Notre Dame-Ohio State, Oregon-Georgia lead way as college football arrives in full force

Northwestern has its quarterback in Ryan Hilinski, not to mention an offensive line that’s going to knock some people around, a defense that has a little life to it, after all, and a coach in Pat Fitzgerald who’s looking mighty good again. Oh, and mojo — the Wildcats have all kinds of mojo.

We can say all that after their 31-28 upset of Nebraska in Dublin in Week 0 of the college football season.

The Wildcats — 3-9 last season — are pretty good again, and it sure beats the heck out of the alternative. Illinois, which smacked Wyoming around 38-6 in its opening game, might be pretty good, too. Anyone who watched our teams play Saturday had to be at least a bit impressed.

But now, we return to reality. The rest of the college football world has already forgotten about the Wildcats and the Illini because — just do the math, people — Week 1 is here. Defending national champion Georgia, ranked No. 3 heading in, has a stiff opening test against No. 11 Oregon. And that sexy matchup is almost an afterthought compared with No. 5 Notre Dame at No. 2 Ohio State. What did college football fans do to deserve such an extraordinary early-September gift?

Is it Ohio State’s turn to win the Big Ten again? Is it Alabama’s turn to win it all again? It says here the answer is “yes” on both.

Is it Northwestern’s and Illinois’ turns to recede into the background again? Yeah, you know how it goes. They do, too.

And here’s what’s happening:

MON 29

Cubs at Blue Jays (6:07 p.m., Marquee)

Look at it this way: It can’t be any worse than the Cubs’ last trip to Toronto, in 2014, when they were swept in three games by a combined score of — wow, this is bad — 28-3.

Well, this is kind of awkward.

AP Photos

TUE 30

Royals at White Sox (7:10 p.m., NBCSCH)

It’s just another delightful night at Guaranteed Rate, where $10.75 will get you a 16-ounce beer and an extra quarter will get you your very own “Sell the team” sign.

WED 31

Sun at Sky, Game 2 (7 p.m., ESPN2)

The Sky lost Game 2 to Connecticut in last year’s WNBA semis, then went on to their first championship. It’s a tough call, but we think they’re better off winning this one.

Storm at Aces, Game 2 (9 p.m., ESPN2)

The Aces may be the favorites to win the title, but the Storm have championship experience coming out of their ear holes. Don’t worry, it’s more pleasant than it sounds.

THU 1

Royals at White Sox (1:10 p.m., YouTube)

We all know how much time a person can waste clicking around YouTube, but watching the cratering Sox on this app is taking it to a new level.

Penn State at Purdue (7 p.m., Fox-32)

A visit to West Lafayette isn’t the easy-in, easy-out it used to be. The Boilermakers were a nine-win team in 2021.

The Illini manhandled Wyoming.

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

FRI 2

Illinois at Indiana (7 p.m., FS1)

The Illini romped in their opener, but Indiana is a step up from Wyoming. Unless, that is, Indiana is a step down from Wyoming. Look, don’t act like it isn’t possible.

Twins at White Sox (7:10 p.m., NBCSCH)

After all those weeks when the Twins were in first place and we were just waiting for the Sox to run them down, this feels awfully anticlimactic.

SAT 3

Oregon at Georgia (2:30 p.m., Ch. 7)

They’re calling this non-conference opener at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta a neutral-site game, eh? Phil Knight’s backyard in Beaverton, Ore., would’ve been less neutral.

Fire at Columbus (4:30 p.m., Ch. 9)

Were we just being foolish a few weeks back for believing the Fire could make the playoffs? Don’t answer that.

Illinois State at Wisconsin (6 p.m., FS1)

A rare prime-time game against such a big-boy opponent ought to be a real treat for fans of the Redbirds. Until, you know, the game starts.

Notre Dame at Ohio State (6:30 p.m., Ch. 7)

Irish coach Marcus Freeman, an OSU alum, opens his first full season with merely the biggest September game in college football. Guess that’s why he’s making the big bucks, right?

SUN 4

Sky at Sun, Game 3 (noon, ESPN2)

One step closer to what the Sky hope will be a successful repeat. We don’t have enough banners flying around this town, do we?

Cubs at Cardinals (1:15 p.m., Marquee)

It’s the last game of the season between these old rivals, which means it’s also the Cubs’ last game against the great Albert Pujols. Put him in, Coach. He’s ready to play.

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