Game of the week
No. 2 Alabama 27, No. 8 Michigan 17 — The game is in Arlington, Texas. Apparently it wasn’t hot enough in Tuscaloosa. Eddie Lacy poised to become Crimson Tide’s next great tailback. Wolverines are led by multi-threat QB Denard Robinson, who may find himself at the Downtown Athletic Club in December.
Other Top 25
No. 24 Boise State at No. 13 Michigan State
Le’Veon Bell (948 yards, 13 TDs) sparks the Spartans while DE William Gholston (16 tackles for losses) anchors the defense. Junior Joe Southwick gets to run the Broncos’ offense now that Kellen Moore is gone.
San Jose State at No. 21 Stanford
Josh Nunes gets to follow in the footsteps of Andrew Luck (good luck!). Stepfan Taylor (2,467 yards rushing over the last two seasons) will pace the Cardinal. Spartans DE Travis Johnson collected 9.5 sacks last season.
Hawaii at No. 1 Southern Cal
Matt Barkley (39 TD passes last season) begins his march to the Heisman Trophy. Bonus: He gets to hand the ball off to Penn State transfer Silas Redd (1,241 yards). New Warriors coach Norm Chow was the OC of the Pete Carroll’s great ’SC teams.
North Texas at No. 3 LSU
Tailback Alfred Blue (539 yards) will be the workhorse for the Bayou Bengals. As for North Texas, it has a great nickname (The Mean Green) and a pretty decent signal-caller in junior Derek Thompson, who passed for 1,759 yards last season.
UTEP at No. 4 Oklahoma
Sooners QB Landry Jones is back for what seems like his eighth year. He is the school’s all-time leader in passing yards (12,379) and touchdown passes (93). The Miners are 4-47 all time vs. ranked opponents.
Arkansas State at No. 5 Oregon
Ducks true freshman Marcus Mariota gets to run Chip Kelly’s high-octane offense. You blink, you’re bound to miss 2 TDs. Red Wolves coach Gus Malzahn wrote a book titled “Hurry Up, No Huddle.” Sounds pretty sweet to me.
Buffalo at No. 6 Georgia
Former malcontent Ken Malcome (he quit the team for one day last season) is the Dawgs new tailback. He’s a goodie and he won’t have to deal with Bulls best player as LB Khalil Mack will miss the game because he violated a team rule.
Murray State at No. 7 Florida State
Seminoles appear ready to return to prominence. QB EJ Manuel can run and pass. An inexperienced offensive line might mean Manuel will be running for his life, though. FSU’s defense is quick and scary. Racers QB Casey Brockman threw for 25 TDs last season.
Jacksonville State at No. 10 Arkansas
The Razorbacks might be in the Top 5 if ex-coach Bobby Petrino hadn’t taken up motorcycling. There’s still plenty of talent, however. Look for RB Knile Davis and QB Tyler Wilson to power the Hogs. The Gamecocks will rely on former Georgia RB Washaun Ealey to set the tone.
Marshall at No. 11 West Virginia
The Mountaineers (they’re in the Big 12 now) have a dandy receiver/return man in Tavon Austin. He collected 2,574 all-purpose yards a season ago. Thundering Herd have lost 13 straight to ranked opponents. WR Aaron Dobson had 12 TDs in 2011.
Northern Iowa at No. 12 Wisconsin
The Badgers have won two straight Big 10 titles. The offense will be run by Maryland transfer QB Danny O’Brien. They did pretty well with a transfer QB last season (remember Russell Wilson?). The Panthers are no FCS pushovers. RB David Johnson had 1,244 yards from scrimmage last year.
Auburn at No. 14 Clemson
Tigers QB Tajh Boyd shredded the War Eagle secondary a season ago to the tune of 386 yards and four TDs. Auburn QB Kiehl Frazier makes his first career starts (he has a mere 12 attempts in his career — yikes!). This is Auburn’s first opener on the road since 2002.
Wyoming at No. 15 Texas
The Eyes of Texas are on QB David Ash. If he doesn’t make things happen quickly, Case (brother of Colt) McCoy will get the call. Longhorns are 13-12 over the last two seasons. Cowboys sophomore QB Brett Smith picked up 3,332 yards of total offense in 2011.
Southern Miss at No. 17 Nebraska
If you’re looking for a lock, you found it. Cornhuskers have won 26 straight openers -- every one of them by at least 10 points. QB Taylor Martinez has struggled with accuracy — and consistency. RB Rex Burkhead (1,357 yards in 2011) is a beast. The Eagles are a model of consistency — 18 straight winning seasons.
Miami (Ohio) at No. 18 Ohio State
The Urban Meyer era begins in Columbus. He’s 10-0 in season openers. Buckeyes big connection will be QB Braxton Miller to WR Jake Stoneburner (at least he’s not named Stonehands). RedHawks QB Zac Dysert has 8,530 career passing yards. Some guy name Roethlisberger owns school mark (10,829).
at No. 19 Oklahoma State
Mike Gundy (he’s a man) sure can schedule. Cowboys open up against the FCS doormat Tigers (4-72 since 2002). Savannah has never played an FBS team. Freshman Wes Lunt will start at QB for Cowboys, who finished third in the land in total offense last season.
at No. 22 Kansas State
Wildcats QB Collin Klein had 27 rushing TDs last season along with 13 TD scoring strikes. Of KSU’s 10 wins last season, eight were by 7 points or fewer. Bears defense returns nine starters, including LB Andrew “Don’t Call Me Monty’’ Beisel, who had a team-high 84 tackles.
Bowling Green at No. 23 Florida
Call this the Urban Meyer Bowl — the Ohio State mentor coached both programs. Gators have won 22 consecutive openers. Florida is pining it’s hopes on RB Mike Gillislee, who finally gets to start as a senior. He has 920 yards in three years. Falcons are propelled by RB Anthon Samuel.
Kentucky at No. 25 Louisville
This game would draw a lot more attention if it was a March Madness matchup. Cardinals have won 10 of last 13 in series. Cardinals QB Teddy Bridgewater threw for 2,129 yards and 14 TDs last season as a freshman. Wildcats are coming off consecutive losing campaigns.
Georgia Tech at No. 16 Virginia Tech
Hokies QB Logan Thomas (all 6 feet, 6 inches and 260 pounds of him) is an intimidator. He threw for 3,013 yards and 19 TDs a season ago. Rambling Wreck QB Tevin Washington had a team-high 986 yards rushing and 14 TDs in 2011.