Oh man, it’s the best time of the year not associated with a bearded fat man. That’s right; it’s the beginning of college football season.
I’m not sure what I’m more excited about, the fact that I get college football every Saturday until December or that I just found out that someone uploaded the second season of Ashes to Ashes to YouTube (take that BBC America). More on my giddy enthusiasm later. Now, on to the Touchdown.
1) No. 5 Alabama vs. No. 7 Virginia Tech—8:00 on ABC in Atlanta
Oh man, this game is causing this Clemson fan to have flashbacks to last year's opener in which Alabama demolished the Tigers en route to a BCS bowl. I think if you look at this, you’ll have pretty much that same result as last year.
Even though 'Bama has a new QB in Greg McElroy, their defense is coming back with eight starters, and that will be the key for them all year. Now, VT will have the same starting QB they had last year, but Tyrod Taylor isn’t exactly Steady Eddie.
Plus, they lost their running back to an ACL tear and get a redshirt freshman in the backfield. Good times…if you’re the 'Bama defense. I seriously think 'Bama takes this with ease.
2) No. 13 Georgia at No. 9 Oklahoma State—3:30 on ABC
I’m a little excited about this game, because I get to see one of the reasons I changed my opinion about the Big 12: Oklahoma State. Yes, expect me to carry the Cowboy’s water all season long in the Touchdown.
Oklahoma State comes in with one of the most explosive offenses in the country with QB Zac Robinson, RB Kendall Hunter, and WR Dez Bryant. Expect them to light up the scoreboard. On the flip side, I would expect Georgia to play steady ball feeding the ball to their RB’s and trying to stretch the field with AJ Green.
The Cowboy’s problem is the same as every Big 12 team with a good offense. They face a good defense and they buckle like a belt (see Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech from last year). I think Georgia can keep it close, but the Oklahoma State offense will carry the day.
3) No. 16 Oregon at No. 14 Boise State—10:15 on ESPN on 9/3
You know its college football time when you see blue turf. This is a rematch of last year’s opening game between the two, in which Boise State beat Oregon on their home field. It’s for that reason that Oregon is fired up for this one.
Oregon’s starting QB, Jeremiah Masoli, was very effective last year but was inconsequential in last year’s game when he was knocked out of the game by a late hit and he’s looking for a little payback. Although the Duck’s lost their starting running back to the NFL, the back-up did gain 1,000 yards and is ready to carry the load.
Boise State, on the other hand, had one of the top scoring defenses in the country last year and hasn’t lost a regular season game at home since 2001. Oregon will be the team that ends that streak.
4) No. 20 BYU vs. No. 3 Oklahoma—7:00 on ESPN in Arlington, TX
Two of the best QB’s in the country get to face off against one another as Max Hall leads the BYU Cougars against Sam Bradford and Oklahoma.
As we all know, Oklahoma went on to lose, again, to an SEC opponent in the National Championship Game (they are like Ohio State at this point). I have to try and steer clear of my “Why Oklahoma Sucks” rant.
I think BYU has this one. Now, before you start laughing hysterically, I actually have a good reason for this. While BYU is mega-talented, they have nothing to play for.
They want nothing more to take it to Oklahoma and prove they deserve some acclaim. Oklahoma, on the other hand, has to try and avenge the loss from last year and shake the “Ohio State” label that I slapped them with.
Florida was nice enough to write the “How To Beat Oklahoma” handbook last year. Tip No 1: harass the hell out of Sam Bradford. With four new starters on the offensive line, I expect this will be easier than last year.
BYU will need to hit early and often when they have the ball and try and disrupt Bradford, which I think they can do. Okay, you can start to laugh now.
5) No. 11 LSU at Washington—10:30 on ESPN
Normally this game wouldn’t do anything for me, but I love the QB in this game. If you think I’m talking about Jordan Jefferson, just stop reading now. I’m a big time Jake Locker fan.
We should get to see Locker air it out with new coach and former USC offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian at the helm. I have a strong suspicion that Washington will do better this year than their winless effort last year. However, that is not to say they will beat LSU.
LSU, even with shaky QB play, should take this handily against the poor defense of Washington. There is only so much Locker can do, and while I think they will win some good games this year, this isn’t one of them.
6) Miami at No. 18 Florida State—8:00 on ESPN on 9/7
Remember when this game used to have National Championship implications for both teams? Remember when we would all eagerly anticipate this game? Now, they are just fighting for the middle of the ACC standings.
7) While I’m all excited about the return of college football, my wife is on the other end of the spectrum. Her reaction when I mentioned it last week: “oh great, I lose my husband for every Saturday for the next four months.”
It’s just been so long dealing with prima donna professional athletes, performance enhancing drugs, and contract holdouts that I just want something a little more pure in my sports.
Thankfully, we have college football. Yes, it has its flaws, but there is just something about it that makes me feel that this is what sports are all about. Especially when Ohio State and Oklahoma lose.