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Hurricanes Fans’ Watch Guide to Week 1

Opening week has plenty of great matchups

ESPN College GameDay Built by The Home Depot - Times Square Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

This week’s game versus Bethune Cookman is scheduled for Saturday, September 3rd at 3:30 p.m. ET on the ACC Network.

When you’re not watching the Hurricanes, college football is opening the season with prime time games every night from Thursday through Monday. Here’s a run down of this week’s games of interest to Canes fans:

Thursday Night Game of the Week

No. 17 Pittsburgh Panthers vs. West Virginia Mountaineers

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 30 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl - Pitt v Michigan State Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Date/Time: Thursday, September 1, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. ET

Coverage: ESPN

Draft Kings Line: Pittsburgh (-7)

Story Lines: The defending ACC Champion Pittsburgh Panthers open their season at home against West Virginia out of the Big XII. Gone are Heisman Finalist and NFL 1st round draft pick Kenny Pickett, star wide receiver and USC transfer Jordan Addison, and offensive coordinator Mark Whipple - so the Panthers are bracing for a step back to their 8th ranked passing attack from last season. But, all five offensive line starters return and the defense returns All-ACC talent such as DE Habakkuk Baldonado and DT Calijah Kancey. Anticipate the Panthers to run a ground and pound offense early in the season while leaning on their defense.

West Virginia is coming off a 6-7 season filled with ups and down. The 2021 Mountaineers had a few highlights knocking off ranked Virginia Tech and Iowa State teams, and they only lost by a field goal to Oklahoma in Norman. Head Coach Neal Brown may feel his seat getting warm as he’s only 17-18 heading into his fourth season at West Virginia. Graham Harrell, the former Texas Tech gunslinger, was brought in as the new offensive coordinator - and he was gifted JT Daniels from Georgia through the transfer portal. If Harrell and Daniels can click quickly, the Mountaineers could be a fun team to watch this year.

Why Canes Fans Should Care: This will be our first look at our division rival and arguably the Canes greatest road block to the ACC Championship. It’s a serious test for the Panthers. Pittsburgh may take it slow on offense while they try to re-establish their identity. The question is: will it be too slow with West Virginia deploying a new high octane offense?

Canes Interest Factor (0-10): 8

Other Thursday Night Games

Central Michigan Chippewas at No. 12 Oklahoma State Cowboys (7pm ET, FS1)

VMI Keydets at No. 22 Wake Forest Demon Deacons (7:30pm ET, ACCN)

Penn State Nittany Lions at Purdue Boilermakers (8pm ET, Fox)

Story Lines: Two other ranked teams are in action Thursday night, one out of the ACC (although Wake is not on Miami’s schedule this year). Fox is also airing the only other conference matchup of the night.

Friday Night Game of the Week

Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Old Dominion Monarchs

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: APR 16 Virginia Tech Spring Game Photo by Brian Bishop/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Location: Norfolk, VA

Date/Time: Friday, September 2, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. ET

Coverage: ESPN U

Draft Kings Line: Virginia Tech (-8.5)

Story Lines: We’re going to learn a lot about the Hokies after this road opener against Old Dominion. That’s right. Virginia Tech is opening their season on the road at Old Dominion. I don’t know who’s genius idea that was in the Hokies’ athletic department, but Head Coach Brent Pry takes the helm in his first season by visiting a 6-7 Conference USA team. This Hokies team is a bit of an unknown. Their top quarterback and wide receivers are gone, and their expected replacements are transfers. On paper, this team looks meh, but we shall see come kick off.

Meanwhile, that 6-7 Conference USA team is STOKED to be hosting a historically significant program like Virginia Tech. This is the sort of game that can turn the corner for a program like Old Dominion. In 2005, UCF hosted No. 6 Texas and lost by just a field goal. In 1998, TCU hosted Oklahoma and lost by a single point. Both built off those competitive showings into Big XII programs with several, highly ranked seasons. Head Coach Ricky Rahne led the Monarchs to a 6-7 record last season and a birth in the Myrtle Beach Bowl, only the second bowl invitation in the program’s short FBS history.

