Games to Watch: Week 1

Brittany Archer

No. 1 Clemson @ Wake Forest
Sept. 12, 6:30 p.m. CT,  ABC

College GameDay and No. 1 Clemson Tigers will be making the trip to Winston-Salem, this time without fans in attendance. While the Tigers lost seven of their national championship squad to the NFL Draft, Clemson will look to senior wide receiver Amari Rodgers and Heisman favorite junior quarterback Trevor Lawrence to make up for the loss of Tee Higgins to the NFL and Justyn Ross to injury. 

After projected starter Jamie Newman transferred to the University of Georgia this offseason, the Demon Deacons will start redshirt sophomore quarterback Sam Hartman. Hartman spent the majority of the 2019 season backing up Newman but showed promise during his starts in the 2018 season. 

Duke @ No. 10 Notre Dame 
Sept. 12, 1:30 p.m. CT, NBC

Notre Dame finds itself in a new position this season as temporary football members of the ACC for the first time ever instead of operating as an independent. The Fighting Irish are led by senior quarterback Ian Book, who led the Irish to a 2018 College Football playoff berth. 

Meanwhile, the Blue Devils travel to South Bend after a frustrating 2019 season, going 5–7 and missing a bowl for the first time in two years. On Sunday, head coach David Cutliffe named former Clemson quarterback Chase Brice the starter for Saturday.


Coastal Carolina @ Kansas
Sept. 12, 9 p.m. CT, Fox Sports 1

The Kansas Jayhawks will be looking for redemption as they face the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers on Saturday. Last season the Chanticleers defeated the Jayhawks in Lawrence 12–7 for their first win ever over a Power Five opponent. Second-year head coach Les Miles has kept mum on whether senior Thomas MacVittie or junior Miles Kendrik will be the starting quarterback, but the Jayhawks return junior all-conference running back Pooka Williams Jr. Much like last season, the Jayhawks are the slight favorites going into the game. 

Syracuse @ No. 18 UNC
Sept. 12, 11 a.m. CT, ACC Network

Former Texas head coach Mack Brown enters his second season with the No. 18 North Carolina Tar Heels against Syracuse. The Tarheels return 10 starters from last year as well as sophomore quarterback Sam Howell.

Syracuse looks to bounce back after a disappointing season with only two ACC wins. Leading the Orange is redshirt junior quarterback Tommy DeVito, who tied Donovan McNabb and Ryan Nassib for the most touchdown passes by a sophomore Syracuse quarterback last season. They also return with junior All-ACC defensive back Andre Cisco.

Louisiana @ No. 23 Iowa State
Sept. 12, 11 a.m. CT, ESPN

The No. 23 Iowa State Cyclones will open the 2020 season without fans for their first game, at least. Iowa State returns a stacked roster including junior quarterback Brock Purdy and sophomore running back Breece Hall. Last season the Cyclones finished 7–6 overall and fifth in the Big 12. 

The Ragin’ Cajuns finished 11–3 overall and 7–1 in the Sun Belt Conference and capped off the 2019 season with a win over Miami (Ohio) in the LendingTree Bowl. Louisiana is led by senior quarterback Levi Lewis and senior running backs Elijah Mitchell and Trey Ragas. 

Missouri State @ No. 5 Oklahoma
Sept. 12, 6 p.m. CT, Pay Per View

After a COVID-19 outbreak on the team and many big name starters opting out of the 2020 season, fourth-year head coach Lincoln Riley will be looking at underclassmen to fill the void. The Sooners will also have their fourth quarterback in four years as redshirt freshman quarterback Spencer Rattler succeeds Jalen Hurts. The Sooners return 2019 Big 12 defensive newcomer of the year, senior LaRon Stokes, and redshirt junior wide receiver Charleston Rambo.