Friday, Aug. 29
I suggest two hours of viewing here, unless your boys are playing. Save yourself for a wild next three days.
7:30 P.M., Jacksonville State at Georgia Tech
A half hour of Georgia Tech’s triple option will be a good introduction to the season: a throwback of sorts to bygone days. Then shift gears to the 8 P.M. game.
8 P.M., North Carolina State at South Carolina
The old ball coach will provide a good hour of rivalry football against NC State. Look for vanilla spread offenses and zone running. Prepare to be bored quickly though, so at 9 P.M. you'll change.
9 P.M., Oregon State at Stanford
Pac Ten showdown. I am personally interested in Stanford’s season this year. Jim Harbaugh has to be one of the most audacious people on the planet and it may help him win a few this year. This might be one of them. I will probably turn the TV off after 30 minutes of this. Good first day of football.
Saturday, Aug. 30
Now we get to some must-watch games, or at least "must track on your computer as you watch another game" games.
12 Noon, Youngstown State at Ohio State
Tressel’s old team comes to bring another lower-division upset to the Big Ten. Or they’re just doing him a favor early on.
12:30 P.M., Hawaii at Florida
Florida’s defense should be able to match up well with the spread offense of Hawaii, if that’s what Hawaii ends up doing. If Hawaii mixes it up well, this could be a close game. The media-anointed “Superman” should have a big game and we will all hear “Heisman repeat” long before it starts, but quite a bit afterwards as well.
3:30 P.M., Utah at Michigan
Utah has a very good defense that may have answers for Rich Rod’s spread option offense. If Bryan Johnson stays healthy for more than seven minutes and plays well, this could be a very good game and a very possible early upset.
3:30 P.M., USC at Virginia
Flip between this and Utah/Michigan. USC has rarely come out with guns blazing in the early games, so this game could provide some stress. Defensively, there should not be too many surprises for the Trojans or Cavaliers, but they will both have their hands full offensively.
5 P.M., Appalachian State at LSU
Possible game of the year. Look for App State to spread it out, pass short, and run the QB all over, just like they did at Michigan. Look for them to come out and play well. LSU’s D-line has a big responsibility in this game and the secondary/linebackers will be stretched out often.
Gary Crowton has never done as well as OC in year two and beyond anywhere, so LSU may have some scoring issues. A wise thing to do would be to power down the field.
8 P.M., Alabama at Clemson
Another must-see game. Nick Saban’s debut against a much-hyped Clemson team that always seems to be overrated or underachieving. You pick. I look for Alabama to shut down a predictable, vanilla SEC Clemson offense.
The question mark will be Clemson’s defense. If they can match the success of a Nick Saban defense, this will be a classic defensive struggle with field position and special teams playing a big part in success for the winner.
8:30 P.M., Illinois at Missouri
Juice and Chase take the field. This should be fun to watch. We may see a lot of points go on the board and get a good look at two Heisman hopefuls. As well as seeing the stage set for each team’s run to a BCS bowl.
Sunday, Aug. 31
3:30 P.M., Kentucky at Louisville
Classic rivalry. This game features two re-tooled teams with new quarterbacks at the helms after the departures of Andre Woodson and Brian Brohm. Kentucky may have the upper hand with a more experienced, more productive ground game than Louisville had last year.
7:30 P.M., Colorado State at Colorado
Another early rivalry game. With a new staff in Ft. Collins, the Rams have their work cut out for them against Dan Hawkins’ Buffaloes.
Monday, Sept. 1
4:30 P.M., Fresno State at Rutgers
Both are Cinderella’s. Rutgers has come a very long way and will run into an always tough Fresno State team. These are two very similar styles of football and should provide a very good game. Should Fresno State pull off a victory, look for them to be in BCS contention until next week at Wisconsin.
If they win there look for them to be in contention until two weeks later at UCLA. If they win there they have Hawaii and Boise State on the schedule—both legitimate contenders. Kudos to the Bulldogs for playing “anyone, anywhere.” They have a tough enough schedule to be given a title shot should they go undefeated and only one other team does.
8 P.M., Tennessee at UCLA
Norm Chow may get the opportunity to stick it to the football fans of Tennessee, but I doubt it. Vince Young will do that. This should be a good game to gauge the future of both teams. And contrary to what you will hear all weekend long, it will have no bearing on the superiority of one conference over the other. Welcome to week one.
I can't think of a better week one than this. We have rivalries, top 25 matchups, the works. Enjoy!