCS/159 Richmond @ 65/58 Virginia - 12:30pm - ESPN3

24/14 Oregon vs 2/3 Georgia - 3:30pm - ABC

FCS/235 Bethune-Cookman @ 29/25 Miami - 3:30pm - ACCN

16/31 Cincinnati @ 14/28 Arkansas - 3:30pm - ESPN

32/46 Houston @ 52/91 UTSA - 3:30pm - CBSSN

104/70 Arizona @ 59/65 San Diego State - 3:30pm - CBS

12/10 Utah @ 26/19 Florida - 7:00pm - ESPN

72/84 Army @ 71/81 Coastal Carolina - 7:00pm - ESPN+

7/6 Notre Dame @ 3/2 Ohio State - 7:30pm - ABC

39/47 Louisville @ 64/85 Syracuse - 8:00pm - ACCN

35/26 Boise State @ 56/39 Oregon State - 10:30pm - ESPN

66/106 Western Kentucky @ 123/134 Hawaii - 11:59pm - ??


42/50 Florida State vs 28/15 LSU - 7:30pm - ABC


5/5 Clemson vs 87/82 Georgia Tech - 8:00pm - ESPN