It was a Must See TV Thursday Night as the pomp and circumstance of college football returned for the 2008 season. Yes the cheerleaders, the mascots, the fans, and...did someone just spit on my forehead? Ah yes, thank you for reminding me, Lou Holtz (pictured above left:his role as Granny in The Beverly Hillbillies) returned as well.
This year we are blessed with hearing Coach Sufferin' Succotash introduce a new character/segment, "Dr. Lou." But never fear fans, the Coach Holtz Pep Talk will still make the occasional appearance throughout the season. Whew!
All jokes aside, for as senile as he may sound sometimes or despite the fact that Mark May needs to wear a facemask with windshield wipers, Holtz is a coaching legend, has some decent things to say, and provides us something to talk about.
The Chalkboard: Thursday Night Football Week One
Did anyone notice the ridiculous amount of games being played last night, or were you busy watching the Democratic National Convention? There were twenty-five NCAA college football games being played yesterday!
Remember when you had to wait for Saturday to catch college football? Maybe the occasional Thursday game during the season. But, now there are college games on Tuesday-Saturday during the regular season. Class? What's that?
A few teams started off their year on the right foot last night. One of them being #23 Wake Forest with their first victory ever in the state of Texas, over Baylor 41-13.
The Ol' Ballcoach was up to his old tricks again last night as South Carolina scored more than half of their points in the 4th quarter. Running up the score, or just getting some real game experience for younger players?
In case you didn't catch it, Oregon State Quarterback Lyle Moevao threw for 404 yards against Stanford. Surely they won, right? I mean OSU was one of those teams that could be a sleeper in the Pac-10.
Well, apparently the Cardinal had other plans. Final score: Stanford 36-OSU 28. It doesn't get easier for the Beavers who play at #22 Penn State September 6th.
Marquee Matchups in Week 1
#24 Alabama v.s. #9 Clemson 8PM ABC
A team trying to find its niche in '08 versus a team that is believed to have found its niche in '08. Nick Saban licks his chops for these big marquee games. Those lovable Tigers always love to let you down. For that reason I should pick against Clemson, but I won't. I'll take Clemson in this one, but I see them stumbling down the road in the ACC.
#20 Illinois v.s. #6 Missouri 8:30PM ESPN
This could be the year that Missouri puts all of the pieces together. Returning some key starters, especially Heisman contender Chase Daniel to lead the pack. A win here could get the momentum going early.
This could be the year that Illinois and head coach Ron Zook exert themselves as a real threat in the Big 10. The athletic and speedy Juice Williams is back at Quarterback. A win here could silence any doubters and scare many teams in the Big 10.
If Mendenhall were still with the Illini I might take them in a tight game. Instead I give the nod to Mizzou, and they'll cover that eight point spread too.
Potentially Good Games/ Upsets to Look Out For
Utah at Michigan 3:30PM ABC
The first game of the Rich Rodriguez (affectionately referred to as Dick Rod in these parts) Era in Ann Arbor won't be a cakewalk. Utah comes in with high hopes of disrupting the polls and the BCS in 2008.
Will a walk-on QB be able to run the offense at Michigan? For weeks this has been a popular upset pick among the sports world. I take U of M in this one, because you don't lose a season opener in The Big House too often, nonetheless two years in a row.
Appalachian State at #7 LSU 11AM ESPN
*please note: game time changed from 5PM due to Hurricane Gustav*
The defending FCS National Champions versus the defending BCS National Champions. Makes for one heck of a story-line. The fact that App. State had the biggest upset in college football history last year leads us to believe that maybe, just maybe it can happen again.
This morning on ESPN's First Take Mountaineer Head Coach Jerry Moore mentioned the 85 LSU scholarships versus his 63 scholarships (expect to hear the broadcasters using that one alot). He more importantly mentioned how last year there were things they saw on film that gave them hope against Michigan, this year his response was, "LSU, they're good."
LSU wins as the Harvard kid finds his form in Baton Rouge, but tune in to be entertained by Armanti Edwards, App State's athletic QB.
Fresno State at Rutgers 4PM Monday ESPN
I don't want to say this is a make or break game for both teams. But for Fresno State, who really has potential to do some damage this year, this is a big one for them. Rutgers can still lose this game and get to a BCS bowl game by winning the Big East. I'll take my chances and go with the Bulldogs in a tight one.
#18 Tennessee at UCLA 8PM Monday ESPN
The Fulminator marches his Volunteers into Pasadena for Monday Night Football. UCLA is severely beaten, and down to their third-string quarterback for this season opener. Rick Neuheisel could certainly make a big splash in the start of his tenure with the Bruins.
Here's to thinking this year's west coast trip for Tennessee (see loss to Cal in 2007) will turn out better.
Fox Sports had the following games on their Upset Special Watch List:
USC @ Virginia, FAU @ Texas, FIU @ Kansas, and Bowling Green vs. Pittsburgh.
Is it just me? Because I honestly do not see any of these happening.
Enjoy Week 1. Happy Couch-Potatoing! And as always...happy predicting!