As we inch closer and closer to the opening week of college football, the amount of coverage for the interesting matchups of the initial weekend have started to ramp up. Even something as simple as the announcement of the first College GameDay location this week made my heart race like when my wife wears the “anniversary underwear.” I’ve come to find, however, that I overlook 90% of the opening week games based on the completely one-sided matchups. I’m talking about the games you see on the ticker at the bottom of your screen and think, “Wow…I didn’t know it was possible to score 78 points in three quarters.” These are the opening week games that only the alumni of the two schools playing have any business watching (and frankly, the losing team’s alumni probably can’t stand to watch more than the first 15 minutes without being liquored up). In an effort to save you the time of scanning your website of choice for games to watch September 2nd – 6th , I bring to you a preview of the Worst of the First Week.
- Thursday, September 2nd – Presbyterian vs Wake Forest: After coming off an 0-11 season (losing to such powerhouses as Elon, Stony Brook and Liberty to name a few) the Presbyterian Blue Hose (that is their actual mascot, I shit you not…) have scheduled their opening game at Wake Forest. To add insult to injury, the Mighty Hose will parlay their season opener with a visit to Death Valley to take on the Clemson Tigers in week 2. The only good thing to come out of this one-two punch has to be the paycheck that the Blue Hose will receive promptly after their ass whippins’. While Wake Forest wasn’t exactly the team to beat last year in the ACC, they should easily handle the Hose despite no longer having Riley Skinner to take the snaps. Wake Forest fans should prepare to return to their Merlot and Baked Brie tailgate long before they get cold.
- Saturday, September 4th – North Texas vs Clemson: Speaking of Clemson, they will test the waters without CJ Spiller against the Mean Green at the University of North Texas. UNT returns 8 starters on the offensive side of the ball and ranked 63rd in ‘points for’ in 2009. Unfortunately, the Mean Green ranked 112th in ‘points against’ last year. This ratio is best seen in their 68-49 victory against Western Kentucky in 2009 (no…this isn’t a basketball score). After winning the Atlantic Division in the ACC and returning over half of their starters, Clemson shouldn’t have any trouble dismantling UNT. Luckily for them, Clemson can use this game to warm up for the Blue Hose in week 2. I’d like to end the review of this game by encouraging every Clemson season ticket holder to ask for a refund on the first two games of the season.
- Saturday, September 4th – San Jose State vs Alabama: I can’t think of a better way to start a national title defense than by pummeling an unsuspecting team from the WAC. San Jose supporters might try and tell you they have a new coach (Mike MacIntyre) and are returning 17 starters including a defensive secondary that was quite impressive in 2009. Unfortunately for the Spartans, the rest of their defense gave up 259.2 rushing yards per game last year and have to contend with the returning Heisman Trophy winner running behind a stable of very large and angry men. Your fancy new coach might impress me against Southern Utah, but it just isn’t going to cut it against the front-runner in the SEC West and BCS.
- Saturday, September 4th – Miami (OH) vs Florida: It would be a bit hypocritical of me not to mention my alma matter in the poo-poo platter of games to avoid on opening weekend. The Miami of Ohio Red Hawks will have 51 returning letterman out of 80 players on their roster this year. Barring a major disaster involving an outbreak of mad cow infested steak at the Gator’s pre-game meal, the Red Hawks will most likely take the “L” no matter how many lettermen they bring with them. The speed and size of the Gator Offense and Defense will prove to be too much for Miami to handle. Once you add a quarterback who has something to prove now that the Football Jesus (read, “Tim Tebow”) has exited the building, the recipe for a Spurrier-esque scoring spree is in the making.
While I’ve examined only a few of the blowouts that will inevitably occur on opening day, there will undoubtedly be a few close calls and even upsets by the underdog teams who are scheduled as warm-up games for the big boys of college football. That’s why I love the sport. No matter how unlikely an upset is, there’s always a chance that the little guys can find a way. The important thing is that we’re almost back to the five greatest months of the year. The time when you can spend an entire weekend watching the Presbyterian Blue Hoses and the UNT Mean Greens of the world give it their all no matter what the odds. Blow out or not, it’s guaranteed that I’ll be in front of my TV at Noon on September 4th with 15 of my closest friends Gator chomping like we were in the south endzone and singing “We are the Boys” at the end of the 3rd quarter. It’s time for college football and, like the “anniversary underwear”, it’s been way too long since I’ve seen it.