While college football is know for its Saturdays, you can find games pretty much any day of the week. Thursday night is a big night for college football with some big games across the nation, including those games from the Group of 5 conferences.
It’s a night to see programs that perhaps you wouldn’t normally go out and see, but we love football and any chance watch it.
Thursday Night College Football Trends
Typically when it comes to midweek football, we’re watching teams from the Group of 5 getting their time on national TV. These teams have offensive firepower and rarely is a game short on scoring unless you’ve got some crazy weather conditions.
Midweek MACtion has grown in the popularity because of the points the Mid-American Conference is known to put up each week when late fall comes around and MAC games are routinely shown by ESPN.
The oddsmakers know these games result in high scores, so don’t be shocked to see some high over/unders. The offenses make for fun games to watch and to bet on if you generally don’t care about either team.
Thursday Night College Football Week-by-week Headliners
The Thursday Night College Football schedule kicks off on August 30 and for the second year in a row there is Big Ten conference game right away.
Last year it was Ohio State taking on Indiana, this year looks to be a much better game between Purdue and Northwestern. Wisconsin is at the top of the West Division, but Purdue and Northwestern are both coming off bowl wins and look the be teams vying to knock off the Badgers in 2018.
There is a Week 2 hiatus for Thursday college football, don’t fret, it’s back for the rest of the season and in Week 3 we have an ACC matchup between Boston College and Wake Forest.
Both the Demon Deacons and Golden Eagles are coming off back-to-back bowl apperances and are looking to take a step up in the ACC standings.
Week 5 brings us another ACC matchup with Miami and North Carolina going head-to-head. The Hurricanes got themselves back in the national spotlight last season with the Turnover Chain.
While Miami had a strong 2017, UNC nearly knocked them off a season ago, losing 24-19 on late October. The Tar Heels are looking to bounce back after a 3-9 year and could really send a shockwave through the ACC on Thursday, Sept. 27.
In week 6 we have the Sun Belt Conference looking to show out with defending champions Troy and Georgia State facing off. These are two teams we don’t normally see, but the Trojans are more well known for some big wins over the years.
When you think of offense-heavy conferences, the Big 12 is probably the first that comes to mind and in Week 7 we’ll see Texas Tech and TCU slinging the ball around on Thursday night.
With Baker Mayfield no longer at Okalahoma, perhaps its the Horned Frogs year to shine or maybe this is the season the Red Raiders put it together and move up in the standings.
In Week 8 we go further west as Arizona State and new head coach Herm Edwards takes on Stanford in a PAC 12 matchup. The Sun Devils are looking to prove they are better than predicted, while the Cardinal are projected second in the North behind Washington.
Also in Week 8, we return to the Sun Belt with another look at Georgia State and Arkansas State, both of which went to bowls a season ago.
In Week 9 we have a couple big games and another showing of the Sun Belt with Appalachian State looking to stomp on Georgia Southern. Highlighting this Thursday however, is Baylor vs. West Virginia and Georgia Tech against Virginia Tech. The Mountaineers are looking to get into the Big 12 championship game while Baylor is fighting to become a player in the conference and nation once again. The Hokies are a sleeper to give Clemson a run for its money in the ACC while the Yellow Jackets were on the cusp of a bowl game last season and looking to get back into postseason play since a year off in 2017.
Week 10 is all about the American Athletic Conference with the self-appointed 2017 National Champions, UCF, taking on what could be a good Temple team. Can the Knights keep rolling after an incredible 2017 season or will the Owls bring them back down to the rest of the conference?
In Week 11 we’re back to the ACC with Wake Forest and NC State. The Wolfpack are coming off a good season at 9-4, but it could’ve been better with close loses to South Carolina, Clemson and the Demon Deacons late in the season.
Week 12 we have a showdown of the defending C-USA champion Florida Atlantic and West Division champion North Texas. The Owls are looking to remain at the top of the conference while the Mean Green are looking for revenge after getting blown away twice last season.
Finally, Week 13 — Thanksgiving isn’t just for the NFL anymore. College football has a pair of games, including a Mountain West Conference matchup between Colorado State and Air Force. It could be a fun game, but it’ll be overshadowed by the Egg Bowl and the SEC as Ole Miss and Mississippi State go head-to-head.
The Bulldogs are coming off a 9-4 season while the Rebels are looking to start the rebuild and winning rivalry games go a long way in the building process.
