Once again, it’s time for the following statement!
As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.
- Southern Mississippi @ South Carolina (ESPN): It’s not technically the first college football game (Division II started last week) or even the first DI-A game (Buffalo starts at 7:00), but it’s the first one on national TV. Despite Spurrier’s inability to pick a quarterback, South Carolina should be able to handle this one.
- Minnesota @ Middle Tennessee State (ESPNU): With Dwight Dasher, I actually kind of liked MTSU here, but some ill-advised and somewhat illegal financial escapades have landed Dasher in some trouble, the least of which is that he won’t be playing in this game. So I’ll have to fall back to the safety of Minnesota.
- Marshall @ Ohio State (BTN): Well, if you can find the Big Ten Network on your dial, this game will be here. Then you’ll likely turn it back. Tyrelle Pryor should have a pretty solid effort here.
8:00: Northern Illinois @ Iowa State (FSN): I wouldn’t be surprised if Iowa State lost this game. But they shouldn’t. They might though.
8:30: Pittsburgh @ Utah (Versus): Honestly, this is probably the best game of the night! Of course, once again I probably won’t see any of them, but hey, them’s the breaks. Also, I have to like the Utes at home here. I think they’ll be out to prove that their Pac-10 invite isn’t based on some sort of fluke.
11:00: Southern California @ Hawaii (ESPN): It’s USC’s bowl game! Have fun, guys.
8:00: Arizona @ Toledo (ESPN): Well, presumably, there won’t be any Toledo fans in t-shirts stating their opinions on swine flu in this game. But still, I don’t think Arizona will be able to repeat Colorado’s spectacular self-destruction from last year. Also, you’re going to watch this, because it’s Friday and it’s college football dammit.
- Miami University @ Florida (ESPN): Pro-tip for the rest of the year on this site: U of Miami is the one you care about, and Miami U is the one in Ohio. And that’s the one Florida is bringing in for some hot MACtion. And it will be hot, because it’s noon in Gainesville.
- Western Michigan @ Michigan State (ESPN2): Spartans. It’s 3:42 AM. Let’s speed this up.
- Samford @ Florida State (ESPNU): I’m not even sure why I listed this.
- Youngstown State @ Pennsylvania State (BTN): JoePa starts a freshman! Penn State rolls anyway.
- Louisiana-Lafayette @ Georgia (SEC/Gameplan): Oh hey, it’s UGA reppin’ the UL-U-Pick ‘Em. Word to your mother. Unless she went to UGA.
12:30: Illinois vs. Missouri (@St. Louis, MO; FSN): Well, this game loses a bit of its luster this year, but it’s probably your best bet early this day.
1:00: South Carolina State @ Georgia Tech (espn3.com): It’s kickoff for GT! And I can’t wait. It’s going to be an exciting fall here at asimsports, provided the Braves make the playoffs.
- Purdue @ Notre Dame (NBC): I feel like I have to take Notre Dame here. But hear me out! If they lose, Brian Kelly will not have my trust again.
- Kentucky @ Louisville (ABC/Gameplan): I keep forgetting how astronomically bad Louisville was last year. In a way, it’s almost like they weren’t even there, which was kind of true in a literal sense as well. I’ll take Kentucky for now though.
- California-Los Angeles @ Kansas State (ABC/ESPN2/Gameplan): Woooo – does UCLA’s Socal trust busting begin on the plains of Kansas? Perhaps. Both these teams are rebuilding big time, but I think UCLA is a little further ahead than the Wildcats.
- Connecticut @ Michigan (ABC/ESPN2/espn3.com): I’m still not entirely sure Michigan even has a quarterback, but I’m going to roll with them anyway.
- Texas vs. Rice (@Houston, TX; ESPN/espn3.com): Well, I already spent my smart-guy JFK reference in the Big 12 OOC Schedule Preview, so I don’t really have anything here other than wish they could play it actually at Rice and not in some fancy NFL stadium. And Iron Bowl should still be played at Legion Field, and the Cotton Bowl should still be played at…. you get the idea.
- North Texas @ Clemson (ESPNU): Clemson.
