Alabama Football: Week Zero college football is going to be fun

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Alabama football fans and college football fans across the nation are hungry for football. A week from Saturday, on Aug. 28, college football returns with the 2021 season prelude known as week Zero.

High-profile games don’t return until Week One, which technically begins with UAB and Jacksonville on Wed. Aug. 28. There are some big games in Week One, including Penn State vs. Wisconsin, Clemson vs. Georgia, and of course the Alabama Football contest with the Miami Hurricanes.

For most Alabama football fans, it will not feel like college football has really returned until the Crimson Tide takes on Miami. Most of the football played in Week Zero will be nothing akin to what Tide fans expect football to be. Maybe, and it is a big maybe, Power Five programs Nebraska, Illinois and UCLA will surprise and field improved teams in their openers.

2021 Alabama Football opponent plays in Week Zero

UTEP travels to Las Cruces to take on the New Mexico State Aggies in a night game. Alabama football fans can get a look at the Crimson Tide’s Nov. 13 opponent. Fair warning to viewers is that neither team will display a level of football close to the worst team in the SEC. There is more on New Mexico State here.

UTEP was 3-5 in their abbreviated 2020 season. The Miners won a total of two games in 22, 2018 and 2019 contests. With that history and playing on the road, UTEP is still a 9-point favorite. New Mexico State was 1-1 in 2020 and won a total of five games in 2018 and 2019. The Aggies have had one winning season in the last ten years.

Other Week Zero Games

The FBS season officially begins with a noon Big Ten contest. Nebraska will be at Illinois. The Cornhuskers were 3-5 last season and one of the losses was to Illinois in Lincoln. Nebraska football has not gone the way Huskers’ fans expected when Scott Frost became head coach in 2018. His Nebraska record is 12-20. In five seasons as a head coach, Frost has one winning season.

After five failed seasons under Lovie Smith, the Illini are now led by Brett Bielema. Coming off a 2-6, 2020 record, Bielema has a tough challenge. Illinois has not had a winning season since 2011. Like the Cornhuskers, Illinois badly needs to start the season strong. Nebraska is a 7-point favorite.

The second most noteworthy game of the weekend is Hawaii at UCLA. The Rainbow Warriors were 5-4 in Todd Graham’s first season. UCLA was 3-4 for the Bruins’ best performance under Chip Kelly.  Kelly is 10-21 in three UCLA seasons. The Bruins are expected to be improved enough for a winning record in 2021. Should Hawaii provide them with much of a challenge, it will not bode well for the Bruins hosting the Bengal Tigers the following Saturday.

The other two, Week Zero games should be blowouts. Connecticut travels to Fresno State and the result will likely renew the question as to why the Huskies play FBS football. In an ever bigger mismatch, San Jose State hosts Southern Utah.

Team records in this post are from sports-reference.com.

Next. How much or how little success to expect from main Tide rivals. dark

One thing is for sure – Week Zero football is a welcome relief from months of no football. Alabama football fans will be thankful.