Of the 81 games slated for Week 1 of the 2020 college football season, only 14 (or 17%) will feature two Power clubs clashing.
For the 28 programs involved it means no warm-up game, no Week 1 “gimmee” and no virtual preseason.
Of the 14 games, six feature in-conference action – three apiece from the ACC and Big Ten. Of the eight remaining contests, the only matchup repeated more than once is the Pac 12 vs. the Big 12, of which there are two games.
This is the ninth consecutive year that Alabama will open against a Power 5 opponent at a neutral site. It hasn’t lost a season opener since 2001 when it hosted then (17) UCLA and fell 20-17. USC hasn’t kicked off a season vs. a Power 5 member since 2016, when it met the then (1) Crimson Tide (also in Arlington, Texas) and got blasted 52-6. It hasn’t beaten a Power opponent in the first game of the season since 2011, when it hosted Minnesota and won 19-17.
The Tide hold a 6-2 advantage in the all-time series with the Trojans and have won both postseason meetings – the 1985 Aloha Bowl and the 1945/46 Rose Bowl.
Baylor has opened the past four consecutive seasons vs. an FCS opponent. It hasn’t kicked off against a foe that is currently a Power 5 member since 2011, when it outlasted (14) TCU (then a Mountain West member) 50-48 in Waco. The Bears haven’t won an opener vs. an opponent that was a member of a Power conference at game time since 2009, a 24-21 victory at Wake Forest. Ole Miss kicked off vs. a Power 5 foe as recently as 2018, slaying Texas Tech 47-27 in Houston.
The Bears and Rebels have only met one time previously, the 1975 season opener in Waco, a 20-10 win for Baylor.
This is the third consecutive season that BYU will open vs. a Power 5 member, falling 30-12 at home to (14) Utah last season and winning at Arizona 28-23 in 2018. Other than last year’s win over the Cougars, the Utes most recently opened vs. a Power foe in 2015, hosting Michigan and winning 24-17.
BYU and Utah have clashed 94 times since first meeting in 1896. The Utes lead 59-31-4 and have won nine-straight.
This is the second consecutive year that Clemson and Georgia Tech have kicked off the season together, the (1) Tigers played host in 2019 and won 52-14. Prior to that, Clemson last opened vs. a Power foe in 2016, a 19-13 win at Auburn. It hasn’t lost such a game since 2014 when it got zapped 45-21 at (12) Georgia. The Yellow Jackets haven’t won an opener vs. a Power 5 member since 2016 when they met Boston College in Dublin, Ireland and triumphed 17-14.
Georgia Tech leads the all-time series vs. Clemson 50-32-2 but the Tigers have won five straight.
Florida State opened vs. a Power foe as recently as 2018, falling 24-3 at home to (20) Virginia Tech. It hasn’t won such a game since kicking off the 2016 campaign with a 45-24 win over (11) Ole Miss in Orlando. West Virginia last played a Power team to open the season in 2018, beating Tennessee 40-14 in Charlotte. Its last loss came the year before, in 2017, when it met (21) Virginia Tech in Landover, Md. and fell 31-24.
This is the first-ever meeting between the Seminoles and Mountaineers in the regular season. The two met in the 1982, 2004/05 and 2009/10 Gator Bowls, all wins for Florida State.
Georgia kicked off its 2019 campaign with a win at Vanderbilt. Its most recent season-opening loss to a Power 5 member came in 2013 when it traveled to (8) Clemson and got edged 38-35. Virginia also opened last season with a Power foe, winning 30-14 at Pitt. While it lost to FCS Richmond in the 2016 season opener, it hasn’t started a year with a loss to a Power club since 2015 when it visited (13) UCLA and got zapped 34-16.
The Bulldogs and Cavaliers have met 19 times since first clashing in 1897, including in the 1995 and 1998 Peach Bowls. Georgia leads the all-time series 9-7-3 and has won two-straight. This is the first meeting since 2000.
This is Indiana’s first opener vs. a Power opponent since 2017 when it hosted (2) Ohio State and lost 49-21. It hasn’t won such a game in 30 years, or since 1990, when it made the trek to Kentucky and beat the Wildcats 45-24. Wisconsin last kicked off a campaign with a Power foe in 2016, upsetting (5) LSU 16-14. Its most recent opening loss to a Power team came the year before, in 2015, when it met (3) Alabama in Arlington, Texas and fell 35-17.
