Hey gang, college football is back (almost), and every week I will be bringing my picks (mainly through the use dumb jokes) along with those of some of the other staff members. So, let’s get this thing cranked up! Play the video above for maximum nostalgic effect and good feelings!
Week 1 kicks off with some very high profile games, mostly around the SEC, ACC and the Pac-12. Old rivalries will be rejuvenated, with games like North Carolina-South Carolina* and Clemson-UGA in which UGA will talk about how Auburn-y Clemson’s become and in which South Carolina will try to offer Spurrier Vineyards to UNC fans who will react with an upturned nose at the swill. There are some interesting match-ups too between schools like Auburn-Wazzu where Mike Leach will try to win so he can still brag about how the bottom of the Pac-12 is still better than the bottom of the SEC which is like comparing national poverty lines – it’s still bad. LSU-TCU is on the docket as well with Les Miles coaching against a school with a Horned Frog mascot (imagine the pep talks!). I think I’ve exhausted enough of the intro – LET’S GET IT.
North Carolina at No. 6 South Carolina – North Carolina is coached by Larry Fedora, who is in his second year at Chapel Hill. Fedora has excited UNC fans who could’ve been in the Coastal division title hunt had they not been suspended due to Butch Davis’ lack of oversight. With Bryn Renner behind center, the Tar Heels have an offense that could make them very dangerous in the ACC. But once they pass Rock Hill, home of Jadaveon Clowney, they will see the Kraken-like tentacles of the city that has birthed the most dangerous defensive linemen in the country. They will then enter Williams-Brice, and the mental game will already have destroyed them. Renner will try to become the knight in shining armor only to have his armor knocked off, sold for scrap, melted down and turned into a chrome part for an exhaust on Marcus Lattimore’s George Rogers edition Ferrari.
No. 24 USC at Hawaii – Lane Kiffin brings the Trojans across the Pacific Ocean into Aloha Stadium with a two quarterback system of Max Wittek and Cody Kessler. Norm Chow eyes the squad as bait for a hungry gaggle of Rainbow Warriors – ones who can pick a part a program already tarnished by Kiffin’s childish petulance. In reality, Marqise Lee rips through Hawaii’s “decent defense” and then makes QB Sean Schroeder question his transfer from Duke as if he were Don Draper questioning what a place like the Rainbow State symbolizes.
Buffalo at No. 2 Ohio State – Buffalo is walking into a den of vicious, ravenous fans. A fan base who was deprived of a shot at a national title due to NCAA sanctions. Now with a second place ranking in the AP poll and a good amount of returning talent, Buckeye Nation is thirsty for a shot at a crystal trophy. The Bulls will most likely be minced meat but then again Ohio State gave us some real nail biters last year at the beginning of the season (Toledo, UAB). Whether or not that was an issue of the team attempting to coalesce or a sense of entitlement to win remains to be seen, but I think Ohio State wins this one, and
Lex Luthor Urban Meyer marches on.
Massachusetts at No. 23 Wisconsin – If you’re going to watch how any FCS v. FBS matchup this weekend, it should be UMass in Madison. I think it’ll be interesting to see how noted Potato enthusiast, Gary Andersen, operates the Wisconsin machine that has been humming along rather nicely since the Barry Alvarez years and into the Bret Bielama era. This is definitely going to be one of the Badgers’ easiest games in a schedule that sees them playing road games at Arizona State and Ohio State as well as a homecoming game against a challenging Northwestern Wildcats team. For this game though, the Badgers win and the intro for “Jump Around” will be like Pavlov’s bell which triggers your worst Big Ten thoughts. LEGENDS! LEADERS! AH!
Toledo at No. 10 Florida – “Rockets? In Gainesville? Is this some kinda Star Wars joke y’all are pulling on me again?” Will Muschamp asks a room full of the Gator media contingent. “Rockets, huh? We’ll just get Antonio Morrison out there to bark them damn things out the sky. Heh heh. What? No – I don’t know if Jeff Driskel is talking to Tebow. No no – I don’t know. Alright. Rockets. Rockets. Yeah, I think we can get Antonio out there to bark at ’em.” Florida wins and Toledo runs back across the Mason-Dixon line battered and bruised, wondering why the Gators were foaming at the mouth and rabid.
