Week 1 preview: Irish-Buckeyes matchup tops juicy slate


The first massive weekend of faculty soccer is bursting with storylines and intrigue.

Dan Lanning’s opener as No. 11 Oregon’s coach is towards his former boss, Kirby Smart of defending nationwide champion and third-ranked Georgia. Second-ranked Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud and the Buckeyes’ rebuilt protection hosts No. 5 Notre Dame in a juicy Week 1, top-10 matchup.

Pac-12 defending champion and seventh-ranked Utah goes to “The Swamp” for Billy Napier’s first sport as Florida’s coach. No. 23 Cincinnati, coming off its historic College Football Playoff look, is an underdog in its opener at No. 19 Arkansas.

The “Backyard Brawl” returns for the primary time since 2011 when No. 17 Pittsburgh hosts West Virginia on Thursday night time. And there’s additionally the Brian Kelly period at LSU opening on Sunday towards Florida State in New Orleans, a matchup of two storied packages seeking to return to the higher echelon of the game.

It is an absolute smorgasbord for The Associated Press weekly What to Watch rundown, offered by Regions Bank.

Oregon-Georgia could be intriguing even with out the Lanning-Smart connection. The Ducks are bidding to return to the highest of the Pac-12 after Utah ended their two-year run as champion. Georgia is attempting to remain on high of the Southeastern Conference, and nation, after supplanting Alabama.

The 36-year-old Lanning was Smart’s defensive coordinator the previous three seasons. Oregon employed him Dec. 11 after Mario Cristobal left for Miami. Lanning stayed on for Georgia’s nationwide championship run.

Lanning led a grieving Oregon crew by preseason practices following the July loss of life of tight finish Spencer Webb and now takes his Ducks to Atlanta for his or her second opener in 4 years towards a ranked SEC opponent at a impartial website. The 2019 Ducks misplaced to an Auburn crew quarterbacked by Bo Nix, who transferred to Oregon after final season and is anticipated to begin towards Georgia.

Georgia will unveil a new-look protection. The favored Bulldogs, who had 5 defensive gamers taken within the first spherical of the NFL draft, will break in seven new starters on that facet of the ball.

BEST GAME

No. 5 Notre Dame at No. 2 Ohio State

Ryan Day’s offseason mission was to place Ohio State again in place to contend for a nationwide title. The Buckeyes slipped final 12 months, shedding to Michigan for the primary time since 2011 and seeing their four-year run as Big Ten champion finish.

The most necessary transfer was hiring Jim Knowles away from Oklahoma State to shore up an underperforming protection, and the preseason evaluations are good. Offense needs to be no drawback with C.J. Stroud surrounded by lots of the playmakers who helped the Buckeyes common higher than 45 factors per sport.

Marcus Freeman, a linebacker for the Buckeyes from 2004-08, begins his first full season as Notre Dame coach, and quarterback Tyler Buchner will make his first begin towards the favored Buckeyes.

There’s no higher stage for an opener: two bluebloods assembly at night time in Ohio Stadium.

HEISMAN WATCH

Alabama’s Bryce Young begins his bid to win a second Heisman Trophy, a feat achieved solely by Ohio State’s Archie Griffin in 1974-75.

The opener towards Mountain West champion Utah State is an efficient take a look at for Young and an offense becoming collectively some new items.

Young was sacked 39 occasions final season — solely 4 groups tried extra passes than Alabama — and his line shall be breaking in two new beginning tackles. Young additionally must discover his go-to receivers following the departures of stars Jameson Williams and John Metchie.

NUMBERS TO KNOW

7 — Nebraska’s consecutive losses by single digits, probably the most by a crew since 1936, based on ESPN Stats & Info.

11 — Florida International’s present shedding streak, longest within the nation.

13 — Louisiana-Lafayette’s present profitable streak, longest within the nation.

14 — Alabama’s consecutive seasons with a minimum of 10 wins.

24 — Nation-high variety of transfers on Southern California’s roster.

34 — Clemson’s FBS-best dwelling profitable streak.

54 — Illinois offensive lineman Alex Palczewski’s variety of video games performed, making him the FBS’ energetic profession chief. He has made 53 begins.

UNDER THE RADAR

Penn State at Purdue, Thursday.

Purdue is a slight underdog for its first Blackout Game at Ross-Ade Stadium since 2018. The Boilermakers blew out a third-ranked Ohio State as a two-touchdown underdog that night time.

Purdue is getting loads of love following a nine-win season that included two wins over top-five opponents and ended with an extra time bowl victory over Tennessee. Aidan O’Connell is out to construct on the most effective passing seasons in program historical past, and the Boilermakers deliver again eight starters on protection.

Penn State was ranked No. 4 following a 5-0 begin final 12 months and misplaced six of its final eight. QB Sean Clifford returns, however there are many questions in regards to the Nittany Lions as they try and rise from center of the pack within the Big Ten East.

HOT SEAT

Nebraska’s persistence with fifth-year coach Scott Frost has nearly run out. The solely means he survives that Week Zero loss to Northwestern in Ireland is that if he beats Oklahoma on Sept. 17 and makes actual progress within the Big Ten West.

He has but to point out he has the chops to teach within the Big Ten, having gone 15-30 since returning to his alma mater after his fabulous Central Florida run.

The Huskers host North Dakota and Georgia Southern the subsequent two weeks, then Oklahoma visits earlier than an open date. Oct. 1 is a key date. That’s when Frost’s buyout drops from $15 million to $7.5 million.

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