The 2018 college football season will kick off on Saturday with the first game of the Mountain West schedule when Hawaii takes on Colorado State in Fort Collins, Colorado. It's the second straight year CSU has started its season on the early weekend, and the Rams are hoping to repeat the same result as its 52-27 win against Oregon State in 2017. The Rams will also have a short turnaround for Week 1 as they take on rival Colorado on Friday night in Denver. It's the third straight year Hawaii has gotten its season started here in "Week Zero," 1-1 in its last two after beating UMass 38-35 in a road game last season.
Date: Saturday, Aug. 25 | Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Canvas Stadium -- Fort Collins, Colorado
TV: CBS Sports Network [channel finder]
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Hawaii: The Warriors had a top-10 running back last year in Diocemy Saint Juste, who set a new single-season school record with 1,510 yards. But with Saint Juste gone, we're going to see Hawaii return to the run and shoot offense in 2018. Sophomore Cole McDonald is the new starting quarterback, and top receiver John Ursua is back in action after going down with a season-ending injury in the middle of last season. At the time, Ursua was averaging 9.3 receptions and 131.8 receiving yards per game. Hawaii has posted just one winning season in the last ten years, but are hoping to reclaim run-and-shoot glory with McDonald and Ursua leading the way.
Colorado State: Coach Mike Bobo is back with the team after being hospitalized with numbness in his feet and later treated for peripheral neuropathy. Bobo is the team's offensive playcaller, and getting him back this week is not only great news for his well-being but keeps things consistent for the offense heading into his fourth year as the Rams' coach. Bobo is 15-9 in Mountain West play, and Colorado State has won all four of its meetings with the Warriors as conference foes.
There's big-time turnover for Colorado State as well with CSU losing a huge chunk of its offensive production from 2017 without quarterback Nick Stevens and wide receiver Michael Gallup on the roster. It wouldn't surprise me if this game was close early as the Rams get their feet wet offensively, but a pretty solid CSU defense should help the Rams pull away late. Pick: Colorado State -14