College Football 2016: Week 1 Viewing Guide


Before yet one more twist in the Ryan Lochte saga, college football comes to the rescue with a five day festival of mediocre to good games. Enjoy this weekend. Next weekend will be brutal. Note: all times are Eastern Standard, because we are more important. 

Big Games

Oklahoma vs. Houston [Sat. Noon ABC] “Big Game” Bob vs. “Soon To Be At a Top Job” Tom. Big 12 preseason champion by default vs. Big 12 aspirant (or bowl hype team that will disappoint finishing 9-3). Two star, potentially Heisman caliber quarterbacks in Greg Ward Jr. and Baker Mayfield. Two well coordinated offenses. There will be points.

Alabama vs. USC [Sat. 8:00pm ABC] Alabama is a stable, successful five-star laden squad. USC is an unstable, often underwhelming one. Both teams start new quarterbacks. Both meet what is, perhaps, the one team with the requisite athleticism to match up against them on the perimeter. Expect this one to come down to the front sevens. The Trojans look thin and inexperienced. Alabama has college football’s best. Expect Nick Saban to keep one hand firmly grasped on Lane Kiffin’s handbrake.

Ole Miss vs. Florida State [Mon. 8:00pm ESPN] SEC vs. ACC. Confederates vs. a displaced community of escaped slaves and Native Americans. Both teams should have airtight defenses. Ole Miss brings Chad Kelly and its customary shrug emoji running game. Florida State brings Dalvin Cook and novice, interestingly named bundle of upside Deondre Francois at quarterback. Keep an eye out for Jimbo Fisher’s hair. Presuming a linear hairline expansion rate from last season he should be rocking a full “Jimmy Johnson.”

Big-ish Games

UCLA at Texas A&M [Sat. 3:30 CBS] Kevin Sumlin is on the hot seat. Jim L. Mora is not, but could use a bracing 10-win year. Noel Mazzone switched sides during the offseason, swapping Pasadena for College Station and budding Josh Rosen for Trevor Knight. Kyle Field should not be an issue for the Bruins. Texas A&M’s ferocious defensive line will be. Narrative alterer for both teams.

LSU vs. Wisconsin [Sat. 3:30 ABC] From the balmy thawed grass of Lambeau Field. LSU has, Alabama excepted, the nations most talented team. Wisconsin has…a lot of question marks, integral parts to replace, and a heinous front portion of the schedule. If one were to pick an SEC team to head north and play down to a lesser team, it would be LSU. That needs to happen to keep this one interesting.

Clemson at Auburn [Sat. 9:00pm ESPN] The preordained Clemson Tigers head on the road to Jordan Hare with a revamped defense. Gus Malzahn is rolling with Sean White to save his job. He “has a natural sense of confidence,” is finding his voice, and is “tough as nails” per the media. He also threw one touchdown in 143 passing attempts last year and he can’t run. That line seems to be indicating something, but Auburn should be a stay away until further notice.

Notre Dame at Texas [Sun. 7:30 ABC] Sunday Night Football. For all the T.V. viewers. Both the Irish and the Longhorns should field multiple quarterbacks. Notre Dame has good ones. A rapid Irish rebuilding project meets a Texas coalescing at a tortoise pace under Charlie Strong. Do they meet for a relatively even game? Let us all hope Brian Kelly came prepared.

Fill in the Blanks

Appalachian State vs. Tennessee [Thurs. 7:30pm SECN] Will Mike DeBord have flashbacks? Will the Volunteers trip over their own hype train?

South Carolina at Vanderbilt [Thurs. 8pm ESPN] The one date and time this game would draw any interest. Vanderbilt had at least half a football team last year…

Kansas State at Stanford [Fri. 9pm FS1] Check in just after midnight for gambling Twitter having a meltdown when David Shaw instructs his QB to take a knee in the red zone up 14.

Georgia Tech vs. Boston College [Sat. 7:30am ESPN2] Live from Ireland. No EPL. If you absolutely must fire up the second screen during GameDay, enjoy…

Rutgers at Washington [Sat. 2:00pm Pac 12] Chris Petersen’s rampage begins as the Pac 12 overcompensates for time zone bias by sticking its own teams with early kicks.

Georgia vs. North Carolina [Sat. 5:30pm ESPN] North Carolina beat no one last year, ranked 110th in rushing defense against FBS winning opponents. Hmm…

College Football’s Overseas Branding Is Going Swell

The Big 12 Rose Ceremony Will Be Lit

This has to be a game of chicken with ESPN and FOX to sweeten their deals to not expand…right?