Rice at No. 10 Texas A&M – JOHNNY FOOTBAW. HATE BARN. WHOOP. YESSIR. WHOOP. (Kevin Sumlin will smile during the entire game without a care in the world because this is the energy he’s been waiting for. This is what he thinks about every time he tweets out an all-caps ‘YESSIR’ in the late night hours. Whether or not Johnny Manziel is out for this game is irrelevant as A&M will most likely stroll along. What matters is their week 3 against Alabama but until then let Sumlin ‘WHOOP’ away into a frenzy because I have a feeling he’s going to have plenty of down moments.) 12TH MAN.
Mississippi State v. No. 13 Oklahoma State – An interesting neutral site game between a middle of the road SEC program and an Oklahoma State program that had an above average season. I say interesting because it could be an indicator for progress for each respective team. Dan Mullen is coming off a year where the Bulldogs went 8-4 with a final, soul crushing loss to Northwestern in the Gator Bowl. Mississippi State is not likely to fire Dan Mullen because of the new found success he has brought the program but 2013 will be a great bellwether to see if Starkville will start growing impatient. Oklahoma State, on the other hand, had their closest shot at a national title with Justin Blackmon running up and down the field like a mad man. Fans in Stillwater also want to take a leap but their idea of leap is vastly different from what MSU envisions. MSU wants the SEC West, at the very least. OSU wants a Big 12 title and another BCS bowl, at the very least. I think Oklahoma State walks out of Arlington with a win and a boost of confidence going forward.
Temple at No. 14 Notre Dame – Notre Dame! Good to see you back! How you doin’, buddy? You alright? Last time I saw you you looked like shit, man. It’s ok – wipe yourself off. You have got Temple to open the season and I’m sure Louis Nix III will be happy to show them the door as soon as they get anywhere near Touchdown Jesus.
Central Michigan at No. 17 Michigan – The Chippewas ride their bus in from Mount Pleasant and into the home of Domino’s’ Headquarters with a hearty laugh and hand shake from Brady Hoke because that’s what Michigan Men do. Hoke knows that Devin Gardner is going throw like his head is on fire, he knows Taylor Lewan is going to pancake a Chippewa or five, and he takes pleasure in the thought of a man with the name of Fitzgerald Touissant running right through the CMU front seven. He smiles at you because he’s a gentleman in the field of sport like a Michigan Man should be. And then he wishes you a “good day, old sport”.
Nicholls State at No. 3 Oregon – HEY! NEW THINGS EVERYWHERE! This game is one of the first broadcasts of Fox Sports 1. Erin Andrews, Eddie George, Clay Travis! This new format is about to get as ridiculous as the score Oregon is going to rack up on Nicholls State. There’s gonna be zany new things Fox Sports 1 does like, uh, compete with College Gameday? Please, that’s like Nicholls State beating Oregon in a boat race.
No. 1 Alabama v. Virginia Tech – I saw the Hokies play this year during the spring game and I’m not gonna lie – I was a little bit over served at a tailgate outside Lane Stadium. Needless to say, at some point during a Logan Thomas incompletion, I crashed inside the stands. But, that could also describe the little bit I saw of their offense – a crash. A big, screeching crash that is being coached by Auburn’s recently fired OC, Scot Loeffler. The oncoming Turnbull AC death bus driven by AJ McCarron will run right over it and then reverse and then hit the gas again.
Eastern Washington University at No. 25 Oregon State – Mike Riley – America’s coolest dad is back! And so is Sean Mannion! This team is a living personification of a Washed Out album. All layered, laid back instrumentation that just eases you into a state of calm while earning your admiration. I’m going with Wash, er, Oregon State.
Louisiana-Monroe at No. 16 Oklahoma – You better redneckognize. Oh, Funroe – it’s good to have you back. Remember how that Arkansas game propelled Funroe and the Fun Belt. Yeah, that was fun! Lets hope it happens again and against an always disappointing Oklahoma.
