What to watch in college football: Week 1, Day 3

Dr. Saturday

Top o' the morning to ya!

If you're reading this before Saturday's slate of games gets underway, you're up incredibly early because Notre Dame's season opener against Navy starts at 9 a.m. ET from Dublin, Ireland.

I was going to post some House of Pain to Flogging Molly to start the day, but I thought it was even too early for that.

Instead, I'll just highlight the plethora of college football action on tap today as we begin the first college football Saturday of the season. Thursday and Friday provided good appetizers, but today is the main course. There are 54 games today. I'm not going to preview them all, but I'll give you a good primer on what to watch this college football Saturday:

• Already mentioned Notre Dame and Navy and while the game probably won't be that great — Notre Dame should win this one easily, though Navy has a nice hype video (see above) that it watched prior to today's game — all Irish eyes should be on Notre Dame's new starting quarterback Everett Golson. Golson is a dual-threat that's a stark contrast from the Irish quarterbacks that have played in the past few years. Golson doesn't need to be a hero against the Midshipmen, if he can manage to get through the game without a turnover that will be a win for the Irish.

• The biggest game of the day will be the 8 p.m. ET battle between No. 2 Alabama and No. 8 Michigan at Dallas Cowboys Stadium. Shockingly, these teams have never met during the regular season, but it should be a good offense vs. defense battle. Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson is a Heisman hopeful and playing well against a stingy Alabama defense would go a long way in his campaign. But he's going to have a little added pressure to carry the load with running back Fitz Toussaint suspended for the opener. Because of Robinson's dual-threat ability, Alabama coach Nick Saban said his defensive line has to show discipline.

"Well, this guy will ball fake you like Michael Jordan and take off running and you'll say, 'Well, how did that happen?'" Saban said.

• Northwestern and Syracuse will meet in the battle of the journalism schools at 12 p.m. ET. Both schools have among the best journalism programs in the country, so this is for all the media braggin' rights people. Don't roll your eyes, it's that serious.

• Ohio State's Urban (Meyer) renewal project begins at 12 p.m. ET against Miami (OH). The Buckeyes are going to be really good this year and this game will be a nice way to kick off a season that ends with no postseason thanks to NCAA sanctions. Still, quarterback Braxton Miller, who showed flashes of awesomeness last season, should have a breakout year, which should help the Buckeyes play spoiler in the Big Ten.

• After the Orange Bowl, West Virginia has now set the scoring bar at 70 points per game and considering the way coach Dana Holgorsen feels about Marshall these days, it wouldn't be a surprise if that happens when the two teams meet at noon ET. On Thursday, a fan said he had heard Marshall players had learned the hand signals the Mountaineers use to call plays and he wondered if the second-year coach was worried. Holgorsen remarked that he had a hand signal for Marshall, all right. The couches will burn well into the evening after this good ol' fashioned West Virginia state rivalry.

• Will Penn State honor the late Joe Paterno when it takes the field for its home opener against Ohio at noon ET? While that seems to be one of the pressing questions on many people's minds, the more pressing question is will Ohio upset the Nittany Lions? Ohio won 10 games last season and returns 14 players from a year ago.

• Florida's game against Bowling Green at 3:30 p.m. ET will feature the year's first quarter-by-quarter quarterback rotation. That's right, Florida coach Will Muschamp will rotate Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel in the first and second quarter, though we don't know which one will actually start the game or whether the rotation will last beyond the first half. Florida sure likes to keep its fans — and its opponents — in suspense.

• Speaking of quarterback rotations, that's Texas' plan when they open the season against Wyoming at 8 p.m. ET. David Ash, who ended last season as the starter, will start the game, but challenger Case McCoy will play. Coach Mack Brown said if either is afraid of making a mistake for fear he might get pulled, he shouldn't play, but that's kind of the situation the Longhorn coaching staff has created. We'll see how the rest of the team handles the rotation.

• A couple Penn State transfers will make their debuts today. USC running back Silas Redd will play Hawaii at 7:30 p.m. ET and Oklahoma receiver Justin Brown will play UTEP at 10:30 p.m. ET. Both are expected to make major and immediate impact for their teams, which could be national championship contenders at season's end.

• Arkansas should be in no danger of losing to Jacksonville State at 7 p.m. ET, so we probably won't get to see how the loss of coach Bobby Petrino affects the Razorbacks' playcalling. But that will definitely be something to watch as the season treks on for the Razorbacks under one-year coach John L. Smith.

• Wes Lunt will be the first-ever freshman to start the season opener for Oklahoma State Savannah State at 7 p.m. ET.

• San Diego State might be the most interesting story of the season if it follows through on its plan to not punt this year. Coach Rocky Long told a local paper that he was toying with the idea of not punting after his team crossed the 50-yard line and always going for it on fourth down. It's worked for a Arkansas high school, which is where Long got the idea, but will it work during the Aztecs' 10:30 p.m. ET game against Washington?

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