Why Canes Fans Should Care: If Virginia Tech drops this contest expect a long season for the Hokies. But, if Virginia Tech dominates this plucky Old Dominion team in their own stadium, the Hokies might be capable of making some noise in the ACC Coastal division.

Canes Interest Factor (0-10): 6

Other Friday Night Games

Western Michigan Broncos at No. 15 Michigan State Spartans (7pm ET, ESPN)

Temple Owls at Duke Blue Devils (7:30pm ET, ACCN)

TCU Horned Frogs at Colorado Buffalos (10pm ET, ESPN)

Story Lines: Michigan State’s home opener gets the national platform on Friday, and opposite that game and Virginia Tech is Duke’s home opener against Temple. A battle between a current Big XII team and former, but likely future again, Big XII team caps off the evening.

Saturday Early Game of the Week

No. 13 NC State Wolfpack vs. East Carolina Pirates

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 26 North Carolina at NC State Photo by William Howard/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Location: Greenville, NC

Date/Time: Saturday, September 3, 2022 at 12:00 p.m. ET

Coverage: ESPN

Draft Kings Line: NC State (-11)

Story Lines: NC State is the second highest ranked team out of the ACC (unless you count Notre Dame...I don’t), so expectations are high this season for the Wolfpack. Head Coach Dave Doeren enters his 10th season with NC State, if you can believe it, and he has amassed the second most wins in the last eight years of any ACC team - second to, of course, Clemson. The Wolfpack defense is loaded with All-ACC talent, with potential All-American linebacker Payton Wilson being the crown jewel. Quarterback Devin Leary is an All-ACC caliber signal caller, but NC State needs to demonstrate an improved running game if it wants to crash the Clemson ceiling covering the ACC Atlantic division.

East Carolina will be a tough test for NC State. The Pirates return their starting QB and all-conference RB from last year’s respectable 7-5 team. This is also a home game for East Carolina, so like aforementioned Old Dominion this could be a program building home victory for the Pirates should they pull off the upset. The motivation will certainly be there, but NC State is a much more talented and disciplined team than Virginia Tech. An upset is unlikely, but never impossible.

Why Canes Fans Should Care: Canes should be rooting for their fellow ACC conference members in all their non-conference contests. Yes, even FSU. If a preseason ranked team like NC State stumbles early then that threatens to drag down the whole conference’s reputation. So go Wolfpack, I guess.

Canes Interest Factor (0-10): 6

Other Early Saturday Games

Sam Houston St. Bearkats at No. 6 Texas A&M Aggies (12pm ET, SECN)

Colorado State Rams at No. 8 Michigan Wolverines (12pm ET, ABC)

UNC Tarheels at Appalachian St. Mountaineers (12pm ET, ESPNU)

Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Boston College Eagles (12pm ET, ACCN)

Richmond Spiders at Virginia Cavaliers (12:30pm ET, ESPN3)

Story Lines: Two top 10 teams open their seasons - one is the Canes’ premier non-conference opponent this season, and the other was Canes OC Josh Gattis’ previous employer and the defending B1G Ten champion. ACC programs Boston College and Virginia also open their season, and UNC heads to Boone, NC for their first road contest. Keep a keen eye on that UNC contest - the Tarheels looked fairly lackluster through the first three quarters of the Florida A&M matchup in Week “0,” and Canes fans will testify that Appalachian State on game day is no joke.

Canes’ Commercial Break Game of the Week

No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs vs. No. 11 Oregon Ducks

Georgia Bulldogs Spring Game Photo by Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Location: Atlanta, GA

Date/Time: Saturday, September 3, 2022 at 3:30 p.m. ET

Coverage: ABC

Draft Kings Line: Georgia (-17)

Story Lines: Mario Cristobal’s prior team heads to Atlanta for a “neutral site” game against the defending national champions. Vegas thinks the Ducks’ chances are slim, and that’s probably true. Interestingly, Oregon hired 36 year-old Dan Lanning to replace Cristobal. Lanning served as none other than Georgia’s defensive coordinator since 2019. So the Ducks have a leg up on scouting the Bulldogs thanks to their coach’s intimate familiar with his old players. Make no mistake though, Georgia is the defending national champion for a reason and Kirby Smart will have that NFL talent loaded roster ready to defend that title.

