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FRIDAY

No. 24 Boise State at No. 13 Michigan State, 8 p.m. (ESPN)

Line: Michigan State by 7

Series Record: First meeting

WHAT'S AT STAKE

As usual, the opener shapes up as the best chance on Boise States schedule for the Broncos to prove themselves against a team from one of college footballs top conferences. They beat Virginia Tech and Georgia to open the last two seasons. Michigan State puts a 14-game home winning streak on the line.

KEY MATCHUP

Boise State quarterback Joe Southwick against Michigan States defense. Southwick makes his first career start after spending two seasons backing up star Kellen Moore. Southwick is 40 for 54 for 400 yards with two touchdown passes in his career at Boise State. The Spartans lost defensive lineman Jerel Worthy to the NFL but return pass-rushing threat William Gholston and linebacker Max Bullough. The Spartans allowed only 18 points a game last season.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Boise State: WR Matt Miller. With Moore and running back Doug Martin both gone, Miller may have a bigger role to fill after catching 62 passes for 679 yards and nine touchdowns last season.

Michigan State: QB Andrew Maxwell. The Spartans are replacing a talented quarterback too. Kirk Cousins is in the NFL now, leaving Maxwell to make his first career start this week.

FACTS & FIGURES

Boise State went 24-2 over the last two seasons. Michigan State went 22-5. ... Friday will mark the 12th night game in the 89-year history of Spartan Stadium. Michigan State is 7-4 in its previous 11 prime-time TV appearances at the venue. ... Boise State lost all four starters from last seasons defensive line. ... Mark Dantonios 44 wins are the most for a Michigan State coach in his first five seasons. ... Robert Prince takes over as Boise States offensive coordinator after Brent Pease left to take the same job at Florida.

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San Jose State at No. 21 Stanford, 10 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)

Line: Stanford by 26

Series Record: Stanford leads 50-14-1

WHAT'S AT STAKE

Redshirt junior Josh Nunes makes his first career start at quarterback and begins the post-Andrew Luck era in Stanford's first game since a 41-38 overtime loss to Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 2. Junior college transfer David Fales also will make his first start at quarterback for San Jose State, which made great strides last year, going 5-7 in coach Mike MacIntyre's second season after posting a 1-12 record in 2010.

KEY MATCHUP

San Jose State's run defense vs. Stanford's run offense. Luck was hardly needed in Stanford's 57-3 romp over San Jose State last season. The Cardinal piled up 141 yards rushing on 40 carries and the Spartans could do nothing to slow a physical offensive line.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Stanford: RB Stepfan Taylor. The senior running back could probably be penciled in this spot every week, but he could be especially important with a first-time starting quarterback in the opener. With 1,330 yards rushing last season, Taylor became just the third back in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons, joining Darrin Nelson (1977-78) and Toby Gerhart (2008-09).

San Jose State: Fales. Any chance the Spartans have for an upset will fall on Fales to do something special. He completed 61.8 percent of his passes for 4,635 yards and 37 touchdowns in two seasons at Monterey Peninsula College before transferring to San Jose State before spring practice.

FACTS & FIGURES

Stanford has won the last four meetings. ... San Jose State's last victory against a ranked team was a 27-24 win over No. 9 TCU at Spartan Stadium on Nov. 4, 2000. The Spartans are winless against 19 ranked teams since. ... San Jose State had six fumbles and lost three in last year's season opener at Stanford Stadium. ... The annual contest is still referred to as the Bill Walsh Legacy Game. Walsh, the Hall of Fame coach of the 49ers, graduated from San Jose State and had two coaching stints at Stanford. Walsh's last stint (1992-94) came when Cardinal coach David Shaw was a wide receiver. Walsh died in 2007.

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SATURDAY

Hawaii at No. 1 Southern California, 7:30 p.m. (FOX)

Line: USC by 41.

Series Record: USC leads 7-0

WHAT'S AT STAKE

USC returns from its two-year postseason ban to begin a season of sky-high expectations. Trojans QB Matt Barkley leads an impressive array of offensive skill players, including WRs Robert Woods and Marqise Lee, into a sold-out Coliseum full of fans expecting USC to return to the top this fall. Rebuilding Hawaii makes its debut under new coach Norm Chow, the Trojans' former offensive coordinator.

KEY MATCHUP

RBs Silas Redd and Curtis McNeal vs. Hawaii's defensive line. Redd transferred from Penn State to join the relentless McNeal, giving the Trojans two 1,000-yard rushers. USC coach Lane Kiffin will give extensive playing time to both tailbacks against Hawaii's defense, which must replace three starters from last season's line.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Hawaii: QB Sean Schroeder. The Duke transfer won the Warriors' starting job after just three practices under Chow, a coach who knows a few things about spotting top quarterback talent. The Dana Hills, Calif., product graduated from Duke in three years, but didn't play. He'll test USC's possibly problematic secondary with several experienced receivers as Chow replaces Hawaii's spread offense with a prostyle set.

