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Week 1 college football watch list, game thread

It’s a busy opening weekend for ranked teams. We’ve got a schedule and some players to watch.

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Fooch’s update: This post has been updated with the

The San Francisco 49ers are in the midst of their cutdown to 53 players, but even with the NFL a week away from getting started, there is a whole lot of football this weekend. The 2018 college football season got underway last weekend, but this weekend is the big opening week. Every top 25 team is in action this week, with No. 21 UCF getting things started with a 56-17 win over Connecticut on Thursday.

Josh Eccles, Alex Eisen, and Greg Valerio are back to get you ready for the 2019 NFL Draft by way of the 2018 college football season. Each week we’ll have a look at some notable prospects to watch, and open the floor for discussion of prospects.

Saturday is normally the big day for college football, but this big opening week brings us eight Friday games, including three ranked teams in action. No. 4 Wisconsin, No. 11 Michigan State, and No. 13 Stanford get things going Friday evening. Here’s the full Friday schedule, followed by prospects to watch all weekend long. This week, Josh, Alex, and Greg each picked two players to talk about. None are playing Friday evening, but feel free to drop in the prospects you’re watching.

Syracuse @ Western Michigan — 3 p.m. CBS Sports Network
Montmouth @ Eastern Michigan — 3:30 p.m. ESPN+
Utah State @ No. 11 Michigan State — 4 p.m. Big Ten Network
Army @ Duke — 4 p.m. ESPNU/WatchESPN
Western Kentucky @ No. 4 Wisconsin — 6 p.m. ESPN/WatchESPN
San Diego State @ No. 13 Stanford — 6 p.m. FS1
Portland State @ Nevada — 6 p.m.
Colorado vs. Colorado State — 6:30 p.m. CBS Sports Network

Josh Eccles

Joe Jackson, Edge, No. 99 - Miami
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 255
No. 8 Miami (FL) vs. No. 25 LSU | 4:30 p.m. | Sunday, September 2nd | ABC/ESPN

The 49ers desperately need someone who will be able to consistently set the edge on defense and, well, they should look no further than Miami Hurricane Joe Jackson. Jackson is a commanding presence on the defensive line and is looking to have a breakout campaign in 2018 - he had 7.5 sacks in 2016 and 6.5 in 2017. The man is a beast and (as you can see from the highlights above) and will look to showcase his abilities as Miami makes a run at a playoff berth.

He has been able to showcase athleticism, strength, and power. There’s a lot to like about Jackson’s game, his length, motor, and active hands when attempting to dispatch blockers against the run. If he showcases a more refined skill set getting after the quarterback in 2018, he’ll get plenty of first-round consideration.

Devin Singletary, RB, No. 5 - FAU
Height: 5’8 | Weight: 200
FAU @ No. 7 Oklahoma | 9 a.m. | Saturday, September 1st | FOX

We've seen what Kyle Shanahan can do with two highly effective running backs in his offense - Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman are evidence of just that - so adding Devin Singletary to a backfield already featuring Jerick McKinnon would be quite exciting.

Singletary is the first AP All-American in FAU history and the key to any chance that the Owls have at knocking off the Sooners in Norman, Oklahoma. The one thing that he will have to fight against all season is the narrative that he is “too small” to be a starter at the next level. In 2017 he scored a total of 27 touchdowns and ran for 1,632 yards, which was good enough to rank 4th in all of college football. Head coach Lane Kiffin will rely heavily on Singletary all season long and it all starts with a premiere matchup against one of the best teams in the country on Saturday.

Alex Eisen

Ed Oliver, DT, No. 10 - Houston
Height: 6’3” | 290 lbs.
Houston @ Rice | 9 a.m. | Saturday, September 1st, CBS Sports Network

My early favorite to go number one overall in next year’s draft. Ed Oliver is the complete, elite package that will instantly upgrade any team’s defensive line. His speed off the line, power, and constant disruption in the opponent’s backfield make him a lethal force that will give offensive lineman fits all game long. He has a natural blend of upper and lower body power, with a high powered motor that is relentless. In 2017 Oliver had 73 tackles, 16.5 tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. He constantly caused teams to double up on him, allowing his teammates along the line to make plays and have an impact.

His technique to push off and evade blockers is second to none, and his speed and jump off the snap make him a misery to defend for blockers along the line. Watching his tape, more often than not, you are going to find Oliver in the opponents backfield. He makes his presence known and has an impact on many plays he’s on the field for. A number one overall pick should be a no doubt, plug-and-play, day one starter. Of all the draft eligible prospects, Oliver is the closest to that at the moment.

David Sills, WR, No. 15 - West Virginia
Weight: 6’4” | 203 lbs.
No. 17 West Virginia @ Tennessee | 12:30 p.m. | Saturday, September 1st | CBS

When it comes to big target receivers, David Sills is perhaps one of the most intriguing draft eligible prospects to watch this upcoming season. In 2017 Sills recored 60 receptions, for 980 yards and 18 touchdowns. He is a physical mismatch for most defenders in the country and his catch radius and wingspan are any quarterback’s best friend. My concern for Sills is his speed and his ability to break away from defenders and create open space for himself. Where Sills makes up for this is his size, strong reliable hands, and his ability to beat defenders often in one-to-one matchups for jump balls.

Sills is one of the best red-zone threats in the country. His big-window appeal inside the twenty has had a positive impact on the Mountaineer offense. He has the ability to run the short, intermediate, and deep routes, and can be plugged along various points on the offensive line. At the moment, Sills is looking like a day two selection, with his arrow pointing up. If Sills can continue to to be an elite redzone and big-target threat, many teams at the pro level will be interested in his services.

