By Parrish Alford
The week many folks began longing for once the bowl games were complete is here.
Major college football arrives Thursday night, and No. 18 Ole Miss will be among a handful of teams in action.
The Rebels aren’t playing a power conference team, but they’re playing a big boy name in Boise State.
The Broncos are coming off an 8-5 season which is well below the standard to which they’ve become accustomed over the last 10 years.
Mississippi State and most other major college teams get under way on Saturday.
The Bulldogs are the prime time game on the new SEC Network against in-state rival Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles have won just one game the last two years, but that was their last one, in big fashion, over UAB.
From the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ole Miss and Boise, led by first-year coach Bryan Harsin, a former player and long-time Broncos assistant, kick at 7 p.m. on ESPN.
There are 13 total games on Thursday including three other SEC teams in action, those three on the SEC Network.
Texas A&M travels to South Carolina for a 5 p.m. start. Vanderbilt and Temple follow from Nashville.
Opening night also features a Big 10-Pac 12 matchup as Rutgers goes across the country to face Washington State. That’s a 9 p.m. start on Fox Sports 1.
MSU and Southern Miss will begin at 6:30 on Saturday.
There are more intriguing games on the first Saturday.
The SEC has another league-on-league matchup as Arkansas visits Auburn with a 3 p.m. kick on the SEC Network.
Also from the Georgia Dome, No. 2 Alabama meets West Virginia at 2:30 p.m. on ABC.
There are two league games involving ranked foes. No. 13 LSU and No. 14 Wisconsin meet in Arlington, Texas, at 8 p.m. on ESPN, and No. 12 Georgia is at home against No. 16 Clemson on ESPN at 4:30 p.m.