“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 was 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, and 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 worthy of so much attention 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 Part 2 of the preview.
College Football Preview; week 1, Part 2
USC vs. Alabama; Saturday 8pm EDT ABC
Break out one of the high-end, “forever” pizzas from the tub for this one. Maybe even throw in some of the never-goes-bad pasta. Two of college football’s blue bloods meeting at Jerry World in Arlington, TX is cause for celebration. They have 27 national title claims between them and some historic matchups, including the 1970 game when the Trojans’ Sam Cunningham rushing performance did more to integrate college football in the south than any previous march or protest. Both teams are breaking in new quarterbacks. Both teams have talent to burn at the skill positions. The real test is upfront where USC has one of the top offensive lines in the country, anchored by 6-9 340 Zach Banner. Bama has one of the best defensive front sevens in the nation with Ryan Anderson and Tim Williams. In the side dish/subplot, of course USC also gets to visit an old friend now pacing the Bama sidelines. There is no truth to the rumor that SC will stop by the Lane Kiffin Memorial Lounge at LA Airport on their way out of town.
Clemson @ Auburn; Saturday 9pm EDT ESP
We would offer dessert here for the end of the evening, but the “prepper” tub only seems to have canned fruit for that. Clemson knows what it has on offense. Heisman finalist Deshaun Watson returns at quarterback along with most of the offensive weapons that averaged 38 points per game last year. Clemson’s defense, however, has holes to fill with only four starters returning. Auburn’s offense is introducing new quarterback Sean White, and instead of putting the game on the sophomore’s shoulders, Gus Malzahn would like to go to a ball control, clock management offense, but he has lost two of the three running backs that were expected to play major roles this season. It’s going to be up to Auburn’s defense to try to turn Watson into more of a pocket passer and turn down the temperature on the seat that is getting warm under Malzahn’s backside.
Notre Dame @ Texas; Sunday 7:30pm EDT ABC
This is what you get when the NFL regular season has not started yet. You get Sunday college football and maybe another one of the “great” pizzas from the tub. Notre Dame’s offense jumped on Texas early and often last year. The Irish are going with a two headed quarterback scheme, with DeShone Kizer and Malik Zaire both taking snaps in the game. There is enough talent surrounding them to go around for everyone. Texas, as it does every year recently, is playing for head coach Charlie Strong’s job. For a change though, the Longhorns seem to have found their quarterback of the future in true freshman Shane Buechele. It’s a lot to ask of a kid to put up big points against Notre Dame and so the Longhorns are going to have to rely on their defense to try to keep the Irish offense in check.
Ole Miss vs. Florida State; Monday 8pm EDT ESPN
Labor Day brings a day to not labor and watch more football. No one is happier to labor over football than Ole Miss. After an off-season where much of the focus centered on the ongoing NCAA investigation, they would much rather talk about quarterback Chad Kelly, the senior with an NFL-caliber arm who can also run. He is going to need all of that because his entire offensive line from last season is gone. Florida State has its own questions on offense, but yeah, not really so much. Sure, the Seminoles are breaking in a new signal caller in Deondre Francois, but we’re not sure it will matter much. Not as long as they have Heisman candidate running back Dalvin Cook, who rushed for just under 1,700 yards last season to go with 19 touchdowns. The game is technically at a neutral site in Orlando, (the former Citrus Bowl stadium), but since Ole Miss has to travel about three times as far as Florida State, it’s just another thing working against the Rebels.
I would offer more from the Prepper’s tub to keep you going, but after a weekend of all the freeze dried cereal and fruit and beans and rice and pizza, for the love of goodness sake just go grill a burger at this point. We have done all we can for you. We have brought you enough “nourishment” to last through the extended weekend, whether it be a zombie apocalypse or the start of the college football season. If you can’t get pumped up by now, as the “preppers” say, YOYO, (You’re On Your Own).