College Football Schedule 2016: Opening Weekend Games Are Best Ever

    The college football schedule for 2016 features the best opening weekend ever. Here are 10 games to circle.

    January 12, 2016

    The college football schedule for 2016 features an incredible opening weekend of games.

    Follow @PeteFiutak

    Best … opening … weekend … ever.

    Good teams are insane to play anyone but a cupcake non-conference schedule, especially to start the season. Just ask Stanford how much more fun the Rose Bowl was than being in the College Football Playoff thanks to a loss to Northwestern to open the season.

    But the call has gone out to spruce up the non-conference games, and in just under eight short months from now, college football fans get to feast on something special.

    You want something to get you through a long and pointless NBA regular season and to provide hope once the Super Bowl is over? Here you go. The 2016 college football schedule starts with an absolute bang. Below are 10 opening weekends game that’ll have you daydreaming.  

    Kansas State at Stanford – Stanford Stadium, Stanford, CA (Sept. 2)

    Not only is this the first time the two schools have ever met, but it’s the first FBS team the Wildcats have opened a season against since beating UCLA in 2010. The Wildcats get to cruise right after the trip to Palo Alto with dates against Florida Atlantic and Missouri State after getting a week off, while the Christian McHeisman Cardinal get a week off to prepare for a brutal, brutal, BRUTAL run of USC, at UCLA, at Washington, Washington State, at Notre Dame.

    Alabama vs. USC – AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX

    Wisconsin, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Michigan. All on a neutral site, and all blowouts. Going against USC this time around, this is Alabama’s fifth straight interesting date to start the season. The Trojans get Utah State and road games at Stanford and Utah to follow, while the Crimson Tide don’t get to take it easy facing a high-powered WKU before opening up the SEC season at Ole Miss.

    Houston vs. Oklahoma – NRG Stadium, Houston, TX

    Okay, Houston. You want to play with the big boys? You want to show 2015 was just the start of something big? Here you go getting an Oklahoma team that should be even stronger than the one that went to the College Football playoff. The Cougars earn their layups against Lamar and Texas State after dealing with the Sooners, while Oklahoma can’t afford a slip with ULM up next to prepare for Ohio State, at TCU and Texas to follow.

    LSU vs. Wisconsin – Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI

    Melvin Gordon got hurt, Joel Stave had a case of the Chuck Knoblauch yips, and Tanner McEvoy started at quarterback. You want to know why Wisconsin lost a heartbreaking 28-24 battle against LSU in Houston to start the 2014 season? That’s it. This time around, the Badgers get Akron and Georgia State – both 2015 bowl teams – before going on the road to face Michigan State and Michigan and then getting to host Ohio State. LSU gets to fatten up Leonard Fournette’s Heisman stats against Jacksonville State the next week before starting out SEC play against Mississippi State.

    Notre Dame at Texas – Darrell K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, TX

    It was a dud of an opener last season with Notre Dame ripping Texas apart, but this time it’s in Austin, and this time the Longhorns need to make a statement right away. The Irish get Nevada and Michigan State at home to follow, while Texas gets UTEP and a trip to Cal before getting a week off to prepare for the Big 12 slate and the opener at Oklahoma State.

    Clemson at Auburn – Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, AL

    Okay, Clemson, you want to show that 2015 was for real? Here you go with a date in Auburn against a far stronger Tiger team that should be more experienced and a whole lot feistier after a disappointing season. Okay, Auburn, you want to show that 2015 was an aberration? Come out and smoke the other Tigers and make a statement that this is a much different year and a much different team. Clemson gets Troy to follow, while this is the start of a wonderful run of five straight home games for Auburn with Arkansas State up next before diving into the SEC against Texas A&M and LSU.

    UCLA at Texas A&M – Kyle Field, College Station, TX

    The two teams fought to a 7-0 Texas A&M when they first met in 1940 – this game will be bigger. Both teams have massive question marks about living up to their respective expectations. UCLA has a quarterback and Texas A&M doesn’t, but it’s the first time in five meetings the Bruins are playing in College Station, and it’s statement time for the winner. The loser will have a slew of issues. It’s A&M on A&M action right after with the Aggies playing Prairie View A&M before going to Auburn, while UCLA gets UNLV in the Rose Bowl the week after.

    Georgia vs. North Carolina – Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA

    It’s the first game of the rest of Kirby Smart’s life, and any honeymoon period ends instantly if he loses his opener as the Bulldog head coach. North Carolina will be looking to do something it couldn’t throughout all of 2015 – beat a good team. The Tar Heels go to Illinois the week after, while Georgia gets a showdown with Nicholls State before starting out the SEC season at Missouri. The two programs haven’t met since a 7-3 Georgia win in the 1971 Gator Bowl.

    BYU vs. Arizona – University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ

    BYU might not be a Pac-12 team, but it’s trying to pretend it’s one starting out the season against Arizona, at Utah, and against UCLA. No team has a tougher September and October, and it can’t afford a loss against the Wildcats in Phoenix. On the flip side, Arizona has smooth sailing for a while with Grambling State and Hawaii to follow before starting out the Pac-12 season against Washington, but first it’ll have to deal with a fired up BYU with enough talent to get some national attention.

    Ole Miss vs. Florida State – Citrus Bowl, Orlando, FL (Sept. 5)

    This should really, really be fun. Ole Miss has a ton of reworking to do, but if it can win this it’ll prove it’s a national player again right out of the gate. After getting Wofford, the Rebels host Alabama and Georgia. Beat the Seminoles, and Ole Miss is a national player over the first month of the season. If Florida State is back to being Florida State again, this is a game it has to win. It’s a veteran team full of talent, but it has three massive games to get through with Florida to end the regular season and the battle with Clemson for, likely, the ACC title. Beat Ole Miss, and everything looks back on track.

    MORE: Way-Too-Early College Football Rankings, 2016


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