USC: S T.J. McDonald. The other No. 7 who decided to return to USC for his senior season. McDonald is the leader of a still-young defense that improved remarkably late last season, but must replace much of its starting defensive line.

FACTS & FIGURES

Chow is making his head coaching debut in his 40th year in college coaching. ... The schools are opening their season against each other for the fourth time since 1999, and they'll do it again at Aloha Stadium next year. ... USC has won 14 straight season openers. ... Hawaii begins its first season in the Mountain West after 33 years in the WAC. ... Former USC LB Junior Seau will be memorialized before the game. ... USC is the AP's No. 1 team for the first time since Sept. 2008. ... Hawaii is playing a No. 1 team for the third time in school history.

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No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 8 Michigan at Arlington, Texas, 8 p.m. (ABC)

Line: Alabama by 13 1/2.

Series Record: Michigan leads 2-1.

WHAT'S AT STAKE

The first regular-season meeting for the traditional powers provides an opening challenge for both. For defending national champion Alabama, QB A.J. McCarron has to adjust to being without top RB Trent Richardson and a pair of experienced receivers. Michigan is coming off 11 wins in its first season under Brady Hoke that was capped with a victory in the Sugar Bowl. That was the Wolverines' first BCS bowl victory since the 2000 Orange Bowl, when they twice overcame 14-point deficits to beat Alabama 35-34 in overtime the last time they played.

KEY MATCHUP

Michigan dual-threat QB Denard Robinson vs. Alabama defense with some big changes. The Crimson Tide lost several talented defenders in the NFL draft, including All-America safety Mark Barron, top linebackers Courtney Upshaw and Dont'a Hightower, and both starting cornerbacks. Robinson ran for 91 yards per game with rushing TDs in 10 games, and his 15.3 yards per completed pass was the best in FBS last season.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Alabama: LB C.J. Mosley. Has a knack for big plays, including an interception in BCS championship game before leaving with a hip injury. Could be a key force in trying to defend against Robinson.

Michigan: WR Roy Roundtree. Robinson's most experienced receiver, coming off knee surgery, will need to create separation to help his shaky-armed quarterback. DT Will Campbell. The senior is getting a chance to anchor a defensive line that lost three starters and to prove he was worth the hype coming out of high school.

FACTS & FIGURES

Crimson Tide is 18-6 against AP Top 25 teams the past four seasons and 10-4 against those ranked in the Top 10. ... Michigan has won 12 straight games in the regular season against non-conference teams and 13 in a row in September, dating back to a 35-17 loss at Notre Dame on Sept. 13, 2008. ... Crimson Tide RB Eddie Lacy makes his starting debut, and Outland Trophy winner Barrett Jones starts his first game at center. ... Alabama has been ranked in the last 65 Associated Press polls, the longest current streak. ... Michigan is coming off its first season with double digits in wins since 2006.

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North Texas at No. 3 LSU, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)

Line: LSU by 43.

Series Record: LSU leads 4-0

WHAT'S AT STAKE

LSU wants to make a second straight run at an appearance in a national championship game, and to do so will have to start strong and win convincingly against a heavy underdog such as North Texas. For the Mean Green, a competitive game would be a moral victory and provide positive momentum for a team hoping to improve on the .500 record it posted in the Sun Belt Conference last year.

KEY MATCHUP

LSU's powerful running game against North Texas' defense, which is looking to improve under second-year head coach Dan McCarney, a former defensive line coach at Florida. LSU averaged about 203 yards rushing last season, and if North Texas' front seven can't slow the Tigers' ground game down, it won't matter whether new LSU starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger lives up to his billing as an elite passer. The Mean Green yielded about 164 yards rushing per game last season.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

North Texas: WR Brelan Chancellor had 1,628 all-purpose yards in 2011, fifth most in school history. He set the single-game record for all-purpose yards against Houston with 332. Chancellor had a school-record 1,094 yards on kickoff returns, along with 457 yards receiving. Junior QB Derek Thompson threw for 1,759 yards last season.

LSU: Mettenberger will be making his debut as a starter and the Tigers coaching staff is eager to see if he can throw downfield as well in games as he has in practice. The junior transferred to LSU last season from Butler Community College in Kansas, where he threw for 2,678 yards and 32 touchdowns, with only four interceptions, in 12 starts.

FACTS & FIGURES

McCarney has never faced LSU as a head coach, but he was 2-1 against the Tigers as the assistant head coach and defensive line coach at Florida from 2008-10. ... LSU has won a school-record nine straight season-openers and has won 17 straight in Death Valley, the nation's longest home winning streak, since falling to then-No. 1 Florida on Oct. 10, 2009. ... North Texas is 37-56-3 all-time in season openers and has won just two in the last 15 years, a 14-7 win at Middle Tennessee in 2005 and a 20-10 victory at Ball State in 2009. ... The Tigers have outscored the Mean Green 198-13 in their four meetings combined. ... Freshman Jalen Mills and redshirt freshman Jalen Collins are expected to see most of the playing time at the cornerback spot vacated by junior Tyrann Mathieu, the former Heisman Trophy finalist who was dismissed from the team on Aug. 10. Sophomore WR Odell Beckham is slated to take over Mathieu's punt return duties.

