In case some of you didn't know, I'm a huge Arizona fan with Notre Dame taking a distant second. While that may affect my judgement in Heisman related conversations and preseason predictions, I know good football when I see it: college football. To save you, the avid fan, the trouble, I'm letting you know which games to watch out for in '08. And Arizona and Notre Dame don't crack the list other than their individual rivalry games. So without further Adieu:
Saturday August 30:
Though the season starts with a whimper on Thursday, Saturday is college football and it's there that we'll start (sorry to those of you who thought Hofstra at Connecticut were going to excite me). Granted I'll watch Thursday football that week, but won't recommend it to the masses.
Anyway, opening weekend will see a big match-up of Midwest powers. Rose Bowl participant Illinois (if you can call them that, and I love the Illini) will be heading to Missouri to open the season and I'll be watching. Set your calendars, 8:30 ET will be setting stage for the biggest contest of week one.
Also that week Hawaii will visit Florida. This should be closer than the Sugar Bowl of last season...but not much. Let's see if Tucson boy Tyler Graunke can take over for Colt Brennan against the much more powerful Florida team. Also that week, Appalachian State will be at LSU. This won't be close but I'm sick of Appy State getting rammed down our throat since beating Michigan last year. Congrats, anyone could beat Michigan, except my beloved Irish...
Saturday September 6:
WORST week of the entire season. The "Best" game to watch is between former power Miami and Florida. If you have to miss a week of college football this year, this would be the week to miss.
Friday, September 12/Saturday, September 13:
A surprisingly decent Friday game with Kansas at South Florida should whet your appetites for the BEST WEEKEND OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL EVER. This weekend has Wisconsin at Fresno State, Georgia at South Carolina (in the definition of a trap game with the Dawgs looking at next week's ASU game) and the capper, at 8:00 PM ET Ohio State heads to USC for the best regular season game in probably 25 years. This will let us see a preview of the postseason. If Ohio State gets blown out they won't be in the BCS championship this year, and if they win, hey will. This is NOT the week to leave town, unless you're going to Southern California and watching the game.
Saturday September 20:
The SEC is on the board this weekend with a pair of tough matchups. Florida and the Tebows head to Tennessee in what might be Tennessee's defining '08 game. Meanwhile LSU, trying to prove themselves head to Auburn in some Tiger on Tiger Action. But the week's highlight could be, and should be the Masses on Mill. Tempe will flood as the Dawgs of Georgia head to Arizona State for one of the top games of the season.
Saturday, September 27:
Big Eleven matchup of two of the top five teams. Illinois heads to Penn State. Sorry, aint much else.
Saturday, October 4:
Okay, after a couple major weeks of great football we have to expect a couple of subpar weeks. There are two nice conference matchups this week with Ohio State heading to Wisconsin and Arizona State heading to face the Tree Sitters of Cal. Could be a major hurdle for both Ohio State and ASU. My prediction, one will lose to shake up the Top 15, probably ASU.
Saturday, October 11:
Can you believe we're almost at the halfway point of the season? But the rest of the way is almost all great inter-conference match-ups. This week we've got LSU traveling to Florida in what could be a SEC East vs. West, 1 vs 2. We'll also have an ASU at USC match-up which, barring early losses, could determine the Pac 10 Champ, but the highlight will be the Big XII Red River Shootout between Oklahoma and Texas in Dallas. I don't care if you think that's not the biggest game. Games played at neutral sites automatically become game of the week.
Saturday, October 18:
Though not at neutral sites, this week WILL DETERMINE who plays in the Big XII Championship. Missouri at Texas and Kansas at Oklahoma. Four GREAT College Quarterbacks will be on display here. Daniel vs. McCoy, Reesing vs. Bradford. Is there a Big XII Network?
Thursday, October 23/Saturday, October 25
In a rare high profile Thursday match-up Auburn heads to West Virginia. This would be the time for the Mountaineers team to show up to back up all they've been talking since last October. But after that appetizer we'll also see a handful of major conference games. A Big Eleven showdown (most likely for number two) of Illinois at Wisconsin. An SEC showdown of Georgia at LSU, a Big XII showdown of Texas Tech and Kansas, and most important, USC will be traveling to Arizona. While most times this would seem a walkaway win, check out how the Kitty Kats played the Men from Troy last year, plus with their homecoming record and penchant for upsetting top teams, I won't say I told you so.
Saturday, November 1
We'll kick off November with the World's Largest Cocktail Party in Jacksonville where Florida and Georgia face off in an SEC Showdown and the battle for Texas, which is not an official rivalry yet, will show down the state's top two programs as Texas visits the High Octane Tech Red Raiders.
Saturday, November 8
A less than AMAZING week, Bama heads to LSU and Cal heads to USC. Both should be good games, but there aren't any reasons to set your schedule around them unless it has some impact on you because you attended on of those schools.
Saturday, November 15
For the second straight week we'll see tough inter-conference match-ups but nothing to focus on too deftly as with past weeks. Rutgers comes to South Florida, Georgia visits Auburn, and Ohio State looks for revenge against the Illini of Illinois.
Saturday, November 22
Texas Tech heads to Norman to play Oklahoma. That's it. That's about all I got. Don't ask for a silly hat, just watch College Gameday.
WEEK 14 RIVALRY WEEK Pt. 1
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 28
Rivalry Week is up on us. Chances are if you went to college, or at the very lease closely follow a college football team than the biggest game of their season is on the ballot this week. They all have trophies and fun names. There are only a few games that matter to all of us though:
West Virginia at Pittsburgh. The Backyard Brawl means something to many of us now. Not just for the illiterates anymore. Should determine the Big East.
Notre Dame at USC. Though USC should run away with this one, as they have for the majority of the last few years, this really is one of the top rivalries in college football. Who can forget Danny Redding punching a hole in the Sigma Pi wall during parents weekend after the Trojans (Leinart and Bush) cheated this game away from the Irish a few years ago. God knows I never will.
Kansas at Missouri. The Border War (Showdown in Politically Correct Times) goes back to 1891 and they pass along an Indian War Drum. One of the better histories of rivalries. I say give 'em both back to the Indians but, this game will be a good one.
Saturday, December 6
The last week of College Football sans Championships USC heads to UCLA, South Florida and West Viriginia face off in what will most likely not matter, but as of right now looks like a big match-up. But most importantly the Arizona Arizona State game. Since both teams are never good at the same time it doesnt' have the same draw as Michigan vs Ohio State but is Top five in bitterness. There have been more than a few fights in this game and both ASU and UA fans care more about this game than any other. Plus it's the oldest traveling Rivalry Trophy in existence.
So there you go. Mark your calendars and get ready for a great NCAA Football season, 11 days till the first Satuday.