Ohio Bobcats at Louisville Cardinals (-20.5, 58)
With Heisman Trophy hopeful Teddy Bridgewater under center and a schedule that bodes well for the potential for an undefeated campaign, No. 9 Louisville begins the season with national championship aspirations when the Cardinals host Ohio in Sunday's season opener. The Cardinals enter the season with their highest preseason ranking ever, looking to build off a Sugar Bowl victory over Florida last January. The Bobcats, who are picked to win the Mid-American Conference East Division, might be Louisville's toughest non-conference test.
The Bobcats have opened the season with victories the past three years, including an upset of Penn State last year, but they haven't played a top-10 team since taking on then-No. 2 Ohio State in 2010. "This may be the most complete football team (we've played) since I've been here," Ohio coach Frank Solich told reporters. "They have a combination of things that I think we have not faced before in our time here at Ohio." The teams have split four all-time meetings but haven't clashed since Ohio's 22-15 victory in 1959.
Key betting stat: The Bobcats are 1-5 ATS in their last six road games.
Weather watch: The forecast is calling for temperatures in the low-90s with a 45 percent chance of thunderstorms in Louisville.
Colorado Buffaloes at Colorado State Rams (-3, 48.5)
Mike MacIntyre, who led San Jose State to a 11-2 record and a Military Bowl victory over Bowling Green, makes his Colorado head coaching debut against Colorado State on Sunday in what is called “The Rocky Mountain Showdown.” MacIntyre, who replaced Jon Embree, takes over a Buffaloes’ team that finished just 1-11 a year ago with the only victory by one point - 35-34, at Washington State. The Buffaloes bring an eight-game losing streak into the contest, the fourth longest in the FBS.
Colorado State begins its second season under Jim McElwain, who was the offensive coordinator for Alabama’s 2011 national championship team before leaving to take over in Fort Collins. The Rams won last year’s meeting, 22-17, and are attempting to record back-to-back wins over their in-state rivals for the first time since 1999-2000. The Sunday afternoon contest is played at a neutral site, Sports Authority Park at Mile High in Denver, home stadium for the NFL's Denver Broncos.
Key betting stat: The under is 5-0 in the last five meetings.
Weather watch: Temperatures in Arvada will be in the high-80s with a 21 percent chance of showers.