Photo courtesy of Memphis athletics
FBS football got underway on Thursday night with a pair of contests.
We’re a week away from the first set of Power 5 teams taking the field, but there are plenty of Week 1 showdowns worth watching. Here’s a look at the best games of this long weekend:
Middle Tennessee at Army — Saturday, Sept. 5 at 1:30 p.m. ET (CBS Sports Network)
After three straight winning seasons that culminated in bowl wins, Army will look to bounce back from a disappointing 5-8 campaign in 2019. Army will be facing a Middle Tennessee team that had its first losing season since 2011. The Blue Raiders have one of the better dual-threat quarterbacks in Conference USA in Asher O’Hara. The Black Knights will try to replace the experienced Kelvin Hopkins Jr.
Arkansas State at Memphis — Saturday, Sept. 5 at 8 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Arkansas State and Memphis have the longest active bowl streak in each of their respective conferences. Arkansas State has had nine straight winning seasons and brings back quarterback Layne Hatcher and running back Marcel Murray.
With Mike Norvell now at Florida State, Memphis will begin a new era under first-year head coach Ryan Silverfield. Last season, the Tigers won their first conference title in a half-century and reached a New Year’s Six bowl. Memphis should have one of the nation’s best offense with quarterback Brady White and wide receiver Damonte Coxie both returning. White led The American in passer rating last season while Coxie led the conference in receiving.
BYU at Navy — Monday, Sept. 7 at 8 p.m. ET (ESPN)
BYU and Navy will cap Week 1 with a Labor Day prime time showdown in Annapolis. Navy finished 11-2 last season with its losses coming to Memphis and Notre Dame. The loss of quarterback Malcolm Perry however, will leave a huge void. The Midshipmen do return leading tackler Diego Fagot, who tallied 100 tackles last season.
BYU is coming off a 7-6 campaign. Junior quarterback Zach Wilson will look to bounce back from a turnover-prone campaign in 2019, but he has a deep stable of backs. Last season’s leading receiver, 6-foot-5 tight end Matt Bushman, is unfortunately out for the season. The story outside of the game involves the two head coaches in BYU’s Kalani Sitake and Navy’s Ken Niumatalolo. Both are members of the Church of Latter Day Saints and each are the first FBS head coaches from their respective cultures.