May 31, 2017
College football is less than 100 days from kickoff at the Division I level. As we head into June, it won’t be long before teams in the FBS and FCS begin practicing for season openers.
This year’s opening weekend doesn’t have quite the same jam-packed schedule as last season, but it isn’t terrible. There will be plenty of juicy matchups for fans to feast on.
Before looking at games from across the country, let’s look at those involving teams from our state on the first weekend of the season.
Jackson State University will hit the road to face a tough test in Texas Christian University. The Tigers will have to find away to slow down TCU’s high-powered offense. A JSU upset would be one of the biggest early-season stories.
Alcorn State University will have a much easier opening game against Miles College out of Division II. This game will start the Braves’ quest to play in a fourth straight SWAC Championship Game.
Mississippi Valley State University will go on the road to face one of the top teams at the FCS level, North Dakota State University. The Delta Devils will face a major test in week one, as the Bison have been racking up national titles lately.
The University of Mississippi Rebels will open the season knowing two things: They aren’t going to a bowl game, and their first foe has won at an SEC school before. The University of South Alabama pulled off a major upset against Mississippi State University last season. Things in Oxford would go from bad to worse in football if the Jaguars can trip up the Rebels.
Mississippi State opens the season against FCS foe Charleston Southern University. If the Bulldogs are going to prove that they are better than the 2016 team, they need to put this game away quickly.
One of the best opening-weekend games last season was the University of Kentucky hosting the University of Southern Mississippi. The Wildcats jumped out to a huge lead before the Golden Eagles stormed back for the victory. This year, the game is in Hattiesburg, and for neutral fans, a copy of the 2016 game would be a treat.
There are also some games that won’t involve teams from our state that should be enjoyable viewing. These games are in no particular order.
The University of Texas will host the University of Maryland in a Big 12-Big Ten matchup. This game means more to the Longhorns, who want to get back to being national-title contenders.
My opening-weekend bet for an FCS member to upset an FBS member is Eastern Washington University over Texas Tech University. If only this game were being played on the red field of Eastern Washington, all the black and red wore by both teams would murder the eyes.
Last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, Lamar Jackson, will begin his bid to become the second man to win the award twice against Purdue University in an ACC-Big Ten clash. Another interesting game with an ACC school is the University North Carolina hosting the University of California, Berkeley. Will the Tar Heels go with the noon Eastern time kickoff against the West Coast team, meaning the Golden Bears will be playing 9 a.m. Pacific time?
There will be plenty of ACC-versus-SEC games to open the season. The University of South Carolina will take on North Carolina State University, the University of Tennessee will battle Georgia Technical Institute, but the tastiest ACC-SEC battle will be Florida State University against the University of Alabama.
The FSU-Alabama game could end up having a major impact on the national-title race. That is a primetime match worth firing up the grill and opening an adult beverage.
Louisiana State University against Brigham Young University and West Virginia University against Virginia Tech are two nice games to watch. Texas A&M University traveling to the University of California, Los Angeles could be intriguing, as well.
The University of Florida against the University of Michigan may become an instant classic. Both schools want to get back to being national-title contenders, and the winner might be close to that level.
Which game are you most excited about for the opening of the 2017-2018 college football season? Go to Twitter and tell us @JFPSports.