Thursday: 6:00: South Carolina @ Vanderbilt (ESPN) – The King of Moral Victories led by their hipster coach will be at it again. Vanderbilt and Nashville is so excited about a Top Ten team coming to town on the first night of college football season that they still haven’t sold out the game less than 24 hours before kickoff. I’m interested to see how Marcus Lattimore looks returning from his ACL injury. Weather could be a factor in this one. Sign me up for another moral victory for the Commodores. Gamecocks 24-14.
Texas A&M vs. Louisiana Tech in Shreveport (Postponed until October 13th) - I was looking forward to this game because I thought La Tech could give the Aggies some problems. The hurricane postponed this one so we will revisit it in October.
9:15: Washington State @ BYU (ESPN) – Cougar fest! I think this will be the best game of the night if you can stay awake for it. Snooty BYU who decided to go independent plays one more ranked team this entire year (same as last year). I think they went independent so they could schedule light and win 10 games each year just like last year. Mike Leach is the story here though returning to coaching after a bitter end to his successful Texas Tech coaching career. There couldn’t be a better fit for him than Washington State. They are going to be fun to watch led by Senior QB Jeff Tuel and All-American WR candidate in Marquess Wilson. Wilson had more than 1,300 yards receiving last year with backup QBs because Tuel was injured for the year after only 45 pass attempts last year. I like the mild upset here as Mike Leach starts off his new coaching stop with a win over his alma mater. Cougars of the Wazzu Variety 35-33.
Friday: 6:30: Tennessee vs. North Carolina State in Atlanta (ESPNU) – Two teams who think they are on the upswing square off in game one. You will see some top notch, NFL draft prospects in this one also. The matchup to watch is Tennessee WR Justin Hunter who is also coming off of an ACL injury versus Wolfpack CB David Amerson. He led the nation with a ridiculous 13 INTs last year and is a top 10 NFL draft prospect because he is a freakish 6’3” CB. Also, there are two similar QBs who the NFL also likes squaring off in Mike Glennon and Tyler Bray. Bray is looking to transition from throwing beer bottles at cars in the offseason to throwing touchdowns to Hunter and the boys. This game is very crucial for both teams. However, I think this game is more important to Tennessee. They have to win this game or Dooley’s hot seat is cranked up even another notch. The Vols are chomping at the bit to prove last season was more bad luck and bad injuries than them just being a bad team. This one should go down to the wire. Vols 31-30.
7:00: Boise State @ Michigan State (ESPN) – The story of this one is the QBs who are not back for their teams. Kirk Cousins and Kellen Moore were both record setting QBs at their respective schools and both have now moved on. I am pretty sure Kellen Moore played for at least 15 years for the Broncos. Anyway, I love Michigan State’s defense; they have an SEC caliber defensive line that is just nasty led by William Gholston and Marcus Rush. Sparty’s new QB, Andrew Maxwell, is a former Elite 11 QB in high school, so he can likely sling it a little bit. For Boise, no Moore and no Doug Martin going on the road will be tough. They do not have the success they have seen in previous years. Sparty 24-10.
This could quite possibly be the longest Saturday of college football ever. Notre Dame kicks off live from Dublin, Ireland at 8 AM and Oregon, Oklahoma, and Arizona should be finishing up their games around 1 AM Sunday. You better be ready because we go from 0 to 100 in the first week. I hope you’ve built up your stamina.
8:00 AM: Navy vs. Notre Dame in Dublin, Ireland (CBS) – I think this is pretty cool to have the Fighting Irish to play a game in front of the original fighting Irishmen. I bet they have already started drinking pints for this. I wonder if Verne Lundquist is making the trip for CBS? If so, I bet he is trying to find out who new Notre Dame QB Everett Golson’s roommate is as we speak. I still like Brian Kelly and think he’s gonna do big things in South Bend. Irish 28-12.
Big Ten Hour (11:00 AM): Miami Ohio @ Ohio State (Big Ten Network) – Urban Meyer will probably have to wait another week to start stressing out about his new job and subsequently quitting on his new team.
Ohio @ Penn State (ESPN) – PSU better watch out in this one, but they pull it out in the end.
Northwestern @ Syracuse (ESPN2) – Potential under-the-radar good game.
