Which games should you be watching this week? Where are the best match ups? Who should you be watching in this random game? We have you covered. Here is a breakdown of the college football action for week 1 including times and channels so you know what to watch, what to DVR and what to be excited for this week in college football.
Players in Action Worth Watching
Texas Tech TE Jace Amaro vs. TCU, 7:30pm ESPN – Another in a huge group of talented underclassmen tight ends, Amaro will be in action against maybe the best defense in the Big XII.
Tulane RB Orleans Darkwa vs. Louisiana Tech, 7:30pm Fox Sports 1 – Tulane has a couple of potential NFL Draft prospects but the overall roster is not terribly great, so while a player like Darkwa has talent, he has to do a lot of the work himself.
Boise State DE DeMarcus Lawrence and RB Jay Ajayi vs. Air Force, 8pm ESPN – Lawrence is a talented end who can get after the quarterback while Ajayi is a big, powerful back who likes to get behind his pads and trample the opponent.
UCLA at Nebraska
Key Matchup: Nebraska OT Jeremiah Sirles vs. UCLA OLB Anthony Barr
Barr was a freak athlete who took the country by storm last year almost entirely off of instincts. He needs to continue polishing his game and get better with reading the defense especially in the running game while continuing to dominate as a pass rusher.
Sirles is an offensive tackle who looks the part and could really use this game to make a statement about his draft prospects this year.
Other Players to Watch
QB Brett Hundley, UCLA – Hundley is probably the best of the incredible group of redshirt sophomore signal callers with an advanced understanding of the position, a great arm and can make plays with his legs.
OG Xavier Su’a-Filo, UCLA – Su’a-Filo has remarkable power and a squatty build, but moves far better than people might think looking at him. He might be the best underclassman guard in the country.
DE Cassius Marsh, UCLA – Undersized but athletic with a great motor, Marsh operates on nonstop activity and functions by avoiding getting sucked into blocks in the first place.
WR Shaquelle Evans, UCLA – A good athlete with a strong build for a wide receiver, Evans came out in the opener with 6 catches for 81 yards.
CB Ciante Evans, Nebraska – After Prince Amukamara and Alfonzo Dennard, Evans is the next in line.
OG Spencer Long, Nebraska – A guard with a good build for the position that helps power the Cornhusker running game.
QB Taylor Martinez, Nebraska – Not the most gifted passer but his size and athleticism combined with teams running read option might make Martinez a potential draft pick as a running back or maybe a situation like B.J. Daniels.
Alabama at Texas A&M, 3:30pm CBS
Key Matchup: Texas A&M OT Jake Matthews vs. Alabama OLB Adrian Hubbard
Matthews is one of the most talented offensive tackle prospects in the country and this will be his first big test since moving over to the left side after playing the last few years at right tackle while Luke Joeckel was at left tackle.
Hubbard is an incredible athlete but coming into this year, just needed to get more natural and fluid with his body. Last season, he was far more effective and looked more comfortable rushing from a three-point stance and was not as explosive as a standup end.
Other Players to Watch
FS Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix, Alabama – Perhaps the best pure safety prospect in the country, he has remarkable range and great ball skills that allow him to be a big time turnover threat on the back end of the Tide defense.
ILB C.J. Mosley, Alabama – Most likely, Mosley is the best pure linebacker prospect this year, though he actually looks like a better fit in the 4-3 than the 3-4 at the next level. Mosley is a great athlete and a technician at linebacker.
OT Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama – One of the more controversial offensive line prospects this year. Still only a junior, he does a fantastic job of using efficient footwork and staying in front of opponents but there are legitimate concerns about his range, the quickness of his feet and balance.
OG Anthony Steen, Alabama – Not overwhelming in his physical talent, Steen is nevertheless a technician at the position who could play either left or right guard at the next level. Has an impressive streak of not being called for penalties.
WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M – Evans was a breakout star for the Aggies last year as a redshirt freshman that is physically impressive with his height, size and speed. He is the go-to target for the Aggies and is a huge mismatch for any defense.
QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M – Like Evans, only a redshirt sophomore. Makes up for average physical tools with his ability to improvise and make great decisions when plays break down, but unclear how far that can carry him at the next level.
DE Ed Stinson, Alabama – Another in the long line of talented 5-tech defensive ends, Stinson can be an effective run clogger who can also help in the pass rush.