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No. 4 Oklahoma at UTEP, 10:30 p.m. (FSN)

Line: Oklahoma by 31.

Series Record: Oklahoma leads 2-0

WHAT'S AT STAKE

Oklahoma is opening away from home for the first time since losing to BYU in Arlington, Texas, to start the 2009 season and hopes to avoid a similar fate. The Sooners also lost 2008 Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford to a shoulder injury in that game. UTEP, which is 1-13 all-time against top 10 teams, is aiming to knock off the highest-ranked opponent ever to visit the Sun Bowl.

KEY MATCHUP

Oklahoma WRs vs. UTEP secondary. A revamped Sooners receiving corps features a slew of newcomers, including Penn State transfer Justin Brown and freshmen Trey Metoyer and Sterling Shepard. The Miners are set to start four seniors in their secondary, including veteran FS DeShawn Grayson.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Oklahoma: RB Dominique Whaley. After a surprising emergence as the Sooners' running back a year ago, the former walk-on broke his ankle in late October and missed the rest of the year. He had been averaging 104.5 yards rushing per game up to that point.

UTEP: QB Nick Lamaison. The preseason All-Conference USA first-team selection has his two top receivers, Michael Edwards and Jordan Leslie, back from last season and will be breaking in a new running back, Nathan Jeffery, after the team's top three rushers departed.

FACTS & FIGURES

The game offers Oklahoma QB Landry Jones a homecoming of sorts. It's the closest he'll get to play to his Artesia, N.M., home, at about 200 miles away. ... UTEP is 4-47 all-time against Top 25 teams, with its best win coming against No. 7 BYU in 1985. ... The Sooners' only previous games in El Paso were in bowl games, including the 2009 Sun Bowl. ... The most recent game in the series was won 68-0 by Oklahoma, in Norman in 2002.

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Arkansas State at No. 5 Oregon, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Line: Oregon by 33,

Series Record: First meeting.

WHAT'S AT STAKE

Oregon is 2-1 in season openers under coach Chip Kelly, the Ducks' lone loss came in the 2011 Cowboys Classic against LSU last year. Oregon has sold out Autzen Stadium for 82 games, but that streak has been threatened against Arkansas State. The Ducks have gone to Groupon to sell remaining tickets. Arkansas State will debut new head coach Gus Malzahn.

KEY MATCHUP

Oregon's speedy spread offense against Arkansas State's defense. The Ducks quick-strike offense tends to tire defenses out, and it is likely that they'll do the same against the Red Wolves. Oregon lost prolific running back LaMichael James to the NFL, but they shouldn't lose a step with senior RB Kenjon Barner. The Red Wolves' defense held six opponents to under 20 points last season. They allowed under 350 yards in total offense five times last season, and allowed opponents an average of 4.7 yards per play.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Arkansas State: QB Ryan Aplin. The senior QB threw for 3,588 yards and 19 touchdowns last season, and also rushed for 588 yards and 10 touchdowns. He threw 16 interceptions. He needs six TDs to become Arkansas State's career leader. He also needs 154 yards of total offense for the school record.

Oregon: QB Marcus Mariota. The redshirt freshman has never played in a college game. He beat out Bryan Bennett for the starter's job during fall camp. Most fans had never seen Mariota before the spring game, when he completed 18 of 26 passes for 202 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 99 yards and two scores _ including an 82-yard scoring run _ to lead his team to a 41-14 victory.

FACTS & FIGURES

Malzahn was offensive coordinator for Auburn when the Tigers defeated Oregon 22-19 in the BCS championship game two seasons ago. ... The Red Wolves are coming off a 10-3 season during which they went 8-0 in Sun Belt Conference play. ... Barner needs 74 all-purpose yards to pass Ahmad Rashad for eighth on the Ducks' all-time list. ... Oregon is the only Pac-12 school to average 40-plus points per game in consecutive seasons. ... Oregon coach Chip Kelly is 34-6 as head coach of the Ducks.... It will be the first time that the Red Wolves have played in the state of Oregon, and also the first time the team has faced a Pac-12 school.

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Buffalo at No. 6 Georgia, 12:21 p.m., SEC Network.

Line: Georgia by 37 1/2.

Series record: First meeting.

WHAT'S AT STAKE

Georgia, which opens its Southeastern Conference schedule on Sept. 8 at Missouri, needs to build momentum while breaking in three new starting offensive linemen, plus a new rotation at tailback and former walk-on Merritt Hall at fullback. Ken Malcome and freshmen Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall are expected to share the snaps at tailback. The committee is replacing 2011 SEC Freshman of the Year Isaiah Crowell, who was dismissed following a weapons charge and transferred to Alabama State. Georgia also must play through at least two suspensions on defense.

