College football Week 0 preview and predictions: Will Miami start the season off with an upset?

Football is back, folks. It has been a long offseason, and before the college football season really gets going next week, we’ll be treated to four games in what has lovingly become known as Week 0.

Before two FBS games kick off Saturday night, there are two FCS games to occupy your mind. First, Colgate hosts Villanova on CBS Sports Network at noon ET. Colgate is the two-time reigning Patriot League champion while Villanova is coming off back-to-back 5-6 seasons.

Later Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. ET, Samford and Youngstown State will meet in Montgomery, Alabama. Bo Pelini’s YSU squad reached the FCS title game in 2016, but is 10-12 in the two years since. Samford is coached by Chris Hatcher, who played quarterback under Hal Mumme and Mike Leach at Valdosta State, and has reached the FCS Playoffs in two of the last three seasons.

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We’ve previewed and made predictions for the two games you’re more excited about below.

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Miami vs. No. 8 Florida

Time: 7 p.m. ET | TV: ESPN | Line: Florida -7.5

Week 0 is providing us one of the season’s best non-conferences games when Miami battles No. 8 Florida in Orlando.

Florida won 10 games in its first season under Dan Mullen and has its sights set higher entering 2019. Feleipe Franks is much-improved at quarterback and has Lamical Perine at running back to go with a deep and talented group of wide receivers. The Gators also return eight starters on Todd Grantham’s defense and boast one of the top cornerback duos in the SEC with C.J. Henderson and Marco Wilson.

Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks threw for 2,457 yards and 24 TDs in 2018. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)
Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks threw for 2,457 yards and 24 TDs in 2018. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)

If there’s one area of concern for Florida it’s a new-look offensive line that Miami will look to exploit with an aggressive front seven. The Hurricanes should be strong once again on defense, especially in the linebacker corps, but all eyes will be on the offense. First-year head coach Manny Diaz (the team’s defensive coordinator in 2018) did not hesitate to name redshirt freshman Jarren Williams the team’s starting quarterback over N’Kosi Perry, who started six games in 2018, and hyped Ohio State transfer Tate Martell. The Hurricanes were a mess offensively a year ago. We’ll see if Williams — and new coordinator Dan Enos — can show signs of improvement for Miami to start the season.

Predictions

Nick Bromberg: Florida 31, Miami 27

Sam Cooper: Florida 23, Miami 13

Pat Forde: Florida 28, Miami 17

Pete Thamel: Florida 33, Miami 10

Arizona at Hawaii

Time: 10:30 p.m. ET | TV: CBSSN | Line: Arizona -11

Expectations were sky-high for Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate entering 2018, but just about everything went wrong. Tate, at first, didn’t mesh well with the offense new Wildcats coach Kevin Sumlin was running. And to make matters worse, Tate suffered a serious ankle injury early in the year and wasn’t able to torch defenses with his electric speed and escapability as the season progressed. But Tate did show flashes of improved passing as the year went on and ended up finishing the year with 2,530 yards, 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

With a healthy Tate and J.J. Taylor back at running back, the Wildcats should be explosive on offense, but can the defense stop anybody? The defense will be put to the test against Hawaii. The Rainbow Warriors return 18 starters, including nine on an offense that welcomes back Cole McDonald at quarterback. McDonald, who ended up throwing for 3,875 yards and 36 touchdowns, got off to a torrid start in 2018 before being slowed by an array of injuries, including internal bleeding in a very, um sensitive area. With receivers Cedric Byrd and JoJo Ward and all five offensive line starters at his side, Hawaii should give Arizona all sorts of issues. We hope you like points!

Predictions

Bromberg: Arizona 41, Hawaii 33

Cooper: Arizona 44, Hawaii 38

Forde: Arizona 51, Hawaii 44

Thamel: Hawaii 48, Arizona 46

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