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College Football Viewing Guide: Week 1

College football is officially back and things get kicked off in a big way with a full slate of games. We explore who plays when, which games to watch, and where to find them.

NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl-Penn State vs Washington
Week one of college football kicks of in style with #6 Washington taking on #9 Auburn in Atlanta. Let’s celebrate the return!
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

My goodness does it feel good to be back with this particular weekly post! Typically, this isn’t exactly exciting given the brunt of the work is getting together the actual schedule of games, but this is week one. Like, actual week one, not that fake week one stuff we had last week.

No, no, no, this week has more games on Thursday night than last weekend had in its full slate. But it doesn’t stop there. This week, we get welcomed back to college football with games not just on Thursday, not just on Friday, not just on Saturday, not even just on Sunday, but we have games running every day from Thursday through next Monday.

I. Can’t. Wait.

So let’s get down to it. With every team in the country finally back in action, here’s who to watch and when (and how/where).

Note: All times are as the good Lord intended, in the central time zone. For that is where the college football Mecca known as Kinnick Stadium lies.

Thursday Games

Things get kicked off Thursday evening with nearly a dozen games. None of the matchups are truly great, but there’s plenty here to get me excited for football to be back.

First, at 6pm CT it’s defending national champions #21 UCF at UCONN. That one’s on ESPNU. At the same time you can catch the first Big Ten game of the year as the boat rowers from the north host New Mexico State on BTN.

Viewing note for that one: Minnesota will be wearing their new away all white uniforms. For perhaps the first time in recorded history this has nothing to do with PJ Fleck trying to sell something. Rather, New Mexico State’s road uniforms have not yet been delivered by their provider so they’re forced to play in their home uniforms.

At 7pm CT we get a full on Big Ten matchup. That’s right, for those of you who may have forgotten, the Big Ten has decided to take a page out of the SEC’s playbook and strt with some week one conference matchups, allowing teams to play their creampuffs in November and get credit for a “really difficult schedule.” Sigh. Anyway, we actually get to watch what should be a competitive game between Northwestern and Purdue on ESPN. I’ll be tuning in.

Unfortunately for football fans, despite the full slate early in the evening, there’s only one night cap and it’s in the MWC. For some reason, nobody wanted to pick up UC Davis at San Jose State at 9pm CT so feel free to catch up on Hard Knocks.

Here’s Thrusday’s full slate.

Thursday, August 30th

Matchup Time (CT) TV Streaming
Matchup Time (CT) TV Streaming
#21 UCF at UCONN 6:00 PM ESPNU
New Mexico State at Minnesota 6:00 PM BTN
Central Connecticut at Ball State 6:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
Kennesaw State at Georgia State 6:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
Southeastern Louisiana at UL Monroe 7:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
Northwestern at Purdue 7:00 PM ESPN
Wake Forest at Tulane 7:00 PM CBSSN
Savannah State at UAB 7:00 PM ESPN+
Missouri State at Oklahoma State 7:00 PM FS1
Weber State at Utah 7:00 PM PAC12
Northwestern State at Texas A&M 7:00 PM SECN
UC Davis at San Jose State 9:00 PM None NA

Friday Games

Friday’s slate is arguably better than Thursday’s. There’s no Big Ten on Big Ten action, but we get games across a number of time slots and a trio of ranked teams in action.

Things get kicked off at 5pm CT (you weren’t actually sticking around work until 5, were you?) with Syracuse at the former fightin’ boat rowers of Western Michigan. That’s on CBS Sports.

At 6, turn on over to BTN to catch #11 Michigan State hosting Utah State. That one shouldn’t really be in question, but I’m here for Big Ten football when options are limited.

Similarly, as the night progresses I’ll be tuning in to watch #4 Wisconsin pummel Western Kentucky (that may not have looked so bad when they had Jeff Brohm, but this won’t be close). That’s on ESPN at 8 central.

Off Topic: Thank goodness Iowa hasn’t been forced into one of these Thursday or Friday night games yet. They’re great for TV, but can you imagine what attendance would look like for a Friday night matchup against Directional MAC U? Ugh.

