These college football previews are pretty much the one concentration at the deeg that keeps me sane. This past week began with the usual autopsy of another cockpunch from the Bills against New England with the general consensus being this one was much better because the cast was different. Then there was the realization that the first Bills blackout wouldn’t come in week ten but week two because I don’t know, you all love redzone too much? Now Sabres camp has started and I’m reminded that the Civil War in the fanbase makes Syria look capable of conflict mediation. Aside from the USA win in Columbus on Tuesday and the fact that my baseball team is currently going gangbusters on hapless assholes in the American League, it’s the usual September nonsense, albeit nonsense subject to change.
That’s what makes college football so enjoyable. Whether you have a favorite team or not, whether that team is the alma mater of yourself, a loved one or no one, the disassociation to the rest of our teams only helps our enjoyment of it. Not to mention the faster play and lack of soul-sucking television timeouts and extended replay breaks give the games a greater flow. Hell, for what it’s worth I certainly don’t encounter such confusion and idiocy in deciding what a catch means in the college game, which is good for something.
While I didn’t get to post last week for family reasons, I did get to watch some games, namely the Penn State victory and the Michigan- Notre Dame game, so long as drinking heavily with Scizz, JoeBuffaloWins and Jambrones while Yachtsman screams at the television counts as watching. Heading into this week I am assuming the entire discussion of the slate of games will center around one game since the media is generally unable to focus on more than one thing at a time, so my goal is to remind you all that there are many games this week for us to enjoy.
(24) TCU at Texas Tech, 7:30pm ESPN
Hey look, a TCU game on national television! Of course it has to be a night when the only other games are Troy-Arkansas State and Tulane-Louisiana Tech but hey, moral victories. I’ve had a soft spot for Texas Tech since their offense was unstoppable in NCAA for PS3 when they had the lightning connection of Harrell to Crabtree. For whatever reason I don’t hate them as much as I hate the Longhorns even though Austin is probably the only place in the state I wouldn’t find 80% of the population worthless and Lubbock is well, the opposite. The only Texas college town I can conceivably believe is worse than Lubbock is Waco since I’m fairly certain Waco is worse than Riyadh.
While we’re on the topic of the video game of NCAA Football, I have a couple beefs. I own the 2013 version of the game so this may have changed, but there is nothing I hate more than the unrealistic skills of opposing cornerbacks. I have never, not once in real football seen cornerbacks running three yards ahead of the receiver on a slant route. I assume this is because in real life the receiver would simply break off the route and either stop or turn it into a swirl route to the outside. Of course the receivers in the game do not consider this so they continue to run their stupid route leaving me to either throw the pick or try and run. I absolutely adore the “Road to Glory” mode but I know my neighbors have heard plenty of bitching at the television because the game designed every receiver to have zero football sense. It’s like having five Da’Rick’s on every team.
In related news, I take the right things seriously.
(17) Louisville at Kentucky, Noon ESPN
I watched Bridgewater’s week one game against Ohio and shitty MAC school or not, it was impossible to not come away impressed with his play. He was rightfully sat for most of the fourth quarter but I was hoping for Ohio to roar back and make a game of it simply so Bridgewater could come back in and lay waste to all of the school’s single game passing records. I don’t think this kid is going to encounter any Brian Brohm issues if for some reason he doesn’t come out this year. So make this your early game Saturday, it might even qualify as a rivalry game even though I’m unsure if anyone in this state gives a shit about football when one of the teams doesn’t have a superstar behind center.
Louisville is by far your early favorite to go undefeated and end up in the Orange Bowl while two one-loss teams play a 17-6 nightmare in the BCS Championship. It’s going to be awesome.
(16) UCLA at (23) Nebraska, Noon ABC
I should probably start boning up on these teams but it’s hard to get excited for either when one automatically assumes they’re going to end the season as the third or fourth best team in their conference at best. I still can’t take Nebraska getting steamrolled in last year’s Big Ten Championship by Wisconsin, who only found themselves in the game because the two teams ahead of them were on probation. As for UCLA, have they had a defining win since beating USC several years ago? I mean, it’s awesome that USC is a tire fire now and I’m glad UCLA is now the better of the Southern California schools- by far no less- but this is week three. One of these teams is going to finish out of the top 25 and I’m picking Nebraska. The Cornhuskers barely got past Wyoming (!) at home in week one and I’m bracing for an embarrassment in Lincoln that will make everyone want to jump into a grain elevator.
(Look it up, that prediction makes sense, grain elevators are DANGEROUS)
Stony Brook at UB, 3:30pm WatchESPN app
I was going to put the BC-USC game on here but then I laughed and crossed it out because fuck USC and Lane Kiffin. I get Pac12 Network and I would never recommend subjecting yourself to such horrors, so if you have the WatchESPN tablet or phone app, have this in the background while watching the game discussed below. After playing well against Ohio State, UB reverted to what I imagine they’ve looked like their entire time in the FBS, their one bowl appearance notwithstanding. Now their “real” season starts. At home, high expectations with the humility of being embarrassed to a nationally ranked team. They’re playing FBS rookies Stony Brook, a school that until a few months ago I was certain was upstate in the Adirondacks or something. As it sits right now the Bulls are six-point favorites but I have to imagine they along with their fans will only be satisfied with a double digit win.
