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.
Clemson QB Tajh Boyd, WR Sammy Watkins, RB Roderick McDowell and DE Vic Beasley vs. N.C. State, 7:30pm ESPN – Clemson is going to be an overwhelming favorite here and an opportunity for these players to showcase their talents on National TV, but it is a conference game on the road and on a Thursday night. These are the type of games that can have some really unexpected outcomes but having a senior quarterback like Boyd could pay off with his leadership and veteran savvy.
N.C. State QB Pete Thomas and DE Darryl Cato-Bishop vs. Clemson, 7:30pm ESPN – Thomas is a talented, but unheralded junior quarterback with a ton of size. This gives him the platform to really raise his profile if he can play well. Bishop brings some good size and will have an opportunity to show what he can do against an impressive Tiger offense.
Fresno State QB Derek Carr, WR Davante Adams and TE Marcel Jensen vs. Boise State, 9pm ESPN – Fresno State had an unexpected bye week due to the flooding in Colorado that forced that game to be postponed. The Bulldogs have put up over 40 points in both games they have played and will look to continue putting up a ton of points when they host the Broncos. With a player like Lawrence, it could force Carr to show some better pocket awareness, which is one of the complaints some have had coming in from last year and one Carr has acknowledged himself.
Boise State DE Demarcus Lawrence and RB Jay Ajayi vs. Fresno State, 9pm ESPN – Ajayi’s size does not necessarily suggest he would be, but he is a power back who likes to get behind his pads and run opponents down like grass. Lawrence is a talented junior edge rusher who could put pressure on Carr.
North Carolina at Georgia Tech, 12pm ESPN
Key Matchup: Georgia Tech DE Jeremiah Attaochu vs. North Carolina OT James Hurst
Attaochu is one of the more talented speed rushers in the country and is probably the top senior in that regard. He is better suited to play as a rush linebacker in the NFL, but the experience of playing in the trenches this year should only help him.
Hurst has a lot of differing opinions as some love him and cite the job he did against Jadeveon Clowney in the opener and some do not love him and cite the job he did against Jadeveon Clowney. This matchup with Hurst could really expose his ability against outside speed or reinforce that he is a legitimate tackle prospect.
Other Players to Watch
TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina – Among an incredible group of underclassmen tight ends, Ebron has the look of someone who can legitimately play wide receiver or tight end depending on the situation. His consistency with his hands and catching the ball is the one area he really needs to improve.
FS Tre Boston, North Carolina – Boston is a ball hawk on the back end but he has major questions with his ability to tackle and how much he can help in the running game and secure tackles down the field.
CB Tim Scott, North Carolina – One of the more talented corners in the country, he had some issues in the opener against South Carolina and needs to get past that but get back to the form he displayed last year.
QB Bryn Renner, North Carolina – Renner seems to have the tools to be a quality quarterback but has not really progressed under head coach Larry Fedora to this point.
DE Kareem Martin, North Carolina – Another in the line of talented Tar Heel defensive linemen, Martin has good size and physical talent but needs to consistently be a threat to make plays.
DB Jemea Thomas, Georiga Tech – Depending on who is asked, Thomas might be better suited to play safety or corner at the next level, but the consensus is he has talent.
Tennessee at Florida, 3:30pm CBS
Key Matchup: Florida DL Dominque Easley and OLB Ronnie Powell vs. Tennessee OTs Antonio Richardson and Ju’Wuan James
A week after playing against Taylor Hart of Oregon while getting drubbed by the Ducks, the Vols tackles have another good matchup with Florida. So far, the bookend tackles have held up well and been effective, which has only helped their stocks for the NFL Draft.
Easley has been impressive this year, seemingly picking up where he left off in the bowl game last year and becoming a consistent disruption this year. Powell is suited to be an outside linebacker in a 3-4 at the next level and his speed and quickness could cause problems for Tennessee.
Other Players to Watch
DT Daniel McCullers, Tennessee – The prototype 3-4 nose tackle, McCullers has incredible size, strength and power, but has to show consistency, stamina to really entrench himself as a top pick.
ILB A.J. Johnson, Tennessee – Big and strong, Johnson came into the season needing to improve his quickness and range. Has been able to make a large amount of plays in spite of it, but could dramatically improve.
C James Stone, Tennessee – A powerful anchor, Stone excels when he deals with opponents who want to overpower him. He needs to show he can consistently deal with quickness and be able to effectively reach block.
RB Raijon Neal, Tennessee – With the youth the Vols have at both quarterback and wide receiver, the offensive line and Neal are critical for them to be successful.
CB Marcus Roberson, Florida – The most polished of the Gator corners, Roberson looked poised to really take a step forward this year and so far, so good.
ATH Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida – More athlete than football player, Purifoy’s measurables are incredible but where he is best suited to play both for Florida and in the NFL is still up in the air.
DB Jaylen Watkins, Florida – The lone senior of the defensive backfield, Watkins is not quite as talented in terms of upside as the two junior corners, but he has ability in his own right.
WR Trey Burton, Florida – Burton has played quarterback in his time at Florida before they ultimately went with Jeff Driskel. Burton was a dual threat passer and is athletic enough where Florida just has to find ways to put him on the field. Raw as a receiver but there is certainly potential.