KEY MATCHUP

Due to suspensions, Georgia's defense will be short-handed against running back Branden Oliver, who set a Buffalo record with 1,395 yards rushing with 13 touchdowns last season. Georgia has announced two-game suspensions for cornerback Sanders Commings and backup linebacker Chase Vasser. Coach Mark Richt hasn't confirmed if All-America free safety Bacarri Rambo and starting inside linebacker Alec Ogletree also will be suspended.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Buffalo: QB Alex Zordich, the son of former NFL safety Michael Zordich, takes over as the Bulls' starting quarterback. Zordich threw 12 passes in four games last season but played more as a freshman when he passed for 428 yards and ran for 150 yards and two touchdowns.

Georgia: QB Aaron Murray begins the season only 13 TD passes behind David Greene's school career record of 72. Murray set a single-season record with 35 TD passes in 2011, 10 more than Matthew Stafford's old mark set in 2008.

FACTS & FIGURES

Buffalo is 0-3 against teams now in the SEC, including a 41-10 loss at Tennessee last season. ... Oliver is the first Mid-American Conference player to be named to the watch lists for the Walter Camp, Maxwell Award and Doak Walker Award in the same year. ... Buffalo's top linebacker, Khalil Mack, is suspended. ... Georgia is 9-0 in home openers under Richt but lost last season's opener to Boise State in Atlanta's Georgia Dome. ... Georgia is 30-1 at home under Richt against teams from outside the SEC. ... Malcolm Mitchell, one of Georgia's top receivers as a freshman last season, will start at cornerback for Commings but may also play on offense.

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Murray State at No. 7 Florida State, 6 p.m. (ESPN3)

Line: Florida State. No line.

Series Record: First meeting.

WHAT'S AT STAKE

Seventh-ranked Florida State is loaded with proven talent everywhere except for the offensive line where coach Jimbo Fisher is hoping that four new starters can protect quarterback EJ Manuel and create some holes for a running game against Murray State from the Football Championship Subdivision. It's the first of two lower-division tune-ups for the Seminoles Murray State is going after third straight winning season with hopes of returning to FCS playoffs for the first time in 10 years.

KEY MATCHUP

Florida State's heralded pass rush vs. Murray State quarterback Casey Brockman. The Seminoles have sacked enemy quarterbacks 88 times in the past two seasons and have three defensive ends likely headed to the NFL. Brandon Jenkins and Bjoern Werner each shed weight in the offseason to improve their speed. Along with Cornelius "Tank" Carradine, the trio accounted for 20.5 sacks last season.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Florida State: S Lamarcus Joyner might be the Seminoles best football player. He may get some chances against a Murray State team that likes to throw the ball. Albeit a bit undersized for safety, the 5-8 Joyner is a devastating hitter who had four interceptions a year ago.

Murray State: Brockman, 6-2 and 220 pounds, isn't easy to bring down and can throw the ball. Brockman passed for 3,276 yards and 25 touchdowns last year as the Racers posted back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2000.

FACTS AND FIGURES

Murray State coach Chris Hatcher grew up a fan of the Seminoles. His dad attended Florida State in the Steve Tensi-Fred Biletnikoff era of the mid 1960s ... The Seminoles haven't had a 1,000-yard rusher since Warrick Dunn capped off a third straight season with more than 1,000 yards in 1996 ... former Seminole coach Bobby Bowden, quarterback Danny Kanell and Sue Hal, longtime administrative assistant for Bowden, are new inductees into the school's athletic Hall of Fame... Florida State's recent trend of starting off with lower-division opponents has limited attendance for the games and there could be 25,000 empty seats Saturday.

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Jacksonville State at No. 10 Arkansas, 7 p.m. (pay-per-view)

Line: No line

Series Record: First meeting

WHATS AT STAKE

Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson called the season opener a "statement game," for several reasons. After an offseason of turmoil, resulting in the firing of Bobby Petrino and the hiring of John L. Smith as head coach, the Razorbacks _ who are 21-5 the last two seasons _ feel like they need to prove to outsiders they can win big without their former coach.

KEY MATCHUP

Jacksonville States offense vs. Arkansas new-look defense. The Razorbacks were ninth in the Southeastern Conference in total defense last season. New defensive coordinator Paul Haynes was brought in from Ohio State to help improve on that, and his first test comes against the Gamecocks, who were 7-4 last season and were picked to finish second this year in the Ohio Valley Conference. Jacksonville State is no stranger to shocking road wins over the SEC, having defeated Mississippi two years ago in double overtime. Arkansas Tenarius Wright has been one of the Razorbacks top pass-rushing defensive ends for the past few seasons, but Saturday will mark his first since moving to middle linebacker in the offseason.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Jacksonville State: RB Washaun Ealey. The former Georgia standout rushed for 1,082 yards last season for the Gamecocks. He last faced the Razorbacks as a member of the Bulldogs in 2010, rushing for 87 yards on 18 carries, and likely holds the key to Jacksonville States chances.

