Technically this is part of “Week 1,” but since Labor Day Weekend has the truly magnificent line up, I really want it to have its own awesome “Watch Guide.” As mentioned before, this is a soft opening for college football – so let’s get down to business already, shall we?
Saturday, August 26
2:30pm – Oregon State at Colorado State (CBSSN); I wouldn’t classify this as a “Must Watch” – more of a maybe-have-on-in-the-background game. Colorado State has a pretty hot commodity in HC Mike Bobo, who some may remember was an assistant coach at his alma mater Georgia from 2001-2014, until he arrived in Fort Collins, CO in 2015. His pedigree is offense, and this team likely won’t disappoint with QB Nick Stevens returning for his senior season and standout WR Michael Gallup also returning after a superb 2016 season. The Rams are also opening their new on-campus stadium, which has a price of $220 million.
Oregon State is coached by former Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen, who compiled a 19-7 record with the Badgers and then bolted from Madison for Corvallis, where he has since compiled a record of 6-18 with the Beavers. Great choice, Gary…
6:00pm – Hawaii at UMass (NESNPlus); Potentially exciting, but if you’re football starved like me, you might be crazy enough to tune in. Not exactly the sexiest match up, but considering the travel that Hawaii does, this will mark their longest distance covered ever for a game (if they are flying into Boston, that is). Last year the Rainbow Warriors of Hawaii played California in Sydney, which was 5,071 miles. This year, Hawaii’s road game at UMass will have them traveling 7 more miles. Props to the Warriors for being road warriors as their closest opponent is San Jose State, where they only have to travel some 2,400 miles. Last season alone the Rainbow Warriors traveled the circumference of the Earth in combined travel in the first three weeks of the season. Yikes.
This game provides a new feel for UMass now that they are finally playing a majority of their games in Amherst (only one home game is not in Amherst: Nov. 11 vs Maine at Fenway Park). UMass also has never won their first game of the season since arriving in FBS in 2012 (0-5). Considering that last year’s game (in Honolulu) was an offensive shootout (46-40 Hawaii win) where UMass forgot to pack its defense on its trip to the islands, I’m expecting a similar sort of game. Should be somewhat fun to tune in for.
7:30pm – #19 South Florida at San Jose State (CBSSN); Here’s another one of those “maybe tune in” games. It’s going to be interesting to see how Charlie Strong works with this very talented and experienced team in the South Florida Bulls, who have a good chance of running the table (favored in every game this season). QB Quintin Flowers will likely dominate. Worth taking a flyer on for a few series.
10:00pm – #14 Stanford vs Rice (in Sydney, Australia) (ESPN); Speaking of long-haul road games, both Rice and Stanford are flying some serious distances for this game. It might be worth watching to see how life will be for Stanford without first round talent Christian McCaffrey.
Overall, this weekend’s games give you enough that you can watch some football while not being obligated to actually watch the entire game. Best to sacrifice some of these in favor of next week’s games. I promise you, those won’t disappoint.