A number of schools will be playing their first games of the season during Week 1, including Houston, Houston Baptist, South Florida, and Texas Tech. Houston, Houston Baptist, and South Florida are all road games, and Texas Tech will play at Baylor.  Let’s take a look at these games and some that will be played during Week 1:  Week 1  School Time  TV Info  Last FBS Game Last FBS Win Last FBS Loss Last FBS Win %  Notre Dame  8:30 PM ESPN U  (ACC)  31-0  (Last)  Notre Dame  55-27  Washington  12:00 PM ESPN

This week the college football season begins, and after a long summer break, all eyes will be on the returning college stars returning to the field. We will be bringing you updates from the College Football Live app, and what to watch for in Week 1.

Every fall, college football fans eagerly await the opening of the college football season. With 80 teams in action this season, it’s often tough to know what to expect. Here are some things to look forward to around the country.. Read more about college football week 1, 2021 and let us know what you think.

7 a.m. ET

  • Wilson, Dave


    What-to-watch-for-in-college-footballs-Week-1ESPN Contributor

      Since 2010, Dave Wilson has worked as an editor for ESPN.com. He has worked for The Dallas Morning News, San Diego Union-Tribune, and Las Vegas Sun, among other publications.
  • Harry Lyles Jr. is a member of the Harry Lyles family.

The wait is finally over. Week 1 is here, and oh, does it have a lot to offer after one of the most difficult, unique, and just plain bizarre seasons in college football history.

There are five games involving top-25 teams in the season’s entire opening week for the first time since the Associated Press preseason poll started in 1950, with No. 3 Clemson playing No. 5 Georgia in Charlotte, North Carolina (7:30 p.m. ET Saturday, ABC/ESPN App).

But this season is all about betting on potential at the top. There are new quarterbacks taking over the reins for four of the top six teams in Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, Clemson’s D.J. Uiagalelei and Texas A&M’s Haynes King, and they’re facing big expectations. In the Heisman Trophy odds, Uiagalelei (8-1) and Young (9-1) trail only Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler (6-1), with Stroud coming in at 14-1 at Caesars Sportsbook.

In the preseason rankings, it’s not just the old-school blue bloods enjoying all the fun. Iowa State was ranked No. 7 for the first time in school history. Cincinnati is ranked No. 8, which is the highest ever for an American Athletic Conference club. For the first time since 1997, North Carolina is ranked in the top ten. Indiana’s preseason ranking of No. 17 is their best since 1969. The first Sun Belt schools to appear in the season’s initial rankings are Coastal Carolina (No. 22) and Louisiana (No. 23).

Most importantly though, the college football experience is back. Bands will be playing the fight song. Fans will be in the stands roaring along with pregame entrances, including “Enter Sandman” on Friday night when Sam Howell and UNC are in Blacksburg to face Virginia Tech (6 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN App). Mascots will be back roaming the sidelines, including a new Ralphie (Ralphie VI) making her first run on Friday night before Colorado’s game against Northern Colorado and Reveille X making her Kyle Field debut at Texas A&M on Saturday. Ralphie VI even got her own hype video.

A new epoch has begun.

Ralphie VI, hurry up and go. pic.twitter.com/q84g2bAw8Q

September 1, 2021 — Ralphie (@CUBuffsRalphie)

We’re on our way to never-never land in no time.

In Georgia-Clemson, it’s neighbor against. neighbor.

We’ve been hearing about it for months, and now the Clemson-Georgia game is only days away.

It’s hard to overstate the importance of Saturday night’s game. Per ESPN Stats & Information research, the matchup has the highest playoff leverage of any regular-season game this season according to the Allstate Playoff Predictor.

We’re getting a battle between two of college football’s best teams in the last half-decade, regardless of the standings or playoff implications. The game will set the tone for both teams early in the season and help everyone get back into the swing of things.



SEC Analysts are already debating what the Georgia-Clemson game means for both teams in Week 1.

There is no better way for Clemson to begin the post-Trevor Lawrence era than with a victory against Georgia. After what we saw him accomplish last season against Boston College and Notre Dame, Uiagalelei’s abilities aren’t a mystery to anybody, but the Tigers won’t be easing into the new era against Georgia.

The good news for Clemson is that this game will be as difficult as they get during the regular season, but Georgia’s defense will make things difficult for the first-year starter.

Georgia, on the other hand, is under a lot of pressure from the outside world. This is expected to be the year the Dawgs put it all together and break through to the top tier of consistently good college football teams. JT Daniels, the quarterback, demonstrated what their offense might be by the end of 2020, while Kirby Smart, the defensive coordinator, is projected to have one of the top defenses in the nation once again.

