College football schedule, games 2020: What to watch in Week 1, TV channels, Saturday kickoff times

It was a rocky journey, but we have made it. The college football season is underway. Week 1 is not as full-scaled this Labor Day weekend as we’ve become accustomed to over the years, but it still has enough to whet your appetite for pigskin.

Six games will be played on Saturday, Sept. 5 with BYU and Navy playing the encore on Labor Day evening. None of the seven games taking place this weekend are of the top-25 variety as the ACC, Big 12 and SEC will all kick off later in September. But there are some potentially key non-power schools taking the field in their first games of the season.

This will also be a good chance for these teams to actually get some football legs underneath them since spring practices were essentially nonexistent earlier this year.  So while the bigger games won’t start until the week of Sept. 12, let’s at least get you caught up on what you can watch this weekend. 

The biggest games

Arkansas State at Memphis — 8 p.m., ESPN: The Tigers are the reigning AAC champs and looking to repeat in 2020. Brady White and Damonte Coxie are one of the more prolific QB-WR combos in the country. Memphis is a big favorite here, but the Red Wolves are no slouches and should be one of the favorites out of the Sun Belt West division. Lots of potential for fun here if Arkansas State punches first.  

BYU at Navy — 8 p.m., ESPN (Monday): Let’s face it, this is the biggest game of the weekend and it gets its own primetime spot on Labor Day. Navy is coming off a big 11-2 season but is replacing quarterback Malcolm Perry. Considering the fractured offseason, it’ll be interesting to see how that affects not only the Midshipmen’s option offense, but BYU’s ability to stop it. It really does feel like anything goes for this game. 

Other big games

Middle Tennessee at Army — CBS Sports Network, 12:30 p.m.: Supportin’ the troops on CBS Sports Network is a great way to kick off Week 1 of your limited college football slate. Army loses its top two rushers from last year, including quarterback Kelvin Hopkins II, but this is a veteran group starting on both sides of the ball. However, Middle Tennessee is only a slight road dog, so maybe a close game with a dash of the under is in store at West Point. 

SMU at Texas State — 3:30 p.m., ESPN: Like Memphis, SMU is an AAC West contender who is a big favorite (-20.5) in Week 1. Unlike Memphis, SMU will be starting its season on the road. Will that make a difference? Probably not. Texas State won three games last year and is trying to build something under coach Jake Spavital. But if you like watching the Mustangs air it out, it could be an enjoyable watch for a little while. 

Best of the rest

  • Eastern Kentucky at Marshall — noon, ESPN
  • Houston Baptist at North Texas — 7:30 p.m., ESPN 3
  • Stephen F. Austin at UTEP — 9 p.m., ESPN3

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