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2018 college football season kicks off tonight, for real

No offense to the teams that played last weekend, but what is Week 0 anyway?

NCAA Football: American Athletic Conference Championship-Memphis at Central Florida Matt Stamey-USA TODAY Sports

With all due respect to the likes of UMass, Duquesne, Rice, Prairie View A&M, North Carolina A&T, Jacksonville State, Hawaii, Colorado State, Wyoming and New Mexico State, the 2018 college football season actually kicks off tonight.

Leading the charge will be the defending “national champions,” the No. 21 UCF (don’t call them Golden) Knights, as they travel to their once and future rivals at UConn; the game will air on ESPNU at 7 p.m. ET.

There may no longer be a trophy on the line, but with former UCF head coach Scott Frost taking his championship ring and jumping ship to his alma mater of Nebraska, the team he left behind will have a lot to prove, especially as many college football fans still refuse to accept their completely legit—and now official—national title claim.

Sticking a little closer to home, we have a Big Ten battle happening at 8:00 p.m. ET on ESPN as the Northwestern Wildcats will travel to West Lafayette, Ind. to take on the Purdue Boilermakers. Both teams are looking to move up the West division standings this year, and there’s nothing like a Week 1 conference battle to get the juices flowing! Of course... unless you lose said opening week conference battle, and you are climbing up hill for the rest of the season¯ \_(ツ)_/¯.

Also opening up their season tonight is B1G West representative Minnesota, as the Golden Gophers will host the New Mexico State Aggies (0-1), who are still smarting from their 29-7, Week 0 defeat at the hands of Wyoming. The contest will kickoff at 7 p.m. ET on BTN.

Over on ESPN+, the battle between Atlanta’s downtown and suburbs will come to you beginning at 7 p.m. ET. In just their fourth season of varsity football, the Kennesaw State Owls will travel down I-75 to take on the Georgia State Panthers, in just their ninth season of varsity football. Given Atlanta’s traffic, it will likely take the Owls longer to make the 25-mile drive down to the stadium formerly known as Turner Field than it will for them to actually play the game.

The complete list of tonight’s games are below, but remember to pace yourself, as this is just the appetizer for Saturday’s main course; the Ohio State Buckeyes kick off on Saturday, Sept. 1 at noon ET.

Week 1 Thursday Schedule

Matchup Time (ET) TV Streaming
Matchup Time (ET) TV Streaming
#21 UCF at UConn 7:00 PM ESPNU WatchESPN.com
New Mexico State at Minnesota 7:00 PM BTN FoxSportsGo.com
Central Connecticut at Ball State 7:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
Kennesaw State at Georgia State 7:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
Southeastern Louisiana at UL Monroe 8:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
Northwestern at Purdue 8:00 PM ESPN WatchESPN.com
Wake Forest at Tulane 8:00 PM CBSSN CBSSports.com
Savannah State at UAB 8:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
Missouri State at Oklahoma State 8:00 PM FS1 FoxSportsGo.com
Weber State at Utah 8:00 PM Pac-12 Networks Pac-12.com
Northwestern State at Texas A&M 8:30 PM SEC Network WatchESPN.com
UC Davis at San Jose State 10:00 PM None None