Week 1 preview: Irish-Buckeyes matchup tops juicy slate

Aug 31, 2022, 11:18 AM | Updated: 11:21 pm
FILE - Notre Dame defensive lineman Isaiah Foskey (7) plays during the second half of the Fiesta Bo...

FILE - Notre Dame defensive lineman Isaiah Foskey (7) plays during the second half of the Fiesta Bowl NCAA college football game against Oklahoma State, Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022, in Glendale, Ariz. If Notre Dame is going to beat Ohio State for the first time since 1936, everyone in South Bend knows the defense must ace its test. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)

The first big weekend of college football is bursting with storylines and intrigue.

Dan Lanning’s opener as No. 11 Oregon’s coach is against his former boss, Kirby Smart of defending national champion and third-ranked Georgia. Second-ranked Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud and the Buckeyes’ rebuilt defense hosts No. 5 Notre Dame in a juicy Week 1, top-10 matchup.

Pac-12 defending champion and seventh-ranked Utah goes to “The Swamp” for Billy Napier’s first game as Florida’s coach. No. 23 Cincinnati, coming off its historic College Football Playoff appearance, is an underdog in its opener at No. 19 Arkansas.

The “Backyard Brawl” returns for the first time since 2011 when No. 17 Pittsburgh hosts West Virginia on Thursday night. And there’s also the Brian Kelly era at LSU opening on Sunday against Florida State in New Orleans, a matchup of two storied programs looking to return to the upper echelon of the sport.

It is an absolute smorgasbord for The Associated Press weekly What to Watch rundown, presented by Regions Bank.

Oregon-Georgia would be intriguing even without the Lanning-Smart connection. The Ducks are bidding to return to the top of the Pac-12 after Utah ended their two-year run as champion. Georgia is trying to stay on top of the Southeastern Conference, and nation, after supplanting Alabama.

The 36-year-old Lanning was Smart’s defensive coordinator the past three seasons. Oregon hired him Dec. 11 after Mario Cristobal left for Miami. Lanning stayed on for Georgia’s national championship run.

Lanning led a grieving Oregon team through preseason practices following the July death of tight end Spencer Webb and now takes his Ducks to Atlanta for their second opener in four years against a ranked SEC opponent at a neutral site. The 2019 Ducks lost to an Auburn team quarterbacked by Bo Nix, who transferred to Oregon after last season and is expected to start against Georgia.

Georgia will unveil a new-look defense. The favored Bulldogs, who had five defensive players taken in the first round of the NFL draft, will break in seven new starters on that side of the ball.


No. 5 Notre Dame at No. 2 Ohio State

Ryan Day’s offseason mission was to put Ohio State back in position to contend for a national title. The Buckeyes slipped last year, losing to Michigan for the first time since 2011 and seeing their four-year run as Big Ten champion end.

The most important move was hiring Jim Knowles away from Oklahoma State to shore up an underperforming defense, and the preseason reviews are good. Offense should be no problem with C.J. Stroud surrounded by many of the playmakers who helped the Buckeyes average better than 45 points per game.

Marcus Freeman, a linebacker for the Buckeyes from 2004-08, begins his first full season as Notre Dame coach, and quarterback Tyler Buchner will make his first start against the favored Buckeyes.

There’s no better stage for an opener: two bluebloods meeting at night in Ohio Stadium.


Alabama’s Bryce Young begins his bid to win a second Heisman Trophy, a feat accomplished only by Ohio State’s Archie Griffin in 1974-75.

The opener against Mountain West champion Utah State is a good test for Young and an offense fitting together some new pieces.

Young was sacked 39 times last season — only four teams attempted more passes than Alabama — and his line will be breaking in two new starting tackles. Young also will have to find his go-to receivers following the departures of stars Jameson Williams and John Metchie.


7 — Nebraska’s consecutive losses by single digits, the most by a team since 1936, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

11 — Florida International’s current losing streak, longest in the nation.

13 — Louisiana-Lafayette’s current winning streak, longest in the nation.

14 — Alabama’s consecutive seasons with at least 10 wins.

