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ACC & Big 12 Week 1 Preview: Multiple Top-25 matchups on tap

In the first week of the college football season, members of the Florida Citrus Sports Team Selection Committee are making visits throughout ACC and Big 12 country, meeting with fans across both conferences in advance of the Camping World Bowl on December 28.

Here are a few of the games our representatives will be taking in this week:

No. 14 Michigan (0-0, 0-0 Big 10) at No. 12 Notre Dame (0-0) – 7:30 p.m. on NBC

One of college football’s great rivalries returns as No. 14 Michigan travels to South Bend, Indiana to face Notre Dame. The Wolverines and the Fighting Irish met 31 times between 1978 and 2014, with the teams splitting the games 15-15-1, but have not played since.

Notre Dame enters the Saturday’s game coming off a 10 win season a year ago that ended in a 24-21 win against LSU in the Citrus Bowl. Despite losing defensive coordinator Mike Elko this offseason, Notre Dame brings back a veteran core on the defensive side of the ball along with returning starting quarterback Brandon Wimbush.

Michigan began the 2017 season with an 8-2 record, but dropped their final three games, closing the year with a 26-19 loss to South Carolina in the Outback Bowl. The Wolverines return 16 starters including 9 starters on a defensive unit that limited opponents to just 271 yards per game last year.

This weekend will be the 43rd overall matchup in a Michigan-Notre Dame rivalry that began in 1887. Since then, Michigan leads the series 24-16-1 (Notre Dame forced to vacate 1 win by the NCAA). In the most recent matchup between the two schools, Notre Dame cruised to a 31-0 win over the Wolverines, snapping Michigan’s NCAA record streak of games without being shut out at 365.

No. 1 Alabama (0-0, 0-0 SEC) vs Louisville (0-0, 0-0 ACC) – 8 p.m. on ABC

Alabama will begin its CFP national championship defense in Orlando when the Crimson Tide takes on Louisville in the Camping World Kickoff.

On the heels of its fifth title in the past nine seasons, Alabama opens the season at No. 1 for the fourth time in school history and returns 10 starters from the 2017 squad. Nick Saban’s team also enters the primetime matchup having won an FBS-record 73 consecutive games against unranked opponents. Alabama is 86-49-4 all-time in 139 neutral site contests and is 11-0 in season-openers under Saban, and in 14 matchups against the ACC, Saban’s teams are 11-3. The Crimson Tide has now been ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press poll at least once each season since 2008.

Louisville, on the other hand, returns 15 starters from last season’s team that finished 8-5. The Cardinals are facing the defending national champion for the second consecutive season and the fourth time in school history. Louisville’s offense is paced by returning first team All-ACC wide receiver Jaylen Smith and honorable mention All-ACC wide receiver Dez Fitzpatrick, who look to build on a 2017 campaign that saw them combine  for 105 receptions for 1,679 yards

Alabama leads the all-time series between the two programs 2-1. However the Louisville pulled off one of the biggest wins in school history in the last meeting when the Cardinal’s stunned the No. 25 Crimson Tide 34-7 in the 1991 New Year’s Day Fiesta Bowl in Tempe, Arizona.

No. 8 Miami (0-0, 0-0 ACC) vs No. 25 LSU (0-0, 0-0 SEC) – 7:30 p.m. (Sunday) on ABC

The Hurricanes and the Tigers will kick off their 2018 seasons in a Top-25 showdown at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas this Sunday. This will be the 12th time that the two teams have met and the first matchup between the two schools since 2005.

LSU ended concluded a 9-4 season last year with a 21-17, last minute loss to Notre Dame in the Citrus Bowl. LSU head coach Ed Oregeron enters his second season as head coach of the program as the team returns five starters on a defense that features a strong front seven and a variety of playmakers in the secondary. Offensively, LSU has big shoes to fill on offense, as the Tigers lost starting quarterback Danny Etling and running back Derrius Guice. The team will look to quarterback Joe Burrow, an Ohio State transfer, to help make up for the lost production.

Miami enters Sunday’s game coming off a 10-3 record in 2017 that ended with a three game losing streak and a 34-24 loss to Wisconsin in the Orange Bowl. Miami returns seven starters on offense and is led by senior quarterback Malik Rosier, who threw for 3,120 yards and 26 touchdowns last season. Defensively, the Hurricanes return eight starters with a veteran secondary leading the unit. Las year, the Hurricanes tied for third in country by forcing 31 turnovers. Since 2000, Miami is 6-4 against SEC teams

LSU is 9-3 all-time against Miami, including a win in the most recent matchup between the two teams when the Tigers beat the Hurricanes 40-3 in the 2005 Peach Bowl.