Well here we go, the biggest game in the history of western civilization. All of man’s evolution and development, from Stonehenge and the ancient burial mounds in England, to the founding of democracy to the time of Charlemagne to the enlightenment, colonialism and the nuclear age has allowed us to sit home and watch two teams led by bros and worshiped by obese rednecks throw a ball around for a few hours. I for one am excited and fuck you if you’re not. If you’re going to be some hipster who just HAS to watch Tennessee play Oregon, I don’t know what to tell you outside of please seek help immediately.
I wouldn’t be on the side of “Roll Tide” if a coalition of Iranians and Cubans were coming ashore in Mobile so no, I won’t be starting here. All I want is more touchdown celebrations where Manziel incorporates money. I want him to run for a seventy-yard touchdown and then pretend to toss benjamins over his fattest lineman writhing around in the end zone like a stripper. Better yet, I want them to be real benjamins. I fucking love that kid.
Also, I hope the winner of this game wins the SEC. Unless Alabama wins in which case fuck them, someone else is still winning the SEC.
Tennessee at (2) Oregon, 3:30pm ABC
The only reason I can imagine you’re watching this game is if you’re an alum of one of the two schools involved. Oregon is still fun as hell to watch but they’re at home and four touchdown favorites. Wait until the Pac-12 schedule starts for the real fun. Between Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, Washington and even Washington State, it’s going to be an extremely fun fall to watch this conference. Sometimes I wish the SEC and Pac-12 could just play a tournament amongst themselves in the middle of the season or something.
(4) Ohio State at California, 7pm Fox
I’m tuning into this game because I want to get a better idea about how good the Buckeyes are. Yes, I still believe they are winning the Big Ten, and if the Pac-12 and SEC sufficiently beat the shit out of one another they could find their way to the BCS Championship game but it’s hard to gauge anything yet. Lackluster play against UB and then a blowout against a San Diego State team that hasn’t been successful since Marshall Faulk was running the ball have really made their first two games a wash. Heading to Berkley where the Bears are likely still smarting after a loss to Northwestern should give us a better inclination.
(25) Ole Miss at Texas, 7pm
This game is on the Longhorn Network so don’t watch because fuck ESPN and fuck the Longhorn Network. Instead, here’s my power ranking of the top 5 pumpkin beers:
1) Southern tier Pumking: The reigning and still world champion of pumpkin beer. Southern tier has plenty of incredible beer (their 2X IPA, Phin and Matt’s and 2Xmas are all outstanding), so it’s really no surprise they have the best pumpkin beer. I’m not good at conveying taste in words, but while many pumpkin beers tend to stray towards octoberfest with hints of pumpkin, Southern tier gives you the real thing, the full flavor and smell. It’s fucking delicious.
2) Saranac Pumpkin Ale: I bought a Saranac fall fun pack a couple weeks ago and it included a couple of these which were good enough to immediate buy a couple of six packs on their own. While Pumking is phasing into the area at the moment, Saranac can be found in gas stations and even tops, which is where I find myself more often than wegman’s go-to location for pumpkin. Great flavor from another brewery than puts out consistently delicious beer.
3) Long Trail Pumpkin Ale: I am admittedly biased towards Long Trail; I fell in love with them when I moved to Vermont in 2010, a time when finding their beer back home was impossible to the point that I’d bring a fan pack home to share with friends or family every time I’d return. If you’re a beer snob and their Triple Bag is not one of the top five beers you’ve ever had, I’ll buy you one of your beers. Anyways, that said, their pumpkin beer was incredibly disappointing last year. I believe it was its debut and you could tell that they may have rushed it to jump on the pumpkin train but either way I only tried it once. This year has been a marked improvement and a beer that you can’t go wrong with, especially with what I consider the best beer label out there.
5) Becker Farms Pumpkin Ale: Now, if you want this there’s nothing you can do aside from drive your ass out here and get a growler like I did last year but I can assure you it is worth it. If you simply remember Becker Farms as that place your school did a field trip to as a kid or a place to pick out apples and pumpkins as a kid, you’re in for a treat. This place brews their own beer and bottles their own wine, both of which are delicious. Ordering one of their beer flights is always a good idea but assuming the pumpkin is flowing by this point, don’t be a dick and just get the growler. You’ll want it soon after getting home, trust me.
(20) Wisconsin at Arizona State, 10:30pm ESPN
I know the Notre Dame-Purdue game is on before this one and that Notre Dame is Notre Dame but a couple things: first, I really wouldn’t be surprised to see them lose to Purdue and maintain that last year was an aberration to the point that while the Fighting Irish won’t be terrible, they certainly could lose at West Lafayette. Second, Wisconsin is ranked a spot higher in the AP poll. This game fascinates me because you have a ranked team currently a 5.5 point underdog to an unranked team. Sure, the game is in Tempe, the Sun Devils run a dangerous spread and it’s going to be hot as balls there but Arizona State is in merely the second game of their season while the Badgers have had a pair of tune up games and happen to be coming off a Rose Bowl appearance, regardless of how many asterisks that Big Ten title deserves.
This game has the added bonus of being the late night viewing choice and as we saw last weekend when Washington State upset USC, it’s pretty fun sitting at home or in a bar as the clock nears 1:30am, the buzz coursing through your veins and noticing, “hey, there’s a really good football game on, live, RIGHT NOW!” For us in the Eastern Time Zone, this is akin to finding a twenty dollar bill in a pair of jeans you haven’t worn in two months.
And after all this, we’ll all turn on the Bills and hope for the best. Until we can do more than simply hope for the best, college football will help get us through the weekends.