clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Pete's Picks: Who and what to watch this week in college football and why


College football is back in full force this week, with games kicking off Thursday night. As we begin Week 1, here are some of the games to look out for tonight and this weekend.

No. 11 Michigan vs. No. 17 Florida

Despite 10 UF players being suspended for this game, it’s still a tough matchup for both teams. Both Jim Harbaugh and Jim McElwain are going into their third seasons as head coaches and each has a lot on their minds. Both the Gators and the Wolverines are expected to be near the top of their conferences and are looking to be contenders in the playoffs. A win this Saturday could elevate their chances.

No. 3 Florida State vs. No. 1 Alabama

There's no better way to start the season than with two ranked teams in the top three going head-to-head in Atlanta. The winner might claim the number one spot and could have the advantage of making the playoffs, if not winning it all. The matchup to watch is two young upcoming QBs, Jalen Hurts for the Crimson Tide and Deandre Francois for the Seminoles. Plus Derwin James makes his return after recovering from last year's season-ending knee injury.

Upset alert

Wyoming vs. Iowa

If Wyoming somehow, someway, pulls this off, it will be because of Cowboys quarterback Josh Allen. Allen, a big name from a small Mountain West school, could make a statement as a Heisman contender if he defeats an elite defense like Iowa. Remember the name Josh Allen.

Colorado State vs. Colorado

Speaking of the Mountain West, Colorado State put up 58 points on Oregon State last weekend. The Rams got another tough test against their state rival Colorado. Unlike the Beavers, the Buffs are a more worthy opponent for the Rams despite losing a lot of key players like Sefo Liufau at quarterback, and their two cornerbacks Ahkello Witherspoon and Chidobe Awuzie. Will the Rams go 2-2 against the Pac-12?

Portland State vs. Oregon State

There’s always that one FCS team that pulls off an upset over an FBS team in Week 1. It happens every year. Despite its losing effort to BYU, Portland State showed that it can hang around against a more talented team and gave up just 20 points against the Cougars. The Beavers are fresh off a brutal loss to Colorado State. This could be the Beavers' chance to bounce back or make their season even worse, losing back to back.

Players to watch

Tyler Huntley, QB, Utah

Utah fans have been waiting for the debut of Huntley since he won the starting job over Troy Williams. The sophomore out of South Florida labeled himself as a playmaker during the team’s press conference on Tuesday. He will now put the words into action against North Dakota Thursday night.

Derwin James, S, Florida State

It’s been a full year since the last time we saw James on the field. Now a junior and 100 percent healthy, James is being considered as a Heisman contender. If you look back at his freshman season with FSU, he played multiple positions in the secondary and was everywhere the ball was. If we see the same James like we saw his freshman season in 2015, James could be the best all-around player in college football.