College Football Pick Six: Week One
In the season’s opening weekend, College Gameday will head to unfamiliar territory as will many FBS programs
First and foremost: While I love college football and am just as excited as ever for its return, I recognize that ultimately our sports fandom is just a wonderful escape vehicle. I hope that those affected by Hurricane Harvey are able to find safety and shelter. Please refer to this SB Nation post if you are interested in learning about ways that you can help. Let’s work together and help Houston overcome this disaster.
Now onto the six things I’m excited for during the real opening weekend of college football:
College Gameday is coming to B-Town!
I have been a rabid consumer of College Gameday for about ten years. During my four years at Indiana University, I tuned in every Fall Saturday morning to watch Chris Fowler, Lee Corso, and Kirk Herbstreit host the ultimate preview show from a location that was not my campus. This Thursday night, the Gameday crew will be coming to viewers live from this very campus as it makes its first-ever trip to Bloomington, Indiana. I am unable to attend due to my work schedule (probably karma for all the home games that I failed to attend due to my tailgating schedule), but I’m ecstatic for the IU Football program and for Hoosier Nation.
Our Hoosiers are hosting the heavily-favored Ohio State Buckeyes. The atmosphere is going to be “lit”, to use the parlance of our times. The Hoosiers have played the Buckeyes competitively over the past few seasons and I believe the country will witness a similar effort this Thursday night. The Buckeyes fans will definitely show up and make their presence felt. Bring the noise, Hoosiers fans! Enjoy the Gameday show and get after it during the tailgate like you do so well, but save some energy and bring it into Memorial Stadium. This is a great opportunity for your school and for your football program. Never Daunted, We Cannot Falter, For the Glory of Old IU.
Five Days of Games!
From this Thursday night showdown, the college football schedule keeps on rolling through Monday night. That means, if you so choose, you will be able to watch a college football game on five consecutive days.
Aside from the mega-hyped showdown between juggernauts Alabama and Florida State, I am most intrigued by the contrasting styles matchup between Virginia Tech and West Virginia in the stand-alone Sunday night game. I also think Michigan-Florida will be fun (despite several suspended athletes for Florida) because anything involving UM Coach Jim Harbaugh is interesting.
New (or renewed) Rivalries/ Quirky Non-Conference Matchups
The in-state battle between Colorado and Colorado State has my attention. Colorado State is coming off a decisive win in its fake opening week game against Oregon State and it will look to avenge last season’s loss to CU.
The Black Diamond Trophy is on the line as West Virginia and Virginia Tech meet for the first time in over a decade. These schools are close in proximity and were once bitter rivals. As I said earlier, I am excited to watch the contrasting styles of these two teams.
Texas A&M heads out west to play UCLA. These non-traditional rivals played an entertaining game last season and it’s reasonable to expect much of the same in this one. The winner will achieve temporary glory while the loser will find itself as the subject of coaching hot seat discussions. Both Kevin Sumlin (A&M) and Jim Mora (UCLA) could really use a win to start this season.
Maryland travels to Austin, Texas to take on the Texas Longhorns. The Longhorns have some hype coming into this season with new their new coach, Tom Herman, but I think the Maryland Terrapins will provide a tough test to open up the season.
Potentially frisky ‘dogs
The Nebraska Cornhuskers open their season at home against Arkansas State. I will take Arkansas State as my upset pick of the weekend. The mid-major program returns players at key positions and has the talent to hang with Nebraska, who will be starting a new quarterback in Tanner Lee. Regardless of the outcome, I expect a close game.
I’m intrigued by Wyoming-Iowa. Wyoming’s quarterback, Josh Allen, is an NFL prospect. Iowa is an 11.5-point favorite at home, but my gut says the game will be closer than that. I think Iowa wins, but I think it’s close enough that the Hawkeyes’ fans are panicking in the fourth quarter.
Ten years ago Appalachian State announced itself to the world by defeating the mighty Michigan Wolverines in Ann Arbor. The respected mid-major program heads to Athens, GA, to open its season as 12.5-point underdogs to the Georgia Bulldogs. Might we see some more upset magic on the tenth anniversary of the program’s legendary win? I don’t think so, but Georgia is far from a lock. I expect this one to be close throughout.
UAB Football is Back
It will be an emotional atmosphere at Legion Field this weekend as the Blazers’ Football program makes its bittersweet return after a two year hiatus. No matter your college football allegiance, we should all be UAB fans this Saturday. Welcome back.
College Football is Back
And *bold prediction alert*: crazy stuff is going to happen. Enjoy.