Arkansas: RB Knile Davis. The junior hasnt taken a live snap in a game since the Sugar Bowl two seasons ago, having missed all last season with an ankle injury. Before his latest setback, Davis was one of the top running backs in the country _ leading all SEC running backs in rushing in 2010 with 1,322 yards. Hes seen only limited contact during preseason camp, and Arkansas coaches expect to ease him back into action, but his opening performance could set the tone for the remainder of the season.

FACTS & FIGURES

Jacksonville State coach Jack Crowe led Arkansas into the SEC in 1992, but he was ousted by former Razorbacks athletic director Frank Broyles after a season-opening loss to the Citadel ... Crowe was 9-15 as the head coach at Arkansas ... The Razorbacks led the SEC in passing offense (300.7 yards per game), total offense (438.1) and scoring (36.8) last season ... Wilson became the first quarterback in school history to be first-team All-SEC last season after throwing for 3,638 yards and 24 touchdowns.

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Marshall at No. 11 West Virginia, noon (FX)

Line: West Virginia by 24.

Series Record: West Virginia leads 11-0.

WHAT'S AT STAKE

West Virginia has won eight straight season openers and all six meetings against Marshall since their series resumed in 2006. This is the final scheduled meeting and Marshall will need a win to bolster its argument that the Friends of Coal Bowl should resume in the future.

KEY MATCHUP

West Virginia QB Geno Smith against Marshall's secondary. Smith threw for 249 yards and two scores against Marshall last year. In 2010, he went 14 of 17 for 151 yards on the final two drives as WVU came from 15 points down to beat Marshall in overtime. Marshall's secondary returns only one starter but includes Boston College transfers Dominick LeGrande and Okechukwu Okoroha at safety and Penn State transfer Derrick Thomas at cornerback.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

West Virginia: WRs Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey. Austin set a school record as a junior with 101 receptions last season. Coupled with his duties as kick and punt returner, he led the nation a year ago with 2,574 all-purpose yards. Bailey also set a school record as a sophomore with 1,279 receiving yards. His 12 TDs tied another mark.

Marshall: WR Aaron Dobson. The senior has led the Thundering Herd in receiving each of the past two seasons. He scored 12 TDs a year ago. In 2010, he burned West Virginia on a 96-yard TD pass play.

FACTS & FIGURES

RB Tron Martinez, Marshall’s leading rusher last year, is still recovering from knee surgery and will miss the game. ... West Virginia won last year's meeting 34-13. Severe storms caused more than four hours of delays and the game was stopped for good early in the fourth quarter. ... Marshall coach Doc Holliday is a former longtime assistant at WVU. ... Marshall is 0-13 against ranked opponents since 2003. ... West Virginia is off next week off before playing FCS James Madison at FedEx Field.

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Northern Iowa at No. 12 Wisconsin, 3:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network)

Line: No line.

Series Record: First meeting.

WHAT'S AT STAKE

Wisconsin RB Montee Ball gets the chance to put his offseason troubles behind him. Ball, a Heisman Trophy finalist last season, was attacked on campus a month ago _ an incident that might have been related to a previous fight allegedly involving UW football players, although Ball insists he wasn't involved in the earlier fight. Northern Iowa has consistently been a highly ranked FCS team under coach Mark Farley and has shown an ability to challenge FBS opponents.

KEY MATCHUP

Wisconsin's running game vs. Northern Iowa's defensive front. Sure, the Badgers have Ball and their typically mammoth offensive line _ but it doesn't stop there, as running backs James White and Melvin Gordon also are expected to get their fair share of carries this season. Wisconsin averaged 235.57 yards rushing per game last season, 11th-best in the country.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Northern Iowa: RB David Johnson. As a redshirt freshman last season, Johnson had 179 carries for 822 yards and nine touchdowns with 33 receptions for 422 yards and three touchdowns.

Wisconsin: QB Danny O'Brien. A transfer from Maryland, O'Brien won the starting QB job in camp. He's likely to face high expectations this season from Badgers fans who fondly recall the playmaking exploits of Russell Wilson last season, but coaches and teammates hope O'Brien will be given leeway to grow into the role.

FACTS & FIGURES

Entering his seventh season at Wisconsin, Bret Bielema (60-19) has led the Badgers to back-to-back Big Ten titles and two straight trips to the Rose Bowl. ... Wisconsin scored 44.14 points per game last season, sixth-best in the nation. ... The Badgers led the nation with a 54.71 third-down conversion percentage. ... Northern Iowa head coach Mark Farley (99-40) is entering his 12th season. He has led the team to seven conference championships, seven playoff appearances, 10 top-25 final rankings, three national semifinal appearances and one national title game appearance. ... Farley is 2-10 against FBS opponents with wins over Ball State (42-39, Sept. 22, 2001) and Iowa State (24-13, Sept. 8, 2007). Northern Iowa lost 20-19 at Iowa State last year, blowing a late lead. The Panthers lost 17-16 at Iowa in 2009 after having a pair of late field goal attempts blocked.