Greg Valerio

Justin Herron, OT, No. 75 - Wake Forest
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 290
Wake Forest at Tulane | 5:00 p.m. (PT) Thursday, August 30 | CBSSN

Justin Herron may likely end up as an offensive guard prospect at the next level, but he displays the versatility and athleticism to handle his own on the bookends. A former basketball and baseball athlete, Herron is an athletically gifted guard/tackle prospect with great explosion, power, fluidity, and quickness to be a force in a zone blocking scheme at the next level. Moreover, per Pro Football Focus, Herron has the most pass-blocking snaps (469) without a sack allowed for all returning offensive tackles.

Herron showcases good functional athleticism and light feet for a man his size with the foot speed to slide laterally and adjust to movement displaying nice technique and active hands with a pop. In the run game, he bestows great toughness and decent strength (needs to gain more functional strength) finishing blocks all the way to the whistle. Consistency in technique and maintaining leverage is key for Herron moving on to the next level.

Rashad Gary, DT, No. 3 - Michigan
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 281
No. 14 Michigan @ No. 12 Notre Dame | 4:30 p.m. Saturday, September 1 | NBC

There is some concern amongst Michigan fans that their top defensive player in Rashan Gary is injured. He has been limited at practice and from observers on the ground, it appears there is a potential nagging injury Gary is dealing with; moreover, with Jim Harbaugh at the helm, getting clarification on anything is like an obstacle of futility. Nevertheless, a healthy Gary, is a freakishly athletic machine wreaking havoc all over the field.

Gary is a thick athletic long-limbed explosive defender with a great first-step quickness and strength. A tenacious disrupter in the backfield, Gary displays a nose for the ball off the edge with great speed to power conversion, decent bend, good technique, and burst with closing speed finishing hitting with explosion. He shows the versatility to win inside and on either side of the edge and displaying solid change of direction skills with impressive fluidity, nice agility, and high motoring speed when stunting. Gary also displays nice discipline on the edge with solid skills stacking and shedding taking on front-side blocks with strength and the athletic ability to win against back-side blocks with balance, foot quickness, and closing speed.

Week 1 Saturday college TV schedule

Matchup Time (PT) TV Streaming
Matchup Time (PT) TV Streaming
Oregon State at #5 Ohio State 9:00 AM ABC
Florida Atlantic at #7 Oklahoma 9:00 AM FOX
Southern at #16 TCU 9:00 AM FSN
#23 Texas vs Maryland 9:00 AM FS1
Kent State at Illinois 9:00 AM BTN
Texas State at Rutgers 9:00 AM BTN
Coastal Carolina at South Carolina 9:00 AM SEC Network
Ole Miss vs Texas Tech 9:00 AM ESPN
James Madison at NC State 9:00 AM ESPNU
Villanova at Temple 9:00 AM ESPNews
Houston at Rice 9:00 AM CBSSN
Furman at #2 Clemson 9:20 AM ACC Network
Alcorn State at Georgia Tech 9:30 AM ACC Network
UMass at Boston College 10:00 AM ACC Network
Stony Brook at Air Force 11:00 AM None Facebook
Howard at Ohio 11:00 AM ESPN+ ESPN+
Austin Peay at #3 Georgia 12:30 PM ESPN
#6 Washington vs #9 Auburn 12:30 PM ABC
Appalachian State at #10 Penn State 12:30 PM BTN
Tennessee vs #17 West Virginia 12:30 PM CBS
Albany at Pittsburgh 12:30 PM ACC Network
Marshall at Miami (OH) 12:30 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
Central Michigan at Kentucky 12:30 PM ESPNU
Northern Illinois at Iowa 12:30 PM BTN
Washington State at Wyoming 12:30 PM CBSSN
UNLV at #15 USC 1:00 PM Pac-12 Networks
North Carolina at California 1:00 PM FOX
UT Martin at Missouri 1:00 PM SEC Network
Eastern Illinois at Arkansas 1:00 PM SEC Network
#22 Boise State at Troy 3:00 PM ESPNews
Old Dominion at Liberty 3:00 PM None
Fordham at Charlotte 3:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
North Carolina A&T at East Carolina 3:00 PM None
Elon at South Florida 3:00 PM None
Richmond at Virginia 3:00 PM ACC Network
Delaware State at Buffalo 3:00 PM None
South Carolina State at Georgia Southern 3:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
Grambling at Louisiana 4:00 PM None
VMI at Toledo 4:00 PM None
Southeast Missouri State at Arkansas State 4:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
Mercer at Memphis 4:00 PM None
Central Arkansas at Tulsa 4:00 PM None
Louisiana Tech at South Alabama 4:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
Jackson State at Southern Mississippi 4:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
Cincinnati at UCLA 4:00 PM ESPN
Indiana at Florida Intl 4:00 PM CBSSN
Nicholls at Kansas 4:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
South Dakota at Kansas State 4:00 PM None
#14 Michigan at #12 Notre Dame 4:30 PM NBC
Stephen F. Austin at #18 Mississippi State 4:30 PM ESPNU
Charleston Southern at Florida 4:30 PM SEC Network
Middle Tennessee at Vanderbilt 4:30 PM SEC Network
SMU at North Texas 4:30 PM Stadium TV
Northern Arizona at UTEP 4:30 PM None
Louisville at #1 Alabama 5:00 PM ABC
Bowling Green at #24 Oregon 5:00 PM Pac-12 Networks
Akron at Nebraska 5:00 PM FOX
Abilene Christian at Baylor 5:00 PM FSN
South Dakota State at Iowa State 5:00 PM None
Incarnate Word at New Mexico 5:00 PM None
Idaho at Fresno State 7:00 PM None Facebook
UTSA at Arizona State 7:30 PM FS1
BYU at Arizona 7:45 PM ESPN
Navy at Hawai'i 8:00 PM CBSSN