Who: Birmingham-Southern at McMurry

When: Saturday, 1 p.m.

Where: War Memorial Stadium, Little Rock, Arkansas

What to look for: How does Birmingham-Southern replace the running production of BCS Male Athlete of the Year Robert Shufford? As a senior, he rushed for 1,385 yards with 19 touchdowns for an offense that produced 278 rushing yards per game. Who is next?

Why to watch: It’s kind of cool that the teams are meeting in the middle – sort of – to play a Division III game in a famous stadium.

Who: Jacksonville State vs. Davidson

When: Saturday, 1 p.m.

Where: Burgess-Snow Field at JSU Stadium, Jacksonville

What to look for: Can Zion Webb and the Jacksonville State offense keep things rolling after gaining nearly 400 yards in three quarters in the win over Stephen F. Austin?

Why to watch: If both teams follow their usual plan to run the football, then this one shouldn’t take long. Last season, Davidson ran the ball 641 times overall and averaged 336 yards rushing per game. Last week, Jacksonville State ran the ball 46 times and threw it 19 times.

Who: Troy at Ole Miss

When: Saturday, 3 p.m.

Where: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium

What to look for: Troy looks to be very good on defense. The Ole Miss coach is Lane Kiffin, which means they are very good on offense. It should be an interesting matchup.

Why to watch: Who doesn’t like to see an early season upset? Not saying that will happen, but you never know.

Who: South Alabama vs. Nicholls State

When: Saturday, 4 p.m.

Where: Hancock-Whitney Stadium, Mobile

What to look for:  South Alabama’s run defense will be tested. Nicholls State sophomore Collin Guggenheim rushed for more than 100 yards in each of the final five games in the 2021 season and senior Julien Gums is 103 yards short of becoming the program’s all-time leading rusher.

Why to watch: Will Toledo transfer Carter Bradley be the answer at quarterback? Or will last year’s starter Desmond Trotter win his job back at some point?

Who: Alabama State vs. Miles

When: Saturday, 5 p.m.

Where: ASU Stadium, Montgomery

What to look for: Will Alabama State be a bit sharper after opening the season a week ago with a win over Howard? Or will Miles College be the fresher team in its opener?

Why to watch: Two really good former defensive players – Alabama State’s Eddie Robinson Jr. and Miles College’s Sam Shade – are the respective head coaches. Both defenses will be solid.

Who: Auburn vs. Mercer

When: Saturday, 6 p.m.

Where: Jordan-Hare Stadium

What to look for: T.J. Finley takes center stage after winning the quarterback job during fall camp. Do we also get a chance to see Robby Ashford or Zach Calzada?

Why to watch: Mercer does have some explosiveness to its offense. Can the Bears make Auburn’s defense sweat just a little bit?

Who: Huntingdon vs. Linfield (Ore.)

When: Saturday, 6 p.m.

Where: Samford Stadium

What to look for: Linfield is replacing All-American Wyatt Smith at quarterback. Huntingdon returns quarterback Landon Cotney, but he must cut down on turnovers after throwing 11 interceptions last season.

Why to watch: Huntingdon is coming off an eight-win season while Linfield was a NAIA semifinalist last season.

Who: Alabama vs. Utah State

When: Saturday, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium

What to look for: How well will quarterback Bryce Young mesh with a group of new receivers? And how many big plays will running back Jahmyr Gibbs provide?

Why to watch: We’re going with why to listen on this one. Chris Stewart takes over as Eli Gold’s fill-in during this game. With Utah State in town, one of his biggest challenges is flawlessly pronouncing names like A.J. Vongphacanh,  Sione Moku’atuapa and Poukesi Vakauta.

Who: Tuskegee vs. Fort Valley State

When: Sunday, 6 p.m.

Where: Cramton Bowl, Montgomery

What to look for: What will Reggie Ruffin’s second Tuskegee team look like? Ruffin had a successful tenure at Miles College but his team won just three games in his first year at Tuskegee.

Why to watch: Fort Valley State shut out Tuskegee, 30-0, in last year’s Boeing Red Tails Classic. How far has Tuskegee progressed since that day?

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email steve.irvine@1819news.com.

Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.