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College football opening week 2016: A complete watch guide

We’ve picked out the matchups to watch and have TV and streaming info for every game, Thursday through Monday. LET’S FOOTBAWL, Y’ALL.

Arkansas v Auburn Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

Even if you missed the trumpets blasting, bells ringing, and fighter jets streaking across the sky this morning, you’re probably well aware that college football’s full-scale opening weekend 2016 has officially arrived at our doors. While we always look forward to college football’s awakening from hibernation, this year’s opening weekend feels even more special due the number of out-of-conference matchups that you would normally find only in bowl season (that includes you, Shreveport and Birmingham).

In fact, according to those with internet access (so it must be true!), this weekend is the best opening weekend in televised college football history. To help you map your strategy for withdrawing from society and ceasing all activity that could be viewed as productive, we’re gonna roll through all the games that require your attention.

Below are the highlights (or in some cases, raging fires of destruction) for each day, Thursday through Monday. Scroll all the way to the bottom for TV and streaming info for every single game of the weekend.

All times Central


7 p.m. — South Carolina at Vanderbilt

No college football season can get underway without South Carolina struggling to score points on a Thursday night. Though there won’t be any visors thrown on the Gamecock sideline, there is a good chance someone is covered in Will Muschamp’s rage-induced blood spittle.

And since this game will be played while the sun is setting, here’s to hoping Muschamp remembers to wear his new designer sunglasses.

8 p.m. — Oregon State at Minnesota

Just in case you were curious what would happen if a 2-10 team and a five-win bowl team played one another the season after accomplishing those feats.


7 p.m. — Colorado State vs. Colorado (Denver)

NEVER turn your back on a rivalry game, especially when they decide to cut that sucker loose in the first dang game of the season. Do we know if CSU fans have learned to scream RUN THE DANG BALL at Mike Bobo?

8 p.m. — Kansas State at Stanford



6:30 a.m.(!) — Georgia Tech vs. Boston College (Dublin, Ireland)

The soccer world is currently on what’s known as an international break. That means no matches are played between professional clubs so that the players can leave to play for their respective countries in international games, like friendlies or World Cup qualifiers.

I mention this because there’s a better than average chance a 4-2 or 5-3 result in a World Cup qualifier over the weekend will outscore this game.

11 a.m. — Oklahoma vs. Houston (at Brock Osweiler’s very tall home stadium)

This game kicks off at 11 AM (CT), which means your plans for easing into a marathon Saturday are RURNT. Oklahoma may very well go on to thrash Houston, but there will be a 15-20 minute stretch where College Football Twitter explores the space of all Brothers Stoops jokes.

2:30 p.m. — UCLA at Texas A&M

THE NOEL MAZZONE REVENGE GAME. LET’S POLISH THOSE ARMY BOOTS AND BELT BUCKL- wait, what’s with that look? Is that not a thing? No?


A tad long, but it might have staying power.

2:30 p.m. — LSU vs. Wisconsin (at the stadium where Brett Favre was once just a kid trying to make a play)

I stand by my analysis from January:

What better way to get the 2016 season started than with 175 combined rushing attempts, 15 horrible passes from Brandon Harris, and two perfect deep passes from Harris for touchdowns of 60-plus yards.

I should add that the two perfect touchdown throws will give LSU the 20-17 win. I’d also like to add that, while Les Miles said players who do the Lambeau Leap will have to hitchhike back to Baton Rouge, he didn’t say anything about HIM not being allowed to do it (pls pls pls pls pls pls let this happen).

4:30 p.m. — Georgia vs. North Carolina (at the stadium where Brett Favre would’ve been just a kid trying to make a play had the Falcons not traded him)

Some 4500 words ago, I mentioned that this weekend’s games would normally be found only in bowl season, and gave a shout-out to Shreveport and Birmingham. This game has the feel of an Independence Bowl where both teams don’t want to be there, then something clicks and they decide I DIDN’T COME TO SHREVEPORT FOR JUST THE CASINO BUFFETS.

7 p.m. — USC vs. Alabama (at Dak Prescott’s new playground)

Earlier this week, Alabama released its depth chart, which indicated multiple quarterbacks could play, as did the words of Nick Saban himself. If we are truly #blessed as a people, Saban’s frustration with all of them will result in a Spurrier-like shuffling on every other series or, LET’S GO NUTS, every other play.

