Game of the week
Georgia at Clemson
A blockbuster out of the chute. Both teams are eyeing the national championship, and the loser isn’t out of the race. Beyond the quarterback matchup of Georgia’s Aaron Murray and Clemson’s Tajh Boyd are superb skill players like Bulldogs running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, and Tigers wide receiver Sammy Watkins. Productive as Georgia’s offense is, this one might come down to controlling the game late with the running backs.
SMU over Texas Tech
Too much working against the favored Red Raiders here. The Mustangs will be motivated against a Big 12 team and have an experienced quarterback in Garrett Gilbert. Tech breaks in a new quarterback and a new coach in Kliff Kingsbury.
Others to watch
Who isn’t playing has been as much a storyline as who is. TCU coach Gary Patterson said in May that star defensive end Devonte Fields would be suspended and not play the first two games. But Fields is listed as a co-starter on the depth chart. LSU coach Les Miles won’t say whether running back Jeremy Hill, who pleaded guilty in July to misdemeanor battery, will play.
Alabama vs. Virginia Tech (at Atlanta)
The Hokies seek to return to double-digit victory form after a 7-6 record in 2012. They’ve picked a lousy opening opponent to get the season off on the right foot.
Florida State at Pittsburgh (Monday)
The Panthers make their Atlantic Coast Conference debut, but keep an eye on Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston, who’s being touted as the next to go from unknown to Heisman.
On the horizon: Sept. 7
South Carolina at Georgia
SEC East on the line early
West Virginia at Oklahoma
Big 12 opener
Notre Dame at Michigan
The underdog wins often