GAMEDAY: Games of the WeekBy Matthew Speakman | 08/31/2016 10:09pm
1. Florida State vs. Ole Miss
Location: Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida
The Seminoles and Rebels both enter this season with a lot of hype. This is not only the best game of the weekend in terms of ranked opponents, but also in regards to the on-the-field talent on either side of the line of scrimmage.
Florida State has arguably the best running back in the country in Dalvin Cook, who tore up defenses last season with 1,691 rushing yards last season.
On the other side, Ole Miss returns Chad Kelly, one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the country.
This game has everything: Heisman contenders, a good city and a huge matchup between two schools from Power Five conferences. The only bad part is they have to play in a stadium named after a company that specializes in random camping supplies all while making their employees dress like the outdoorsy little brother to Best Buy. This is another lesson in the popular series “stop letting companies with stupid names sponsor your stadium." With that being said, Orlando is a fantastic city and will be a great site for the weekend’s best game.
Good luck waiting until Monday for it.
2. Alabama vs. Southern Cal
Location: AT&T stadium, Arlington, Texas
This game grabs the No. 2 spot mostly because of the history behind the matchup. Alabama and USC are two of the most storied programs in all of college football. Alabama usurped USC as the top program for blue-chip recruits when Nick Saban took over as the head coach. The Crimson Tide got a little help when USC basically decided it wouldn’t be that suspicious to put one of its players in a mansion the size of Reese Phifer, which sent current Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll to the NFL.
Anyway, Alabama catches USC in its “just slightly above average phase," but still, both teams field a lot of talent (USC’s Adoree' Jackson and JuJu Smith are players to watch). They are also playing in currently the best stadium in the country. The bad part about Cowboys’ stadium is the fact that technically it is in Arlington, Texas, not Dallas, meaning there is absolutely nothing to do if you want to stay near the stadium.
Well, you could go to Six Flags, but who wants to spend the day at the McDonald’s of amusement parks?
3. Oklahoma vs. Houston
Location: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
In a Top 25 matchup, two of the best teams from last season collide in Houston. Coach Tom Herman’s Cougars have a dynamic quarterback who can hurt you on the ground and through the air. Greg Ward Jr. posted 1,000 rushing yards and 2,000 passing yards last season — the only other player to do that was 2015 Heisman finalist Deshuan Watson.
For Oklahoma, the team returns star quarterback Baker Mayfield, whose best attribute is his magnificent hair, which I can guarantee he spends more time than he should shampooing. There’s no way one gets that kind of volume and flow without using some sort of special hair care product.
Anyway, Houston will basically play a home game in one of the best cities in the world (according to everyone from there) at a fantastic stadium. The whole “Power Five vs. non-Power Five thing” does not seem to be an issue for Houston, as the Cougars steamrolled Florida State in Atlanta last season.
4. Clemson vs. Auburn
Location: Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, Alabama
Clemson is one of the favorites to make the College Football Playoffs in 2016. Auburn is not. Well, not really even close.
With that being said, Auburn does have the tendency to come out of nowhere and beat teams that it really has no business beating. This game is interesting, because Watson could have an absolute field day for Clemson, facing a secondary that has not been good in quite some time.
This game has the appeal that normal college games should have. Playing a big game at your own stadium against a non-conference opponent is just not something that happens anymore. Regardless, under the lights of a big college stadium, this should be an interesting showdown.
5. LSU vs. Wisconsin
Location: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin
Two teams similar in style clash at a very historic stadium in basically the middle of nowhere. LSU has almost more hype than anyone for the upcoming season, with many large media outlets picking the Tigers to win the SEC and possibly the national championship. LSU has 100 perfect confirmed alien Leonard Fournette on its team. Stopping Fournette is like like trying to find a good Michael Bay movie, it usually is very difficult.
Wisconsin has a solid, strong running back in Corey Clement, but its questions at quarterback could hurt the Badgers. This game is worth a watch mostly to see Fournette kick off his Heisman campaign, and to see a college game played at the historic Lambeau Field.
6. Georgia vs. UNC
Location: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart will face off against the ACC runner-up in his first game with the Bulldogs. Georgia, as always, has significant talent on the field, but there are question marks in certain areas, specifically at quarterback.
Both teams are trying to shrug off notions that they can't win big games in big stadiums. Whatever happens in this game, Georgia has basically already lost, because it paid Ludacris $65,000 to perform during the day at its spring football game.
Georgia playing in the Georgia Dome is also always a site to see, and even though Georgia comes from the SEC, this game may be closer than a lot of people think. Do not underestimate UNC in this game.