By Dan Leach
Follow Dan on Twitter @dtmleach

It is finally here! The three words we have been waiting for, seemingly forever, are just a few days away. Football — Is — Back.

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Let’s get right at it as I look at three big Thursday match-ups as we liftoff into what should be one of the most exciting years of college football in recent memory.

Thursday, Sept 3, 2015

NORTH CAROLINA Vs. SOUTH CAROLINA 6 p.m. 

Game being played at neutral site- Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina

Current line – South Carolina – 2

The Tar Heels seem like they are on the upswing, but go against good ole Steve Spurrier in first FBS football game of the year. This is a huge opening game for both in terms of setting a tone of the season. The Gamecocks are a slight fave, but with UNC’s improved offense they are a live play in this game and if USC opens with a loss to their interstate rival, there could be some chaos at the start of this season.

UNC’s star QB Marquise Williams will have a lot to say in how this game goes, and while the Gamecocks should be strong on defense, most of the rest of their team is in full rebuild mode after last year. This is going to be a fun game to watch with a ton of back and forth and in the end look for UNC to put their stamp on an early season statement.

DTM PREDICTION-  UNC +2

TCU AT MINNESOTA 9 p.m. 

TCF BANK STADIUM, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Current line – TCU -14

Talk about a doozy of a home opener for a Big Ten team with visions of making a New Years Day bowl game this season.

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The Gophers welcome in the #2 team in all the land, in my eyes, the Heisman fave in QB Trevone Boykin. While I think Minny will have a solid season in their conference, maybe even with a stunning upset or two. Opening night will not go well for Coach Kill and company. This game could be over before halftime with how dynamic the Horned Frogs are on both sides of the ball.

DTM PREDICTION – TCU -14

 

MICHIGAN AT UTAH 8:30 p.m.
Rice-Eccles Stadium. Salt Lake City, Utah

Current line – Utah -5.5

Memories of the 16-point beat-down last year at Michigan Stadium by the Utes — gone!

Fred Flintstone as head coach in Ann Arbor — gone!

All that was wrong with the world cause Michigan Football simply blew — gone! The reason is simple, cause football Jesus in the shape of a khaki pants wearing, shirtless former hero has come back to the town where he made so many memories.

Jim Harbaugh is back. And all is right with the world.

Now he hasn’t coached one down or won one game as the Wolverines head man, but the anticipation and excitement level in ‘Ann Arbaugh’ has been simply out of control since he was named the head coach.

This is one of the most important opening games in 50 years for Michigan football and they do it on the road against a team that is well coached by Kyle Whittingham and has a QB in Travis Wilson that was lights out last year, but also struggled mightily in some contests.

While this game might start out close, in the end all the questions Michigan had coming in will be answered, and in one of the games that defines an era, Michigan will sneak out of the Utah Mountains with not only a big upset win, but a truly convincing one to start off the Jim Harbuagh era in a massive way.

Stat to remember – Michigan 111-21-3 in season openers. 16-5-1 when they have opened the season on the road.

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DTM PREDICTION – MICHIGAN (An early season 10-point play – don’t want to snooze on this one).