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College Football Tournament Week 1 - Let the Games Begin

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Week 1 has finally arrived with 128 dreams alive, but at least six squads won’t see Week 2.

NCAA Football: North Texas at Florida Atlantic
Mason Fine will look to eliminate local rival SMU in Week 1
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Week 0 Recap

Rice needed a FG as time expired to escape elimination at the hands of something called Prairie View A&M, the closest any A&M will get to defeating another Texas team for some time, as the College Station version continues to be frightened by offers from Austin.

Elsewhere, travelling teams won the day, as Hawaii came out hot in Fort Collins and held on to eliminate Colorado State, while post-Josh Allen era Wyoming cruised to an easy win in Las Cruces, giving up a score in the last minute to lose the shutout. The Frogs O’ War reader consensus picks on the Guaranteed Elimination games yielded a win and a loss. I must take blame for my overzealous preview of CSU, but let’s aim for a better win percentage with the full slate of games in Week 1.

Playoff Picture after Week 0

Week 1 Preview

While much of the college football landscape will be engaged in either massive neutral site made-for-TV showdowns or FCS walk-overs, we do get six G5-on-G5 Guaranteed Elimination match ups that will put Tournament life at stake.

1. Central Florida (-23.5) @ Connecticut - The 2017 Undefeated National Champions begin their title defense with the sport’s worst rivalry, the Civil conFLiCT. UCF enters the season as the highest rated G5 squad, with returning star power and the spotlight burning bright all season, as every team on their schedule will be looking to topple the Champ. The only thing the Knights have to fear is how the team responds to new head coach Josh Heupel now that Scott Frost has returned to Nebraska, and they get a couple warm up games before encountering any real challenge

When some random team wants to invent a rivalry

Poll

Who will be eliminated?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    UCF Knights
    (14 votes)
  • 84%
    UConn Huskies
    (76 votes)
90 votes total Vote Now

Where to watch: Thurs. 8/30, 6:00 PM, ESPNU


2. Marshall (-1) @ Miami Ohio - As a father of two young children, I concede that I have scouted Marshall of the Paw Patrol far more than I have the Marshall football program over the past few years. Marshall has all the tools to be the most important Paw Patrol member, yet he is mostly known for being late, clumsy, and accident prone. The Thundering Herd have been similarly frustrating – ranking 110th in Turnover Margin and 102nd in Fewest Penalty Yardage in 2017, but with all the tools: five players on the 2018 C-USA pre-season All-Conference team (2nd only to defending champ FAU). Meanwhile, the Miami RedHawks play the role of Mayor Humdinger, looking to prevent Marshall from saving the day.

Ready for a ruff ruff rescue

Poll

Who will be eliminated?

This poll is closed

  • 29%
    Marshall Thundering Herd
    (23 votes)
  • 70%
    Miami RedHawks
    (56 votes)
79 votes total Vote Now

Where to watch: Sat. 9/1, 2:30 PM, ESPN+


3. Old Dominion (-6.5) @ Liberty - It’s poor etiquette to discuss religion and politics in polite society, so I’ll skip over the history and current events surrounding the university and just note that Liberty’s current Athletic Director is Ian McCaw, whose official university bio claims “While Baylor enjoyed extraordinary academic and athletic success under McCaw’s leadership, his department also made significant administrative strides”

Poll

Who will be eliminated?

This poll is closed

  • 52%
    Old Dominion Monarchs
    (40 votes)
  • 47%
    Liberty Flames
    (36 votes)
76 votes total Vote Now

Where to watch: Sat. 9/1, 5:00 PM, Nowhere


4. LA Tech (-10.5) @ South Alabama - I have a rare speech impediment where any time I say Louisiana Tech aloud it sounds like a Popeye’s commercial - “Loooosiana Tech!” There’s nothing I can do to stop it and now I’ve put it in your head too. Please accept my apologies. USA appears to be on a downward spiral since November 2016, going just 6-11 in that time, after opening the 2016 season with wins against Mississippi St. and San Diego St. It doesn’t look good for the Jaguars in 2018, as they stare down the potential of an early exit.

Poll

Who will be eliminated?

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
    (12 votes)
  • 84%
    South Alabama Jaguars
    (63 votes)
75 votes total Vote Now

Where to watch: Sat. 9/1, 6:00 PM, ESPN+


5. SMU @ North Texas (-4.5) - The battle for the region’s 2nd best football team is officially on. SMU has won this game three years straight, but the ponies will find themselves in a serious fight this time around. Seth Littrell has turned the Mean Green from a perennial bottom-25 FBS squad to a conference title contender and potential thorn-in-the-side for all of those accustomed to running roughshod in Denton. A popular click-bait hot take is that UNT’s Mason Fine is the “Best QB in Texas” but that actually isn’t too far-fetched – he was CUSA Offensive Player of the Year in 2017 and should put up big stats again in 2018. Meanwhile Sonny Dykes heads to the wrong side of the Metroplex to take over SMU following a season as an analyst for TCU. For SMU’s sake, hopefully he learned something about defense under Gary Patterson’s tutelage, as he’ll need to plug the holes in the Mustang secondary (SMU ranked 117th in opponent pass yards allowed in 2017) if he hopes to escape Apogee alive in the Tournament.

Poll

Who will be eliminated?

This poll is closed

  • 41%
    SMU Mustangs
    (39 votes)
  • 58%
    North Texas Mean Green
    (56 votes)
95 votes total Vote Now

Where to watch: Sat. 9/1, 6:30 PM, Stadium


6. Navy (-11) @ Hawaii - Honolulu’s hometown heroes return from their conquering mainland excursion with a win in hand and another elimination game on deck. The Midshipmen take the long journey to the islands for what appeared to be a straight-forward walk on the beach, but now may require more care in game prep, after Hawaii’s surprising Week 0 victory. If Navy can escape this trip, it will set up one of the best elimination games we’ll get all season in Week 2 vs. Memphis.

Poll

Who will be eliminated?

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    Navy Midshipmen
    (20 votes)
  • 76%
    Hawaii Rainbow Warriors
    (64 votes)
84 votes total Vote Now

Where to watch: Sat. 9/1, 10:00 PM, CBS Sports


Week 1 Preview Dashboard