To quote President Andrew Sheppard, I haven't done this in a really long time. For him that's jumping between the sheets with Annette Benning, for me that's posting on the blog, especially about college football. Not to mention the fact that the last time I discussed college football it meant addressing the fact that two of my most hated programs were facing each other for the National Championship. In hindsight I can't believe I kept myself from gleefully addressing the fact that Manti T'eo is dumber than the empty Keystone Light box that sits atop the mountain of empty cases in my apartment, especially given the fact that once again his family, his school and the media were able to explain away the whole thing by chuckling, shrugging and saying "aw shucks, he's just a simple kid from Hawaii." First off, IF he is just stupid, that stupid should not be used as an excuse but should be documented, analyzed and certainly mocked and insulted. Our view as a society toward idiots is disturbing and is yet another sign of the sure-fire decline of American society. Idiots should be treated with disdain, vilified, and as an object of scorn. They should not be cornerstone of one television station's programming lineup and the target audience for many others. This idea that it's okay to be stupid, to wallow in ignorance and shun both book and street sense is appalling. The Military Channel, my Waterloo of non-public broadcasting, aired a show last night called "Nazis vs. Aliens." I did not watch the show, which may have been a poor decision because if there really was a battle between Nazis and Aliens, then fuck those history professors who glossed this over because that battle must have been EPIC.
Buzzfeed idea: twenty-two reasons the battle between Nazis and Aliens was the most OMG battle of EVER.
Oh, and since I said "first off," the secondly of that is that if T'eo isn't stupid, then he completely made up said girlfriend with an accomplice in order to drive the narrative and create buzz around his Heisman credentials, draft stock and to a much lesser extent, his rapey teammates. For the record, I ascribe to this theory.
Well, there's 300 words you'll never get back. I am certain you've missed my contributions very much.
Anyway, this offseason has seen college football discussed at a level rarely seen before, certainly at a level I don't remember seeing before. Of course, almost none of this discussion revolved around the chances of the actual teams; you know, the minutiae that happens on Saturdays between existential discussions about the future of the game, who should get paid for what, how much the NCAA sucks and "what does it all MEAN, bro?" Don't get me wrong, I have my opinions on the business of college football and from what I've garnered, approximately 90% of fans and those who cover the game have one opinion whereas old white men- nay, VERY OLD WHITE MEN -and the NCAA have another view. As usual, 6% will answer "I don't know" because there's always an percentage of the population that fails to grasp the question. I'm in the 90%, but who the fuck cares? The NCAA is going to do what it does, players will get popped for bullshit and change will only come at the relative pace of continental drift. You know what is fun?
FOOTBALL!!!!! Football on Thursday's and Tuesday's and Friday's, football played by genetic freaks and frat bros born after the last Bills Super Bowl appearance, driven on by another blend of freaks who can manage to merge twenty-hour days with sociopathic pursuit of a goal that might get "stripped" from them some two years in the future anyways. I bet Sepp Blatter peruses college football messages boards to tell himself he's running a legit sporting operation. The NFL may have one guy who murdered some folks in cold blood, but I'm fairly certain every SEC coach has some mouthy assistant or snooping local reporter dissolving in acid in their bathtub as we speak. College football is the fucking tits.
With all the narrative given to one player, did you even know the season starts today? Can you name the top three teams in the AP poll? I know for sure I couldn't because until an hour ago I had the 3 and 4 flipped in my head. It's gotten to the point where not only, in a world with ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, NBCSN, FS1 and FS2, do we have to rely on ourselves to educate ourselves about the rosters, matchups, and (real) news in sports, we have to fucking rely on ourselves to be aware of when the goddamn GAMES are played. I'll be impressed in ESPN actually airs the full games this year and not a split screen with the game in one box and seven rich hyenas talking about the perils of being poor in 2013, but let's cross that river when we get to it around week five.
It's lamentable that's it's come to this because ultimately there's plenty of things to be excited about when it comes to the 2013 season. Will Alabama suck the excitement out of it again? (No.)Will Ohio State go from probabtion to national champs? (No.) Will Stanford, Georgia, or South Carolina take the next step? (Yes, no, yes.) How long until Teddy Bridgewater is the only thing about which anyone on telvision is able to form coherent sentences? (Sunday, 3:45pm) Will Notre Dame go back to disappointing their fans? (Yes.) Holy shit Northwestern is ranked? (Yes.)Will we get to say goodbye to the non-playoff era with one last clusterfuck between four undefeated or one-loss teams, the only send-off this time in the history of the sport deserves? (Christ I hope so.)