Thursday Night College Football Schedule
UCF at UConn, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
New Mexico State at Minnesota, 7 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
Central Connecticut State at Ball State, 7 p.m. (ESPN+)
Kennesaw State at Georgia State, 7 p.m. (ESPN+)
Northwestern at Purdue, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Southeastern Louisiana at Lousiana-Monroe, 8 p.m. (ESPN+)
Wake Forest at Tulane, 8 p.m. (CBSSN)
Missouri State at Oklahoma State, 8 p.m. (Fox Sports 1)
Weber State at Utah, 8 p.m. (PAC-12)
Northwestern State at Texas A&M, 8:30 p.m. (SEC Network)
Boston College at Wake Forest, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Tulsa at Temple, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
North Carolina at Miami, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Georgia State at Troy, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
Tulsa at Houston, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Georgia Southern at Texas State, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
Texas Tech at TCU, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Georgia State at Arkansas State, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
Stanford at Arizona State, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
Baylor at West Virginia, 7 p.m. (Fox Sports 1)
Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Appalachian State at Georgia Southern, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
Temple at UCF, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Wake Forest at NC State, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Toledo at Kent State, 6 p.m. (CBSSN)
November means it’s time for MACtion, and there are MAC games televised on Tuesday through Thursday in the upcoming week. Toledo visits Kent State in a cross division matchup as the Rockets look to become bowl eligible.
In recent years, the Rockets have competed for the MAC championship. However, this has been more of a rebuilding year, and they have taken a step back in the conference. Kent State is at the very beginning of the rebuilding process under new coach Sean Lewis, and they are currently 2-8.
Toledo opened as a 13.5-point road favorite, and they have won three straight games over the Golden Flashes. The Rockets defeated Kent State 38-7 a season ago, and they lead the all-time series 25-21.
Tulane at Houston, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
A division championship is possibly on the line Thursday night as Tulane visits Houston for an American Athletic Conference showdown. The Cougars and the Green Wave are both 4-2 in the AAC, and they are currently in a three-way tie with SMU atop the AAC West.
Houston had a chance to improve to 5-1 in conference play last week, but they were torched defensively in a 59-49 home loss to Temple. Meanwhile, Tulane is only 5-5, but they are on the cusp of making a bowl game for the first time since 2013.
The Cougars are a 10.5-point home favorite, and they lead the all-time series 16-6. However, the Green Wave pulled off the upset a season ago 20-17 in New Orleans.
Florida Atlantic at North Texas, 9:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
Florida Atlantic visits North Texas in a rematch of last year’s Conference USA championship game. Many projected the two schools to meet in this year’s conference title game, but neither team quite lived up to those lofty expectations.
Last year, FAU was one of the best Group of 5 teams in the country in Lane Kiffin’s first season. They’ve taken a step back this year, and at 5-5, they’re still searching for their sixth win to reach a bowl game. North Texas is 7-3 this season under Seth Littrell, though they were eliminated from winning the division after UAB clinched the C-USA West last Saturday.
North Texas is favored by 2.5, and they trail the series 8-4. The Owls won two meetings a year ago, and neither game was particularly close. FAU won the first game 69-31, and they won the title game 41-17. The Mean Green will have revenge on their mind on Thursday evening.
Colorado State at Air Force, 3:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
Neither the Rams nor the Falcons have had the season they expected, but they both have an opportunity to finish the season on a positive note on Thanksgiving Day.
Colorado State enters the game at 3-8, and they have lost four straight games. They nearly upset Utah State, but a last second, game-winning touchdown was nullified by a penalty. The Rams’ five-year bowl streak is coming to an end this season, and fourth-year coach Mike Bobo is looking for a win heading into the offseason.
Air Force is 4-7 on the year, and this will be the second straight season the Falcons have missed a bowl game. They’ve had several close calls this year, but they’ve come up just short in close games. The Falcons have won two straight in this series, and they lead the all-time series 34-21-1. Air Force opened as a 14.5-point favorite over Colorado State.
Mississippi State at Ole Miss, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
The Egg Bowl on Thanksgiving is an annual tradition, and this is one of the most underrated rivalries in college football. These two schools hate each other, and it’s been especially intense in recent years.
Last year, Ole Miss pulled off the upset over the Bulldogs, 31-28. The Rebels lead the all-time series 64-44-6, but it’s 5-5 in the last decade. There have been several upsets in recent years and the underdog normally plays well in this game.
Mississippi State enters this matchup as a 10.5-point favorite in Joe Moorhead’s first season in Starkville. Ole Miss coach Matt Luke played in this rivalry in the 90s, so he’s familiar with the hatred involved. The Bulldogs have one of the best defenses in college football, and they will be tested by the Rebels’ dynamic offense.