College Football Back Y’all: The Week 1 Viewing Guide
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It’s only Wednesday, but it’s game week. Your concentration at work isn’t up to your normal standards, because you’re set on breaking to your significant other that, for the next three months, yardwork isn’t happening, weddings are out, and Saturdays aren’t good days for you to operate a motor vehicle.
The goal of the Viewing Guide, back for its second year after some spotty duty last year, is to help you adjust your ‘Favorites’ channels and DVR settings to get the most from your college football weekend, whether on your couch or in Sanford Stadium.
Without further ado…
Thirsty Thursday: A Little Overlap
6pm, SEC Network: #21 Texas A&M at #9 South Carolina For what seems like the forever-th year in a row, USC-E gets the first game of the season (actually a deal from ESPN to satiate them losing a home game vs. North Carolina in 2010 so UNC could play LSU) and take on Texas A&M in the first post-Johnny game for the Aggies. While I’m super disgustingly high on SC, I think this is a game that A&M can compete in and possibly win. This is your five-star, must-watch game of the night.
8pm, ESPN: Boise St. vs. #18 Ole Miss: This has a chance to be the most fun game of the week, as new Boise coach Bryan Harsin debuts against the (overrated? underrated? properly rated?) Ole Miss Rebels, a sleeper contender in the SEC. Andrew and I will be there for s***s and giggles (thanks, Chick-Fil-A!) and we’ll see if Dr. Bo can operate on the Bronco defense. This is your SC/aTm second half commercial break previous channel flipper game.
If that’s not enough, you have a few more options (again, worth 10 minutes to set favorites for optimum channel-flipping now): Wake Forest visits UL-Funroe for some reason, and kicks off at 7 on ESPNU. Never miss an opportunity to see Funroe in action. At 9:15 on the SEC Network, we get our first look at David Mason’s Vanderbilt squad as they host Temple. And at 10, FS1 carries Rutgers at Washington State, if you want some late night Mike Leach-ness carrying you on that magic carpet to sleepytown.
The only possibly compelling game is prohibitive new Big Ten favorite #8 Michigan St. hosting Jacksonville St., but its on the Big Ten Network, which nobody gets (Jim Delany, you’re still doing it wrong). Villanova visits Syracuse in a game that would be slightly-compelling basketball, but again, is on ESPN3, so unless you have no life, you’re out. On ESPN, BYU travels to Storrs to take on one of the worst FBS teams from a year ago, 1-11 Connecticut. Your only excuse for watching college football on Friday night is as background bar fodder, and I’m a man who loves his college football.
Saturday Before Gameday, Barring Volcanoes
College football should go all NFL on us and expand overseas, because I am not a huge fan of Gameday and the 10-12 teams it profiles each week. How many times per year do we really need to hear Herby compare A.J. McCarron to quarterbacks of the past? Instead, we get Fiesta Bowl Champ UCF against James Franklin’s Penn State at 8:30 on ESPN2. I am compelled to watch.
Noon: Switching from Bloodies to Buddies
There are a few wildcards in the noon slate, including an App State/Michigan rematch on ESPN2. The two best games involve quarterbacks for contenders. On ESPN, #7 UCLA and Brett Hundley visit Virginia, who seems to get annihilated by one Pac-12 team every year (recent memory recalls losses to Oregon and USC). And on CBS, Braxton Miller-less #5 Ohio State and Navy play on a neutral site somewhere.
Anything else, and you’re either a) a glutton for punishment b) an active avoider of tailgates and social life or c) a graduate. I’m looking at you Georgia Southern fans, as you go to Raleigh and upset N.C. State, which renders your program a lot less legitimacy than your win at Florida with no passing yards a year ago (Georgia Southern won at Florida despite 0 passing yards last year. This will never get old.)
Mid-afternoon: You’re Not Hungover, You’re Just Sweating Faster Than You Can Drink
Some redemption from a boring noon slate, highlighted by West Virginia/#2 Alabama on ABC at 3:30, and Arkansas/#6 Auburn on the SEC at 4. Those two are worth flipping between exclusively. Unless…
…YOU’RE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE. I am obligated by college football writer law to tell you that #24 Notre Dame hosts Rice on NBC at 3:30, and
if you don’t watch it you won’t miss anything err, you shall suffer eternal misery if you don’t tune in.
In what we can call late-mid afternoon, we have our game of the week, one which all of my friends reading this will be attending: #16 Clemson at #12 Georgia, ESPN. If you’re not aware, get aware, as this is serious.
Early Evening, Where You Should Still Be On Clemson/Georgia
The biggest news is that Florida has a chance for its first win in 8 games as it faces Idaho on ESPNU at 7. I’d be remiss not to mention Fresno State/#15 USC at 7:30 on FOX, as both of those teams could end up being sneaky-good this year.
At 8, ABC gets defending national champ #1 Florida State plays Oklahoma State (inexplicably unranked, considering my Tar Heels are ranked) at JerryWorld. I will be watching from bar-to-be-named in Athens starting at about the 5 minute mark of the first quarter.
At 9, we get the second-best game of the week, as ESPN and Houston play host to #14 Wisconsin/#13 LSU in a Big Ten/SEC matchup I actually give the B1G a shot to win. There, I said it.
Latenight, you get the debut of Chris Peterson at #25 Washington at Hawai’i on CBS Sports Network, as well as Marcus Mariota’s run to the Heisman against South Dakota if you get the Pac-12 Network.
There Are Two Good Games on Sunday, Because Why Not?
We get our first look at year 2 of the Butch Jones era on Rocky Top at 7 on the SEC Network, as Tennessee takes on Utah State. Aggies QB Chuckie Keeton? Imminently watchable, and Tennessee returns zero DL. At 7:30, you get a good flip option as SMU visits #10 Baylor, who is debuting a new stadium and still boasts a speedboat-wielding mascot.
Monday Night #ACCtion
Miami at Louisville. Nevin Shapiro vs. Bobby Petrino. Two teams the ACC poached from the Big East who never simultaneously played in the Big East. 8PM. ESPN.