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No. 14 Clemson vs. Auburn at Atlanta, 7 p.m. (ESPN)

Line: Clemson by 3 1/2.

Series Record: Auburn leads 34-12-2

WHAT'S AT STAKE

This appears to be the only real test defending ACC champion Clemson faces ahead of the Sept. 22 game at No. 7 Florida State. It's also a potential chance to build confidence for other offensive weapons without suspended wide receiver Sammy Watkins. Auburn has plenty to prove with a number of new starters and minus suspended center Reese Dismukes.

KEY MATCHUP

Clemson QB Tajh Boyd against an Auburn secondary with three new starters joining cornerback Chris Davis. Boyd picked Auburn apart last season with 386 yards and four touchdowns, leading the offense to 624 yards.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Clemson: WR DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins is the likely go-to guy with Watkins missing the first two games. He had 972 receiving yards in 2011.

Auburn: QB Kiehl Frazier. The sophomore is making his first career start after playing mostly as a runner last season, attempting just 12 passes. He's lining up behind a line with three new starters, including a freshman and redshirt freshman and unproven center Tunde Fariyike, who played on special teams last season.

FACTS & FIGURES

Dismukes was arrested for public intoxication eight days before the opener. ... The game has been a tone-setter for the winning team the past two seasons, for Auburn in 2010 and Clemson a year ago. ... Clemson joins Fresno State and Southern California as the only schools with a 3,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard receiver and 1,000 yard rusher returning. ... This is the first time since 2002 that Auburn has opened away from Jordan-Hare Stadium. ... The game will feature three new coordinators. Auburn has Scot Loeffler (offense) and Brian VanGorder (defense) and Clemson has Brent Venables (defense). ... Clemson coach Dabo Swinney played against Auburn in 1990, 1991 and 1992 for rival Alabama. ...Clemson has 12 seniors, the fewest since Danny Ford fielded the same number in 1985.

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Wyoming at No. 15 Texas, 8:06 p.m. (Longhorn Network)

Line: Texas by 30

Series Record: Texas leads 4-0

WHAT'S AT STAKE

After floundering to 13-12 over the last two seasons, Texas expects to return to its place among the nation's elite and needs to avoid an upset, or even a close game, if the Longhorns want to start earning that respect. A Wyoming win would be one of the biggest in program history.

KEY MATCHUP

If Wyoming expects to have a chance, senior tackles Josh Leonard and Kyle Magnuson must find a way to contain Texas standout defensive ends Jackson Jeffcoat and Alex Okafor and keep them away from Cowboys QB Brett Smith. Okafor and Jeffcoat combined for 15 sacks last season.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Texas: QB David Ash. All eyes are on Ash, who won the starting job over Case McCoy in training camp but had a habit of throwing interceptions last season. Ash may spend most of his time handing off to running backs Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron, but a mistake-free game could give the Longhorns a big confidence boost in him for the rest of the season.

Wyoming: LB Korey Jones. Texas will want its running game to take pressure off Ash. If Jones and the Cowboys defense can make the tackles to keep the Longhorns in third-and-long situations, they could force Texas to pass. Ash has shown a tendency in the past to throw it to the wrong team.

FACTS AND FIGURES

Texas kicker Anthony Fera, who transferred from Penn State and was expected to be the starter, will not play because of a groin injury ... Ash won the starting job but Texas coaches have said McCoy could play ... Smith set a Mountain West freshman record last season with 3,332 yards total offense.

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Southern Mississippi at No. 17 Nebraska, 3:30 p.m. (ABC)

Line: Nebraska by 20

Series Record: Nebraska leads 2-1

WHAT'S AT STAKE

Nebraska hasn't lost a home opener since 1985 but figures to get a good test against defending Conference USA champion. Cornhuskers' third-year starting QB Taylor Martinez needs to be sharp before going to UCLA next week. The Golden Eagles, now coached by former South Carolina defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson, will see how they stack up with first-time starters at QB and other key spots.

KEY MATCHUP

Nebraska's offense against Southern Miss' defense. The Huskers are looking to be more polished as they enter their second season in offensive coordinator Tim Beck's spread-option system. They can always count on RB Rex Burkhead in the run game, but will Martinez find some consistency as a passer? Southern Miss' speedy defense returns three of its top four tacklers.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Southern Mississippi: WR Tracy Lampley. The 5-9, 168-pound senior is listed as a receiver, but he does so much more. He rushed for 463 yards last season, caught 47 passes for 574 yards and averaged 21.3 yards on kickoffs and 11.5 on punts.

Nebraska: Martinez. All the talk around Nebraska in the offseason was about Martinez's improved passing mechanics. He hired a personal quarterback coach and attended the Manning camp, and coaches and teammates say he's more accurate and confident.

