Well, it’s that time of year again…time to start dog-earring preview magazines, lowering productivity targets, and alienating significant others. That’s right, our beloved college football is large and in charge as the calendar turns to September. We received a teaser last night and let’s hope that the offenses are not a sign of things to come because that would suck.
I am tempted to reprint my rant from last season because the networks seem to be ingraining their neglect of the early time slot. And, I will also not pontificate on the fact that ignoring that time slot may be beneficial to eastern time zone teams by limiting the number of different times a team may have to play. The one thing I will say is that the all-day viewing experience is much less enjoyable when the games are bunched up at 3:30 p.m.
SATURDAY, SEPT. 5
Chris Fowler, Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit
Yeah, this is not a game and no I am not planning on hurling nerf balls at the screen every time Desmond Howard appears. I grew up watching this show and I think it has a lot to do with my love for the greater sport, not just Ohio State or the Big Ten. This weekend has added significance for it is not just the first weekend of the season but it is also the first week for Lee Corso, the patriarch of the broadcast’s fun-loving spirit, after his stroke—a stroke we now know to be more serious than initially reported. It is still unclear if the Sunshine Scooter will be full strength this weekend, but just having him there, on the road to recovery is plenty. Welcome back, Lee!
Navy v. (6)Ohio State
Dave Pasch, Bob Griese, Chris Spielman
You will watch this game because your soul contractually obligated you shortly after birth. But you will also be watching because Chris Spielman, newly inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, will be calling the game…without Pam Ward! I would not have been surprised if ESPN had a rule against alums calling games, especially after Herbstreit’s Fiesta Gate. If you listen to Spielman on the radio then you know he is expecting a tough opponent in Navy.
Per my previously cited rant, there are no other watchable games at noon. If you are in desperate need of a flip-game, you can head over to the BTN and catch some of Penn State’s bludgeoning on Akron.
(13) Georgia v. (9)Oklahoma State
Sean McDonough, Matt Millen, Holly Rowe
This may not be the best game of the week, but it is certainly the most intriguing after the apparent rumors regarding Zac Robinson’s health. Assuming he is healthy, you will want to tune into this one to watch one of the best offenses in the country. The problem for OK State is that they lost the taste for playing defense some time ago. Mark Richt is 30-4 on the road (not counting neutral sites), which is an unbelievable stat, but he has a new starting quarterback in Joe Cox. If you are looking for a reason to cheer for Georgia, look no further than Oklahoma State’s horrible pregame song (what is with horrible music and college football this season).
Illinois v. Missouri
Ron Franklin, Ed Cunningham
Juice torched Mizzou for 451 yards passing last year. Seriously, think about that. With Arrelious Benn back and new addition Jarred Fayson it is very possible that he will do it again, which would ease Illinois marginal running game. I picked Illinois to finish second in the Big Ten and today’s game will tell you a lot about how formidable they will be on Sept. 26. If they are clicking on all cylinders, Ohio State is likely to see two of the best offenses in the country in the first four weeks.
Baylor v. Wake Forest
Dave Lamont, Shaun King
I know you are wondering why this is on here. (1) It is a good flip game because you will not watch these teams again all year. (2) Robert Griffin is a comparable talent to Terrelle Pryor and it is interesting to watch the way another team uses that ability. He passed for 2,091 yards and 15 touchdown while rushing for 843 yards and 13 scores as a true freshman last season. If you love college football, do yourself a favor and pat attention to Griffin all season.
If you are a masochist, a.k.a. Notre Dame you can watch the Irish barely squeak by (or lose) to Nevada. I am not suggesting this will be a good game to watch, however. The production value on NBC is poor.
(20)BYU v. (3)Oklahoma
Brad Nessler, Todd Blackledge, Heather Cox
This has place holder written all over it. The afternoon games are done and it the nightcap is still an hour away. If this game were on Versus I would suggest ignoring it entirely, but Nessler and Blackledge are a nice team and will make the one hour you really pay attention worth it. Of course, if you are famished and need alcohol reinforcements, skip it. It’s not like this is going to be a competitive game.
(7)Virginia Tech v. (5)Alabama
Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit, Lisa Salters
This game will be exactly like you expect it to be as long as that is a really low scoring game. Both teams sport fast, tough defenses against shaky new quarterbacks. VT has more experience along the line and at QB but I tend to think they will wilt against the Sons of Saban. Either way, this is a nice finishing touch to the opening Saturday.
MONDAY, SEPT. 7
Miami v. (18)Florida State
Brad Nessler, Todd Blackledge
It is impossible for me to accept that this is the opening game of the season for these teams or that they are shadows of their former selves. You can watch this game for posterity’s sake but you should watch it to see what Ohio State will be facing next season when the Hurricanes come to town. That program has tons of young talent and if it looks good on Monday night, it is going to look really good in 2010.