Of course, since we know evil always prevails (suboptimal praise to Men In Blazers), none of that matters because the Alabama defense will squeeze the life out of USC’s offense, and Alabama’s 40 rushing attempts in the second half will create enough offense to win.

8 p.m. — Clemson at Auburn

What happens when Auburn With A Lake meets plain old Auburn? My first guess is the Auburn Board of Trustees will call an emergency meeting and demand answers to why someone didn’t build a lake (and possibly offer Gus Malzahn’s job to employed individuals).

I’ll watch because of Dabo doing Dabo things, Deshaun Watson dazzling the mind, and Auburn fans booing, which sustains me through dark times.

9:30 p.m. — BYU at Arizona

The nightcap between a Big 12 rushee and a Pac 12 brother. No one would object to five hours of insanity that leaves 57 people still watching in the fifth overtime at 2:30 in the morning.


6:30 p.m. — Notre Dame at Texas

“RUDY WAS OFFSIDES,” yelled the man as he walked down the portal near his section. The scoreboard read: “Notre Dame: 38, Texas: 13”.


7 p.m. — Ole Miss vs. Florida State (at CORPORATE SPONSORSHIP STADIUM ORLANDO)

While some are surprised the CHEATIN REBEL BEARS are allowed to even show up for this game (where can I get odds NCAA investigators will intentionally leak more stuff that doesn’t prove anything right before this game), we could be treated to the most athletes-doing-crazy-athlete-things game of the weekend. Both rosters have plenty of talent, especially Florida State’s, and when said talent is challenged, maybe things will JUMP UP A NOTCH OR TEN.

I have no idea what will happen (other than crippling anxiety and horrific sweating in the stands where I will be), but I am quite certain that Hugh Freeze, SWAG Kelly, and quality crootin’ give Ole Miss a chance on Monday night in the face of 400,000 playings of the Seminole War Chant.

