What to watch on college football’s kickoff weekend
With appetizers out of the way, it’s time to move on to the main course on this first weekend of college football.
From Baton Rouge, Louisiana to Eugene, Oregon, and hundreds of cities, towns and campuses in between, millions of fans will be firin’ up the grill, poppin’ open a brewski and rooting their favorite teams on to victory.
And for those who love everything about college football, here’s a brief guide of what’s worth watching.
GAMES GO OFF CAMPUS
Roll Tide? On Wisconsin?
No. 3 Alabama vs. No. 20 Wisconsin (8 p.m., ABC) is one of four games involving Top 25 teams being played Saturday at an NFL stadium – and plenty of tickets remain for the marquee matchup at the Dallas Cowboys’ home in Arlington, Texas.
The 85,000-seat stadium could be half empty when the game starts, with indications that many loyal Badgers’ supporters are unwilling to make the Texas trek and will watch from home.
Some added drama: Alabama coach Nick Saban finally announces a starting quarterback.
Other off-campus, NFL stadium games are:
– No. 6 Auburn vs. Louisville at the Georgia Dome (home of the Atlanta Falcons). 3:30 p.m., CBS
– No. 15 Arizona State vs. Texas A&M at NRG Stadium (home of the Houston Texans). 7 p.m., ESPN
– No. 25 Tennessee vs. Bowling Green at Nissan Stadium (home of the Tennessee Titans).
WIN STREAK ON LINE IN LINCOLN
Mike Riley takes over as coach of Nebraska, where a season-opener winning streak of 29 games is on the line against BYU – perhaps the toughest first-game opponent the Cornhuskers have played in a long time.
If BYU’s dual-threat quarterback Taysom Hill, returning from a broken left leg, is back in the form that made him an early 2014 Heisman Trophy candidate, the Huskers’ streak could be in jeopardy.
The last season-opening loss for Nebraska came in 1985, against Florida State.
”BYU is going to be no cakewalk,” receiver Jordan Westerkamp said. ”We’re going to have to be playing our `A’ game.”
Game time: 3:30 p.m., ABC
TRANSFERS IN SPOTLIGHT
– Quarterback Everett Golson, who transferred from Notre Dame, should have an easy opener when No. 10 Florida State plays Texas State. (8 p.m., ESPNEWS)
– Vernon Adams will have a more intriguing debut when he starts at quarterback for No. 7 Oregon against the school he transferred from, Eastern Washington. (7:30 p.m., NBC)
– No. 17 Mississippi starts Chad Kelly, the nephew of Hall of Famer Jim Kelly, who gets a fresh start in Oxford after wearing out his welcome at Clemson and playing last season at East Mississippi Community College.
The winner of No. 15 Arizona State vs. Texas A&M will be off to a strong start in what looks to be one of the day’s top matchups. Keep an eye on a pair of promising quarterbacks, ASU’s Mike Bercovici and A&M’s Kyle Allen.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Thursday: New Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh went with Jake Rudock at QB, and the Iowa transfer threw three interceptions and two touchdowns in a 24-17 loss at Utah. … No. 2 TCU was far from explosive in a 23-17 win at Minnesota; Heisman contender Trevone Boykin totaled 338 yards: 246 passing, 92 rushing. … Bottom line is No. 22 Arizona beat USTA 42-32, but the Wildcats allowed 525 total yards and lost Lombardi Award winner Scooby Wright for a while with a left knee injury.
Friday: At one point, it was 28-21 Baylor over five-touchdown underdog SMU late in the third quarter. And just like that, the No. 4 Bears went on to a 56-21 rout and piled up 723 total yards (new QB Seth Russell threw for 376 yards and five TDs, and ran for another). The point spread listed by Pregame.com was 36 points. … Madre London got off to a great college start with two TD runs in the first 10 minutes of No. 5 Michigan State’s 37-24 win at Western Michigan. … Jeremy McNichols rushed for 89 yards and two first-half touchdowns, and No. 23 Boise State beat Washington 16-13 in Chris Petersen’s return to the school he helped grow into a national power.
AP college football website: collegefootball.ap.org