On to the Week one preview!
North Carolina at (6) South Carolina, 6pm ESPN
Does anyone know if this qualifies as a rivalry? Like, are people in South Carolina pissed that their nothern neighbor now has more oppressive voting laws than them? That has to sting, to fly that confederate flag for all these goddamn years only to find a state that voted for that damn Kenyan in 2008 is now doing a better job at telling students, the poor and minorities to go fuck themselves. Buck up South Carolinians, you'll always have Fort Sumter, Strom Thurmond and Jadeveon Clowney. I didn't catch much of him last year and if you're like me, this game is not only college football's opening day, it's your chance to see who this monster is and if he lives up to the hype through your own eyeballs. For once, my guess is he will, if only because I haven't seen a sniff of dissention from the consensus that is everyone buying into Clowney as a generational talent. Remember, we live in a time of sports commentary where everything is a debate; "who would win, Blackhawks or Heat," was an actual debate topic this season, yet I've not seen a soul willing to claim Clowney is overrated.
A couple weeks ago I joked that the first asshole to come up with some glib slogan to endorse a Bills tanking operation like "Clowning for Clowney" needs to be identified and exiled to Nunavut, but in the era of Tuel Time I suppose that would be harsh. If the only option for positivity come fall is watching Clowney and hoping for a 2-14 record, whatever, I can support that, especially given the state of the Bills defense.
South Carolina starts the season highly ranked yet in the SEC they always find themselves tripped up. They may lose to Georgia or Clemson, but it won't be both, and it would be the only loss they'll encounter this season.
Utah State at Utah, 8pm Fox Sports 1
I don't have much of a reason to support watching this game outside of the fact that the game above will be over, there's no CFL and college football is back. Utah is easily the non-southern state I either hate the most or would get into the most arguments with locals (or both). I honestly have no idea how they manage to manipulate non-Mormon 17 and 18 year-olds to submit themselves to Utah for a semester let alone a year or four. My guess is these schools attempt to use the Orthodox nature of BYU to make themselves appear to be the "hip" schools of Utah, which is like calling Blue Moon and Yuengling craft beers just because Bud Light Platinum is at the same serving station. Anyways, watch this game because the Utes have sharp uniforms and to see if FS1 can air their first college football game without fucking it up.
Buffalo at (2) Ohio State, 12pm, ESPN2
Of course you have to watch this game. UB has kind of made a niche of opening its season on the road and committing seppuku; it's been a thing for so many years I'm starting to wonder if it's less about the money and more about a masochistic athletic department. I mean, these games pull in a hefty payday for the visiting squad right? Theoretically, at some point this ploy should amass enough money for the athletic department and the football program that they won't have to embarrass themselves anymore and can play an opponent against which they would be more competitive and able to adapt to their future MAC opponents, right? Also, given the fact that the Bulls are supposed to be somewhat competitive and competing for their first bowl game since 2008 and perhaps even one played in the United States, maybe destroying their confidence against the future Big Ten champs isn't necessary. All that said, my Mom is marrying her long time boyfriend in Vegas this week and I told him to throw twenty on the Bulls to beat the spread. A 42-10 loss would get it done.
Rice at (7) Texas A&M, 1pm, ESPN
I'm almost certain I've never seen Rice play a football game before, or any other sport. I think Rice was involved in that play from the 50's where someone ran off the sidelines and tackled someone on their way to a sure touchdown, but I doubt their uniforms look the same. Probably some white helment that says "RICE" in cursive or something boring. A&M is favored by four touchdowns and I am certain some ESPN producer was going to end up running his car in the garage if Manziel didn't play, but of course he's going to play, and sitting a half in a game where you're favored by twenty counts. There is no way that a school, an entity built on making money and growing it's footprint in the SEC and Texas, sits their meal ticket a full game or more in order to prove a point, a stupid point at that. The NCAA created these stupid rules, they should be the ones forced to enforce those rules which then draws more attention to the sheer stupidity of those rules. Why should the school do the NCAA's dirty work? They would disappear into the margins of the SEC and suddenly those bros-in-training don't think College Station is that fun anymore.
For the record I love Johnny Football, and encourage all of you to watch as many games of his this season as possible. I could do a full post on him alone, but that's been done to death, turn on fucking Around the Horn if you want more. I will say this: I cannot desctribe how happy I am twitter didn't exist when I was in college.