24 — Nation-high number of transfers on Southern California’s roster.

34 — Clemson’s FBS-best home winning streak.

54 — Illinois offensive lineman Alex Palczewski’s number of games played, making him the FBS’ active career leader. He has made 53 starts.


Penn State at Purdue, Thursday.

Purdue is a slight underdog for its first Blackout Game at Ross-Ade Stadium since 2018. The Boilermakers blew out a third-ranked Ohio State as a two-touchdown underdog that night.

Purdue is getting a lot of love following a nine-win season that included two wins over top-five opponents and ended with an overtime bowl victory over Tennessee. Aidan O’Connell is out to build on one of the best passing seasons in program history, and the Boilermakers bring back eight starters on defense.

Penn State was ranked No. 4 following a 5-0 start last year and lost six of its last eight. QB Sean Clifford returns, but there are lots of questions about the Nittany Lions as they attempt to rise from middle of the pack in the Big Ten East.


Nebraska’s patience with fifth-year coach Scott Frost has just about run out. The only way he survives that Week Zero loss to Northwestern in Ireland is if he beats Oklahoma on Sept. 17 and makes real progress in the Big Ten West.

He has yet to show he has the chops to coach in the Big Ten, having gone 15-30 since returning to his alma mater after his fabulous Central Florida run.

The Huskers host North Dakota and Georgia Southern the next two weeks, then Oklahoma visits before an open date. Oct. 1 is a key date. That’s when Frost’s buyout drops from $15 million to $7.5 million.


More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25 Sign up for the AP’s college football newsletter: https://apnews.com/cfbtop25

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

After Supreme Court backs praying coach, no sweeping changes

Across the ideological spectrum, there were predictions of dramatic consequences when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a public high school football coach’s right to pray on the field after games. Yet three months after the decision — and well into the football season — there’s no sign that large numbers of coaches […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Qatar confirms COVID-19 test requirements for World Cup fans

GENEVA (AP) — Fans going to the World Cup in Qatar must show a negative COVID-19 test when they arrive as part of the host nation’s rules to combat COVID-19, organizers said Thursday. All visitors aged 18 and over must also download a government-run phone application tracking people’s movements and health status, called Ehteraz. “A […]
1 day ago
Puerto Rico players leave the court following their loss to Canada in their quarterfinal game at th...
Associated Press

Canada into women’s World Cup semis for 1st time since 1986

SYDNEY (AP) — No one on Canada’s roster was born the last time the team won a medal at the women’s World Cup. Now the Canadians are a win away from securing one for the first time since 1986, when they captured the bronze. Kia Nurse scored 17 points to lead a balanced Canada team […]
1 day ago
North Carolina State's Devin Leary (13) prepares to throw the ball during the first half of an NCAA...
Associated Press

Week 5 preview: No. 10 NC State and No. 5 Clemson take stage

What’s being called the biggest game in North Carolina State history and Florida State’s first game in four years as an AP Top 25 member have put the Atlantic Coast Conference in the national spotlight Saturday. Whether the games are played as scheduled depends on the path Hurricane Ian takes. No. 10 NC State is […]
1 day ago
FILE - Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala handles the ball during the second half of an N...
Associated Press

Warriors-Wizards games in Japan to woo NBA fans, sponsors

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese basketball fans will get to see NBA stars up close when the reigning league-champion Golden State Warriors take on the Washington Wizards in two preseason games. Not surprisingly, Stephen Curry and Japanese-born Rui Hachimura will be the star attractions for each team. And as clearly as the logo of Japanese online […]
1 day ago
New York Yankees' Aaron Judge celebrates his 61st home run of the season, a two-run shot against th...
Associated Press

Maris Jr: Bonds, McGwire illegitimate, Judge to be HR king

TORONTO (AP) — Roger Maris Jr. considers the home run feats of Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa to be illegitimate and says Aaron Judge should be recognized as the holder of the big league season standard if the New York Yankees slugger hits No. 62. “He should be revered for being the actual […]
1 day ago
Week 1 preview: Irish-Buckeyes matchup tops juicy slate