If you get bored of watching Jonathan Taylor go all Forrest Gump on the HIlltoppers, check in on FS1 where you can find #13 Stanford hosting San Diego State. I would expect a similar outcome, but I’m interested to see what SDSU has this year after losing all-world running back Rashaad Penny to the NFL. That one is also a 8pm CT kick.

And finally, the night ends with what could be a really solid matchup between Colorado and Colorado State at Mile High Stadium. CSU lost to Hawaii in week 0, but they’re favored by 7.5 in this one. Kick is at 8:30pm CT and you can catch the action on CBS Sports.

Here’s Friday’s full slate.

Friday, August 31st

Matchup Time (CT) TV Streaming
Matchup Time (CT) TV Streaming
Syracuse at Western Michigan 5:00 PM CBSSN
Monmouth at Eastern Michigan 5:30 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
Utah State at #11 Michigan State 6:00 PM BTN
Army at Duke 6:00 PM ESPNU
Western Kentucky at #4 Wisconsin 8:00 PM ESPN
San Diego State at #13 Stanford 8:00 PM FS1
Portland State at Nevada 8:00 PM None
Colorado at Colorado State 8:30 PM CBSSN

Saturday Games

And here we are. The meat and potatoes of this glorious return to college football. There is a FULL slate of games on Saturday and while a lot of big names are playing their pay games against nobodies, there are some decent matchups across a number of time slots to check out.

At 11am CT, you have some options. Check out the Urban Meyer-less #5 Ohio State Buckeyes hosting Oregon State on ABC. You can also catch Lane Kiffin, a slew of former Last Chance U stars and the Florida Atlantic Owls at #7 Oklahoma on FOX. The DJ Durkin-less Maryland Terrapins are also hosting #23 Texas over on FS1. If you get really desperate, Illinois and rutger are splitting time on BTN overflow channels against no-name schools who may actually beat them.

The 2:30 CT time slot has some hot trash, but also a couple of REALLY good matchups. Most notably, your Iowa Hawkeyes are hosting Northern Illinois. We’ll get you further details in the how to watch post Saturday morning, but the game is slated for BTN. Check your local guide as we’re splitting BTN with #10 Penn State vs. App State, one of which will be on an overflow.

Once the Hawkeyes get up by a few touchdowns (snort) head on over to ABC for the matchup of the weekend. #6 Washington is taking on #9 Auburn in Atlanta. That one should be great. At the same time, you’ve also got Tennessee at #17 West Virginia on CBS.

As the day rolls on, you’ve got some nondescript matchups at 5 and 6pm CT. Details below. The ones to note include #14 Michigan at #12 Notre Dame on NBC at 6:30, as well as #1 Alabama taking on Louisville from Orlando at 7pm on ABC.

Your #Pac12AfterDark matchup of the week is BYU at Arizona. That one kicks at 9:45 CT on ESPN. Later still you’ve got Navy at Hawaii kicking off at 10pm CT on CBS Sports.

Here’s Saturday’s full schedule.