Penn State v. Syracuse (at Metlife Stadium), 3:30pm, ABC
This is one of only two matchups between unranked teams in this week's preview and as per usual it goes to Penn State (if you're new here, PSU will always be featured in my weekly previews because fuck you that's why). I will be DVR'ing this game because I'm attending Wingfest this weekend and as I found out during the Cardiff City-Man City game last Saturday, I will have to go to semi-extreme levels to avoid the spoiling of this game until I get home to watch it.
There are numerous reasons to watch this game, especially to see how both teams do after losing their quarterbacks to the NFL and in Syracuse's case losing most of their coaching staff. Penn State opened last season losing to Ohio, then Virginia in a game where their kicker missed four field goals then rebounded to finish 8-4 including a loss to Nebraska on the final drive. Whether that was overachieving or not remains to play out over the final three years of the sanctions.
First, they have to settle on who replaces Matt McGloin at quarterback. Well, Bill O'brien has stated he's made up his mind but refuses to tell anyone so I guess it is settled. Somehow, true freshman Christian Hackenburg, the nation's top ranked quarterback recruit, kept his verbal commitment to Penn State even after finding out he would be unable to play for a bowl-eligible team until his Senior year. While I wouldn't be surprised for him to win the starting job later this season, my money is on JUCO transfer Tyler Fergeson starting Saturday in New Jersey, if only because he has been with the team since the spring. I am biased towards all things Penn State, which can then bleed into my Sabres bias, but I truly wouldn't be surprised to see the Nittany Lions in the top 25 at the end of the season. They won't beat Ohio State as usual, but 9-3 is certainly possible and after watching ESPN's mini-series surrounding the players and coaches summer preparation in State College, I am confident that even without some veteran leadership they will improve over last season.
Not to mention you have the two closest, biggest programs facing off in what dumb people call New York and the opportunity to say "see, Doug Marrone and Hackett were geniuses, Syracuse is LOST without them!" to help ease your Bills depression.
(1) Alabama v. Virginia Tech (Atlanta), 5:30pm, ESPN
I don't know, most people like watching the highest ranked team and defending national champion play, right? Well, for you there's this, the nation's best team sandwiched in between two games that I find far more intriguing. I suppose there's an off chance of a battle between Alabama and Virginia Tech hillpeople (seriously, if you're driving to Blacksburg from Buffalo and not from, say, Rochester or Syracuse, the drive is scary as all hell. Whereas with the latter, you get to take I-81 literally the entire way down and bypass all but a mile or two of West Virginia, the Buffalo route immerses you in far more of Appalachia than any good hearted northerner should be subjected to in a lifetime. Just make sure you get to Blacksburg during daylight because the last six hours are terrifying enough without the acute awareness that if you encounter car trouble you will likely not be heard from again), and there's nothing better to watch on television than hillpeople since you're in the safe confines of your own home.
Seriously, outside of McCarron and Yeldon I don't know anyone on the Crimson Tide, but I'm sure they'll win. Check back next week to see if I learned anyone else.
(5) Georgia at (8) Clemson, 8pm, ABC
Every year there is some week one matchup between a pair of top ten teams, and there's nothing more for me to add but my undying love for these matchups. Oddly despite my anti-Dixie views, I like both of these teams. Clemson caught me young because a) I didn't know where they were located until my 20's and b) I absolutely love the orange, the tiger paw, everything about it. Like George Costanza in velvet, I would ensconce myself in Clemson orange were it socially acceptable. Georgia on the other hand, while I do dig their jerseys, has been an "enemy of my enemy" situation for some time. I rooted hard for them in the SEC Championship last year and hated to see them fall just short, likely creating a BCS Championship clusterfuck which is always fun. Anyways, if Georgia wins this game I can see them landing in the championship this year. However, despite the fact that Clemson always seems to drop a game at home early on to torpedo their title hopes, I don't think that'll happen this year. Clemson wins in Death Valley.
