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National Games to Watch: Week 1

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NCAA Football: New Mexico Bowl-North Texas vs Utah State Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

College football season is officially upon us. Granted, Miami vs Florida and Arizona vs Hawaii provided plenty of drama in “week zero”, the official week one kick-off gives fans five full days of football to enjoy this holiday weekend. With 83 games on the docket from now until Labor Day, it can be hard to decide exactly what to watch, so we’ve picked three games from outside of the PAC-12 conference that you should enjoy after The Holy War.

Utah State vs Wake Forest Friday 6:00 PM MT – ACC Network

As great as it is to have college football back, week one is almost always a little rough to watch. In total, there’s only one matchup between two ranked teams (Oregon vs Auburn) all weekend, and not a single team ranked ahead of Utah is really on upset alert. Because of this, week one is a great opportunity to check in on some other in-state programs, including this Friday night match-up between the Aggies and Demon Deacons. Gary Anderson’s (second) debut with USU kicks off against a good but not great ACC program, so we’ll have a good sense of where this team is headed in 2019 after this game.

Illinois State vs Northern Illinois Saturday 5:00 PM MT – ESPN+

Utah’s next opponent, Northern Illinois, kicks off their season Friday night, and those with access to ESPN+ will be able to get a taste of what the Huskies are bringing to the table this season after nearly upsetting the Utes last year in DeKalb.

Notre Dame vs Louisville Monday 6:00 PM MT - ESPN

The Sunday night matchup featuring Houston and #4 Oklahoma will likely be the more exciting affair, however, it’s not often we’re gifted five straight days of college football, so take advantage of this opportunity and catch one last game before week one officially concludes. If Utah truly hopes to break into the playoff picture this season, they’ll need to prove they’re better than perennial powerhouses like Notre Dame, so keep a close eye on this game and see how the Utes stack up against one of the nation’s (supposed) best.