Welcome to TV Party, a weekly segment where we preview ten of the week’s most exciting match-ups in college football so you know when to grab some beer and ignore the outside world.
This week: Uncle Verne (and, ugh, Gary) is back for the first SEC on CBS coverage of the year. His presence ensures an tantalizing match in Columbia yet his stay will be brief. The rest of the evening will be a fool hearty attempt to entertain your neighbors who would much rather be in the comfort of their home and watching their brand, new Roku rather than sit through the slaughter of Tennessee at Oklahoma.
GAME 1: A TATTERED SAIL CRASHES INTO A DRUNKEN MOUNTAIN TOWN
East Carolina travels to Blacksburg after somewhat of a moral victory against South Carolina where the Pirates punched above their weight class only to have the Gamecocks turn on the afterburners. They are facing a Virginia Tech team who is fresh off an upset in Columbus and riding high with new found confidence. The Pirates are a very pass heavy team with Shane Carden as their focal point. The Hokies have a defense that can swarm and confuse quarterbacks. Carden is no JT Barrett though which should make for an interesting game between two teams who are trying to gain some of the national spotlight.
GAME 2: GEORGE O’ LEARY DOESN’T GET GARY PINKEL
The Maty Mauk-led Missouri Tigers are a presumed wild card. They are coming off a season that was marked by their first division title in the SEC but there is still skepticism about how good this team actually is. UCF will be somewhat of a bellwether for how Mizzou can handle defensive pressure. The Golden Knights of Orlando sport one of the more frightening defenses within the mid-major category (though they lost in an Irish shootout with Penn State). They line up on Saturday against a Tigers offense that has one of the sleepiest starts within the Southeastern Conference.
P.S. George O’Leary and his quizzical look towards Gary Pinkel’s existential dread is set to make an appearance.
GAME 3: COULD THE BIG TEN GET ANY WORSE? (PART I)
The Big Ten received a five finger death punch courtesy from the West Coast but don’t tell that to the two teams who have yet to play their out-of-conference Power 5 opponents. Maryland and Minnesota have decided to delay the blood letting into Week 2 with games against both West Virginia and TCU, respectively.
First, Maryland will host the Mountaineers, who put on one of the better early games against the Alabama Death Machine within the past five years. The Mountaineers boast their signature “air raid” offense that is fast, agile and comes complete with a great head of hair. The Terps have their own up-tempo offense courtesy of Randy Edsall with a defense that pales in comparison to what Dana Holgorsen is packing. This could be a shoot-out or it could be another blow for the Big Ten. Either way, you’re gonna have fun looking at the expressions of Holgo.
GAME 4: A TELEVISED BRAWL IN A COLUMBIA PARKING LOT
This divisional, inter-state rivalry is the hearty centerpiece of a Saturday whose spread is drastically thin on the margins because your “friends” forgot to bring appetizers. Georgia is coming off a bye week from their inhumane handling of Clemson with intent to thrash a despondent Gamecock team who’s in desperate need of a weak slate. South Carolina has history on their side after winning the three of the last four meetings. They also have the benefit of home field advantage with techno rooster noises within the confines of Williams-Brice. The momentum for 2014, however, is in favor of the Bulldogs, who seem just as ready for a national title than ever with an offense that is running on the only cylinders that matter in Todd Gurley and Mark Chubb.
The game also signals the return of the SEC on CBS which will offer plenty of Verne Lundquist “wows” as well as signature Gary Patterson self-congratulations for predicting officiating outcomes.
GAME 5: KLIFF KINGSBURY MEETS CHAZ FROM WEDDING CRASHERS
Despite the fact that Bret Bielema and Kliff Kingsbury are diametrically opposed in terms of offensive philosophy, they share a lot of the same traits. They both like to have a good time and they like to shake things up. The only problem is Kliff Kingsbury is young and Bielema shouldn’t really be following us to this bar anymore. No, dude. Get away. Are you wearing a bowling shirt? Ugh, dammit Bret.
GAME 6: COULD THE BIG TEN GET ANY WORSE? (PART II)
Minnesota is heading to Fort Worth to take on the Horned Frogs of Texas Christian University. This is the second of the two Big Ten vs. Big 12 match-ups on Saturday. The game is a match-up of power versus power as Jerry Kill has established he plans to run David Cobb until he can’t anymore. TCU has still played the role of defensive foil in a mostly offensive conference though the results have given them the same relative stature the Gophers have in the Big Ten. Yet, they do not have the stigma of playing in the Big Ten.
For the Gophers, a win means a bright future in the Big Ten West whose ranks look increasingly thin by the week. For TCU, you just beat a Big Ten team! Congrats! Why don’t you join your fellow compatriots at the bouncy castle?
GAME 7: CHARLIE STRONG TRIES TO KICK JIM MORA OFF THE TEAM
The Texas Longhorns are not that great. UCLA looks not that great. The only difference between the two is that one was ranked in the preseason as the seventh best team in the country.
The Bruins will head to Arlington, Texas to take on the Longhorns for what’s likely to be an arduous journey. Will we see a renewed Bruins team or will it be the same Bruins who have to try their damndest narrowly escape a haphazard team? Nothing’s certain except for Charlie Strong getting mad at someone for an attitude problem.
GAMES 8 AND 9: MORBID CURIOSITIES
It’s getting late, you’re alone and you want to watch something on Netflix you might not otherwise watch in a social setting. So, you decide to watch The Human Centipede because someone on the Internet said something about it. After about ten minutes, you decide that you made a terrible decision and close your computer screen. You’ve had enough. Consider games 8 and 9 of the night to be your Human Centipede.
Game 8 is a visit from the Tennessee Volunteers to Norman, Oklahoma to take on the Sooners. Tennessee has been off to a great start and pounded a formerly feisty Utah State team back into utter obscurity. The Sooners have looked playoff worthy by thrashing all lesser competition in sight. If they can dispose of the Vols with equal measure, they will still stand atop the hill of contenders until otherwise picked off. Their reward for a close game with a resurgent Tennessee team will likely be a drop in the polls. Either way, you will get the feel of this game within the first two quarters.
Game 9 is a road game for Steve Sarkisian and Athletic Pat Haden, if he is willing to make the ride. The Trojans have looked like a team that has molded around the style of play of whatever team they are playing. They were an elegant, exacting Dr. Jekyll against Fresno State. In Stanford Stadium, they became the sloppy, grotesque Mr. Hyde. The long trip to the northeast to take on Boston College does not guarantee which side of the coin the college football world will see.
GAME 10: THE LATE NIGHT HEAT
The Arizona State Sun Devils hosts the East Coast for late-night Pac 12 football in their conference opener against Colorado. The Buffaloes are coming off a win against UMass where victory was decided by a slim three point margin. The Sun Devils are known for their fast, furious and aggressive style of play. Todd Graham coached the Sun Devils to a Pac 12 South division title last year and still has it within his sights. With a Top 25 AP ranking and a team that returns phenom QB Taylor Kelly (!!!), this will be a slaughter you want to stay up and witness.