As I catch my breath after a few days of pub meals and beers, the American football season has crept up on me.
Tomorrow morning marks the unofficial beginning the of the college football season with the pros kicking things off on Friday morning (Australian time).
In the NCAA, there are some corkers to ignite the new season whilst some of the big guns are using week one to get the juices flowing and the confidence rising, facing off against far inferior rivals.
Here’s a look at what should be the opening week’s highlights;
OREGON STATE @ OHIO STATE
The only thing worse than the Buckeyes’ off-season would be a loss week one to Oregon State – who are being given nearly 40 points on the spread.
Urban Meyer will miss the clash, beginning his incredibly soft three-game suspension and yes, Ohio State should easily win the battle of OSU, but a shock loss could send this powerhouse program in a tailspin.
WASHINGTON @ AUBURN (Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta)
Number six meets numbers nine in one of two showcase opening week games. Auburn are 0-2 at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which is only 90-minutes from the Tigers campus. The Huskies are coming off a memorable season and are looking to again reach the College Football Playoff whilst Auburn coach Gus Malzahn has a talented team ready for another SEC assault.
Winning this one is crucial; falling behind the ledger in week one is a no-go, plus the early credits you can bank for a blockbuster victory are worth their weight in gold come crunch time.
MICHIGAN @ NOTRE DAME
Along with the Washington-Auburn clash, this one will set tongues wagging to open season 2018.
Michigan and its legion of fans will roll into South Bend demanding a better season than the previous couple and whilst Jim Harbaugh is considered legendary in Ann Arbor – he will need to get this Wolverines squad rocking early this campaign.
Big Blue gets 10 defensive starters back, including NFL-bound defensive end Rashaun Gary. Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson will take the reins at QB and his success – or lack of – will determine Michigan’s fortunes.
The Irish will have their own QB worries as Brandon Wimbush looks poised to start with Ian Book looking for snaps, neither player has set the world on fire yet.
MIAMI vs LSU (Cowboys Stadium, Arlington)
My LSU Tigers open the season as underdogs, facing the #8 ranked Hurricanes of Miami. Miami were electric early last season, winning 10 games before dropping its last three games to Pittsburgh, Clemson and Wisconsin.
Again, LSU have QB concerns with Joe Burrow only announced as the starter last week with sophomore Myles Brennan waiting in the wings.
LSU have a brutal schedule ahead, with currently ranked opponents Auburn, Georgia, Mississippi State, Alabama not far away. Coach Ed Orgeron has his work cut out for him.
Ranked Teams Results;
Michigan State 38, Utah State 31
Wisconsin 34, Western Kentucky 3
Stanford 31, San Diego State 10
Central Florida 56, Connecticut 17