- Jacksonville State @ Mississippi (SEC/Gameplan): Ole Miss.
- Washington State @ Oklahoma State (FSN): Oklahoma State may be rebuilding here, but I’m pretty sure their metaphorical gun has a few more bullets than Wazzou’s.
- Memphis @ Mississippi State (ESPNU): I’m not really sure that Miss State will win here, but they should. Wait, did I use that gimmick already? Well, guess what, I just did it again! What are you going to do about it, huh? Yeah. That’s what I thought.
- Washington @ Brigham Young (CBSCS): Does Jake Locker exact vengeance on the bogus personal foul call from a few years ago? (By the way, those could get a lot more bogus next year. More on that later.) Anyway, I don’t think so. I still like BYU here.
- Arkansas State @ Auburn (SEC on FSN/Gameplan): WHOOPS (when I originally wrote this I didn’t see the “State” in “Arkansas State”). Auburn rolls.
7:30: Northwestern @ Vanderbilt (SEC/Gameplan): Godspeed, Robbie Caldwell. Now hopefully your games are as entertaining as your press conferences, as you’ll probably only begin to realize the magnitude of your task here (a.k.a., realize why Bobby Johnson just woke up one morning in the middle of this summer and said “I quit!”). Oh, and I’ll take NU here.
7:45: Texas Christian vs. Oregon State (@Arlington, TX; ESPN): It’s the first edition of football schedules in the Intergalactic Space Palace, and it should be a doozy. I like TCU here, but Oregon State should put up a great fight.
8:00: Louisiana State vs. North Carolina (@Atlanta, GA; ABC): Well, I can’t say I liked Carolina much before this “academic fraud” business started because I still have no idea how they will score any points. Now, I’m not sure how LSU is going to score points either, but they seem to have gotten pretty far in spite of themselves. I think the EDSBS Live! folks summed it up best – this will either be a “cynical game” with a final score of 8-6 or a 3-2 “thriller” a la that Auburn-Miss State game from a couple of years ago.
10:00: Cincinnati @ Fresno State (ESPN2): Cincy has a great chance to prove they can still win without their greatest coach ever, but it won’t be easy. I think they hold court in THE VALLEY, though.
11:00: Wisconsin @ Nevada-Las Vegas (Versus): Wisconsin.
2:00: Tulsa @ East Carolina (ESPN2): Here’s some good early season C-USA goodness for ya. There should at least be a lot of points. And remember, you probably have Monday off! So just sit around and enjoy some more football. Also, I like Tulsa. (Is it just me, or am I picking a lot of away games? Hrm.)
3:30: Southern Methodist @ Texas Tech (ESPN): Texas Tech begins their shameful OOC schedule run against the Mustangs, who at least are actually better than when TTU originally scheduled this game.
4:00: Navy vs. Maryland (@Baltimore, MD; ESPN): I like this game, despite the fact there’s a very real chance Maryland will embarrass the ACC by losing it. And I actually think they will. It’s just hard to see what Maryland will be able to do this year, as one of the trio of schools with coaches who more closely resemble zombies than head football coaches.
8:00: Boise State vs. Virginia Tech (@Landover, MD; ESPN): By far the biggest game of opening weekend. Both these teams think they have a shot at the national title, and the loser is out, as neither has room for error. It should be fun, it should be intense, and it should be close. But in the end, I think VPI just a better team – their offense is sketchy, of course, but their defense is just so good. While of course Boise has had time to prepare, well, it’s not Bud Foster has been sitting on his thumbs all summer, you know?
Anyway, I’d like to wrap up this column with a little feature looking back at 20 years ago in college football. Now, the season in 1990 didn’t actually begin until next weekend, but a few teams had played in the old “kickoff classics” the weekend before. One of them being the Colorado Buffaloes, who tied Tennessee 31-31 down in Anaheim in one of those games. They were ranked #5 in the pre-season AP poll, and would move down to #6 20 years ago this Monday. Georgia Tech was, at the time, unranked and had not yet played a game.
At any rate, enjoy the first weekend! This should be a very interesting year of college football.