7 College Football Teams Sure to Be 0-1 After Week 1
While some power schools like to schedule cupcake opponents in Week 1, others tend to pit themselves against marquee opponents as an early test of their squad's fortitude.
The great thing about the College Football Playoff is that one loss to a good team in Week 1 is no longer a death sentence, so more and more power conference teams will start facing each other earlier on in the year as time progresses.
But for this year, we've already got some high-profile games, including Oklahoma State vs. Florida State, Alabama vs. West Virginia and even an SEC match between Auburn and Arkansas.
Unfortunately for some of those teams, among others, the cards aren't in their hands this year, and they'll be starting at an 0-1 record after the opening week.
Let's check out which teams are doomed for that fate.
The Boise State Broncos take on the Ole Miss Rebels in Week 1. While in years past this matchup would've favored the Broncos, this season the Rebels are bound to steal one in Atlanta.
Last year, Boise State finished a modest 8-5 with a loss to Oregon State in the Hawaii Bowl.
Now, the Broncos are under new management under head coach Bryan Harsin following Chris Petersen's departure to Washington, a team that thrashed Boise State last year, 38-6.
On the flip side, Ole Miss is a team on the rise, finishing with the same record of 8-5 as the Broncos but in the much tougher SEC with wins over LSU and Vanderbilt, plus Texas in nonconference play.
The Rebels also secretly have one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC in senior gunslinger Bo Wallace.
Add in nine returning starters on one of the country's stingiest defenses from last year, and you've got all the makings of what is sure to be a Week 1 victory for Ole Miss.
Simply put, Ole Miss is used to stronger competition, and they have plenty of returning starters from a team that was competitive but raw in 2013.
Meanwhile, the Broncos are a team that's slowly fading away from relevancy and are starting a quarterback in Grant Hedrick, who has yet to start a full season of college ball and struggled against major-conference teams.
Expect the Broncos to leave Atlanta with their heads hanging.
Under new head coach James Franklin, the Penn State Nittany Lions are looking to get off on the right foot as they start yet another new era.
That'll be tough in Week 1, as the luck of the Irish likely rests with the UCF Knights.
Penn State faces last year's Fiesta Bowl winners in Ireland to open this season, and while UCF lost quarterback Blake Bortles, they have a suitable replacement and plenty of returning talent to make up for it.
Pete DiNovo was named the heir apparent to Bortles, and according to Ryan Gillespie of Central Florida Future, coaches are thrilled about the future of the program under DiNovo's reign.
"I trust him," UCF offensive coordinator Charlie Taaffe said. "And he's a winner."
DiNovo is just one piece of the puzzle though. The Knights have 10—yes 10—returning starters on defense. Running back William Stanback and wideout J.J. Worton are also back in the mix.
Franklin is a great coach, and Bill O'Brien left a great foundation to help this program recover, but the Nittany Lions are still hindered by the looming cloud of expectations.
Christian Hackenberg is a good quarterback, but he'll run into a wall against an experienced, elite UCF defense.
UCF is just too strong after last year's finish, and Penn State will return to the States 0-1.
Oklahoma State is a good squad this year and is a dark horse candidate to win the Big 12.
They were one win away last year from stealing the conference from Baylor but faltered against Oklahoma in the Bedlam game in the last game of the season.
Now the Cowboys return plenty of talent on both sides of the ball and look to make plenty of noise in 2014.
But, they also get to face the defending national champions, Florida State, in Week 1.
The Cowboys are reportedly not even set on who they want at quarterback, with projected backup Daxx Garman set to take 10-15 snaps against the Seminoles and the rest taken by starter J.W. Walsh.
When you're not even set at your most important position, it'll be tough to beat Jameis Winston and Co. The Seminoles don't look like they'll skip a beat after last year's undefeated title season.
Overall, the Cowboys are a very, very good team with a high ceiling this year. But they're still not in the same conversation as Florida State. Not yet, at least. This could be an interesting game in the first half, but expect Winston to bury the Cowboys in the end.
Iowa State's Week 1 opponent is undefeated in FBS play since 2010, has won three straight national championships and finished in the 29th spot in the final AP poll last year.
Does it matter that North Dakota State is just an FCS team? Kansas in 2010, Minnesota in 2011, Colorado State in 2012 and then-reigning Big 12 champs Kansas State in 2013 sure don't think so. They all lost to the Bison.
What's crazy is that Iowa State may very well be the worst of any of those teams, as they limped their way to a three-win season last year, with just one win over lowly Kansas in Big 12 play last year.
North Dakota State has lost some talent, including top quarterback Brock Jensen and running back Sam Ojuri. But they still have one of the best receivers in all of college football in Zach Vraa. Last year, he averaged a whopping 17.8 catches per game.
Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads hired Mark Mangino to turn around what has been a sputtering offense in Ames. But after last year, it seems that the Cyclones are on a downswing, and the Bison look to be the next team to deliver a blow.
As one of two SEC tilts featured in Week 1 during the debut of the SEC Network, Arkansas vs. Auburn is sure to be one of the most hyped games in the opening week.
But when you actually look at the matchup, it's clear that defending conference champion Auburn has the edge.
The Tigers return quarterback Nick Marshall, one of the best in the SEC, as well as All-American center Reese Dismukes.
The biggest question mark came when Carl Lawson, the anticipated replacement for star defensive end Dee Ford, was knocked out with a torn ACL over the summer.
But with the type of talent that the Tigers routinely rake in through the recruiting ranks, you have to think they'll find a suitable replacement.
Meanwhile, Arkansas struggled to a 3-9 record last year and didn't win a game in SEC play.
Much of the problem lies in quarterback Brandon Allen, who threw just 13 touchdowns and 10 picks last year and for much of the season looked underprepared and overmatched in the college game.
This matchup is sure to draw high ratings for at least the first half, but by the time the final seconds tick off, Auburn will be walking away with an easy win.
A trip to Louisville, the team that squashed Miami 36-9 in its bowl game last season, is certainly not what the Hurricanes, a team struggling to find a replacement for quarterback Stephen Morris, needs.
But that's what they've got, and it doesn't look good for the "U."
The best thing going for Miami is running back Duke Johnson, but he can't do it all himself against a team like the Cardinals. They'll need a quarterback.
Projected starter Ryan Williams is recovering from a torn ACL, and his top backup, Kevin Olsen, is suspended for the Louisville tilt.
That means transfer Jake Heaps, who struggled to find his place at Kansas, will likely take the reins.
Heaps couldn't taste a lick of success for the Jayhawks or BYU, so it's unlikely he'll suddenly turn it around against an elite Louisville team in Week 1.
The Cardinals are in a bit of a rebuilding process themselves with the return of head coach Bobby Petrino and a new quarterback in Will Gardner. But most of these players just squashed Miami, and it's unlikely that the normal influx and change of the team created a 27-point swing over one offseason.
Expect Louisville to run away yet again.
Dana Holgorsen may very well be on the hottest seat in all of college football.
It's not bound to cool down at all after Week 1, as the West Virginia Mountaineers are slated for a matchup with the mighty and powerful Alabama Crimson Tide.
Bama outranks WVU in nearly every facet of the game. If you're a Mountaineer fan looking for a silver lining though, it's that Nick Saban hasn't yet found a quarterback to replace A.J. McCarron.
However, both Blake Sims and Jacob Coker are far better options than the winner of the WVU quarterback race—Clint Trickett.
The Mountaineers are one of the Big 12's worst teams along with Kansas and Iowa State, while Alabama fans were appalled at not winning a third straight national title last year. These two programs are just on two different levels, and that'll be made more than clear in Week 1.