Each week, we’ll take you through the most interesting, compelling, or impactful match-ups of the college football season. The games featured will be focused first on those with significance to Texas fans, including those of our primary rivals or other Big 12 foes. After that, we’ll look at games that affect the poll rankings or those you won’t want to miss. There will also be mentions of less important games where they fill in the blanks on the dial for those who need to get their fill.
The rankings listed here are from the AP poll until the BCS poll begins in mid-October. Check your local listings for channel availability, and also these coverage maps for the mid-Saturday regional games.
With that, let’s get to it, here’s your Week 1 college football viewing guide – all times are Eastern.
Friday, September 3
Arizona @ Toledo (ESPN, 8 p.m.)
For the football junkies who can’t get enough. It’s been 8 months, we understand.
Saturday, September 4
Miami (OH) @ #4 Florida (ESPN, 12 p.m.)
How will this Brantley kid step into the monster shoes Tebow left behind? Will Urban Meyer’s chest implode on the sidelines? Tune in to find out!
Samford @ #20 Florida State (ESPNU, 12 p.m.)
New head coach Jimbo Fisher takes over for Bobby Bowden. For most FSU fans, Bowden is the only coach they’ve ever known. Fisher gets an easy tune-up game against Samford, but then the honeymoon’s over; the Seminoles go to Norman next week.
#5 Texas @ Rice (ESPN, 3:30 p.m.)
After a disappointing end to an amazing season we finally get to see the new ‘Horns on display. QB Garrett Gilbert showed flashes of greatness, but also his inexperience in the loss to Alabama. Like Florida’s John Brantley, he also has big shoes to fill. Take comfort in knowing that the last time Texas replaced a legendary quarterback they got a two-time Heisman finalist and the all-time NCAA wins leader.
Connecticut @ Michigan (ABC, ESPN2, 3:30 p.m.)
UCLA @ Kansas State (ABC, ESPN2, 3:30 p.m.)
Kentucky @ Louisville (ABC, 3:30 p.m.)
These games are on regionally so check the map to see what’s on in your area, and which channel so you have something to flip to when there’s a break in the Texas game.
Washington State @ Oklahoma State (FSN, 7 p.m.)
The Cowboys are like brothers-in-arms when it comes to hating oklahoma, so it’s nice to know what they’ve got in the tank.
Washington @ Brigham Young (CBS College Sports, 7 p.m.)
Do you remember when BYU beat oklahoma to begin last season? That was awesome.
#24 Oregon State vs. #6 TCU (ESPN, 7:45 p.m.)
TCU is one of the small group of non-BCS conference schools knocking on the door of the BCS title game. Kicking off the year with a win against a ranked PAC-10 team will certainly help make their case. Playing the game in their backyard at Cowboy Stadium doesn’t hurt either.
#21 LSU vs. #18 North Carolina (ABC, 8 p.m.)
Here’s another neutral site game, this one in the Georgia Dome. For this early in the season, this should be a great big conference fight. Will North Carolina have enough players eligible to field a team?
#12 Wisconsin @ UNLV (VERSUS, 11 p.m.)
To close out the first Saturday of the 2010 college football season, take a look at this Wisconsin team. The Big 10 is thought to be Easy Street for teams like Penn State and Ohio State to breeze into the national championship so take notice of one of the few teams that could stand in their way. If you haven’t already passed out in a pool of spilled beer and Doritos, that is.
Sunday, September 5
SMU @ Texas Tech (ESPN, 3:30 p.m.)
How crippled will Tech be without former head coach Mike Leach’s innovative offense and questionable coaching tactics? Find out now, Texas visits Lubbock in only two weeks.
Monday, September 6
Navy vs. Maryland (ESPN, 4 p.m.)
Monday is all about the Old Line State. This matchup takes place at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. Enjoy your day off and settle in for the final games of the first weekend.
#3 Boise State vs. #10 Virginia Tech (ESPN, ESPN3D**, 8 p.m.)
In the tradition of saving the best for last, the Game of the Week will be held at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, home of the Washington Redskins. Right or wrong, a victory for Boise State here could pave the way for them to finally break the conference barrier and play for a national title. Check it out on ESPN3D if you can. EyesOfTX contributor “Lil Pete” will be in attendance, so look for reports from the scene next week.
Thanks to “Lil Pete” for his ongoing Viewing Guide contributions.