College Football: Top 5 opening weekend games

John Fricke
August 08, 2018 - 11:12 am

© Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports


College Football's big opening weekend has it's share of intrigue. Locally, Kennessaw State is coming off its banner season last year opening at Georgia State in a game that has potential to kick-start a rivalry. With the Panthers coming off a bowl season last year, they need to avoid an opening game letdown (see Tennessee State in 2017).

Georgia Tech and UGA both play openers against teams they are heavily favored to beat. The Jackets will host Alcorn State while the Dawgs get Austin Peay in Athens. 

That wildness aside, here are my top-5 games of opening weekend:

5. Tennessee v West Virginia (Charlotte): Jeremy Pruitt gets a nasty debut game as the Vols new Head Coach. The Big Orange will be pressed in Charlotte by WVU QB Will Grier and the Mountaineers high powered attack. WVU could kick start at run towards the Big-12 title and a possible playoff push.

4. Virginia Tech at Florida State: Doak-Campbell stadium will be rocking for the debut of Willie Taggart as the 'Noles new man in charge. A big ACC showdown with downline implications for both teams. There are questions whether either can make the playoffs, especially surrounding the Gobblers who need this kind of road win to sway opinion that they can be a major player this season.

3. Miami v LSU (Arlington, Texas): Miami fans believe Mark Richt has a squad that can make a serious run at Clemson and the ACC crown. Beating an SEC power in the 'Jerry Dome' would be the start that would make others believe as well. LSU hoping it has solved its QB issue with Ohio State transfer Joe Burrow. 

2. Michigan at Notre Dame: There are some who think the Irish have the talent to make a run at 11-1 this season. Michigan has new transfer QB Shea Patterson and the pressure to finally produce that big season that Jim Harbaugh had hoped for. Good to see this old rivalry game.

1. Washington v Auburn (Atlanta): Major implications for both. Auburn is playing its 3rd straight game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The first two did not go so well for the Tigers. They lost the SEC Championship game to Georgia then lost the Peach Bowl to UCF. Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham faces a loaded Huskies defense. If Washington is to make the playoff this is a must-win game. This is the marquee game the Huskies will play out of conference and the best shot they have to make a major impression on the committee. 

*Bonus game: Florida Atlantic at Oklahoma. I know it's not on your radar but Lane Kiffin's Owls could be a 10 or 11 win team. This is one of those sticky openers that suddenly could be a shocker.