Top 5 Under The Radar College Football Games To Watch Week 1

We all know about Florida State vs Alabama in Atlanta. We all know about the Michigan vs Florida rematch. There are probably dozens of lists of the top 10 games you do not want to miss on TV for week 1. With this list and blog I will focus on the college football fan that wants to absorb ALL the game’s possible. The folks with 2 or 3 screens setup. The fan that wants the full spectrum of games outside their conference.

So I will be starting with 5 College Football games that may not feature highly ranked or popular teams but could be very intriguing. Almost making this list was the Virginia Tech vs West Virginia game but I deemed it to high profile to list here despite it being somewhat in the shadows. Navy @ Florida Atlantic almost made the list also because of Lane Kiffin taking over and the sheer contrast of Navy traveling to south Florida to play at Florida Atlantic filled with transfers.

#5 

MATCHUP TIME  (ET) NAT TV LOCATION TICKETS

Oregon State

2:30 PM CBSSN CSU Stadium, Fort Collins, CO

August 26

This is a dangerous-looking Colorado State team with an offense that should be among the best in the Mountain West, and a good enough defense that should be able to hold down the Oregon State ground game.

The Beavers have to hope the passing game can start working under big new JUCO transfer bomber Jake Luton – or whomever is the starting QB – and they’re playing the secondary to get it all going.

#4

California

12:20 PM ACCN
WatchESPN
Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, NC

September 2

The Tar Heels have a big rebuilding job to do in several offensive spots, but the defense should be a strength early on, especially at linebacker.

The spotlight, though, will be on – most likely – new starting quarterback Brandon Harris, to see if he can handle this year’s opener better than did last year’s opener for LSU against Wisconsin.

The Bears present an interesting match-up for North Carolina. On paper, the Cal quarterbacks who both lack any significant game experience (thank you Sonny) may struggle against a more senior defensive backfield. However, Cal’s running game has the potential to make an impact early against the Tar Heels and Beau Baldwin has to be excited about facing a defense not prone to forcing turnovers. The Bears have plenty of speed and athleticism at the receiver position and an offense facing far less turnover than that of the Tar Heels. If Cal’s defense is as improved as advertised, the Bears have a shot at an early upset in the Wilcox era.

#3

Kentucky

4:00 PM CBSSN M. M. Roberts Stadium, Hattiesburg, MS

It seemed like the beginning of a lost season for Kentucky and an epic one for Southern Miss when the Golden Eagles bombed their way to a 44-35 win in Lexington to open up last season.

Both teams ended up being more than fine – they each went to bowl games – but it wasn’t exactly the launching point USM might have wanted, or the deathblow to UK it might have appeared to be.

The Golden Eagle defense has a nice secondary, a shaky linebacking corps, and potential issues with the UK backfield that should be explosive on the ground.

Southern Miss doesn’t have the lines to win this, but it’ll come up with just enough firepower of its own to make the Wildcats sweat up until the end. Kentucky’s ground game will take over when it absolutely has to.

#2

NC State

3:00 PM ESPN
WatchESPN
Bank of America Stadium, Cha

With a bevy of returning starters on both sides of the ball, N.C. State welcomes back what is likely its strongest team under Dave Doeren and should start the season just inside the Top 25.

The Wolfpack defensive line might be the best South Carolina has to face all year long – running on this front seven will be a disaster. Considering the USC passing attack isn’t going to be anything stellar – Jake Bentley and all – scoring will be a problem.

But the Gamecock D will be nasty, too. While the line might need a game or three to be ready to rock, the linebackers are good, the secondary potentially great, and the offense really should be better, too.

South Carolina will be better in Year Two under Will Muschamp, but this will be the NC State coming out party. The two defenses will dominate, and State’s will be stronger.

#1

Louisville

7:30 PM FOX Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis

After a bit of a power outage late last season, Louisville needs to fire up the machine in a hurry with North Carolina and Clemson coming up next. The true tune-up games come later, but after losing the final three games of the 2016 campaign, all that matters now is getting off to a big start.

Purdue gets the big, national TV stage in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis for its new head coach.

Jeff Brohm isn’t expected to make Purdue as offensively amazing as Western Kentucky was last year – at least not right away – but he has enough pieces in place to start bombing away from the start. But does he have the linebackers who can keep Lamar Jackson from tearing off big run after big run?

Sort of.

The linebackers are going to be the strength of the Boilermaker defense, but that doesn’t mean the D will be good enough to slow down an angry Louisville offense that should come out roaring.

On the other side, the Cardinal secondary should be good enough to shut down – or, at least, keep in check – the Purdue receiving corps, while the pass rush should camp out behind the line.

This is all about the Jackson show, and while he won’t disappoint, Purdue will have its positive moments.