FACTS & FIGURES

Nebraska has won 26 straight openers, the nation's longest streak, and has won each by at least 10 points. ... The Huskers could start three former walk-ons on the offensive line _ guards Spencer Long and Seung Hoon Choi and center Justin Jackson. ... Burkheads 1,357 yards last season were most by a Nebraska running back since 1997. ... Junior Chris Campbell was named starting quarterback for Southern Miss, beating out two other challengers, but all three will play. ... Southern Miss won its last meeting with the Huskers, beating them 21-17 in Lincoln in 2004. ... The Eagles are on a school-record streak of 18 straight winning seasons.

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Miami, Ohio at No. 18 Ohio State, noon (BTN)

Line: Ohio State by 23

Series Record: Ohio State leads 4-0

WHAT'S AT STAKE

Both sides are looking for a watershed victory as proof of a turnaround. Miami needs a sign that things are improving after coach Don Treadwell's debut team went 4-8 a year ago. Ohio State, of course, is trumpeting a new era under native son Urban Meyer, who won two national titles at Florida and is returning to the sidelines after retiring due to health and family considerations (a year he spent working for ESPN as an analyst).

KEY MATCHUP

Much has been made of Meyer's new high-octane offense, but the key will be Ohio State's defense against the pass-happy RedHawks. QB Zac Dysert and WR Nick Harwell look to stretch the field and expose a Buckeyes' defense that didn't get many sacks a year ago and surrendered yardage in chunks. The Buckeyes return eight starters, led by a fearsome front line built around DE John Simon. Dysert threw for 293 yards a game in 2011, with 23 TDs and 11 picks. Harwell had 97 catches for 1,425 receiving yards and nine TDs.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Miami: DL Austin Brown had three sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss a year ago. He and his linemates must apply pressure to slow down Ohio State's new no-huddle, sprint-to-the-line offense. CB Dayonne Nunley, a first-team All-MAC pick a year ago, also must have a big game.

Ohio State: WR Jake Stoneburner, a former TE, steps into the spotlight. Most figure he'll be the favorite target for QB Braxton Miller, who is a year older and wiser after a rocky freshman year as starter. RB Carlos Hyde gets the nod to start, at least until Jordan Hall comes back from foot surgery.

FACTS & FIGURES

The RedHawks have been in big venues before; they played at Missouri and Minnesota last year and at Florida (coached by Meyer) in 2010. ... Ohio State has won its last 33 home openers, dating to a 17-0 loss in 1979 to Penn State. ... Treadwell was an assistant to deposed Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel at Youngstown State from 1986 to 1991. ... A new high-def scoreboard, the centerpiece of a $7 million electronics update, will herald the 90th year for football at Ohio Stadium. ... The Buckeyes haven't had consecutive losing seasons since 1922-24, a Division I-best streak of 86 seasons. ... Dysert has passed for 8,530 yards in his three years at Miami and has a chance to pass Ben Roethlisberger as the school's all-time leader. ... Meyer is 10-0 in season openers as a head coach.

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Savannah State at No. 19 Oklahoma State, 6 p.m. (Fox College Sports)

Line: No line.

Series Record: First meeting

WHAT'S AT STAKE

Facing one of the worst teams in the Football Championship Subdivision, Oklahoma State gets a chance for freshman starting quarterback Wes Lunt and other newcomers to have a tune-up before next week's road trip to Arizona. Other than a shot at one of the biggest upsets in college football history, Savannah State gets a $385,000 payout.

KEY MATCHUP

Oklahoma State secondary vs. Savannah State QB Antonio Bostick The Cowboys return three of four starters from a secondary that helped propel them to the most turnovers forced in the Bowl Subdivision last season. CBs Brodrick Brown and Justin Gilbert tied for the team lead with five interceptions. Bostick completed 39 percent of his passes with three TDs and eight picks last season.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Oklahoma State: WR Tracy Moore. The Cowboys' top returning receiver has big shoes to fill after the departure of No. 5 overall NFL draft pick Justin Blackmon and Josh Cooper. The team is also counting on Isaiah Anderson, Josh Stewart, freshman Blake Jackson and others to help make up for more than 200 lost receptions.

Savannah State: CB Wayne Johnson. The freshman is the son of former Georgia quarterback Wayne Johnson and slated to start in his college debut.

FACTS & FIGURES

Savannah State will be playing its first FBS opponent. The Tigers are 4-72 against FCS competition since 2002. They went 1-10 last season and ranked last in the FCS in scoring (12.6 ppg) and yardage (238.5 ypg) while finishing 117th out of 120 teams in total defense. ... Oklahoma State ranked second in the FBS in scoring and third in total offense last season. ... The Cowboys are replacing four starting offensive linemen.

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Missouri State at No. 22 Kansas State, 7:10 p.m. (K-StateHD.tv)

Line: No line.

Series Record: Kansas State leads 2-0

WHAT'S AT STAKE

Kansas State hopes to start better than it did last season, when it needed a touchdown pass from QB Collin Klein with 1:39 left in the game to beat Eastern Kentucky. The Wildcats went on to win 10 games and reach the Cotton Bowl. Missouri State wants to build confidence against a Football Bowl Subdivision after going 2-9 last year.

