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Miami and FSU face tall tasks in opening weekend matchups

UF, FAU, USF, and FIU all play this weekend
Sebastian the Iris
Posted at 12:04 PM, Aug 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-30 12:06:53-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Florida college football fans, your long summer of waiting for opening weekend is almost over. All the major Florida colleges and universities kickoff their regular-season openers through Sunday!

Below, you’ll find all the information you need to be ready for all the games during the opening weekend of college football. All Florida teams will be listed below with the game time, location, network, line, and a little about each game.

Game: University of South Florida Bulls vs. North Carolina State Wolfpack
Location: Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, North Carolina
Time: 7:30 p.m.
TV: ACC Network
Line: North Carolina State, -18.5

The Bulls are coming off a brutal 2020 season. Six of the team’s 8 losses in 2020 were by at least 10 points and five of them were by 20 points or more. The Bulls need something to go right and are looking for anything to give the team some hope heading into the 2021 campaign. On the other side of the ball, NC State went 7-3 in 2020 including 5-1 at home. If the Bulls can keep it close, it might be a needed moral victory for USF.

Game: Boise State University Broncos vs. University of Central Florida Golden Knights
Location: Bounce House Stadium, Orlando, Florida
Time: 7:00 p.m.
TV: ESPN
Line: UCF, -5.5

Both teams could be in a prime position to win their respective conferences at the end of the season, though UCF has a much tougher task trying to get through Cincinnati. Both teams finished the season winning three of their last five games, with both teams losing to Top 25 teams in the final five weeks. Boise finished the season with a loss to #24 San Jose State, while UCF lost to #16 BYU. It may be the most evenly matched teams of opening weekend. A UCF victory could propel them into the Top 25 by Week 2.

Game: Long Island University vs. Florida International
Location: Riccardo Silva Stadium, Miami, Florida
Time: 7:00 p.m.
TV: ESPN 3
Line: no line

Long Island University is a Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) school and will at least get a nice payday out of traveling to play at FIU. The Panthers and other FBS teams, schedule games like this for an automatic victory and just want to get out with a win and no injuries. Long Island University follows up the game at FIU with games against West Virginia and Miami (Ohio) University. If FIU loses this game, it’s likely going to be a long season in Miami.

Game: #1 Alabama vs. #14 Miami (Fla)
Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Ga.
Time: 3:30 p.m.
TV: ABC Action News
Line: Alabama, -18.5

This is one of two marquee matchups for opening weekend, and you can only see it on ABC Action News. Alabama is the defending national champion but must replace the team’s starting quarterback, running back, and Heisman Trophy receiver. For most teams, that would be a hill to tall to climb. But Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban has the team reloaded and ready to make another run to the national championship. But Miami will not be just any slouch. The Hurricanes have a legitimate superstar at quarterback in D’Eriq King. But they will have to play A LOT better against a top-ranked team than they did last year. In 2020, Miami faced three ranked teams, Clemson, NC State, and North Carolina. In those games, Miami was 1-2, beating only NC State. In the two losses, the Canes were demolished by a combined score of 104-43. If the Canes have found a defense for the big game, this could be a great game. If not, the Tide will once again roll in Atlanta.

Game: Florida Atlantic Owls vs. Florida Gators
Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium; Gainesville, Florida
Time: 7:30 p.m.
TV: SEC Network
Line: Florida, -24.5

Florida is 3-0 all-time against the Owls. The Gators will be breaking in a new quarterback in Emory Jones. He takes over for Kyle Trask, who led the Gators to great heights in 2020. Jones should help improve the Gators’ ground game, but he’ll also be missing superstar tight end Kyle Pitts who kept the Gators alive with countless mismatches in 2020. With Mullen’s track record, Jones’ offense may resemble more of the Mississippi State offense with Dak Prescott than Kyle Trask’s offense. Still, Florida simply has too much talent on the field for the Owls to keep up for more than a quarter or two.

Game: #9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Florida State Seminoles
Location: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, Florida
Time: 7:30 p.m.
TV: ABC Action News
Line: Notre Dame, -7.5

The Seminoles haven’t been relevant in the national college football discussion since Jimbo Fisher left for Texas A&M. The Noles finished the 2020 campaign losing three of their last four games before ending the season with a 56-35 thumping of Duke. If the Noles want to hang with the top teams, it will start on defense. Florida State ranked 13th out of 15 teams in the ACC in scoring defense in 2020, giving up 36 points per game. The Seminoles also ranked 13th in the ACC in total defense, surrendering 456.3 yards per game, per CFBStats.com. The Fighting Irish bring in a stout defense that allowed just 19.7 points per game in 2020 and powered the team to a 10-2 record, with both losses coming to the number one and two ranked teams in the country (Clemson and Alabama, respectively). Both teams are breaking in new quarterbacks and starting your first game in Doak will not be an easy task for graduate transfer Jack Coan, who recently played at Wisconsin. FSU has nothing to lose in this game but could boost the rebuild with a victory over the nationally-ranked Fighting Irish.