Marshall @ West Virginia (FX) – A very underrated rivalry – these guys hate each other. Business in the front, party in the back Coach Holgorsen has finally decided to stop scoring against Clemson in the Orange Bowl, and he is now concentrating on this game. Mountaineers 51- 10.
11:21 AM: Buffalo @ Georgia (SEC Network) – Georgia’s schedule starts off where it ended last year. Hairy Dawgs 31-7.
2:30: Bowling Green @ Florida (ESPN) – Will Muschamp starts another season being the most obnoxious coach on the sideline in every game he coaches…hey at least he’s undefeated in something. He decided he is rotating quarterbacks Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett every quarter – man this guy is a genius. Gators 28-3.
Miami @ Boston College (ABC or ESPN2) – This game does not get me excited at all. They have both fallen on hard times. Da U 12-10.
Southern Miss @ Nebraska (ABC or ESPN2) – I wonder if Taylor Martinez’s hands grew over the summer so that he can grip a football and throw a proper forward pass?
Tulsa @ Iowa State (Fox Sports Net) – See “If I Were a Bettin’ Man…” below.
6:00: Auburn vs. Clemson in Atlanta (ESPN) – Surprisingly, this will likely be the only competitive game during this time slot out of all the big dogs playing. Star receiver Sammy Watkins is suspended for the game for Clemson. They still have Tajh Boyd , Andre Ellington and an explosive offense. The defense is returning seven starters but are still reeling from giving up 70 to West Virginia in the Orange Bowl. Auburn has seemed to kind of lost their way since Cam Newton appeared and won a national title and then moved on. They have decided to start Kiehl Frazier at QB in a new, more traditional offense that I don’t think he is equipped to run. On top of that, Michael Dyer is gone and C Reese Dismukes is suspended for this game. This could be the start of another lackluster season on the Plains. Clemson 24-20.
6:30: Hawaii @ Southern Cal (Fox) – For you Erin Andrews lovers, she has moved to Fox as they have decided to concentrate more on college football this season. Regarding the game, I may be in the minority here, but I amazed at all the love toward a USC team that doesn’t even have a full roster this year. They have flash, but I’m not sure there is a lot of substance. Trojans 49-14.
7:00: Alabama vs. Michigan in Arlington – Without question the big one of the weekend. Alabama, defending national champ and trying to win 3 out of 4, versus a Michigan team who overachieved last year with an exciting QB. Bama has a ridiculous group of offensive linemen led by Barrett Jones, Chance Warmack, and DJ Fluker. I could run for 100 yards behind that line. On the other side of the ball, Michigan lost a lot on the defensive line. You know how this one is going to go – Bama grind and wear the Wolverines out and then explode in the second half. The key is the Tide’s inexperienced (but still very good) defense containing Michigan QB Denard Robinson. I think Bama has the speed and power to shut down Shoelace. Roll Tide 24-10.
9:30: Arkansas State @ Oregon (ESPN) – See “If I Were a Bettin’ Man…” below.
Oklahoma @ UTEP (Fox Sports Net) – Uh why is Oklahoma playing in El Paso? Maybe the after party is in Juarez.
Toledo @ Arizona (ESPNU) – The Rich Rod era begins in Tucson.
In other SEC games, LSU, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Missouri, and Louisville (Sunday vs. Kentucky) win.
Also, don't forget Virginia Tech/Georgia Tech Labor Day night.
If I Were a Bettin’ Man… - My picks against the spread were a sizziling 18-10 during the regular season last year. Here's to another great year.
Tulsa @ Iowa State (+1.5) – Tulsa has a new quarterback this year. Game is in Ames where the Cyclones beat Oklahoma State and Iowa last year. Paul Rhoads is a great coach. The Cyclones have 7 starters returning on offense. This line doesn’t make sense to me. Iowa State 17-10.
Arkansas State @ Oregon (Over 67.5) – We were hyping RG3 at the beginning of the 2010 season on this blog. Now we have another special player for you – the real Black Mamba - De’Anthony Thomas. Check out this video of his 91 yard TD run in the Rose Bowl: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_uQW8XimU8. That is fast kiddos! What do you think him and the rest of the Duck offense is going to do against an inexperienced ASU defense? In addition, Gus Malzahn likes to run a lot of plays on offense himself. There could be between 180-200 snaps in this game no joke. With those snaps and the big play ability of both offense, the over should happen. Ducks 59-28.
Enjoy your long weekend!-Ernie