The Washington Post

UNLV at Wisconsin, Mississippi State at Memphis highlight opening night of NCAA football

New Wisconsin QB Russell Wilson leads the Badgers against UNLV on opening night. (Michael P. King/AP)

Thank goodness.

• Check out a full 2011 NCAA football preview here

Thursday features 14 Division 1 games to kickoff the 2011 season including tantalizing matchups like North Texas at Florida International and New Hampshire at Toledo (this is why ESPN3 was created).

Two top 25 teams are in action as No. 20 Mississippi State visits Memphis and No. 11 Wisconsin hosts UNLV in a nationally televised contest.

The Badgers will once again be expected to compete for a Big Ten (or is it Big 12?) title — they had to share it with Ohio State and Michigan State last year — and they should roll tonight as North Carolina State transfer Russell Wilson debuts for Wisconsin under center.

Wisconsin safety Aaron Henry spoke on behalf of his teammates and the 80,000 expected in the stands at Camp Randall Stadium when he said:

“It’s going to be an amazing, amazing atmosphere, man. Hopefully we can just got in there and take care of business.”

Three more highlights from a blockbuster weekend of college pigskin:

No. 14 TCU at Baylor - Fri., 8 p.m.

No. 3 Oregon at No. 4 LSU - Sat. 8 p.m.

No. 5 Boise State at No. 19 Georgia - St. 8 p.m.

(Make sure you’ve got fresh batteries in the remote Sat. night!)

Matt Brooks is the high school sports editor for The Washington Post. He's an Arlington native and longtime District resident and was previously a high school sports reporter, editor for several blogs and Early Lead contributor with The Post.


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