Florida Atlantic at No. 7 Oklahoma
Saturday, 11 a.m., FOX
After three years of leading the Sooners to Big 12 titles, Baker Mayfield has departed for the waters of the NFL. That leaves Oklahoma with Texas A&M transfer Kyler Murray, a dual threat quarterback who already has signed a baseball contract with the Oakland Athletics. Head coach Lincoln Riley opens his second season with the Sooners against 2017’s greatest surprise story. Florida Atlantic strung together three 3-9 seasons in a row before hiring Lane Kiffin as the head coach. The Owls look ready to compete at the highest level, winning 10 consecutive games including a 50-3 Boca Raton Bowl victory. Running back Devin Singletary, the reigning FBS leader with 32 rushing touchdowns, will be their primary leader Saturday.
No. 6 Washington vs. No. 9 Auburn
Saturday, 2:30 p.m., ABC
The Huskies and the Tigers are both fresh off of New Year’s Six appearances, although both ended in losses. 2018 is a brand new season, and with Jake Browning and Jarrett Stidham returning at quarterback, Washington and Auburn are common College Football Playoff picks. Since arriving at Washington, Chris Petersen has transformed the Huskies into an annual Pac-12 contender, building an impressive defense that allowed 16.08 points per game in 2017. Auburn, also a well-rounded team, nearly earned its first playoff berth last December. When these evenly matched teams with similar play styles collide in Atlanta, you can expect a classic in Week One.
No. 14 Michigan at No. 12 Notre Dame
Saturday, 6:30 p.m., NBC
The Midwest waited four long years for the restoration of the rivalry between these two storied programs. The Golden Domers and the Wings of Victory settled it on the field every year from 2002 to 2014 with Notre Dame earning the last laugh in 31-0 fashion. Neither team has yet to qualify for a playoff, but both Jim Harbaugh and Brian Kelly’s teams have stood one win away. Michigan, a typically stout defensive team, will rely on middle linebacker Devin Bush to stave off Irish quarterback Brandon Wimbush and his talented rushing ability. Both programs will attempt to fulfill their lofty preseason expectations with a 1-0 start in
No. 8 Miami (FL) vs. No. 25 LSU
Sunday, 6:30 p.m., ABC
“The U is back” was a recurring statement throughout the 2017 season, as Miami notched 10 wins in a row to start the year. The Hurricanes ushered in some swagger, boasting their brand new turnover chain on the sidelines. Miami finished sixth in the country in turnover margin (+14), and Mark Richt’s team retains several key players from that unit, including middle linebacker Shaquille Quarterman. LSU will serve as Miami’s challenger in Arlington, looking to kick off its first 10-win season since 2013. A revamped offense led by Ohio State transfer quarterback Joe Burrow will attempt to keep the turnover chain hidden and fix the scoring issues LSU dealt with in 2017.
No. 20 Virginia Tech at No. 19 Florida State
Monday, 7 p.m., ESPN
Two of the ACC’s top programs will go to work in Tallahassee on Labor Day. Florida State fell from its pedestal last year after quarterback Deondre Francois suffered a year-ending injury in Week 1. Francois will return and help new head coach Willie Taggart rebound from the Seminoles’ 7-6 result last fall. For the Hokies, sophomore quarterback Josh Jackson will return under center, attempting to lead Virginia Tech back to the pinnacle of the ACC Coastal with a key conference victory.