College football is finally back after what seemed like an entire season in itself. It may not be the full slate of blueblood matchups that included the Ohio State at Oregon matchup we were originally expecting, but it’ll do in this new world.
Labor Day Weekend sees some interesting matchups, beginning with South Alabama at Southern Miss on Thursday and closing with BYU at Navy on Labor Day night. Normally, chaos ensues with the college football season (especially early) and this year that could be turned up to 11. There’s high-flying offenses and some of the best passers in the Group of Five on display this weekend, with many Power Five conferences beginning play later this month.
So, buckle up and get ready for a full weekend of football.
College football Week 1 odds
Thursday, Sept. 3
South Alabama at Southern Miss (9 p.m. ET)
It’s the first FBS vs FBS matchup of the year in Hattiesburg. Senior Jack Abraham is looking to lead the Golden Eagles to a better mark than their 7-6 record in 2019. The Jaguars are returning just 25.4% of their total offensive yards from last season and five defensive starters. Before modified schedules, South Alabama was projected for just 3.5 wins; Southern Miss should walk away with this one at home.
Saturday, Sept. 5
Middle Tennessee at Army (1:30 p.m. ET)
Asher O’Hara is one of the most prolific dual threats in the Group of Five conferences, coming off a season where he amassed 2,600 passing yards, over 1,000 rushing yards, and 29 total touchdowns. Army is fielding one of the most experienced teams in the nation with nine of 11 offensive starters being seniors. The Black Knights will have to capitalize on MTSU’s defense that ranked just 101st against the run last season.
SMU at Texas State (4:30 p.m. ET)
It’s easy to run an Air Raid system when you have Shane Buechele at the helm. The senior-to-be passed for nearly 4,000 yards and 34 touchdowns in 2019. The Bobcats did produce the nation’s 25th-ranked pass defense in 2019, but that can be attributed to the atrocious 217.8 rush yards surrendered per game (120th). The Mustangs mustered just the 125th-ranked pass defense in the nation, pitted against Memphis transfer Brady McBride, who lines up behind center for the first time with the Bobcats.
Arkansas State at Memphis (8 p.m. ET)
Brady White returns to Memphis for his senior year after passing for over 4,000 yards (4th) last season. Even in the pass-happy AAC, Memphis ranked 20th in pass yards allowed per game and Arkansas State put together the 10th most pass yards per game last season. Logan Bonner is back as the Red Wolves’ signal caller after missing the 2019 season with a hand injury.
Monday, Sept. 7
BYU at Navy (8 p.m. ET)
The Midshipmen finished 20th in the final AP Poll in 2019 but lost superstar Malcolm Perry to the NFL. BYU returns playmaker Zach Wilson, their three leading rushers from last season, and five of their front seven. The defense returns leading tackler Kavika Fonua and linebacker Payton Wilgar, who led the team with three picks. BYU travels 2,100 miles and two time zones for this one, giving Navy the advantage against the favorite Cougars.