Time and TV info for every single game

Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016
Matchup Time (ET) TV / Streaming
Charlotte at (19) Louisville 7:00 p.m. FSN / WatchESPN
UT Martin at Cincinnati 7:00 p.m. ESPN3
Tulane at Wake Forest 7:00 p.m. WatchESPN
Maine at UConn 7:00 p.m. ASN / ESPN3
Presbyterian at Central Michigan 7:00 p.m. ESPN3
Appalachian State at (9) Tennessee 7:30 p.m. SECN / WatchESPN
Indiana at FIU 7:30 p.m. ESPNU / WatchESPN
William & Mary at NC State 7:30 p.m. WatchESPN
South Carolina at Vanderbilt 8:00 p.m. ESPN / WatchESPN
Southern Utah at Utah 8:00 p.m. Pac-12N /
Jackson State at UNLV 8:00 p.m. MWN
Rice at WKU 8:00 p.m. CBSSN
Oregon State at Minnesota 9:00 p.m. BTN / BTN2Go
South Dakota at New Mexico 9:00 p.m. ROOT Sports
Montana State at Idaho 9:00 p.m. ALT / ESPN3
Weber State at Utah State 10:00 p.m. MWN
Friday, Sept. 2, 2016
Matchup Time (ET) TV / Streaming
MVSU at Eastern Michigan 6:00 p.m. ESPN3
Furman at (12) Michigan State 7:00 p.m. BTN / BTN2Go
Ball State at Georgia State 7:00 p.m. ASN / ESPN3
Colgate at Syracuse 7:00 p.m. WatchESPN
Army at Temple 7:00 p.m. CBSSN
Albany at Buffalo 7:00 p.m. ESPN3
Northwestern State at (23) Baylor 7:30 p.m. FSN / FS Go
Colorado vs. Colorado State (at Denver, CO) 8:00 p.m. ESPN / WatchESPN
Kansas State at (8) Stanford 9:00 p.m. FS1 / FS Go
Toledo at Arkansas State 9:00 p.m. ESPNU / WatchESPN
Cal Poly at Nevada 9:30 p.m. MWN
Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016
Matchup Time (ET) TV / Streaming
Georgia Tech vs. Boston College (in Ireland) 7:30 a.m. ESPN2 / WatchESPN
(3) Oklahoma vs. (15) Houston (at NRG Stadium) Noon ABC / WatchESPN
Bowling Green at (6) Ohio State Noon BTN / BTN2Go
Hawaii at (7) Michigan Noon ESPN / WatchESPN
Boise State at UL Lafayette Noon ASN / ESPN3
EKU at Purdue Noon ESPNNEWS / WatchESPN
Fordham at Navy Noon CBSSN
Howard at Maryland Noon BTN / BTN2Go
Missouri at West Virginia Noon FS1 / FS Go
South Alabama at Mississippi State Noon SECN / WatchESPN
Western Michigan at Northwestern Noon ESPNU / WatchESPN
Liberty at Virginia Tech 12:30 p.m. ACCN / WatchESPN
Villanova at Pittsburgh 1:30 p.m. WatchESPN
Abilene Christian at Air Force 2:00 p.m. MWN
Rutgers at (14) Washington 2:00 p.m. Pac-12N /
(5) LSU vs. Wisconsin (at Green Bay, WI) 3:30 p.m. ABC / WatchESPN
(16) UCLA at Texas A&M 3:30 p.m. CBS /
Miami, OH at (17) Iowa 3:30 p.m. ESPNU / WatchESPN
SE Louisiana at (21) Oklahoma State 3:30 p.m. FSN / FS Go
Kent State at Penn State 3:30 p.m. BTN / BTN2Go
Murray State at Illinois 3:30 p.m. BTN / BTN2Go
Richmond at Virginia 3:30 p.m. WatchESPN
Texas State at Ohio 3:30 p.m. CBSSN
Louisiana Tech at Arkansas 4:00 p.m. SECN / WatchESPN
UC Davis at (24) Oregon 5:00 p.m. Pac-12N /
(18) Georgia vs. (22) North Carolina (at Atlanta, GA) 5:30 p.m. ESPN / WatchESPN
Austin Peay at Troy 6:00 p.m. ESPN3
Florida A&M at Miami (FL) 6:00 p.m. WatchESPN
Hampton at Old Dominion 6:00 p.m. CUSA.TV
NC Central at Duke 6:00 p.m. WatchESPN
Savannah State at Georgia Southern 6:00 p.m. ESPN3
Southern Illinois at Florida Atlantic 6:00 p.m. CUSA.TV ($)
Western Carolina at East Carolina 6:00 p.m. ESPN3
VMI at Akron 6:30 p.m. ESPN3
Alabama A&M at Middle Tennessee 7:00 p.m. CUSA.TV ($)
Alabama State at UTSA 7:00 p.m. KMYS-CW 35
Rhode Island at Kansas 7:00 p.m. ESPN3
San Jose State at Tulsa 7:00 p.m. CBSSN
SE Missouri State at Memphis 7:00 p.m. ESPN3
SMU at North Texas 7:00 p.m. ASN
South Carolina State at UCF 7:00 p.m. ESPN3
Southern at ULM 7:00 p.m. ESPN3
Towson at USF 7:00 p.m. ESPN3
UMass at (25) Florida 7:30 p.m. SECN / WatchESPN
Southern Miss at Kentucky 7:30 p.m. ESPNU / WatchESPN
(20) USC vs. (1) Alabama (at Arlington, TX) 8:00 p.m. ABC / WatchESPN
South Dakota State at (13) TCU 8:00 p.m. FSN / FS Go
EWU at Washington State 8:00 p.m. Pac-12N /
Fresno State at Nebraska 8:00 p.m. BTN / BTN2Go
New Mexico State at UTEP 8:00 p.m. beIN SPORTS
Northern Iowa at Iowa State 8:00 p.m. ($)
Stephen F. Austin at Texas Tech 8:00 p.m. FSN / FS Go
New Hampshire at San Diego State 8:30 p.m. TBA
(2) Clemson at Auburn 9:00 p.m. ESPN / WatchESPN
Arizona vs. BYU (at Glendale, AZ) 10:30 p.m. FS1 / FS Go
Northern Illinois at Wyoming 10:30 p.m. CBSSN
Northern Arizona at Arizona State 10:45 p.m. Pac-12N /
Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016
Matchup Time (ET) TV / Streaming
(10) Notre Dame at Texas 7:30 p.m. ABC / WatchESPN
Monday, Sept. 5, 2016
Matchup Time (ET) TV / Streaming
(11) Ole Miss vs. Florida State (at Orlando, FL) 8:00 p.m. ESPN / WatchESPN