It’s opening weekend in college football.

Real football is finally here and while week one doesn’t have a blockbuster game, there are quite a few to keep an eye on.  Here are the ones I’m really interested in.

TONIGHT

UTAH (-6) at BYU  9:15 pm, ESPN—The Holy War opens the season tonight.  Utah is one of the favorites in the PAC-12, but they face a stern opening test on the road.  BYU is bowl worthy this year and I expect the Utes to have their hands full.  But I don’t know if BYU can win this outright.  Utah could be special this year.  A good way to start the season.

SATURDAY

NORTHWESTERN (+6) AT STANFORD—3:00 PM FOX—There will be a lot of smart people on the field on Saturday.  Northwestern won nine games last year and played in the Big Ten championship game.  They’ll debut Clemson transfer Hunter Johnson at quarterback.  He’ll go up against K. J. Costello, one of the Pac-12’s best quarterbacks.  This is a really good intersectional game.

SYRACUSE (-18) at LIBERTY  5:00 PM, ESPN+--Even if the Flames weren’t the Cajuns opponent next week, I’d still be intrigued.  Liberty lost just once at home last season and they get the Orange at Williams Stadium.  “Buckshot” Calvert is a very capable quarterback and he’s got a 1,000 yard rusher and a 1,000 yard receiver back as well.  Syracuse won ten games a year ago, but they’re breaking in a new quarterback on the road.  I don’t know if Liberty can pull off the upset, but I do know that 18 sure looks like a lot of points.

BOISE STATE (+5) VS. FLORIDA STATE (JACKSONVILLE) 6:00 ESPN—Willie Taggart’s first season at Florida State was pretty rocky, as the Seminoles failed to make a bowl game for the first time since 1982.  He’s got 16 starters back and a new OC in Kendall Briles.  Everyone expects FSU to be much better.  We’re going to find out early as they face a Boise State team that has a legitimate chance to play in a New Years’ Six bowl.  They only return six starters on offense and will trot out a true freshman quarterback, but the offensive line returns intact and there’s plenty of young talent.  Color me curious on this one.

GEORGIA SOUTHERN (+27’) at #6 LSU—6:30, ESPNU—The third and final matchp between a Sun Belt and SEC school on ESPNU, this is intriguing, not to see who wins, but how it all plays out.  LSU has a ton of talent and they promise to be a much more uptempo offense this year.  But it’s the Georgia Southern option offense against the LSU defense that I really want to see.  LSU promises to have a more attacking defense this season.  Will they be patient enough against an offense that’s difficult to defend?  LSU has had a lot of time to prepare for this one.  There’s a reason why they wanted to play in the season opener.  Georgia Southern only turned the ball over five times all season long and were the only FBS school that didn’t throw an interception.