No. 5 Georgia at No. 8 Clemson – It’s the biggest game of the weekend and it will be the funniest clash of personalities. You’ve got an excited, rambling DABO! against the quiet but talented churched mouse non-control freak, Mark Richt. Then, you have two extremely loud and proud fan bases complete with UGA fans who will be wishing they were out on the links once they hear the “C-L-E-M-S-O-N” chant for the thousandth time. This is the hardest pick since the game will most likely be a shoot out but I think Clemson has the edge because of their ability to conjure up chants that cause brain aneurysms.
New Mexico State at No. 15 Texas – Mack Brown backs up a dump truck full of money and drops ungodly amounts of cash on the New Mexico State squad as they eat their post game meals of soggy ham sandwiches and Gushers near the visitors’ locker room. “Sorry boys,” Mack shouts over the truck’s engine. “Maybe you can buy some fine Texas beef with this money!”
Wyoming at No. 18 Nebraska – Nebraska wins. I’ve got enough sense not to pick against Bo Pelini. I love life too much.
No. 12 LSU v. No. 20 TCU – The marquee game in Jerryworld, it’s a matchup between a seemingly down LSU squad and a TCU team that’s feeling good this season. I think the one thing we can all feel good about is watching Les Miles’ reaction to TCU’s mascot and then unintelligibly blabbering while staring at the huge, widescreen TV in Cowboys Stadium. My pick? Jeremy Hill plays and the Tiguhs win.
Nevada at No. 21 UCLA – Jim Mora, Jr. is in his second year of coaching the Bruins and is without the explosiveness of Jonathan Franklin. But against Nevada, who cares? They lost the innovator in the pistol offense and the last time Nevada lost direction they fell down a hole. I think Junior’s smugness alone edges the desert cats.
No. 19 Boise State at Washington – Another Fox Sports 1 game! This time with names that have more caché like Seven-win Steve, “Teeth” Price, and Chris Petersen. Boise State and Washington both return a lot of players though the Broncos have a relatively inexperienced defense and a quarterback who is not as precise as Kellen Moore. While Boise State has been known to be the mid-major that causes fits, I don’t think it will start happening until later on down the line. I think Washington barely pulls out a win with Keith Price flashing his famous smile for all of a proud potato loving people to groan at.
No. 22 Northwestern at Cal – Former Louisiana Tech coach Sonny Dykes is in charge of a Cal team that is somewhat in disarray after the firing of Jeff Tedford. He still has offensive playmakers but he has to face the Big Ten’s hungriest, most ambitious team in Pat Fitzgerald’s Wildcats. With Kain Colter and Venric Mark leading an offensive attack with a more experienced, bigger defense, I think the Wildcats have all the weapons to make Cal pessimistic again (until the revenge game against Ohio State!).
Ohio at No. 9 Louisville – Teddy Bridgewater is great and Charlie Strong is awesome but for some reason I think MACtion is gonna debut early and just flex all over this thing like Waka Flocka on a mixtape. I think the AP ranked the Cardinals a bit too high and I think the Bobcats will be a dangerous team for a very confident Louisville team. I’m going Hustle Belt on this one.
No. 11 Florida State at Pitt– The Seminoles travel to Pittsburgh to face a Panthers squad without an offensive identity. They have a veteran defense but I don’t think that will be enough to top Jameis Winston’s hammer dance speed. I also think the FSU defense will derail whatever the Pitt has put together in the offseason.
Can you feel it, reader? The time of year when most of revert back to irrational and illogical ten year old versions ourselves is upon us? It’s back, and it feels good (though I would ask that you temper your ten year old self).
*Editor’s Note: I wanted to keep this as USC so desperately. I’ve been one of the proponents of giving South Carolina the “USC” label, given that it was founded a full 79 years before Southern Cal, and in recent years I have taken to referring to South Carolina as “the ranked USC” in conversation. Unfortunately, mass media (read: ESPN and the AP) dictates that Southern Cal retains its status as “USC,” at least until Jadeveon Clowney delivers a concussive hit to the perception of Lane Kiffin as a coach by having a successful NFL career. – R.M.