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Low-key matchup for Week 1 of the college football season

We’re identifying under-the-radar bangers for each week of the college football season and our first recommendation is a Lone Star State showdown in the Alamodome.

NCAA Football: Houston at Tulane Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Week 1 of the 2022 college football season is here and the action will take us to every corner of the country as a new campaign unfolds. This weekend, Most of the viewing public will be fixated on the marquee games like Notre Dame-Ohio State, Oregon-Georgia, and Florida State-LSU. Well where they zig, we’ll zag.

Every week, we’ll go full hipster and point out an under-the-radar game that you should also be paying attention to on the schedule. For Week 1, we’ll go with an intriguing in-state showdown in the heart of Texas.

Houston at UTSA, 3 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: Houston -4
Total: Over/Under 62
Moneyline: Houston -190, UTSA +160

The No. 24 Houston Cougars will open the season by heading west to meet the UTSA Roadrunners at the Alamodome. Both of these teams have top 30 offenses in preseason SP+ rankings and the crowd in San Antonio could be treated to a barnburner on Saturday.

Houston is coming off a 12-2 campaign last year and head coach Dana Holgersen has stated throughout the offseason that he believes his team can accomplish what Cincinnati did last season. It will help that that the triumvirate of quarterback Clayton Tune, running back Alton McCaskill, and wide receiver Tank Dell will all be back to lead the offense. Dell in particular is coming off a year where he snagged 90 catches for 1,329 yards, and 12 touchdowns. He’ll be a name you’ll start hearing more from when NFL Draft season arrives. Meanwhile, the Cougars’ “Sack Avenue” defense returns feared pass rushers like linebacker Donovan Mutin and edge rusher Derek Parish.

Meanwhile, UTSA is coming off the best season in its young history where it went 12-2 and won the Conference USA title. Head coach and former Texas high school football legend established himself as a rising star in the college coaching ranks and the Roadrunner brass showed their commitment to him by rewarding him with a 10-year contract extension. The biggest loss from last year’s team is running back Sincere McCormick, who was a two-time Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year. Replacing him will be Arkansas transfer Trelon Smith and senior back Brenden Brady. Meanwhile, senior quarterback Frank Harris accounted for 33 touchdowns last year and was voted on as the preseason Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year heading into the new campaign.

What makes this game intriguing is that both teams have something to prove this season and will have a desire to start the year hot. On top of its dark horse College Football Playoff aspirations, Houston is heading to the Big 12 next season and would like to flex its muscles as a program to be reckoned with. Meanwhile, UTSA is about to take Houston’s spot in the AAC next year and it would like to be viewed as the next great Group of Five power.

If you have the time in the mid-afternoon, I implore you to flip over to CBSSN for this Lone Star State showdown. You won’t regret it.