USA TODAY Sports college football staff picks for Week 1 of the season
Yes, there were two games last weekend. But Week 1 is the official kickoff to the college football season. And thus will begin a 15-week grind toward determining conference champions and the College Football Playoff field.
Unfortunately, this year won't have a marquee matchup that pits title contenders against each other. Here, the Hawkeyes are hosting Miami of Ohio, a game Iowa is favored to win by about three touchdowns. The best offering on the menu is No. 13 Oregon facing No. 16 Auburn on neutral ground in Arlington, Texas. It's a test for Ducks quarterback Justin Herbert to face an SEC defense after returning for his senior season. His counterpart, Bo Nix, is a true freshman making his first start for the Tigers.
The other ranked meeting of ranked opponents sees No. 23 Stanford host No. 25 Northwestern. The winner of this showdown between schools known as much for their academics as athletics gets some positive momentum heading into their conference schedules.
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Elsewhere, there are a few other notable games to watch.
No. 15 Utah renews its rivalry with Brigham Young. No. 4 Oklahoma and new quarterback Jalen Hurts get a visit from Houston. And No. 3 Georgia starts its season on the road against SEC East adversary Vanderbilt.