QB A.J. McCarron, Alabama – Largely a game manager, McCarron shows poise and is able to deal with the pressure of running the Tide offense in the biggest games.
Tennessee at Oregon, 3:30pm ABC
Key Matchup: Tennessee OTs Antonio Richardson and Ju’Wuan James vs. Oregon DE Taylor Hart
Richardson and James make up one of the most talented pairs of offensive tackles in the country. Both are huge, powerful run blockers who can move opponents off of the line. There are questions with regards to their lateral ability and how well they can handle the most talented speed threats off of the edge, but they both have the length to make it difficult to get around the edge. Both might be able to play left tackle at the next level.
Hart is enormous and an incredible athlete at 6’6” 300lbs. While he shows some solid burst and powerful strength, it all comes down to leverage with Hart. When he plays behind his pads, he can be a force and the times when he plays tall, he is a shell of what he can be.
Other Players to Watch
CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon – One of the best corners in the country, Olomu has fantastic feet and is a terrific pure man corner with the ability to intercept passes and the speed to take them to the house. He needs to do a better job of tackling and helping in run support.
TE Colt Lyerla, Oregon – Extremely talented tight end in a class full of them, Lyerla is the prototype who can play as an H-Back, Tight end, or be split out and make plays.
DT Daniel McCullers, Tennessee – A premier talent as a pure nose tackle, McCullers is an overwhelming force in the middle of the line. Coming in lighter this year, the hope is for McCullers to play at a higher level for longer stretches this year.
C James Stone, Tennessee – Stone is a talented blocker when he can work in a phone booth and really adapts well to power. He needs to do a better job of working in space and making reach blocks.
RB De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon – An electric athlete who can make plays as a runner but is a natural receiving threat, Thomas has the potential to contribute in a few different spots on offense in the NFL.
QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon – Mariota is tabbed as the best passer to take the reins of the Oregon offense while still being able to make plays with his legs, but he is still only a redshirt sophomore and could certainly benefit from additional experience.
RB Raijon Neal, Tennessee – Part of a stable of talented backs, Neal is the work horse and will only become more heavily relied upon as their schedule gets more difficult, starting this week.
Other Players in Action Worth Watching
Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater vs. Kentucky, 12pm ESPN – Sadly, this might be the best defense the Cardinals see for the rest of the regular season. While it is unlikely Bridgewater will struggle, the Wildcats have some players that can cause problems.
East Carolina TE Justin Jones vs. Virginia Tech - The first of back to back weeks against ACC opponents, Justin Jones is an enormous, athletic tight end in the power forward mold who needs to continue polishing his game.
Nevada QB Cody Fajardo vs. Florida State, 3:30pm ESPN – Another in the impressive group of Mountain West quarterbacks, Fajardo, still a junior, gets a huge test in the Seminoles, who might have the best defense in the country.
Georgia Tech DE Jeremiah Attaochu vs. Duke, 3:30 ESPNU – While Attaochu is more likely to play outside linebacker in the NFL as a speed rusher, his experience as a defensive end and learning how to win with his hands and leverage will be important.
UCF QB Blake Bortles and HB Storm Johnson vs. Penn State, 6pm Big Ten Network – One of the bigger tests on the Golden Knight schedule, Bortles and Johnson have a significant uptick in the competition after trouncing Akron and Florida International.
Cal DE DeAndre Coleman vs. Ohio State OT Jack Mewhort, 7pm Fox – Cal is really undermanned from a talent standpoint in this game, but Coleman is an extremely talented player who could make an impact like Khalil Mack did in week 1 against the Buckeyes.
Kent State RB Dri Archer vs. LSU, 7pm ESPNU – Assuming he is healthy, this is the biggest opponent and best defense Archer will face this year. Not unlike LSU’s Odell Beckham (who might be Archer on scout team), Archer is an unbelievable athlete with sprinter’s speed and incredible lateral agility.
Arizona State RB Marion Grice vs. Wisconsin, 10:30pm ESPN – After using Sacramento State as a glorified scrimmage and a week off, the Sun Devils and Grice have had ample time to prepare for the Wisconsin defense.
Wisconsin RBs James White and Melvin Gordon vs. Arizona State, 10:30 ESPN – White waited his turn behind Montee Ball to be the feature back for the Badgers but redshirt sophomore Melvin Gordon has been extremely impressive this year and could take the vast majority of carries for the Badgers and make a huge move up NFL Draft Boards.