I wasn’t a fan of Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness.
Lots of things didn’t work. The story had more holes than a Connecticut defensive front. The pacing vacillated between air raid and ground-and-pound. And the script was executed worse than this trick play.
But, hokey college football references aside, there’s a reason why I bring up this decidedly disappointing Marvel flick.
At a certain point, the good Doctor and his charge, a dimension-hopping Mary Sue named America Chavez (yes, that is her real name), end up in an alternate New York. Skyscrapers are overgrown with flowers and greenery, and everyone’s wearing a hat.
The pair make their way to street level, where Doc almost gets hit by a car. The traffic light was red, but America informs him: “Rule number one of multiversal travel: you don’t know anything.” Suddenly the light switches to green, the cars stop and everyone crosses the street, including a bewildered Doctor Strange.
This rule also applies to Week 1 of college football — before and after it takes place.
The preseason picks and previews, the endless speculation, a product of the lengthy months we endure without the sport we love. Week 1 is our first chance to see whether any of it was true. But while it provides data, Week 1 also distorts the eventual truth.
After this weekend’s games, we may think we know which teams are clear to drive into the great unknown and which are still stuck at a stop. But a word of caution: we may have our green and red lights reversed.
Rule number one of Week 1: you don’t know anything.
But that makes figuring out what to watch difficult. If everything’s so up in the air with a ton of games being played, what’s worth your time?
That’s where I’m here to help! Below I’ve broken down the Saturday college football schedule for you, letting you know when and where you can find the best games. Check it out!
As we’ll cover, there’s not much going on early in the day, so take this time to take it easy. You’ve got a long season ahead. Go out to lunch with the fam, take a jog around the neighborhood, fix that gutter you’ve been meaning to get to. You won’t want to miss the rest of Saturday, trust me.
North Carolina at Appalachian State
This will likely be a fun, close one. After chucking five touchdowns in his first start, quarterback Drake Maye seems poised to command an offense that might have some questions up front but boasts plenty of skill talent. The Tar Heel defense is the issue, though. It held Florida A&M down last week, which is a good sign of improvement under defensive coordinator Gene Chizik, but can it handle the relentless Fun Belt attack of a hungry Mountaineer team led by quarterback Chase Brice? Well, that may be a misnomer. App State’s real leading scorers emerge from their two-headed monster in the backfield: Nate Noel and Camerun Peoples.
Oregon vs. Georgia
Played in neutral-in-name-only Atlanta, the defending national champion Dawgs welcome the Ducks. I previewed this game a few weeks back, and my strong recommendation that you watch it stands. Bo Nix, apparently tired of beating the Ducks, has now transferred to lead them to glory. The offense returns nine players, which is frankly terrifying. On the other side of the ball, Dan Lanning’s been hired to spruce up a solid front seven and young secondary. Guess where Dan Lanning coached last year? That’s right: Georgia. The Ducks can only hope Lanning’s got special insight to solve the Dawgs’ top-flight squad. Stetson Bennett will be leading an offense that can literally kill you with any weapon: the run, the short toss, or the long ball. And Georgia’s “reloading” on defense, but don’t expect that to cause too many problems.
Cincinnati at Arkansas
Cincy really hopes this matchup goes smoothly. That may not mean a win, but the Bearcats don’t want an embarrassment right before heading to the Power 5. They made the Playoff in historic fashion last year, but lost much of their talent in the offseason. This is a young team, but senior quarterback Ben Bryant is its likely leader on offense (though we could see Evan Prater). Arkansas returns quarterback K.J. Jefferson as gunslinger, hoping he improves from an offense that looked occasionally anemic last year. The line has to be better at pass protection, for starters. Defensively the Hogs are a mixed bag. Lots up in the air here, which usually signals a fun game.
Watch The Score
UTEP at Oklahoma (3:30p/2:30p, FOX)
Houston at UTSA (3:30p/2:30p, CBSSN)
Arizona at San Diego State (3:30p/2:30p, CBS)
Listen to our College Football Week 1 Preview, Predictions & Picks
Notre Dame at Ohio State
Marcus Freeman takes the reins of an Irish team with beefy lines on offense and defense. But the offense is hobbled by injuries and a lack of proven talent out wide, despite returning an exciting, albeit inexperienced, quarterback in Tyler Buchner. Meanwhile, the Buckeyes still boast quarterback C.J. Stroud slinging the pigskin and a potent, balanced attack. They should score, but their defensive line needs improvement from last season. More pressure is the goal, and with a ton of prospects, it should ideally round into its own.
Utah at Florida
The Utes are on the rise. Quarterback Cam Rising, the dynamic breakout star from last season, leads a hungry offense that should improve on the passing front. They also return monster Tavion Thomas in the backfield. But Utah’s defense lost some key tackling talent and has to get a handle on explosive play prevention. That might be difficult on the road against the Gators. After losing their two leading rushers, quarterback Anthony Richardson will likely be asked to throw a lot more. Justin Shorter and Xavier Henderson are his two likely top targets, and he’ll be well protected by a hefty line. Utah could get some steam back by relying on Thomas, as last year’s Gators really had trouble defending the run.
Late Night Games
Boise State at Oregon State
Trust me, stay up for this one. I really like the Beavers this year. They are replacing their star running back B.J. Baylor with his two backups, Deshaun Fenwick and Trey Lowe. And Chance Nolan continues onward as quarterback, with likely improvement in his passing ability. He’ll be well protected by a solid offensive line. The defense showed up late last year, and the Oregon State secondary should handle itself well. The Broncs need to improve in Andy Avalos’ second year after a disappointing seven wins last season. Hank Bachmeier is back at quarterback, and senior Stefan Cobbs should be the main target. That is, if the offensive line can greatly improve and keep Bachmeier upright. Boise State’s defense returns veteran talent and should be able to handle any challenge.
Normally, this is where the weekend would end, but it’s Week 1, so we’ve got one more game to preview!
Florida State at LSU
The Noles are likely feeling their oats after pounding lowly Duquesne into dust last week. Relying on a potent and varied run attack, with three backs reaching 100 yards in their prior outing, Florida State can score. The passing attack was efficient if lacking, with Jordan Travis going 11 for 15 and just over 200 yards. And the defense held its opponent down well. But that was an FCS team. Brian Kelly probably wants to make a good impression on the LSU faithful. Can he, or is this a rebuilding year? The offensive line, which was a giant bowl of yikes last season, is still a question mark. And we don’t know who they’ll be protecting, as Kelly’s not telling who the starting quarterback will be. On the defensive side, well, the Tigers should get a good push up front. That will be the battle to watch given the Seminoles’ rushing talent.