The college football season started last weekend but it’s really just an extended Week 1. The festivities continue on Thursday with some high-profile games and follow through to next Monday. Here is a look at the five games that you need to check out this week, anchored by a massive top-five showdown.
Ohio State Buckeyes at Indiana Hoosiers
Odds: Ohio State -21
The No. 2 Buckeyes are a leading national title contender as Urban Meyer has once again reloaded his team. The major question will be whether the offense can get over being blanked by Clemson in the playoffs last year. Meanwhile, Indiana was 6-7 last season and qualified for the Foster Farms Bowl. While their program looked like it was on the up-and-up, they parted ways with coach Kevin Wilson due to some player mistreatments. While the Hoosiers are 0-17 against the Buckeyes, Indiana has covered the spread in the last six meetings.
Michigan Wolverines vs. Florida Gators
Odds: Michigan -4
This neutral-site affair between the No. 11 Wolverines and the No. 17 Gators is a clash between a pair of teams that are in the second tier of college football on the cusp. Both teams had top-five defenses last season, but couldn’t do much offensively and that has to change in 2017. The Gators offense will be even more challenged due to seven players being suspended for this game – including leading receiver Antonio Callaway. These two have met three times, with Michigan winning and covering in all three, including a 41-7 rout in the 2016 Citrus Bowl.
Florida State Seminoles vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
Odds: Alabama -7
This is the marquee matchup coming from Atlanta, where the No. 1 Crimson Tide and the No. 3 Seminoles look to knock each other out of the top five. The Crimson Tide are a juggernaut and are bitter after losing to Clemson in the national championship game. Meanwhile, Florida State has been right there the last couple seasons, save for a few plays here and there. They head into the season as the top dog in the ACC as Clemson – the defending champ – is in rebuilding mode. These powerhouses have met just once, with the Seminoles winning 21-14 in Jacksonville in 2007.
West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Virginia Tech Hokies
Odds: Virginia Tech -5
Another neutral site game on the docket is the No. 22 Mountaineers and the No. 21 Hokies, who will meet at Landover, Maryland. Both teams are on the rise in their respective conferences as the Mountaineers feel like they have a strong case to win the Big 12. They are now led by former Florida quarterback Will Grier, and we know what the Mountaineers are capable of offensively when they have a good passer. Virginia Tech had won seven of the last 10 meetings between the two, covering in six of those games. The Mountaineers had one of the best offenses in the country last season while the Hokies were in the top 20 in total defense, which is par for the course for these two programs.
Tennessee Volunteers vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Odds: Tennessee -4
The No. 25 Volunteers head to Atlanta to meet the Yellow Jackets for a Monday night football matchup. Tennessee had a very good 9-4 record last year but that was still disappointing from what they were expecting. They are out to prove they can compete with the likes of Alabama and Florida in the SEC, but they’ve lost a lot of talent. They might be closer to competing with the second tier of teams in the SEC rather than the big boys. First, they’ll have to slow down Georgia Tech’s option ground game, which always seems to give teams trouble and they want to show they’ll be a force in the ACC. This could be one of the more intriguing games of the week in college football.