North Carolina at No. 6 South Carolina
When: Thursday, 6 p.m., EST on ESPN
Line: South Carolina -12.5
Reasons to watch: In addition to the simple “football is back,” this has all the makings of a good game. UNC coach Larry Fedora, whose team has darkhorse aspirations in the ACC, looks for a landmark victory to open Year 2. On the other side, South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney launches his 2013 Heisman Trophy campaign against what will likely be constant double-team attention. Though this isn’t a battle of two top-25 teams, we could very well look back on it at season’s end and realize it was a matchup of top-15 squads.
Ole Miss at Vanderbilt
When: Thursday, 9:15 p.m., EST on ESPN
Line: Ole Miss -3.5
Reasons to watch: The two surprise SEC teams from a year ago open the season against one another in Nashville. Both programs look to jump out to a quick start in attempting to take the next step. This game carries a great deal of importance because both teams, especially Ole Miss. The Rebels face an FCS program next week before starting a gauntlet of at Texas, at Alabama, at Auburn, vs. Texas A&M and vs. LSU.