The Badgers lead the all-time series 41-18-2 and have won ten-straight.
Michigan opened the 2018 season at (12) Notre Dame, suffering a 24-17 defeat. Its last Week 1 win over a Power club came in 2017, a 33-17 victory vs. (17) Florida in Arlington, Texas. Similarly, Washington kicked off its 2018 campaign with a 21-16 loss vs. (9) Auburn in Atlanta. The year before, in 2017, it scored a 30-14 win at Rutgers.
The Wolverines and Huskies have met 12 times previously, including clashing in four Rose Bowls (1977/78, 1980/81, 1991/92 and 1992/93). Michigan leads 7-5 and won the most recent meeting, a 31-29 victory in Ann Arbor in 2002.
NC State’s most recent opener vs. a Power foe came in 2017 when it met South Carolina in Charlotte and fell 35-28. It last won such a game in 2001 when it hosted Indiana and triumphed 35-14. Louisville opened the 2019 season with a home game vs. (9) Notre Dame, resulting in a 35-17 loss. It last beat a Power 5 team in an opener in 2017, a 35-28 win over Purdue in Indianapolis.
The Wolfpack and Cardinals have played ten times previously, Louisville leads the all-time series 7-3.
Northwestern kicked off the 2019 season with a roadie at (25) Stanford, a 17-7 loss. Its most recent opening win over a Power foe came the year before, in 2018, when it won 31-27 at Purdue. This is Michigan State’s first opener vs. a Power opponent in 11 years, or since 2008, a visit to Cal that resulted in a 38-31 loss. It hasn’t won such a game since kicking off the 1999 campaign with a 27-20 win over Oregon at home.
The Spartans lead the all-time series 38-20 and won the most recent meeting, a 31-10 decision in 2019 in Evanston.
The Beavers and Cowboys also kicked off last season together, a 52-36 win for Oklahoma State. Oregon State’s most recent opening win vs. a Power opponent came in 2012, upsetting (13) Wisconsin 10-7 at home. The Cowboys haven’t dropped an opener to a Power 5 club since 2014 when it fell 37-31 to (1) Florida State in Arlington, Texas.
This is the second-ever meeting between the two schools and the first-ever in Stillwater.
Purdue has fallen in its last three consecutive openers, including losing 31-27 to Northwestern in 2018 and 35-28 to (16) Louisville in 2017 in Indianapolis. Its last win over a Power 5 team to start a season came in 2004, a 51-0 shutout of Syracuse. Nebraska last opened with a Power foe in 2018, falling 33-28 to Colorado. It hasn’t won such a game since 2003, a 17-7 victory over (24) Oklahoma State.
The Boilermakers and Cornhuskers have met eight times previously. The series is tied 4-4 but Purdue has won the last two.
This is Syracuse’s first opener vs. a Power 5 opponent since 2013 when it kicked off with a 23-17 loss vs. Penn State in East Rutherford, N.J. It hasn’t won such a game since 2011 when it opened with a visit from Wake Forest and triumphed 36-29. Boston College kicked off last season with a 35-28 win over Virginia Tech. It hasn’t lost to a Power club in an opener since 2016 when it fell 17-14 to Georgia Tech in Dublin, Ireland.
The Orange lead the all-time series, which dates back to 1924, 31-21.
While this is the Horned Frogs’ first game of the 2020 season, it’s the Golden Bears’ second. Cal kicks off with a roadie at UNLV in Week 0, or Saturday Aug. 29.
TCU opened its last four seasons vs. FCS programs. It most recently kicked off with a Power foe in 2015 when it scored a 23-17 win at Minnesota. It hasn’t lost such a game since 2013 when it opened vs. (12) LSU in Arlington, Texas and fell 37-27. Cal opened with a Power 5 opponent as recently as 2018, hosting North Carolina and winning 24-17.
This is only the second-ever meeting between the Horned Frogs and Golden Bears. The two clashed in the 2018 Cheez-It Bowl, a 10-7 win for TCU.
Historical data courtesy of Sports Reference/College Football