Arizona State vs. Stanford, 7pm Fox
Key Matchup: Arizona State DL Will Sutton vs. Stanford OG David Yankey
Sutton is an incredibly combination of effort, technique, and will that allow him to be a dominant college player. He is undersized for the NFL and there are concerns about how he will translate to the next level.
Yankey is a terrific guard who benefited from experience at left tackle last season to work on expanding his range laterally to make blocks. The combination of Yankey and Stanford’s tight splits within their offensive make it difficult to penetrate and allows them to overpower opponents. That makes for an interesting test to see how Sutton responds.
Other Players to Watch
QB Kevin Hogan, Stanford – Hogan is another in a ridiculous crop of sophomore quarterbacks with a ton of ability and he seems to get better by the snap. There are some who think he will end up getting close to where Andrew Luck was as a quarterback prospect.
ILB Shayne Skov, Stanford – Skov was an absolute stud before tearing his ACL and there are still questions surrounding if he is all the way back. At worst, he is a thumper in the 3-4 but could be a terrific player if he can get back to the player he was.
DE Trent Murphy, Stanford – Murphy is somewhat of a tweener. He seems best suited to be a 5-technique end and getting up to around 285-290lbs. He needs to take full advantage of his power and attack inside more rather than trying to attack outside.
DE Ben Gardner, Stanford – Appears to be best suited to play as a power end at the next level, can play the run and help with the pass rush.
DE Henry Anderson, Stanford – Like with Murphy, has great length and size to be an NFL defensive linemen and is an effective player.
OLB Carl Bradford, Arizona State – Along with Sutton, helps make up a good front seven who can help on the run or get after the quarterback.
RB Marion Grice, Arizona State – Grice is a talented back with good measurables coming off of a 4 touchdown performance against Wisconsin
Other Players in Action Worth Watching
San Jose State QB David Fales vs. Minnesota, 12pm ESPN2 – Fales has not looked like the quarterback prospect some had thought he would be this year and he looks to bounce back against the Gophers.
Minnesota DT Ra’Shede Hageman vs. San Jose State, 12pm ESPN2 – Hageman is one of the most talented defensive linemen in all of college football with remarkable power. He was not terribly nuanced in his moves last year but just wreaked havoc with his imposing physical skills.
Pittsburgh WR Devin Street vs. Duke CB Ross Cockrell, 12:30pm ESPN3 – It remains to be seen how much these two will go up against each other, but both are talented players. Street is extremely long and lean with explosive speed while Cockrell is not blessed with tremendous physical talent and operates on toughness, grit, and plays every play like it will be his last.
Tulane RBs Orleans Darkwa and Rob Kelley vs. Syracuse, 12:30pm ESPN3 – Darkwa has been the work horse but Kelley came out and was a pleasant surprise last week against Louisiana Tech and has a nice build for the position and is still only a junior.
Purdue DT Bruce Gaston and CB Ricardo Allen vs. Wisconsin, 3:30pm ABC/ESPN2 – After giving the Fighting Irish a scare, the Boilermakers take on Wisconsin. While Purdue has gotten off to a rough start, they do have some talented players that could play in the NFL. Gaston is another talented defensive lineman following in the footsteps of Kawann Short. Allen flashed a few times against Notre Dame and came close to a pick six off of Tommy Rees. Allen will likely be matched up against Jared Abbredaris of Wisconsin who is a draft prospect in his own right.
Utah State C Tyler Larsen vs. USC, 3:30pm – The second of the Aggies two PAC-12 opponents, Larsen is an extremely talented center and will be able to showcase his ability to man the pivot against a fantastic Trojan defense.
Kent State RB Dri Archer vs. Penn State, 3:30pm BTN – Assuming he is healthy, which has been a problem this year, this is the second of his two big time AQ opponents the Flashes have on their schedule this year.
Rutgers WR Brandon Coleman vs. Arkansas, 3:30pm ESPN – Coleman is incredibly talented with as much physical talent as any wide receiver in the country but is not blessed with great quarterback play. This week, they host an SEC opponent in Arkansas. The last time the Scarlet Knights were on National television, Coleman had a big game in a 52-51 OT loss to Fresno State.
Colorado State C Weston Richburg and TE Crockett Gilmore vs. Alabama, 7pm ESPN2 – While the Tide reigns blows upon the Rams’ proverbial carcass, try to see what Richburg and Gilmore can do against the Bama defense.
Auburn RBs Tre Mason and Corey Grant vs. LSU, 7:45 ESPN – Mason came into this season with a good deal of buzz and he has been good so far this season. The other junior back on Auburn, Grant, has been incredibly good in his own right. Both get to go to Death Valley at night and play a tough LSU defense.
Connecticut ILB Yawin Smallwood vs. Michigan, 8pm ABC – The UConn season has been nothing short of a disaster so far, but Smallwood is a stud who is an absolute technician against the running game who just needs to improve his range and in pass defense to really make himself into a complete linebacker.
Wyoming QB Brett Smith and WR Robert Herron vs. Air Force, 10:15 ESPNU – Wyoming is 2-1 and had pushed Nebraska to the limit before losing. The team functions almost exclusively on how far Smith can carry them. Herron is the best receiving threat he has and has great speed to break open plays.