College football fans still have months of waiting before the season begins, but it is well worth the wait. The first week of every season lives up to the hype as top-tier programs face off before conference play.
In the past, we have seen plenty of amazing games early in the year. From Alabama playing Florida State to Auburn playing Oregon, plenty of games have dictated the rest of the college football season. We’ll have a solid idea of who are College Football Playoff contenders and pretenders after just one week of the regular season.
Last year, many major games were canceled between non-conference opponents. That brought issues when it was time to rank teams for the College Football Playoff, but it also impacted college football betting picks.
This season, we will finally see premier games, and it couldn’t come soon enough. With that in mind, what are the top games from the first week of college football? These three games will dictate the rest of the college football season.
3. Notre Dame vs. Florida State
This game may not have the same pull as the two games ranked higher, but this is still a legacy game for college football. Both the Seminoles and the Fighting Irish have strong histories in the world of college football, and they hope to bring back the success from previous generations. Notre Dame is closer to doing that as of right now. They made it to two of the past three College Football Playoffs, and they had a statement win against Clemson in 2020.
The Fighting Irish have to replace their quarterback this season. Ian Book had a solid career with Notre Dame, and he was one of the most reliable athletes on the roster. This year, they will rely on Wisconsin transfer Jack Coan. Florida State hasn’t been relevant since 2016, but they also have an experienced transfer quarterback. McKenzie Milton is coming off of a massive injury, but the UCF transfer is now ready to prove that he is healthy and ready to contribute.
Notre Dame has an outside chance of making the College Football Playoff, and Florida State has a chance to make a statement with their first game of the college football season. Only one team can win, but this is a victory for all college football fans.
2. Alabama vs. Miami
Alabama’s title retention tour starts in Atlanta against the Miami Hurricanes. They are losing almost every key contributor from last season, but their ability to recruit negates this issue. Alabama’s defense was young in 2020, and they bring back plenty of great players looking to take steps forward. Also, they landed one of the top transfer players in Henry To’o .
Miami had a solid year, but they were limited due to Notre Dame and Clemson in the conference. At that point, there wasn’t much room for another great team. The Hurricanes retain D’Eriq King, a sneaky Heisman candidate. If he beats Alabama, his Heisman odds will skyrocket.
Alabama has the best chance of winning a national championship. Their odds are at +250, which is wild for this time of year. If Bryce Young and the Crimson Tide want to achieve this, they have to show out against Miami in the season opener.
1. Clemson vs. Georgia
This is easily the biggest game of the opening week of college football. It may be the biggest game of the entire regular season. Both teams have a genuine chance of making it through their conferences and to the College Football Playoff.
Georgia has continuity at quarterback, and they are easily one of the best teams in college football’s toughest conference. You can always rely on them to have a strong defense, and they are well-coached. Clemson will struggle to replace Trevor Lawrence, but they at least have one of the best young quarterbacks in the game.
It is highly unlikely that both of these teams make it to the College Football Playoff, so it is a must-win game for both teams to begin the college football season.