KEY MATCHUP

Kansas State's offense against Missouri State's defense. The Wildcats relied heavily on Klein to run the football last season, and the gritty quarterback took a lot of shots. Look for longtime coach Bill Snyder to strive for more balance this season _ perhaps throwing downfield more _ and for the Kansas State running backs to shoulder more of the load.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Missouri State: LB Andrew Beisel is among nine starters back on defense. Beisel became the first freshman since 1998 to lead Missouri State in tackles when he made 84 stops during his redshirt freshman season. He also had six tackles for loss and 2 1/2 sacks.

Kansas State: Klein tied the Big 12 record with 27 touchdown runs last season, breaking the school record held by Mack Herron since 1969. He also threw 13 TD passes, joining Heisman Trophy winners Cam Newton (Auburn), Tim Tebow (Florida) and Eric Crouch (Nebraska) as the only players in the BCS era with at least 20 touchdown runs and 10 touchdown passes.

FACTS & FIGURES

Snyder has won 19 straight season-openers at Kansas State. ... The Wildcats led the Big 12 and were fourth nationally in time of possession last season. ... Eight of Kansas State's 10 wins last season were by seven points or fewer. ... Missouri State tight ends and special teams coach Bob Montgomery left the program last week to pursue a business opportunity. Rob Bolks has replaced him on an interim basis. ... QBs Ashton Glaser and Kierra Harris could both see playing time for the Bears. ... The game at Bill Snyder Family Stadium is sold out.

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Bowling Green at No. 23 Florida, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Line: Florida by 29

Series Record: First meeting

WHAT'S AT STAKE

Florida has won 22 consecutive season openers, the second-longest streak in the nation behind Nebraska (26). Florida's last loss in an opener came against Mississippi in 1989.

KEY MATCHUP

Bowling Green's defense vs. Florida RB Mike Gillislee. The Gators want to be a power running team, especially with an inexperienced quarterback, and expect to lean on Gillislee early. The senior spent the last three years playing sparingly behind Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey, and desperately wants to prove he can handle a bigger role.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Bowling Green: RB Anthon Samuel finished third in the country in rushing among freshmen, averaging 93.8 yards a game, and was named the Mid-American Conference freshman of the year.

Florida: QBs Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel are still battling for the starting job. Each will get a quarter to prove himself in The Swamp before the coaches decide how to split repetitions going forward. Offensive coordinator Brent Pease says a two-quarterback system is not sustainable long term, so the opener could be the final audition for the sophomores.

FACTS & FIGURES

Matchup of two of Urban Meyer's former teams. Meyer spent two years at Bowling Green (2001-02) and six seasons at Florida (2005-10). He was credited with turning around both programs. ... Bowling Green has knocked off four ranked teams in 93 years, with wins against No. 18 Purdue in 1972, No. 16 Purdue in 2003, No. 12 Northern Illinois in 2003 and No. 25 Pittsburgh in 2008. ... Florida's last two games in The Swamp: a near-debacle against lower-division Furman and an embarrassing, turnover-filled loss to rival Florida State that prompted coach Will Muschamp to call his team soft.

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SUNDAY

Kentucky at No. 25 Louisville, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Line: Louisville by 14

Series Record: Kentucky leads 14-10

WHAT'S AT STAKE

The Governor's Cup is up for grabs in this rivalry that Kentucky had recently controlled until Louisville's 24-17 victory last year ended a four-game losing streak. Louisville seeks its 11th win in its last 14 season openers while Kentucky aims for its 84th overall.

KEY MATCHUP

Louisville's offensive line against Kentucky's defensive line. The Cardinals return four starters up front and are looking to improve after yielding 41 sacks last season with a collection of freshmen. Kentucky features a huge interior duo in juniors tackles Donte Rumph (315 pounds) and Mister Cobble (331), who'll draw attention from Louisville sophomore guards John Miller and Jake Smith and senior center Mario Benavides.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Kentucky: WR La'Rod King. The senior was a bright spot in the Wildcats' offense last season with 40 receptions for 598 yards and seven touchdowns. His 1,218 yards rank 19th on UK's career list, but a good game could gain several spots and he's in position to break the top 10 this season.

Louisville: QB Teddy Bridgewater. Last year's Big East Rookie of the Year passed for 2,129 yards and 14 touchdowns with a 64.5 completion rate. After throwing four touchdowns and five interceptions in his first six games, he tossed for 10 TDs against eight INTs in his next seven games.

FACTS & FIGURES

Louisville, which shared last year's Big East Conference championship with West Virginia and Cincinnati, is the preseason media favorite. ... The Cardinals are 10-8 against the Wildcats since the series resumed in 1994 but 3-4 at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium with a two-game losing streak. ... Kentucky, coming off consecutive losing seasons, was picked to finish seventh in the SEC East division. ... This is the 15th time the schools have opened the season against each other, with Louisville holding an 8-6 edge.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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