Why Canes Fans Should Care: Presuming Georgia takes care of business, it’s unlikely this game will offer a reason for Canes fans to stray away from watching Miami’s home opener. But, if the scoreboard shows Oregon threatening the upset, it might be worth peeking during commercial breaks to see if the SEC can be knocked a bit off its perch.

Canes Interest Factor (0-10): 0 - it’s always zero opposite the Canes game.

Other Commercial Break Games

No. 23 Cincinnati Bearcats at No. 19 Arkansas Razorbacks (3:30pm ET, ESPN)

UTEP Miners at No. 9 Oklahoma Sooners (3:30pm ET, Fox)

Story Lines: Another Top 25 matchup airs opposite the Canes featuring the CFP crashing Bearcats marching into a ranked SEC team’s stadium. Top 10 Oklahoma also kicks off their season and the Brent Venables era.

Saturday Night Game of the Week

No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. No. 5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

2022 Big Ten Conference Football Media Days Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Location: Columbus, OH

Date/Time: Saturday, September 3, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. ET

Coverage: ABC

Draft Kings Line: Ohio State (-17)

Story Lines: College Football fans rejoice - our first Top 5 matchup of the 2022-23 season! This features two of the best teams to miss last year’s playoffs. Both have a storied history with the Hurricanes.

Talentwise, Ohio State is the class of the B1G Ten. Head Coach Ryan Day hasn’t missed a beat on the recruiting trail since Urban Meyer stepped down in 2018. The Buckeyes have put together three straight Top 5 recruiting classes, and are currently ranked Top 3 for the 2023 class. Ohio State is led by sophomore QB CJ Stroud, one of the preseason Heisman favorites. Offense won’t be the Buckeyes’ problem. The defense got loose down the stretch last season, surrendering 42 points to Michigan and 45 points to Utah in its final two games - not to mention 35 points in its early season loss to Oregon. If the Buckeyes defense shows up stout, expect a tough day ahead for Notre Dame.

The big story for Notre Dame is the departure of Brian (no relation to Chip) Kelly to LSU. In steps Kelly’s DC Marcus Freeman to take the helm hoping to stay the course on what’s been a highly ranked, CFP threatening program the past few years. Freeman, who is an Ohio State alum, now begins his first head coaching gig with a visit to his alma mater. OC Tommy Rees is back and has been a blessing to the offense, but the Irish will be breaking in new sophomore QB Tyler Buchner in one of the most hostile environments imaginable - a primetime game at the Shoe. If Buchner keeps his wits after what’s sure-to-be an intimidating first few drives, expect this game to be closer than what Vegas is predicting.

Why Canes Fans Should Care: Knocking off Ohio State could prove valuable to the ACC when CFP selection comes at the end of the season. Although Notre Dame isn’t an ACC member for football, it does play five ACC teams each season - that’s five chances for teams in our conference to knock them off and boost the ACC’s collective resume. Root for Notre Dame to be as strong and well credentialed as possible so that their defeat at the hands of Clemson or another ACC team looks all the better. An Ohio State loss could also be helpful in recruiting. Ohio State has stormed the state of Florida to secure 6 Sunshine State commitments lead by 5* WRs Brandon Innis and Carnell Tate. Vegas has the Buckeyes as a comfortable favorite. Root for the upset.

