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A Week-by-Week Look at What the 2018 College Football Schedule Offers

Texas v USC Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The World Cup is over. You don’t have to pretend to be a soccer fan anymore. MLB has just past its All-Star break and the dog days of summer are ahead. It’s time folks. It’s time to tirelessly long for the best darn thing in the sporting world: 13 weeks of high-stakes college football. It is a beautiful thing.

Now we look ahead, across the entire football schedule, and tell you what you have to look forward besides a potential Clemson vs. Alabama rematch! (The top game each week is in bold.)

Week 1

  • Furman at Clemson
  • Washington vs. Auburn (Atlanta) (3:30)
  • Michigan at Notre Dame (7:30)
  • Tennessee vs. West Virginia (Charlotte) (3:30)
  • LSU vs. Miami (Arlington) (Sun, 7:30)
  • Virginia Tech at Florida State (Mon, 8:00)

Instead of diving into the season head first only to have a mediocre Week 2, the college football season eases itself into gear in 2018. Week one provides just the right amount of high-quality action. Clemson has their annual FCS game, and fans attended will have to race to a TV because the best game of the weekend is at 3:30 when Auburn and Washington play in Atlanta. If Washington wins, they’ll have a fantastic shot to make the playoff. Michigan and Notre Dame haven’t played since 2014 and renew their rivalry at 7:30. Then on Monday two of the top four teams in the ACC play in the national spotlight!

Week 2

  • Clemson at Texas A&M (7:00)
  • Georgia at South Carolina (3:30)
  • Iowa State at Iowa (5:00)
  • Michigan State at Arizona State (10:45)
  • Penn State at Pittsburgh (8:00)

Clemson undoubtedly has the spotlight in Week 2. When the Tigers head to College Station for a prime time battle there will be little to compete for fan’s attention. The Jimbo Fisher era at Texas A&M will be well underway and we’ll try not to lose to Dabo Swinney for the fourth straight year. Clemson will leap one of their highest hurdles of the season.

Georgia heads to South Carolina in an early matchup which will determine if South Carolina can do anything more than make the Outback Bowl. Iowa State looks for revenge and should be solid. Iowa looks to be Wisconsin’s prime competitor in the Big 10 West, making this a great barometer game. Michigan State vs. Arizona State is another interesting barometer game for the night owls.

Week 3

  • Georgia Southern at Clemson (3:30)
  • Ohio State at TCU (8:00)
  • LSU at Auburn (3:30)
  • West Virginia at NC State (3:30)
  • Washington at Utah (10:00)

Clemson comes home to a Sun Belt opponent after their trip to College Station. Georgia Southern should be better than a year ago, but it shouldn’t be much of a contest. Fortunately, the game is at 3:30 leaving time for tailgating before the game and darting to a TV after the game to watch Ohio State at TCU. TCU is one of Oklahoma’s prime competitors in the Big 12 and will try to do what the Sooners did last year by beating the Buckeyes (albeit OU did it in Columbus). With WVU playing at NC State, it’s a statement week for the Big 12.

LSU at Auburn is always a good matchup, though this one is a little less exciting than a few years ago when they were both at the top of their games. Washington and Utah is late, but will be a good opportunity to see Washington go on the road to face a quality opponent in conference play.

Week 4

  • Clemson at Georgia Tech
  • Stanford at Oregon
  • Wisconsin at Iowa
  • Florida at Tennessee
  • TCU at Texas

Week four doesn’t have a sexy, attention getting matchup, but it has four games that’ll play huge roles in determining conference championship games. Stanford at Oregon will determine who is Washington’s biggest foe in the North.

Wisconsin vs. Iowa may be the least sexy big game of the season, but it very well could determine the Big 10 West. Iowa has a favorable schedule and a solid roster. They’re know for pulling major upsets at home. If they steal one from Wisconsin, they very well could win the West.

Georgia and SC play in Week 2, so barring an upset, Week 4’s Florida at Tennessee matchup will determine who is the remaining threat to Georgia in the SEC East.

TCU at Texas may be the biggest game in determining who plays Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game. These are the two best defenses in the conference and if the winner of this game will be well situated to earn a berth in the Big 12 championship game.

Week 5

  • Syracuse at Clemson
  • Ohio State at Penn State
  • USC at Arizona
  • Stanford at Notre Dame
  • Florida at Mississippi State

Clemson will exact revenge on Syracuse in Week 6, while some bigger games go on around the country. Ohio State at Penn State will go a long way to determining the Big 10 East winner. USC at Arizona is among the most underrated games of the year. I believe it will determine the Pac-12 South. Hopefully it’s not played in the middle of the night. Stanford at Notre Dame is a non-conference classic and Florida heads to Starkville where Coach Mullen has to face his old team.

