Anyone who has read this space for the last few years knows we try to develop a theme when looking at the biggest college football games on the national landscape each week.
With such an amazing schedule for week one of this season, I started thinking “shame on you people for looking for a theme…or really shame on me for trying to find one.” However, in the midst of consecutive night of insomnia #3,462, it hit me like a bad 2am infomercial. Well, it actually was a bad infomercial…for survivalist food kits. I mean, there is no excuse to leave the house this weekend with such a plethora of great games, but we all need nourishment. For only $150 we can get storage tubs full of things like freeze dried cereal, powdered drinks, beans and rice and 10 pizzas, that by the way, have a 20 year shelf life. Yum.
The schedule of games is so big this weekend, that we are breaking the preview into two parts. So, as the “preppers” say, let’s SIP (shelter in place), find the remote and grab our bucket o’ food for the games and check out Part 1 of the preview.
College Football Preview; Week 1, Part 1
Oklahoma @ Houston; Saturday 12pm EDT ABC
The game is actually in Houston but at NRG Stadium. First big one of a long weekend so grab that powdered orange drink mix and some and freeze dried apple cinnamon cereal. Houston caught a lot of folks off guard last year, but there is no chance of that now.
The biggest boost for the Cougars was when head coach Tom Herman turned down numerous opportunities to stay in Houston. Quarterback Greg Ward is back, coming off his Peach Bowl Offensive MVP performance and he has plenty of offensive weapons back. The defense lost some critical players to the NFL. That’s bad news when Oklahoma is coming with Heisman candidate quarterback Baker Mayfield and running backs Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon. “Some” at LWOS even think enough of the Sooners to give them a first place vote in the Top 25 poll. Good thing the stadium is sponsored by an energy company. Means plenty of light bulbs for the scoreboard.
UCLA @ Texas A&M; Saturday 3:30PM EDT CBS
This is a strange match-up. In January, Noel Mazzone was the offensive coordinator at UCLA. His son, Taylor was the quarterback coach. After a season that many in Westwood were dissatisfied with, both are now in College Station preparing to face their former team. The tandem will be guiding transfer quarterback Trevor Knight, (the fourth Aggies’ signal caller in two years) into a new look spread offense. UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen will be leading a UCLA offense that will be transformed into a more pro-style offense in order to take advantage of his arm strength. The real key to watch will be the best defensive end in the country, A&M’s Myles Garrett, versus a make shift UCLA offensive line. The “legacy meals” sommelier recommends the 4,000 calorie nutrition bar for the game.
LSU @ Wisconsin; Saturday 3:30PM EDT ABC
If Pac 12 vs, SEC isn’t your cup of “prepper’s” freeze dried tea, then check out this great SEC vs. Big 10 showdown. I have taken many shots over the years at certain schools in certain conferences for playing soft OOC schedules. The SEC and ACC have stepped up this season, but special props go to LSU for being the one team willing to travel north of the Mason Dixon Line to do it.
The Tigers are beginning what is surely Leonard Fournette’s last year after the junior averaged more than six yards a carry in route to nearly 2,000 yards rushing a season ago. While Fournette is amazing to watch, keep your eyes on the defenses. LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda was leading a physically tough Wisconsin squad this time last year. He was replaced in Madison by Justin Wilcox who was run out of Southern Cal. LSU is a legitimate contender for the SEC West. Wisconsin may be a little down this year, but that still makes them one of the physically tougher teams in the country. To make the matchup all the more special, the game is being played at Lambeau Field.
Georgia vs. North Carolina; Saturday 5:30pm EDT ESPN
The Kirby Smart era begins at the Georgia Dome with questions at quarterback and in the trainer’s room. Nick Chubb is one of the best running backs in the country but has been limited in camp while rehabbing from last season’s injury. Sony Michel broke his arm in a four wheeler accident and just starting taking contact drills this week. Both are expected to play but quality of time is an issue.
Healthy or not, they will be going up against a Tar Heels defense that was 122nd in the nation against the run last season. While North Carolina breaks in new quarterback Mitch Tribusky, they will lean heavily on the running of Elijah Hood, who rushed for 1,400 yards last season. Lots of ground game in this one so don’t get too filled up on the quality “prepper” food just yet.