The first weekend of the season is always fascinating. Anticipation and excitement are usually trampled by lopsided scoreboards, large checks being cashed in exchange for guaranteed losses (right, Michigan?), and there are very few games that would be deemed “watchable” by non-football derelicts.
For the rest of us, however, we're pigs in slop, and it really wouldn’t matter if there were feral cats playing other feral cats. As long as there are refs and helmets involved, we’re in.
In recent history, there are a handful of marquee matchups—typically saved for those primetime slots—but after you soak yourself in champagne following the moment the first ball is kicked on early Thursday evening, the buildup rarely matches the entire opening slate.
That’s not necessarily the case in 2012, and the times of these games are becoming more concrete by the day. These games require your full attention, and from Thursday, August 31 through Monday, September 3 you are booked. You have less than three months, it's time to start planning.
To adequately prepare you for this opening weekend, I’ve gone ahead and scheduled your days for you. You’re welcome. Please leave tips (not advice but, like, money) on the way out.
Thursday: 3:30 PM – Leave work early and don’t tell a soul. You’ve already taken Friday off (NOTE: Do this), which means your employers will expect hard work from you this day. This clearly won’t happen, but you should exit quietly (maybe a window or fire escape?) to avoid being seen regardless. South Carolina and Vanderbilt kickoff at 7:00 p.m. ET, and a 3:30 exit should give you ample time to mentally prepare yourself for the evening ahead.
PRO TIP: Don’t invite the wrong people over for this. If that person doesn’t love football as much as you do, silence their phone calls and catch up sometime or never.
Thursday: 7:30 PM – This is where you have some freedom. If you’re enjoying South Carolina and Vanderbilt, then by all means sit back, do very little and watch the Ol’ Ball Coach hopefully get incredibly angry less than four minutes into the season. If you need a change of place, flip on over to ESPNU.
Texas A&M and Louisiana Tech could be the sneaky underrated game of the entire weekend, and this tips off at 7:30. If anything, this is magnificent halftime entertainment unless, of course, you’re a fan of Dr. Lou and need to see his debut work. And if you actually feel this way, you’ve probably been drinking a little too much a little too early. Slow down.
Thursday: 10:15 PM – Bed? Oh, hell no. This is where things get wonderful/amazing/incredible/can you still see? Mike Leach makes his return to college football as Washington State tees it up against BYU. I’m not sure my excitement can be explained quite enough here, so I’ll let this GIF explain it for me.
If you do have to work on Friday, this is where you should begin planning out what kind of ailment you have to avoid it.
PRO TIP: Don’t say a cold, that’s way too weak. Don’t say the flu, not specific enough. Food poisoning is a magnificent excuse that is so miserable no one could possibly call you out on it.
Friday: 9:15 AM – Mornin’, sunshine. How ya feelin’? Terrible? Good, sleep in and get horribly unhealthy food for lunch. It’ll help out tremendously. Also, be sure to buy items for the grill to be used later on. (And more beverages if you need it)
Friday: 7:30 PM – If you haven’t already brought in an extra television for the weekend, make sure you get it done. If you have, golf clap, and NC State versus Tennessee and Boise State versus Michigan State are wonderful Friday games. Will Derek Dooley's backside catch on fire by halftime? What is Boise State without Mr. Moore? These questions will be answered.
Tennessee and NC State will serve as your appetizer and Boise and MSU will kick off a half hour later. If you’re doing anything but watching these games at this point—like socializing with friends, going out to dinner, or something else that is totally stupid—please, close this page immediately. You are not up for this.
Try to get to bed early, though. You'll need your rest.
Saturday: 6:00 AM – Good morning, y’all, and what a morning it is. Before you do anything, drink at least three cups of coffee (or a beer, or a Bloody Mary, or a coffee with an extra “kick”) and wake yourself up.
Notre Dame and Navy kickoff at 8:00 a.m., and this might just be the best Online tailgate ever. Seriously, I’ll allow this GIF to explain my excitement, because words don’t quite capture what my thoughts are on this game, either.
It will be closer than you expect it to be, Brian Kelly’s face will probably turn purple at some point, and you will be watching football, live at 8:00 AM. HOLY #$%^.
Saturday: 11:00 AM – Here’s where things could get ugly for a while, although your team of choice is probably playing as a 30-point favorite or so. Take the afternoon to watch them beat up on IS THAT REALLY A SCHOOL/UNIVERSITY? Northwestern playing Syracuse at lunchtime has never looked so good.
PRO TIP: This is the best time to log some quality grill hours. Don’t just do something easy like burgers, be sure to buy a delicious cut of meat ahead of time. Also, I’ll just assume you’re probably drinking. If you’re not… nudge, nudge.
Saturday: 7:00 PM – You’ve been up for 12 hours, and you’ll probably need more coffee. Write that down.
Clemson and Auburn will duke it out at 7:00 and Alabama and Michigan will get going one hour later. Your Twitter feed will be filled with Auburn and Alabama fans patting each other on the back, telling one another how good their team is, and it will be beautiful. Right? RIGHT?
The Alabama/Michigan game should be particularly entertaining, regardless of whether it's a close game or a blowout. Nick Saban and Brady Hoke could very well go at it Greco-Roman wrestling style afterwards, which means you have to watch the whole thing. Once again, a GIF explains my excitement for me.
PRO TIP: This is the perfect time to order a pizza, which will help wash down all that meat and beer and who knows what else you’ve consumed throughout the day. It also requires you to do nothing but lift the ol' wallet.
Sunday: 3:30 PM – You thought you were done? Not so fast, my friend. In fact, we've still got a ways to go. Hopefully you slept in and feel slightly less terrible than I think we’ll all feel at this point. Perhaps a trip to the gym is HAHAHA never mind.
Kentucky and Louisville tee off at 3:30 and then SMU and Baylor play at 6:30. The Battle of Kentucky should bring about 35 points or so, while SMU and Baylor will play without a pass rush, corners, etc. This should make for great Sunday night television.
Monday: 8:00 PM – Labor Day! Which means more food, more beer, and yes, more football. It also means no work, which is good because you’re still likely to be recovering.
Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech will close out Week One with a fascinating nighttime matchup, where Paul Johnson will take his option game to the big stage, while Frank Beamer will try and get off to a solid start. One thing we do know: This Virginia Tech crowd will be wonderfully insane.
The average fan might be “sick” of football at this point. If someone approaches you with this nonsense, delete them from your cellphone immediately.
Congratulations! You made it through! You have five days to rest until you do it all over again.