Week 6

  • Clemson at Wake Forest
  • Florida State at Miami
  • Texas vs. Oklahoma
  • Notre Dame at Virginia Tech
  • LSU at Florida

Week 6 is full of great games. Clemson makes a trip to Winston-Salem, one of the easy road trips for Tiger fans. Winston-Salem has stepped up their game in recent years, adding a few breweries to town. Of course, BB&T will be half orange as Dabo Swinney looks to remain undefeated against the Deacons.

One of the best rivalries in the ACC will also take place in Week 6 as the Seminoles head to Miami. Miami finally broke their seven game losing streak to the Noles and will look to prove it wasn’t just due to Florida State’s down year. This could be one of the best games of the season. I think it’s much more of a toss-up than some may think.

The best rivalry in the Big 12 is also going down this week as Oklahoma and Texas battle. Texas gave OU fits last year and should improve further this season while the Sooners take a step back.

Notre Dame heads to Lane Stadium and LSU travels to Gainesville in a week full of great games.

Week 7

  • Clemson: Bye Week
  • Michigan State at Penn State
  • Wisconsin at Michigan
  • Georgia at LSU
  • Washington at Oregon
  • West Virginia at Iowa State
  • Texas A&M at South Carolina

What a fantastic week for Clemson to have a bye. Two of the best Big 10 games come in week seven. We get to see the Bulldogs in Baton Rouge, the Huskies in Eugene, and the high-flying Mountaineer offense in Ames. If that’s not enough, Clemson’s Week 2 opponent faces their Week 13 opponent and we (hopefully) get to see how strong that win in College Station was.

From this point forward, it’s a little harder to project which games will be most intriguing, as some of the teams for which we have high expectations will bust. Still, some of these games are unbelievable. A good Yankees vs. Indians regular season matchup just doesn’t get the juices flowing like some of these will, so I’ll continue, but keep it brief.

Week 8

  • NC State at Clemson
  • Michigan at Michigan State
  • Oklahoma at TCU
  • Arizona at UCLA
  • Mississippi State at LSU

This is the week where everyone is going to worry Clemson will overlook NC State and lose. People will talk about how Clemson struggles with the Wolfpack and fret. I’ll confidently remind you we’ve won 13/14 and enjoy another win. Hopefully, that doesn’t interference with watching Michigan play Michigan State. TCU and Oklahoma were the two best teams in the Big 12 last season. With Mayfield gone, this could be very competitive and could be rematched in the conference championship game.

Week 9

  • Clemson at Florida State
  • Georgia vs. Florida (Jacksonville)
  • Texas at Oklahoma State
  • Oregon at Arizona
  • Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech

Clemson and Florida State square off in Week 9’s marquee matchup. Florida State could have losses to Virginia Tech and Miami by this point, but something tells me that won’t be the case and even if so, winning in Doak Campbell will be tough and make for great TV.

Georgia and Florida will also be playing just down the road. Dan Mullen should make life much more difficult for Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs. Oregon travels to Tuscon to face my Pac-12 South darling and the best QB in the conference Khalil Tate.

Week 10

  • Louisville at Clemson
  • Penn State at Michigan
  • Stanford at Washington
  • West Virginia at Texas
  • Alabama at LSU

Louisville heads to town for what could be one of the better games in Death Valley this season. Don’t expect another classic though. The Cardinals are replacing a lot, including superstar Lamar Jackson.

Depending on how Penn State fares against Ohio State and Michigan State earlier in the year, their contest at Michigan could be one of the biggest contests of the year. The Pac-12 North title is likely on the line in Seattle when Stanford comes to town. West Virginia at Texas could be for a championship game berth and Alabama at LSU is an American classic.

Week 11

  • Clemson at Boston College
  • Ohio State vs. Michigan State
  • Wisconsin at Penn State
  • Auburn at UGA
  • Oklahoma State at Oklahoma
  • Mississippi State at Alabama
  • TCU at West Virginia
  • Wake Forest at NC State (Thursday)

I was legitimately planning to go to the game at Chestnut Hill until I saw this slate and realize the value of the “Last Channel” button. I believe the Big 10 East and a playoff spot will be on the line in East Lansing. Wisconsin gets a chance to redeem themselves after blowing the 2016 Big 10 title game to Penn State. Auburn at Georgia is one of the better rivalries in the South and will likely have playoff implications again. We even get a solid Thursday Night ACC game. I’d bold them all... but I won’t. But I should! Let’s all hope that the TV schedule parses these out nice and evenly for ideal viewing. This slate right here is why nothing can measure up to college football!

Week 12

  • Duke at Clemson
  • Miami at Virginia Tech
  • Iowa State at Texas

Admittedly, Week 12 slows down a bit. Miami at Virginia Tech should be the game of the week and could decide the Coastal Division.

Week 13

  • South Carolina at Clemson
  • Michigan at Ohio State
  • Auburn at Alabama
  • Notre Dame at USC
  • Florida at Florida State

Rivalry week is always spectacular and this year figures to be no different. If you’re not excited, you might be dead. Rather than satiate my anxiousness I think I just kicked it into overdrive. I’m ready for football.