(12) LSU at (20) TCU, 9pm, ESPN
TCU seems to always find themselves in the top 25 yet only get on national television when they find themselves up against a more highly ranked opponent. It has to be tough down there in (google search) Fort Worth, being the fourth most popular school in a football crazed state and handicapped by the fact that your "college town" is the fucking twin shitpiles of Dallas and Fort Worth. They're going to win all the games against bad teams, then lose all the games against good teams and possibly another in some random Thursday night upset. TCU lost to Michigan State by a point in the Buffalo Wings Bowl which is exactly the result I picture in such a bowl. LSU is back to being not just regular competitive but possibly SEC-competitive which is nice if only for the Alabama game where you ultimately hope for a bunch of injuries to avoid the inevitable glaucoma another LSU-Alabama BCS championship would bring.
(19) Boise State at Washington, 10pm, Fox Sports 1
Finally, the rematch of last season's Las Vegas Bowl that we've been waiting eight months for! I feel kinda bad for Boise State; they beat Oklahoma in one of, if not the best college football game I've ever seen several years back, blew a BCS bowl birth against Nevada a couple years later, and now find themselves in the large pool of talented teams that no one pays much attention to because they never threaten to shake up the BCS computers or polls. One of these years they, or another mid-major will grab a four seed, beat Alabama only to lose until Georgia in the championship and leave every crotchety, racist SEC pushing jackyl clammoring on about how the other schools just aren't as talented. It'll probably be true, but you'll just want to shove an ice pick into your ear when you're hearing it. Anyways, Washington isn't bad, it's a 10pm game and one of the best things of college football is that unlike baseball, there is always a late night west coast game to watch on a night where you don't have to get up in the morning. Sign me up all day for these games, the games where you get too invested in because you're 12 beers deep and you think this running back on the Huskies is suddenly a Heisman dark horse. These games are the fall lush's fantasy.
Ohio at Louisville, 3:30pm, ESPN
I'm guessing this is the first and only week ESPN can pull this crap with the NFL coming a week later. Of course come November if the options are a blacked out Bills game, a Nick Foles Eagles game or Bridgewater, I'd go Bridgewater. We definitely did not get many Louisville games last year and the few we did found their way to ridiculous weeknight schedules. I am confident that the monoliths that control college football programming will ensure that this temporarily unranked team does not repeat that fate this year. Louisville schedule is hilarious. If they don't go undefeated, the blame that will fall on him will certainly be hilarious and likely unjustified, it's just that no one else can name another guy on the Louisville roster. I can't wait for the Bills to go 2-14, get the second pick of the draft and then have Bridgewater decide to stay in college. Berls Mafia would egg that kid's house. The mafia are collectively that guy in Anchorman who says "nobody talks about my city that way!" except instead of a scary biker guy, they're a twibbon. Also, how long has the Bills mafia logo been painted on a house adjacent to the enterance road to the Fieldhouse? That is the worst thing I have ever seen, something that makes this athiest break down and pray that the Bills never get good if it means the camera of a national sports broadcast shows that abomination.
CFL Game of the Week:
Montral at Toronto, Tuesday, 8pm, NBCSN
This is only the game of the week because it's the only game nationally televised here. NBCSN loves to air Argos games, likely because they are the reigning Grey Cup champions and have Canada's biggest city and a bunch of other media nonsense but I hate watching games at the Rogers Centre. While many teams play either in smaller college stadiums or homey stadiums taylor made for their city's respective franchise, Toronto continues to plop the Argos down in one of the only multi-sport stadiums still in existence. It makes the crowds look smaller, takes them away from the action and generally makes watching them aesthetically less pleasing. Nevermind that since this is a Toronto game the stadium is filled with Colts, Steelers, Bears and other random NFL gear. It's as if Toronto fans feel that so long as is the same sport (which it arguably isn't), they can wear their jerseys. This was embarrassing when the Bills played there for obvious reasons but even more so when it's actually their own team, and a title holder at that.
But seriously, watch some CFL, it's hilariously entertaining shit.
Outlander's Predicted Conference Champions Without Explanation Because he's 3,500 Words in and Wants a Sandwich (Vanquished Championship Game Team in Parenthesis)
American Athletic (LOL): Louisville
ACC: Clemson (over North Carolina)
B1G: Ohio State (over Northwestern)
Big XII: Oklahoma State
Conference USA: Tulsa (over MIddle Tennessee State)
MAC: Northern Illinois (over Buffalo)
Mountain West: Boise State (over Fresno State)
Pac 12: Stanford (over Arizona State)
SEC: South Carolina (over Alabama)
BCS Championship: Stanford over South Carolina
Enjoy! And if you haven't yet, please check out yesterday's post by The Scizz and if you can, #SupportSally.