Canes Interest Factor (0-10): 9

Co-Saturday Night Game of the Week

No. 7 Utah Utes vs. Florida Gators

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: APR 14 Florida Spring Game Photo by Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Location: Gainesville, FL

Date/Time: Saturday, September 3, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. ET

Coverage: ESPN

Draft Kings Line: Utah (-2)

Story Lines: While OSU v. Notre Dame undoubtedly carries greater playoff implications, we can’t ignore that our rival (kinda, if they would play us more often) Florida Gators are breaking in their new head coach by welcoming the defending PAC 12 champions. This game starts thirty minutes before OSU and Notre Dame, so Canes fans can at least catch the first quarter before being forced to decide which game merits greater attention.

Florida opens the season deservedly unranked after last year’s 6-7 season led to Coach Mullen’s ouster. In comes Billy Napier, the former Alabama and Florida State assistant who was 40-12 as the head coach of Louisiana the past four years. Coach Napier’s tallest task is fixing the Gators defense. While Napier inherits the 15th ranked offense in the nation, he also inherits a defense that ranked in the bottom half of the SEC. That unit gave up 52 points to Sanford!

Ohio State may have tore up the Utes defense in last year’s Rose Bowl, but Utah is bringing to the swamp one heck of an offense that laid 45 points on the Buckeyes. Utah started slow (1-2) last year, foreclosing its chance of breaking into the CFP when it caught fire down the stretch. A road victory against a perennially competitive SEC team would give the Utes CFP credentials should they repeat as conference champions. Rose Bowl starting QB Cameron Rising returns along with his top WR target, Brant Kuthie, their 1,100 yd RB Tavion Thomas, and the majority of their offensive line. One notable transfer to Utah’s defense is Florida’s top tackling linebacker last year Mohamoud Diabate.

Why Canes Fans Should Care: First, expect a shootout. Shootouts are entertaining. More importantly, this game could have huge recruiting implications for Miami who’s been locked in numerous battles with Florida for recruits across the state. Both Miami and UF are charging towards top 10 recruiting classes with several blue chip prospects still on the board. I’ll be rooting hard for Utah, and so should you.

Canes Interest Factor (0-10): 9

Other Saturday Night Games

Louisville Cardinals at Syracuse Orangemen (8pm ET, ACCN)

Utah State Aggies at No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (7:30pm ET, SECN)

Liberty Flames at Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles (7pm ET, ESPN+)

Story Lines: While OSU v. Notre Dame and Utah v. Florida should command your attention, there is an ACC conference matchup on the ACC Network and the Number 1 ranked team also opens their season at home. You can also catch a glimpse of the Canes’ Week 2 opponent, Southern Miss., as they host Hugh Freeze’s Liberty for their opener.

Sunday Night Game of the Week

Florida State Seminoles at LSU Tigers

LSU Introduces Brian Kelly as Head Football Coach Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Location: New Orleans, LA

Date/Time: Sunday, September 4, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. ET

Coverage: ABC

Draft Kings Line: LSU (-0.5)

Story Lines: With NFL football still a week away, College Football takes the Sunday night stage with the Canes’ arch rival Florida State visiting Nah’lawns to face Brian (don’t call me Chip) Kelly and his newly developed Southern drawl.

Florida State looked crisp in its FCS warmup match against Duquesne. The major takeaways from FSU’s opening 47-7 win were that: 1) the Seminoles weren’t sloppy; 2) they showed improved WR and RB play; and 3) the defense met expectations against an inferior opponent.

LSU is not an inferior opponent. Although the Tigers finished 6-7 last season, they still managed to knock off Florida and Texas A&M. In comes Brian Kelly to right the ship of a team that’s far more talented than what they’ve shown the past two seasons. Coach Kelly thought he had a reliable veteran in QB Myles Brennan to lean on, but Brennan ended his football career in the preseason after yet-another devastating injury. So, the rebuild in the bayou likely begins with Arizona State transfer Jayden Daniels, a dual threat signal caller that can offset a weak offensive line. LSU’s defense also returns plenty of talent that had its moments (like holding Alabama to 20 points) despite a chaotic coaching situation.