There are few better ways to start a season than with a matchup between two of college football’s biggest names, separated by just 70 miles.

SMU’s 6-foot-8, 232-pound kicker is a big surprise.

We’ve come to kick off the season in a huge manner, so let’s go down to Dallas, where they’re doing the same thing — with a kicker who’s bigger than normal.

2 Related

Let’s begin with the peculiarities of this genuine freshmen class. Because to COVID-19, many coaches were unable to meet athletes in person until they came on school. Imagine your surprise when a kicker you saw at your camp a few years ago came up, hit the weights, and is suddenly 6-8, 232 pounds and kicking 74-yard field goals in practice while wearing size-14 shoes. SMU coach Sonny Dykes has been perplexed by Brendan Hall’s unusual size.

Dykes remarked, “I’ve never, ever, ever seen anything like that in my life.”

Hall’s tale seems to be pre-internet folklore. He didn’t have a private kicking coach or attend specialist kicking camps since he played for the Springtown Porcupines (from Springtown, Texas, population 2,658, northwest of Fort Worth). At an SMU camp, he grabbed Dykes’ attention when he kept kicking kickoffs out of the end zone, with a few even going into the seats. The Mustangs didn’t have anybody who could match a junior high school student. Dykes had no choice but to take him.

When word of his secret got out — such as when he hit a 49-yarder to send a playoff game into overtime — Hall picked SMU over larger institutions because the Mustangs were the first to offer him and he felt at ease in a small-school environment near to his hometown.

Brandon Hall has routinely practiced 50- to 70-yard kicks and punts with a five-second hang time, according to Sonny Dykes. Football at SMU

Dykes described him as a “very quiet child.” “His leg is the one who does all the talking.”

Hall has routinely practiced 50- to 70-yard kicks and punts with a five-second hang time, according to Dykes. When SMU takes on Abilene Christian on Saturday night (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+/ESPN App), he’ll be the Mustangs’ kickoff and punter, and he’ll also come in for long kicks.

“Right now, the college football record for a field goal without a tee is 65 yards [by Martin Gramatica for Kansas State in 1998],” stated Dykes. “I believe Brandon has a shot at breaking that thing.”

Hall has gained weight since coming to SMU in June, and Dykes believes he will be 250-260 pounds one day. He even teases with Hall about perhaps switching jobs.

“He may have to play tackle if he goes up to 290 pounds,” he added.

What to watch in the most intriguing games of the week

On Saturday, No. 21 Texas takes on No. 23 Louisiana (4:30 p.m. ET, Fox), in what will be the Longhorns’ first game as a ranked team against a ranked opponent since 1984. Sarkisian, in his first year with the Longhorns but his third as a head coach, is up against Billy Napier, one of the most sought-after coaching prospects in the nation. It pits a Longhorns club with all-new tactics against a Ragin’ Cajuns team that, according to our colleague Bill Connelly, returns 97 percent of its production from a 10-1 team that lost by three points to Coastal Carolina and began last season with a 31-14 road victory over Iowa State.

“We’re paying attention to the opponent we’re facing,” Sarkisian remarked on Monday.

And we’ll be paying attention to Sarkisian’s offense, with the coach announcing Monday that Hudson Card will be his starter, although Casey Thompson will also play. The major interest, though, will be how Sarkisian uses Bijan Robinson, who shined in perplexingly restricted chances last year, establishing the Texas record for yards per carry in a season (8.2) while receiving only 50 rushes in the five games he played that were decided by one score or less.

For Week 1 overreaction potential, this is a top contender worth keeping an eye on.



Miami will struggle to score against Alabama’s strong defense, according to Paul Finebaum and Sam Acho.

The major tournaments (all times ET)

No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 14 Miami at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta (3:30 p.m. Saturday, ABC/ESPN App): Alabama’s offense will look a lot different coming season after losing ten players to the NFL draft, with Young leading the way as quarterback. The Tide will still score plenty of points, but this might be one of Nick Saban’s best defenses. Miami has a healthy D’Eriq King, and the Canes may have a huge season in the ACC if they can keep this one close.

No. 17 Indiana vs. No. 18 Iowa (BTN, 3:30 p.m.): The Hoosiers have an opportunity to show that their 2020 season wasn’t a fluke, as Michael Penix Jr. returns to the lineup. With a victory against one of the top teams in the East, Iowa, which began the season 0-2 before winning its last six games, wants to establish itself as a Big Ten West favorite.

