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College football TV guide: USC vs. Bama highlights opening-weekend lineup

College football TV guide, Thursday for Friday
Quarterback Deshaun Watson, shown in a game against Miami on Oct. 24, 2015, leads No. 2 Clemson against Auburn on Saturday night.
(Wilfredo Lee / Associated Press)

Friday

(All times Pacific)

4 p.m.: Army at Temple, CBSSN; Furman at No. 12 Michigan State, Big Ten Network (BTN)

5 p.m.: Colorado State vs. Colorado at Denver, ESPN

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6 p.m.: Kansas State at No. 8 Stanford, FS1; Toledo at Arkansas State, ESPNU

Saturday

MORNING

No. 3 Oklahoma vs. No. 15 Houston at NRG Stadium, Houston, 9 a.m., ABC

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It would be a big statement for the American Athletic Conference’s Houston to knock off the Big 12’s Oklahoma in an opener, especially with discussions of Big 12 Conference expansion and Houston being mentioned as among the candidates. Coach Tom Herman’s team has the ability to beat the Sooners behind senior quarterback Greg Ward Jr. Oklahoma, coming off a loss in a College Football Playoff semifinal, returns dynamic running back duo Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon in an offense led by fourth-year junior quarterback Baker Mayfield. 

4:30 a.m.: Georgia Tech vs. Boston College at Dublin, Ireland, ESPN2.

9 a.m.: Fordham at Navy, CBSSN; Eastern Kentucky at Purdue, ESPNews; Bowling Green at No. 6 Ohio State, BTN; Western Michigan at Northwestern, ESPNU; Hawaii at No. 7 Michigan, ESPN; South Alabama at Mississippi State, SEC Network (SEC); Missouri at West Virginia, FS1; Howard at Maryland, BTN.

11 a.m.: Rutgers at No. 14 Washington, Pac-12 Network (Pac12).

AFTERNOON

No. 16 UCLA at Texas A&M, 12:30 p.m., CBS

UCLA has come from behind to win openers the last two seasons on the road, at Virginia and Nebraska. But the Bruins, led by quarterback Josh Rosen, must start fast in this game in order to quiet the raucous “12th Man” crowd at Kyle Field. The Bruins added a fullback and tight end to their offense in an attempt to increase power, and Eddie Vanderdoes returns to the defensive line after suffering a season-ending knee injury last year. The Bruins will face former offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone and an Aggies unit run by quarterback Trevor Knight, a graduate transfer from Oklahoma.

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No. 5 Louisiana State vs. Wisconsin at Green Bay, 12:30 p.m., ABC

It will be a tangle of defensive coordinators and strong programs from Power Five conferences. LSU lured defensive coordinator Dave Aranda from Wisconsin after last season and the Badgers picked up former USC defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox. LSU Head Coach Les Miles nearly lost his job last season but returns for a 12th year in Death Valley. He will rely on the legs of running back Leonard Fournette, an early favorite for the Heisman Trophy. 

12:30 p.m.: Kent State at Penn State, BTN; Miami (Ohio) at No. 17 Iowa, ESPNU; Texas State at Ohio, CBSSN; Murray State at Illinois, BTN.

1 p.m.: Louisiana Tech at Arkansas, SEC.

2 p.m.: UC Davis at No. 24 Oregon, Pac12.

2:30 p.m.: No. 18 Georgia vs. No. 22 North Carolina at Atlanta, ESPN.

4 p.m.: San Jose State at Tulsa, CBSSN.

4:30 p.m.: Southern Mississippi at Kentucky, ESPNU; Massachusetts at No. 25 Florida, SEC.

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EVENING

No. 20 USC vs. No. 1 Alabama at Arlington, Texas, 5 p.m., ABC

The buzz has been building around this Pac-12 versus Southeastern Conference game since it was scheduled in July 2014, but USC isn’t where most people thought it would be two years later. At the time, the Trojans were off to a fresh start after firing coach Lane Kiffin and hiring Steve Sarkisian. Now, Kiffin runs a dynamic offense for the reigning national champion Crimson Tide and Sarkisian has been replaced by first-year coach Clay Helton. Both teams will deploy a first-year starting quarterback. For the Trojans it’s Max Browne; the Crimson Tide will make a game-time decision on either Blake Barnett or Cooper Bateman.

No. 2 Clemson at Auburn, 6 p.m., ESPN

Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney took the Tigers to the next level last season, even though it ended in a loss to Alabama in the national title game. The Tigers return quarterback DeShaun Watson and tailback Wayne Gallman. After taking his team to the championship final in his first season as Auburn coach, Guz Malzahn is on the hot seat after finishing 8-5 and 7-6 the past two seasons. After a long quarterback battle, third-year sophomore Sean White was announced as the starter over Jonathan Franklin III — recognizable from the Netflix documentary “Last Chance U” — and Jeremy Johnson. 

5 p.m.: Fresno State at Nebraska, BTN; Eastern Washington at Washington State, Pac12.

7:30 p.m.: Brigham Young vs. Arizona at Phoenix, FS1; Northern Illinois at Wyoming, CBSSN.

7:45 p.m.: Northern Arizona at Arizona State, Pac12.

Sunday

No. 10 Notre Dame at Texas, 4:30 p.m., ABC

Notre Dame was thrown into controversy during training camp when six players were arrested on the same night in two unrelated incidents.  Defensive back Max Redfield, from Mission Viejo High, was dismissed from the team. However, four of the six players are expected to play against Texas. Irish Coach Brian Kelly has yet to name a starting quarterback; DeShone Kizer and Malik Zaire are both expected to play. At Texas, Coach Charlie Strong’s rebuilding project continues into its third season. Strong has declined to announce whether his starting quarterback will be Shane Buechele or Tyrone Swoopes. 

Monday

5 p.m.: No. 11 Mississippi vs. No. 4 Florida State at Orlando, ESPN.

lindsey.thiry@latimes.com

Twitter: @LindseyThiry


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