ESPN/ABC Set for Best College Football Opening Weekend Schedule Ever

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ESPN/ABC Set for Best College Football Opening Weekend Schedule Ever

  • No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide Headlines Slate with All Top 6 Teams; 12 of the Top 20 Teams
  • Games from Lambeau Field and Dublin, Ireland
  • No. 9 Notre Dame at Texas on Sunday Night in Prime Time
  • No. 14 Ole Miss vs. No. 4 Florida State on Labor Day Night

ESPN will begin the 2016 college football season with DICK’s Sporting Goods Kickoff Week, a marquee week 1 slate featuring top teams, ranked squads going head-to-head and games from historic locations. The must-see schedule will feature the defending College Football Playoff National Champion and No. 1 team in’s “way too early top 25” Alabama, in addition to No. 2 Clemson, No. 3 Michigan, No. 4 Florida State, No. 5 Oklahoma and No. 6 LSU. Overall, the announced schedule to date features at least 12 teams in the top 20, including four games with matchups of ranked teams. The location of games adds to the interest, as Lambeau Field hosts its first college game in more than 30 years and 2016’s first college football Saturday begins in Dublin, Ireland.

Saturday, Sept. 3 – Tripleheader on ESPN and ABC
The first full Saturday of college football will feature a tripleheader on each ESPN and ABC; each game has at least a top six team or a matchup of ranked teams:

  • No. 5 Oklahoma vs. No. 18 Houston (noon ET on ABC) in the 2016 AdvoCare Texas Kickoff from NRG Stadium in Houston. This will be both schools’ first time playing in the annual opening-weekend game, now in its fourth year.
  • Hawaii at No. 3 Michigan (noon on ESPN) from Ann Arbor, Mich. As Jim Harbaugh begins his second season as head coach of the Wolverines, the Warriors make their first trip ever to Michigan Stadium.
  • No. 6 LSU vs. Wisconsin (3:30 p.m. on ABC) from Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. The game will be the fourth college football game held in the home of the Green Bay Packers, having previously occurred in 1983, 1982, and 1960. The previous three games featured St. Norbert taking on Fordham twice and Mankato State once.
  • No. 13 Georgia vs. No. 19 North Carolina (5:30 p.m. on ESPN) in the 2016 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Both the Tar Heels and the Bulldogs will be making their second appearance in the game, which began in 2008 and included a special two-game event in both 2012 and 2014.
  • No. 12 USC vs. No. 1 Alabama (8 p.m. on ABC) from Arlington, Texas. The Trojans are kicking off their season for the first time from AT&T Stadium, while the Crimson Tide is 2-0 in season-opening games from the stadium since 2009.
  • No. 2 Clemson at Auburn (9 p.m. on ESPN) from Auburn, Ala. This will be the 50th all-time meeting between the two schools, but just the fourth regular season meeting since 1971.

Before the pair of tripleheaders, ESPN2 will begin the day from across the Atlantic Ocean when Georgia Tech plays Boston College (7:30 a.m.) at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland.

Sunday, Sept. 4 – No. 9 Notre Dame at Texas
ESPN/ABC’s dynamite week 1 schedule continues Sunday, Sept. 4, when two of college football’s most celebrated programs match up: No. 9 Notre Dame at Texas (7:30 p.m. on ABC) from Austin, Texas. The game is believed to be the network’s first-ever live, Sunday, prime-time, regular season college football game and the Fighting Irish-Longhorns’ 12th all-time matchup, with their first game dating back to 1913.

Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 5 – No. 14 Ole Miss vs. No. 4 Florida State
ESPN will conclude college football’s first week with its annual Labor Day night game, this year with No. 14 Ole Miss vs. No. 4 Florida State (8 p.m.) in the 2016 Camping World Kickoff from Orlando, Fla. It is ESPN’s 13th annual prime-time Labor Day game, having begun in 2002*, and Florida State’s fifth appearance in the game and Ole Miss’ second.

*No game in 2004 due to Hurricane Francis

Thursday, Sept. 1 – SEC Action Begins the Season
ESPN will begin its college football season when South Carolina travels to Vanderbilt on Thursday, Sept. 1 (8 p.m.), as the Gamecocks and Commodores meet on opening night for the first time since the 2012 season.

ESPN’s week 1 schedule begins a season of industry-leading coverage which will conclude with the third annual College Football Playoff.

Additional Week 1 Games on ESPN Networks will be announced at a later date.

ESPN/ABC College Football Week1 Schedule (as of May 17)

Day Time (ET) Game Network
Thu, Sept 1 8 p.m. South Carolina at Vanderbilt ESPN
Sat, Sept 3 7:30 a.m. Georgia Tech vs. Boston College (Dublin, Ireland) ESPN2
Noon 2016 AdvoCare Texas Kickoff: No. 5 Oklahoma vs. No. 18 Houston (NRG Stadium, Houston) ABC
Noon Hawaii at No. 3 Michigan ESPN
3:30 p.m. No. 6 LSU vs. Wisconsin (Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wis.) ABC
5:30 p.m. 2016 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game: No. 13 Georgia vs. No. 19 North Carolina (Georgia Dome, Atlanta) ESPN
8 p.m. No. 12 USC vs. No. 1 Alabama (AT&T Stadium,  Arlington, Texas) ABC
9 p.m. No. 2 Clemson at Auburn ESPN
Sun, Sept 4 7:30 p.m. No. 9 Notre Dame at Texas ABC
Mon, Sept 5 8 p.m. 2016 Camping World Kickoff: No. 14 Ole Miss vs. No. 4 Florida State (Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Fla.) ESPN


Media contact: Derek Volner at 860-384-9986; [email protected] and @DerekVolner

Derek Volner

I currently lead ESPN’s NFL Communications, including Monday Night Football, NFL Draft and studio programming. Previously, I did the same for ESPN’s vast college football portfolio. I have been with ESPN since 2013.
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