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Dr. Saturday

What to watch in college football: Week 1, Day 2

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

The first day of college football is in the books and while there were some glitches — a missed pass interference call, Washington State failing to score a touchdown and Andre Parker running a muffed punt in the wrong direction — things can only get better from here.

And Friday's modest slate of games should start the upswing with some key matchups between ranked teams and another chance for an FCS team to claim superiority over the FBS.

Here's what to watch on Friday:

• The first matchup between two ranked teams happens when No. 13 Michigan State and No. 24 Boise State meet in East Lansing, Mich., at 8 p.m. ET. In the past few seasons, these early season matchups between non-BCS Goliath Boise State and a top-ranked BCS conference foe have been the must-watch games of the first weekend. And they've all concluded with Boise State wins.

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But that was then and this is Boise State sans quarterback Kellen Moore. It's probably fair to say that for the first time ever, Boise State is overrated. That's not to say this isn't a good game -- it is -- but the Broncos have a lot to prove behind new signal caller Joe Southwick, who played in cleanup time after the Broncos had thoroughly dismantled their opponent. But opinions of Southwick have been high and some reports even suggested that he played better than Moore two springs ago. But how will he respond on the big stage, on national television, against a ranked opponent?

Michigan State is going through a similar transition with quarterback Andrew Maxwell, who is replacing Kirk Cousins, which means the offensive load will probably fall on running back LeVeon Bell, who rushed for 948 yards and 13 touchdowns a year ago.

For these two new quarterbacks, Friday night's game will probably go to the one who doesn't flinch.

• North Carolina State hasn't played any games yet, but coach Tom O'Brien is winning the Internet the past couple weeks. Last week, he took a nice jab at North Carolina's academic scandal and this week he mocked Tennessee's record.

"We know we're going down there as underdogs, not getting a lot of respect out of the Tennessee people," O'Brien said. "But I guess you can be that way when you win all the time."

For the record, Tennessee has had one winning season in the past four and is 11-14 under coach Derek Dooley.

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At least O'Brien's comments provided a little bite to this matchup between the Wolfpack and Volunteers at 7:30 p.m. ET and an entertaining hook that doesn't revolve around Dooley's wardrobe. Speaking of Dooley, with Tennessee's loss to Kentucky to end 2011, the third-year coach is on a warmer-than-usual seat, which makes a good start crucial for his future with the Vols.

• While all eyes will be on quarterback Josh Nunes, Stanford's heir apparent to Andrew Luck, when the Cardinal and San Jose State square off at 10 p.m. ET, the more intriguing position watch might be the Spartans running backs.

Minnesota transfer De'Leon Eskridge, former Washington transfer David Freeman and sophomore Tyler Ervin form what could be the best running back trio to ever play at San Jose State.

And Spartans will need their backs, especially as they break in a new quarterback.

Last season, the Spartans rushing offense ranked 110th nationally and Freeman and Ervin only managed 178 total yards between them. Still, if San Jose State is going to give Stanford any sort of competition Friday night, it's going to start with the ground game.

• Temple and Villanova meet in the Mayor's Cup at 7 p.m. ET, and there's something about this matchup that makes it intriguing. Perhaps it's the fact that both schools reside in the same city or perhaps it's because Villanova almost always gives the Owls a game.

Or maybe it's because Temple is the Big East's hero (see above video).

The Wildcats beat Temple in 2009 and two years ago the Owls won by a touchdown. However, last season's game wasn't that close. Still, Temple doesn't want to start it's first season in the Big East off on the wrong foot.

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