Hopefully this will become a weekly preview of the best matchups of the week, however the amount of matches each week may fluctuate and they may be deemed ‘key’ for different reasons.
3 Florida State Seminoles v 1 Alabama Crimson Tide
Obviously, this is the biggest matchup of the week as it will have large playoff ramifications further down the line. I won’t go into too much detail on this one as an excellent preview has already been written.
Maryland Terrapins at 23 Texas Longhorns
Although, Texas are only ranked 23 and Maryland are unranked and a fairly weak team, this could be an interesting matchup. All eyes will be on new Texas coach Tom Herman who it is hoped that he can revitalise a program that has been in the doldrums since their 2006 National Championship victory. The game will also provide a welcome distraction for the state from the awful flooding that has affected so many residents of the Lone Star State. Some will hope for a similar game to the epic opener last year against Notre Dame, but I’m sure Herman would rather it be a lot less eventful than that.
11 Michigan Wolverines v 17 Florida Gators
Last year this would have been a matchup between two potential playoff teams, but this year it looks like regression for both. Michigan has been plagued by a loss of starters and has to accommodate an abundance of new starters. Whereas Florida has 10 players suspended for this match including star WR Antonio Calloway. As neither team is full strength, this could go one of two ways, it could be low scoring and full of mistakes or a high scoring shootout. A loss for either team isn’t disastrous due to their strong schedules, but it is highly unlikely that either team will be in the top 4 at the end of the season.
Temple Owls at Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Why an unranked match you say? Well this is much more than a simple week 1 matchup for the Irish. Last time they played Temple, the Owls were unbeaten and gave a Notre Dame team that contained Deshone Kizer and Will Fuller a real scare going down 24-20. Temple have really developed in the last few years into a decent team, but the loss of HC Matt Rhule will result in a down year for them. For Notre Dame this is a can’t lose game. ND is one of the richest and most powerful universities in the USA, but it hasn’t won a football championship since 1988. Last year they went 4-8 and lost to teams like Duke, NC State and Navy which is completely unacceptable. HC Brian Kelly somehow survived the off season, but knows that a similar record this year will ensure he loses his job.
BYU Cougars v 13 LSU Tigers
Poor BYU. They thought that they was going to play in Houston against LSU, but the awful flooding meant a relocation to the Superdome in New Orleans. Yes New Orleans, LSU’s 2nd home. For those of you who don’t know much about the Bayou Bengals, then you should know that they could play anywhere in Louisiana and sell out the game 3 or 4 times over. In fact, the Tigers are probably more popular in NOLA than the Saints are which is amazing in a city with a professional team in the same sport. Worse still for BYU fans, New Orleans is a party city and the Cougars are based in Provo, Utah aka the home of the Mormon Church so the fans can’t even drown their sorrows. Despite LSU being without Arden Key and no doubt limiting Derrius Guice’s snaps, they should be too dominant for the Cougars.
22 West Virginia Mountaineers v 21 Virginia Tech Hokies
This is the matchup I am most looking forward to. It is taking place at FedEx Field, home of the Redskins, which provides a neutral site that is in close proximity to both Morgantown, WV and Blacksburg, VA. Since West Virginia moved to the Big 12, they have lost their key rivalry games, so this match will mean a lot. VT will have a freshman QB for the first time since a certain Michael Vick. For the Mountaineers, they will rely on transfer QB Will Grier from Florida who showed a lot of promise before failing a drugs test. Both teams have similar schedules, so if they end up doing well in their conferences, this could be the match to decide on which bowl they will play in.