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Gimino: Top 10 Week One games of 2018

Anthony Gimino

January 17, 2018 at 11:55 pm.

Nov 11, 2017; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Brandon Wimbush (7) drops back during a game against Miami Hurricanes at Hard Rock Stadium. Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 11, 2017; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Brandon Wimbush (7) drops back during a game against Miami Hurricanes at Hard Rock Stadium. Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

and potential Bob Stoops-level surprises, but there will be no more games for nearly nine months.

Sigh.

But, as it usually does, college football hits the ground running.

Here are 10 games to look forward to in the first week of the 2018 season.

1. Michigan at Notre Dame, Sept. 1 — This great rivalry has been dormant since 2014, but both coaches — the Fighting Irish’s Brian Kelly and Wolverines’ Jim Harbaugh — wanted this to happen. And so it will, as Michigan bought its way out of a home-and-home against Arkansas to plug in Notre Dame in each of the next two seasons to help make everything right in the world.

2. LSU vs. Miami, Sept. 1 (Arlington, Texas) — Defense should rule. Miami, a potential preseason top 10 team, breaks out the second season of the Turnover Chain against an LSU squad that will be breaking in a new quarterback and new offensive coordinator.

3. Auburn vs. Washington, Sept. 1 (Atlanta) — This matchup got even better when Washington quarterback Jake Browning decided to return for his senior season, and then Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham also bypassed the NFL. There are never enough matchups between the SEC and the Pac-12, and this is a good one at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

4. Alabama vs. Louisville, Sept. 1 (Orlando, Fla.) — The Tide continue their tradition of opening against a quality opponent at a neutral site. Sadly, Cardinals quarterback Lamar Jackson will be in an NFL camp instead of Camping World Stadium.

5. Virginia Tech at Florida State, Sept. 3 — Willie Taggart, just the third FSU coach since 1976, makes his Seminoles debut. Will quarterback Deondre Francois reclaim his starting job after he suffered a season-ending injury in the 2017 opener? Bank on the Hokies’ defense to be very good. Again.

6. Tennessee vs. West Virginia, Sept. 1 (Charlotte, N.C.) — Former Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt makes his debut at Tennessee, which managed to land a quality coach after an embarrassing search that got athletic director John Currie fired. The Mountaineers bring back the elite pass-catch combo of Will Grier to touchdown-machine David Sills V.

7. FAU at Oklahoma, Aug. 30 — Come for FAU coach Lane Kiffin’s tweets leading up to the game, stay to see Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray, whose faster feet will try to fill the shoes of Heisman winner Baker Mayfield.

8. Northwestern at Purdue, Aug. 30 — No waiting on the Big Ten season, which doesn’t work in the Wildcats’ favor as quarterback Clayton Thorson will be working his way back after suffering a torn ACL in the bowl game. Purdue, meanwhile, is on the rise in the second season under coach Jeff Brohm.

9. Texas at Maryland, Aug. 30 — We can only hope the sequel is as thrilling as the 2017 season opener in Austin, as the Terrapins pulled off the 51-41 upset in a game that featured touchdowns via the run, pass, blocked field goal attempt return (two), interception return and punt return.

10. San Diego State at Stanford, Sept. 1 — Bryce Love, feel free to come back for your senior season.

 

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SCARBROUGH'S TAKE

College Fans, Beware The Man in the Bottle.