No. 19 Penn State vs. No. 12 Wisconsin (Fox, 1 p.m. Saturday): With this conference showdown, the B1G is not wasting any time. Penn State, which has won its last four meetings with Wisconsin, will put Wisconsin’s 16-game winning run in home openers to the test.

LSU vs. UCLA (8:30 p.m. Saturday on Fox): Because of Hurricane Ida, LSU had to move to Houston and practice on the road for the whole week before heading to Los Angeles. A game in the Rose Bowl should be a nice break, particularly since UCLA has been handing away free tickets all week in an attempt to increase attendance.

Notre Dame at Florida State (7:30 p.m. Sunday, ABC/ESPN App): Notre Dame is the No. 9 team in the country. The Seminoles’ first game after the passing of Bobby Bowden is a classic battle against one of his greatest big-game opponents. Unfortunately, the Seminoles’ 3-6 record last season was their worst since going 3-8 the year before Bowden took over. With the debut of former UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton, FSU has one of the greatest storylines in college football. Milton will play for the first time in 33 months after sustaining a horrific knee injury against USF in November 2018 that required doctors to contemplate amputation. Milton hopes to complete a near-miracle recovery after a difficult rehab procedure and a move to Tallahassee. In the meanwhile, Notre Dame will have a completely different appearance with just two offensive starters returning and a new starting quarterback in Wisconsin transfer Jack Coan.

Louisville vs. Ole Miss at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta (8 p.m. Monday, ESPN/ESPN App): Matt Corral, the Mississippi quarterback, is available for seeing by appointment. Corral enters the season as a possible Heisman candidate after throwing for 3,337 yards, 29 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions in 2020. Despite losing five of its top seven tacklers from last season, Louisville will be aiming to shut down Lane Kiffin’s offense after a dismal 2020 season.

Is Las Vegas BYU’s second home?

BYU and Arizona will face off at Allegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders, on Saturday night (10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN App). More than 57,000 tickets have already been sold, according to the Deseret News, making it the biggest audience ever to attend a collegiate sports event in Las Vegas.

BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe told the newspaper, “It’s strange and a bit ironic, because Las Vegas has been very wonderful for BYU athletics dating back to the games with UNLV, the Las Vegas Bowl, and the Mountain West and West Coast Conference basketball championships.” “Our folks like visiting Las Vegas.”

In Las Vegas, the Cougars are 12-4.

Beamer Ball II: A coach takes the field as quarterback

When the Gamecocks face Eastern Illinois on Saturday (7 p.m. ET on ESPN+/ESPN App), Zeb Noland, who came to South Carolina as a graduate assistant on Shane Beamer’s coaching staff, will start at quarterback.

Luke Doty was expected to be South Carolina’s starting quarterback, but he hurt his left foot during the preseason. Doty should be eligible to play against East Carolina on Sept. 11, according to Beamer, although the position is now held by Noland.

Before moving to North Dakota State, Noland began his playing career at Iowa State. Before starting for the Bison this spring, he was Trey Lance’s backup.

“I know what the story is out there,” Beamer said Tuesday, “so let’s forget about it and lose the narrative that [Noland] hasn’t played a football game in two or three years and he was going down the hall like Uncle Rico bragging about what he used to do as a quarterback.” “He used to play quarterback a few months ago, maybe three months ago. Since June, he has been a graduate assistant coach.”

While this may be true, the fact that a coach gave in his clipboard for a helmet is both amusing and admirable.

Out with the red, white, and blue!

Texas A&M will honor the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11 by revisiting its tribute from the Aggies’ first game after the attacks two decades ago, when Kyle Field fans coordinated to wear red, white and blue shirts, depending on their seat level.

Prepare yourself.

Prior to your arrival at Kyle Field or on gameday, purchase the official event t-shirt.

0AVPud1PiZ, https://t.co/0AVPud1PiZ, https://t.co/0AVPud1Pi pic.twitter.com/PFkLyRbSvo

— Texas A&M Athletics (@12thMan) August 31, 2021

The “Red White and Blue Out,” as it was dubbed, evolved from a post on the TexAgs message board by then-20-year-old student Eric Bethea to a campaign that saw 70,000 T-shirts sold in 10 days, even to visiting Oklahoma State supporters.

The Aggies chose to commemorate the occasion against Kent State on Saturday (8 p.m. ET, ESPNU/ESPN App) since they were on the road at Colorado on the anniversary.

With the 2017 college football season nearly upon us, here is a breakdown of what to watch for this week:. Read more about college football tv schedule 2021 and let us know what you think.

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