Why Canes Fans Should Care: I know its FSU, but again...root for ACC teams in their non-conference games. An LSU loss is another crack in the SEC veneer. The interesting matchup here will be FSU’s offense versus LSU’s defense. LSU is a far cry from a .500 level FCS team. Are the Seminoles truly improved on offense, or was last week a mirage?

Canes Interest Factor (0-10): 8

Monday Night Game of the Week

No. 4 Clemson Tigers v. Georgia Tech Yellowjackets

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: APR 09 Clemson Spring Game Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Location: Atlanta, GA

Date/Time: Monday, September 5, 2022 at 8:00 p.m. ET

Coverage: ESPN

Draft Kings Line: LSU (-21)

Story Lines: Labor Day has always been about college football, and this year it features this week’s only matchup between two opponents on the Canes’ schedule.

While last year was a ‘down year’ for the Tigers, Canes’ fans would dream of a ten-win season and Top 20 ranking to be a ‘down year.’ As can be common for elite programs, this offseason lead to the loss of long-time coordinators Brent Venables (Oklahoma) and Tony Elliot (Virginia). Nick Saban may be used to annually replacing top assistants, but this is the first time Dabo has had to simultaneously replace both coordinators. The talent is there at Clemson for a big year. It’s always there. Keep a watch on the passing game, which finished dead last in efficiency last year in the ACC. If QB DJ Uiagalelei looks improved, Clemson might be a CFP contender.

As for Georgia Tech, Coach Geoff Collins’ seat is getting pretty warm after producing just 9 wins in his first three seasons. To be fair, Collins is transitioning away from that archaic triple option offense of the Paul Johnson era. But four years later, Yellowjacket fans are expecting more than three wins a season. The ACC media isn’t optimistic, as they predicted Georgia Tech would finish second-to-last in the Coastal. A strong showing against Clemson in Atlanta could energize this team towards a return to respectability. A deflating, blowout loss could be the first step towards a coaching change.

Why Canes Fans Should Care: Root for Clemson. While chaos is fun, it serves no purpose to damage the ACC’s top-ranked team this early in the season. Plus, Georgia Tech is in our division; Clemson is not. Hopefully the Canes take care of business in the Coastal, but all things being equal it’s a good thing to give our Coastal division-mates extra conference losses.

Canes Interest Factor (0-10): 7

Games of the Week - Cheat Sheet

For those who scrolled to the end, enjoy a tl;dr cheat sheet of our games of the week:

  • Thursday Night: West Virginia at No. 17 Pittsburgh (7pm ET, ESPN)
  • Friday Night: Virginia Tech at Old Dominion (7pm ET, ESPN U)
  • Saturday Early: No. 13 NC State at East Carolina (12pm ET, ESPN)
  • Hurricanes Game: Bethune Cookman at No. 16 Miami (3:30pm ET, ACCN)
  • Commercial Breaks: No. 11 Oregon vs. No. 3 Georgia (3:30pm ET, ABC)
  • Saturday Night (1A): No. 7 Utah at Florida (7:00pm ET, ESPN)
  • Saturday Night (1B): No. 5 Notre Dame at No. 2 Ohio State (7:30pm ET, ABC)
  • Sunday Night: Florida State at LSU (7:30pm ET, ABC)
  • Monday Night: No. 4 Clemson vs. Georgia Tech (8:00pm ET, ESPN)

Enjoy Canes Fans!


Which Game of the Week Are you Most Excited For?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    West Virginia at No. 17 Pittsburgh
    (5 votes)
  • 0%
    Virginia Tech at Old Dominion
    (0 votes)
  • 1%
    No. 13 NC State at East Carolina
    (1 vote)
  • 8%
    No. 11 Oregon v. No. 3 Georgia
    (6 votes)
  • 18%
    No. 7 Utah at Florida
    (13 votes)
  • 54%
    No. 5 Notre Dame at No. 2 Ohio State
    (39 votes)
  • 11%
    Florida State v. LSU
    (8 votes)
  • 0%
    No. 4 Clemson v. Georgia Tech
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Other (leave a comment!)
    (0 votes)
72 votes total Vote Now