It’s late August, and that means there’s gonna be a whole lotta college football on TV. It used to just be Saturday, but now NCAA pigskin has seeped its way into Friday, Thursday and even Wednesday. This isn’t exactly bad news, but it can get a bit overwhelming. Not every college football fan is a psycho fanatic with their team’s logo tattooed on their back. Some of us just like to watch kids play their hearts out for nothing but pride and a communications degree week after week.
The problem is, cupcake scheduling is alive and well. So if you plan your day wrong, “Poop State vs. Nebraska” might be the only matchup you get to enjoy live. That’s what my girlfriend calls every unimportant sporting event, and it’s kind of true. While No. 9 South Carolina opens up its season against No. 25 Texas A&M, No. 3 Oregon will face off against the Coyotes of South Dakota, who have a combined win percentage of .250 over the last four years. (Before all the South Dakota fans get mad, I’d like to point out that Nebraska happens to open the season against Florida Atlantic, so I technically just called my home state of Florida poop).
Powerhouses are still paying small schools to come in and get their asses kicked, so there are going to be some pretty boring affairs the first few weeks. With all that said, here are the best matchups of the early season.
Thursday, August 28 — Boise State vs. Mississippi in Atlanta on ESPN at 8 p.m.
The Bois in blue try to upset the future of football at a neutral site.
Boise State is the perpetual feisty competitor, and Ole Miss is an up-and-coming SEC sleeper team. The aforementioned SEC matchup between the Gamecocks and Aggies will also be grand, but this one has a bit more intrigue if you ask me.
Saturday, August 30 — Oklahoma State vs. Florida State in Arlington on ABC at 8 p.m. The ‘Noles begin their title defense
I have a thing for neutral site games — especially when they involve the defending champion/heisman-winner led Seminoles. Florida State gets tested right out of the gate against the Cowboys. This site isn’t as neutral as you’d hope though since Arlington is four hours away, but OK State will probably need all the help they can get as 17.5-point underdogs. Still, you can’t miss Jameis Winston’s primetime debut.
Saturday, Sept. 6 — Michigan at Notre Dame on NBC at 7:30 p.m.
The last game of a classic midwest rivalry … maybe
There’s a reason Notre Dame has its own channel. Your grandpa went there. Well, he roots for them at least. If he doesn’t, then one of his friends certainly does. His friend might have went there — grandpa can’t remember. Anhywho, there might not be another game between these two for some time, so let’s enjoy one last elitist slugfest for old time’s sake. Plus, the Fighting Irish might get to rebut this clever Wolverine chicken dance celebration.
Option B: Michigan State at Oregon on Fox at 6:30 p.m.
West vs. East-ish, Offense vs. Defense, Green vs. Greener
If you hate both Notre Dame and Michigan, chances are you’re a Spartan. Even if your not, it’s hard to find more diametrically opposed philosophies than the stingy MSU defense squaring off against the finesse of Oregon’s iconic offense.
Saturday, Sept. 13 — Central Florida at Missouri on SEC Network at 12 p.m.
A battle of black and goldish yellow
Blake Bortles and the boys from O-Town made a lot of noise last season, and it’s safe to say UCF fans are probably still celebrating their Fiesta Bowl win over Baylor. Well the Mizzou Tigers want to silence their enthusiasm and send them back to Disney World with a fat loss that makes Bortles shudder somewhere in Jacksonville. These are two hungry teams looking to prove themselves. Should be fun.
Thursday, Sept. 18 — Auburn at Kansas State on ESPN at 7:30 p.m.
Big 12 vs. SEC, and somebody’s gotta lose
Both teams have high hopes this season and will probably be 2-0 heading into this game. Plus, it’s Thursday and you’ve got shit else to do. Auburn QB Nick Marshall is a preseason Heisman candidate, and Kansas State is a sneaky contender, according to CBS Sports’ Jeremy Fowler.
Thursday, Sept. 25 — UCLA at Arizona State on Fox Sports 1 at 10 p.m.
The Pac-12 exists, and it’s pretty talented
I’m just as guilty of east coast bias as anyone else, so I’ll be staying up late on this particular Thursday to see how things are done on the left side of the country. UCLA comes into the season touted as the seventh best team in the nation, and the Sun Devils went 8-1 in the Pac-12 last season. Do they have to run the west-coast offense by default? I don’t know — I’m just a stupid easterner.
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