G5 fans and FCS fans, the wait for a new season finally ends this Saturday, August 28th, with the glorious mathematical paradox that is Week Zero.
It might not be a full slate of games, but it’s a gift from heaven for those of us who are bored of watching old games on YouTube and/or betting on the pickup games the kids in my neighborhood played...
..What? Quarantine got weird there, for a while.
Anyway, there are half a dozen games on the slate tasked with setting the tone for the rest of the season. No pressure.
August 28th, 2021
Fresno State Bulldogs vs Connecticut Huskies - 2 PM ET - CBS Sports Network
Fresno State will have the home field advantage in what’s expected to be a 102-degree day at Bulldog Stadium. That being said, they also face a UConn team that has not played a game since 2019. Randy Edsall has only won six games total since he took over the program in 2017...so it likely doesn’t matter where they play this game. Fresno State are favored by four touchdowns, per Caesars Sportsbook.
UCLA Bruins vs Hawaii Rainbow Warriors - 3:30 PM ET - ESPN
Football’s return to the Rose Bowl should have some decent entertainment value. While it’s likely both teams will have some early-season kinks to work out, the biggest need for Todd Graham will be a defensive upgrade. UCLA’s offense was 20th nationally last season in points per game with 35.4. Hawaii’s fast-paced offense is strong as well, so we could see a lot of scoring.
Indiana State Sycamores vs Eastern Illinois Panthers - 6 PM ET - ESPN+
Indiana State are favored by two scores heading into this matchup against the visiting Panthers. This one’s a bit of a toss up, as Indiana State has some intriguing weapons in the offense, but have not played a game since 2019. Eastern Illinois’ also have a several weapons that could turn in some explosive plays, but the Panthers were picked last in the preseason OVC poll.
North Carolina Central Eagles vs Alcorn State Braves - 7 PM ET - ESPN
This matchup gets ESPN’s college game day treatment, and rightfully so. Both teams opted out of the 2020-21 season due to COVID-19, so the anticipation to see these teams face off in Atlanta is high. Alcorn State will be shooting for their third consecutive SWAC title this season behind star quarterback Felix Harper, who we can expect plenty of fireworks from in this contest.
New Mexico State Aggies vs UTEP Miners - 9:30 PM ET - KVIA ABC-7 (in El Paso area) | Flo Football
Tragically, what might end up being the best (or at least, closest) game of the weekend is going to be tough to watch outside of western Texas/eastern New Mexico. The Miners are favored by only ten headed into this matchup with their long-time rivals and wins, generally, are something of a momentous occasion for both of these programs. If you have a way to catch this one, it’s recommended.
San José State Spartans vs Southern Utah Thunderbirds - 10 PM ET - CBS Sports Network
Here, you’ll find a classic matchup of one FBS team, presumably on the rise, with a quarterback in Nick Starkel who seems bound to make a few more national headlines before the year is out, and an FCS team struggling for relevance. Not exactly ending the night with a bang here, but Starkel is one to keep an eye on.