No. 20 Virginia Tech (0-0, 0-0 ACC) at No. 19 Florida State (0-0, 0-0 ACC) – 8:00 p.m. (Monday) on ESPN

Virginia Tech will travel to Tallahassee to face Florida State in a Top 25 matchup at Doak Campbell Stadium on Labor Day. Monday’s game will be the 37th meeting between the schools and the first since 2012. Florida State is 23-12-1 in the previous 36 meetings.

Despite winning nine games, last year, Virginia Tech came up short against Oklahoma State in the Camping World Bowl last December. The Hokies return keys starters on offense including quarterback Josh Jackson, who threw for 2,991 yards and 20 touchdowns while also running for 324 yards and a team-high seven rushing touchdowns. On defense, the Hokies return three starters in defensive tackle Ricky Walker, defensive end Vinny Mihota, and defensive back Reggie Floyd.

New Seminoles head coach Willie Taggart will look to make his mark in his first game at the helm of the Florida State program. The Seminoles return several key players on offense, highlighted by running back Cam Akers, wideout Nyqwan Murray and quarterback Deondre Francois. Taggart’s defense lost all three starting linebackers, but will return experience and talent on the defensive line and in the secondary. Florida State‘s biggest question mark going into Monday’s game will be how the team performs in the up-tempo, spread attack Taggart employed at Oregon and USF.

Here are the rest of the ACC and Big 12 games:

Thursday

Wake Forest (0-0, 0-0 ACC) at Tulane (0-0, 0-0 AAC) – 8:00 PM on CBSSN|
Missouri State (0-0, 0-0 AAC) at Oklahoma State (0-0, 0-0 Big 12) – 8:00 PM on FS1

 

Friday

Syracuse (0-0, 0-0 ACC) at Western Michigan (0-0, 0-0 MAC) – 6:00 PM on CBSSN
Army (0-0, 0-0 Mid-Eastern Athletic) at Duke (0-0, 0-0 ACC) – 7:00 PM on ESPNU and Watch ESPN

 

Saturday

James Madison (0-0, 0-0 CAA) at NC State (0-0, 0-0 ACC) – 12:00 PM on ESPNU
Ole Miss (0-0, 0-0 SEC) at Texas Tech (0-0, 0-0 Big 12) – 12:00 PM on ESPN
No. 23 Texas (0-0, 0-0 Big 12) vs Maryland (0-0, 0-0 Big 10) – 12:00 PM on FS1
Southern (0-0, 0-0 SWAC) at No. 16 TCU (0-0, 0-0 Big 12) – 12:00 PM
FAU (0-0, 0-0 C-USA) at No. 7 Oklahoma (0-0, 0-0 Big 12) – 12:00 PM on FOX|
Furman (0-0, 0-0 Southern) at No. 2 Clemson (0-0, 0-0 ACC) – 12:20 PM on ACC
Alcorn State (0-0, 0-0 SWAC) at Georgia Tech (0-0, 0-0 ACC) – 12:30 PM on ACC
UMass (1-0) at Boston College (0-0, 0-0 ACC) – 1:00 PM on ACC
Albany (0-0, 0-0 CAA) at Pittsburgh (0-0, 0-0 ACC) – 3:30 PM on ACC
Tennessee (0-0, 0-0 SEC) vs No. 17 West Virginia (0-0, 0-0 Big 12) – 3:30PM on CBS
North Carolina (0-0, 0-0 ACC) at California (0-0, 0-0 PAC 12) – 4:00 PM on FOX
Richmond (0-0, 0-0 CAA) at Virginia (0-0, 0-0 ACC) – 4:00 PM on FOX
Nicholls (0-0, 0-0 Southland) at Kansas (0-0, 0-0 Big 12) – 7:00 PM on ESPN+
South Dakota (0-0, 0-0 MVFC) at Kansas State (0-0, 0-0 Big 12) – 7:00 PM on ESPN3
Abilene Christian (0-0, 0-0 Southland) at Baylor (0-0, 0-0 Big 12) – 8:00 PM
South Dakota State (0-0, 0-0 MVFC) Iowa State (0-0, 0-0 Big 12) – 8:00 PM


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