Over the last few seasons, ABC/ESPN has celebrated Week 1 of the college football season with big primetime games on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Today, the networks announced the lineup for the 2021 season.
The networks have their closest conference relationships with the ACC and SEC, so it is not a huge surprise that we have three non-conference games between those two leagues. Saturday brings us two big games: Alabama vs. Miami in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff in Atlanta, followed by Georgia vs. Clemson in Charlotte at the Duke’s Mayo Classic. Both games are on ABC.
On Sunday night, ABC will broadcast Florida State vs. Notre Dame from Tallahassee. After a year in the ACC, this is once again a non-conference clash, with the Fighting Irish going back to their partial scheduling agreement with the league. Monday night gives us a game between two of the bigger wild card teams in each league, with Louisville and Ole Miss playing in the second Chick-Fil-A Kickoff game.
On one hand, there are plenty of big name programs here. If Florida State and Miami were at their peaks as programs, this would be a massive lineup. Those two games may be a bit lopsided, barring surprises, though Notre Dame has to replace Ian Book and has some questions, and plays the only true road game of the four. Georgia-Clemson has the chance to be a classic, though.
Yes, please https://t.co/yDeK4Hdhrn
— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) May 18, 2021
Getting emotional just thinking about it tbqh https://t.co/QMDZEJYv7u
— David Helman (@HelmanDC) May 18, 2021
I wish it was this weekend. https://t.co/bK5kSLmwWM
— Patrick Schmidt (@PatrickASchmidt) May 18, 2021
Other than "Duke's Mayo Classic," I see no bad words here. https://t.co/juuBbFjZKx
— Jeff Schultz (@JeffSchultzATL) May 18, 2021
The Duke Mayo’s Classic, a tradition like no other. https://t.co/29YGUyfXWK
— Timothy Bella (@TimBella) May 18, 2021
Boy… it you live in the Charlotte/Atlanta/eastern TN area, you could make quite the weekend out of this. https://t.co/Uf9WHhFLbs
— Brett Gibbons (@roadtocfb) May 18, 2021
By 2023, the Pac-12 needs to be participating in one of these games … in Las Vegas https://t.co/d7b9TfL7ok
— Jon Wilner (@wilnerhotline) May 18, 2021
Georgia-Clemson, a regional rivalry game that could define both teams’ early College Football Playoff hopes, is certainly the headliner here, and there’s a chance that it is the only great game of the bunch. There’s plenty of intrigue in the other matchups though.
If either Miami or Florida State can hang around against their 2020 CFP participant foes, it may signal good things to come for those once-proud ACC programs. Ole Miss, while shy of elite, is one of the most fun programs in the SEC under Lane Kiffin. Louisville also has plenty to prove, after a disappointing 4-7 season in 2020, and an offseason that saw head coach Scott Satterfield alienate a lot of people around the program after a dalliance with South Carolina during the Gamecocks coaching search.
Even with some potential blowouts on paper, we’re just thrilled to see a full FBS college football schedule set for early September. We can’t wait for the season to roll back around.