Saturday, September 1st

Matchup Time (CT) TV Streaming
Matchup Time (CT) TV Streaming
Oregon State at #5 Ohio State 11:00 AM ABC
Florida Atlantic at #7 Oklahoma 11:00 AM FOX
Southern at #16 TCU 11:00 AM FSN
#23 Texas at Maryland 11:00 AM FS1
Kent State at Illinois 11:00 AM BTN
Texas State at Rutgers 11:00 AM BTN
Coastal Carolina at South Carolina 11:00 AM SECN
Ole Miss at Texas Tech 11:00 AM ESPN
James Madison at NC State 11:00 AM ESPNU
Villanova at Temple 11:00 AM ESPNN
Houston at Rice 11:00 AM CBSSN
Furman at #2 Clemson 11:20 AM ACCNE
Alcorn State at Georgia Tech 11:30 AM ACCNE
UMASS at Boston College 12:00 PM ACCNE
Stony Brook at Air Force 1:00 PM None Facebook
Howard at Ohio 1:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
Austin Peay at #3 Georgia 2:30 PM ESPN
#6 Washington vs #9 Auburn 2:30 PM ABC
Appalachian State at #10 Penn State 2:30 PM BTN
Tennessee vs #17 West Virginia 2:30 PM CBS
Albany at Pittsburgh 2:30 PM ACCNE
Marshall at Miami (OH) 2:30 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
Central Michigan at Kentucky 2:30 PM ESPNU
Northern Illinois at Iowa 2:30 PM BTN
Washington State at Wyoming 2:30 PM CBSSN
UNLV at #15 USC 3:00 PM PAC12
North Carolina at California 3:00 PM FOX
UT Martin at Missouri 3:00 PM SECN
Eastern Illinois at Arkansas 3:00 PM SECN
#22 Boise State at Troy 5:00 PM ESPNN
Old Dominion at Liberty 5:00 PM None
Fordham at Charlotte 5:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
North Carolina A&T at East Carolina 5:00 PM None
Elon at South Florida 5:00 PM None
Richmond at Virginia 5:00 PM ACCNE
Delaware State at Buffalo 5:00 PM None
South Carolina State at Georgia Southern 5:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
Grambling at Louisiana 6:00 PM None
VMI at Toledo 6:00 PM None
Southeast Missouri State at Arkansas State 6:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
Mercer at Memphis 6:00 PM None
Central Arkansas at Tulsa 6:00 PM None
Louisiana Tech at South Alabama 6:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
Jackson State at Southern Mississippi 6:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
Cincinnati at UCLA 6:00 PM ESPN
Indiana at Florida Intl 6:00 PM CBSSN
Nicholls at Kansas 6:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
South Dakota at Kansas State 6:00 PM None
#14 Michigan at #12 Notre Dame 6:30 PM NBC
Stephen F. Austin at #18 Mississippi State 6:30 PM ESPNU
Charleston Southern at Florida 6:30 PM SECN
Middle Tennessee at Vanderbilt 6:30 PM SECN
SMU at North Texas 6:30 PM Stadium TV
Northern Arizona at UTEP 6:30 PM None
Louisville at #1 Alabama 7:00 PM ABC
Bowling Green at #24 Oregon 7:00 PM PAC12
Akron at Nebraska 7:00 PM FOX
Abilene Christian at Baylor 7:00 PM FSN
South Dakota State at Iowa State 7:00 PM None
Incarnate Word at New Mexico 7:00 PM None
Idaho at Fresno State 9:00 PM None Facebook
UTSA at Arizona State 9:30 PM FS1
BYU at Arizona 9:45 PM ESPN
Navy at Hawai'i 10:00 PM CBSSN

Sunday Game

Desert! After all those meat and potatoes on Saturday, you need some desert to sweeten your palate. Luckily, there’s a lone, great matchup on Sunday to give you your fill. #8 Miami and #25 LSU face off from Jerry World at 6:30 Sunday evening. That one’s on ABC. Plan accordingly.

Sunday, September 2nd

Matchup Time (CT) TV Streaming
Matchup Time (CT) TV Streaming
#8 Miami vs #25 LSU 6:30 PM ABC

Monday Game


As has become tradition by now, the opening weekend of college football is extended for the holiday weekend. I don’t think you can have enough in the first week, and certainly with when there’s a quality matchup, I’m not complaining.

That’s what we get on Monday as #19 Florida State hosts #20 Virginia Tech. Kick off is set for 7pm and you can catch the action on ESPN.

Monday, September 3rd

Matchup Time (CT) TV Streaming
Matchup Time (CT) TV Streaming
#20 Virginia Tech at #19 Florida State 7:00 PM ESPN

That’s it for the week one slate of games. It’s a good one. As for the beverages, this week I’m kicking things off with some Founders All Day IPA. With a 2:30 kick and a very full schedule for the entire weekend, you need something that tastes OK and won’t leave you asleep half way through the action. Check and check.

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Welcome back to college football, ya’ll! Go Hawks!