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: If last week was table scraps, this is a tailgate of ungodly proportions. We’re talking corporate-branded idea of what every single football tailgate is like. There’s many a chip-and-dip with wings, wings, and MORE WINGS. Four giant Vizio televisions in one room because this is how you should be living, AMERICA. An Alabama fan is there because, of course! Also, BEER! Lots and lots of BEER! We’re talking so much beer that Madison, Wisconsin can get alcohol poisoning. All of this grotesque bulk brought to you by ESPN, Zaxby’s, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Budweiser (though college students should be studying because it’s about PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY), and a local commercial about catheters.
GAME 1: WELCOME TO THE (PAPA JOHN’S) THUNDER DOME
Louisville’s past two weeks have been exercises in moral victories where the margin of victory in their two losses has been a touchdown or less. Watching Auburn in last week’s game against Jacksonville State didn’t exactly help Cardinal fans cope with their first week loss against the Tigers though. Things look really down in the dumps right now for Louisville but there’s the faintest glimmer of hope when the perennially misunderstood Clemson comes to town on Thursday night. Clemson is currently ranked as the 11th best team in the country with a schedule that runs through Notre Dame, Georgia Tech and Florida State. If the Tigers want to impress more AP voters, beating up on a floundering Louisville would be the way to do it. Then again, this is Clemson and the laws of the college football universe apply to any and all situations with Clemson in it until proven otherwise.
Coverage begins from Louisville at 7:30 on Thursday night on ESPN.
GAME 2: THE ONLY THING THIS GAME NEEDS IS VINCE VAUGHN SAYING, “THAT WAS FOR YOU”
The last time Georgia Tech and Notre Dame met for a game was back in 2007 when the Yellow Jackets nearly blanked a Charlie Weis-coached team. Eight years later, it looks we stepped in a time machine that included AP rankings from an even earlier era. Going into this game, Notre Dame beat Virginia by a hair after QB Malik Zaire went down with an injury. Backup redshirt freshman DeShone Kizer is now being asked to tackle one of the ACC’s most upwardly mobile teams. This Top 25 intrigue also comes with an extra wrinkle: Johnson and Irish defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder do not get along. This game will be especially hilarious when Johnson opens up the playbook just to send a hearty fuck you across *gasp* THE HALLOWED GROUNDS OF NOTRE DAME.
Kickoff begins at 3:30 from Notre Dame Stadium on NBC.
GAME 3: THE MOST BIZARRE, END OF DAYS GAME IN THE SEC
Auburn-LSU is a game that is noted for the strange things that happen both on and off the field. With barn burnings in Auburn and an earthquake in Baton Rouge, this rivalry has all the flair of an Old Testament reckoning. All we need is locusts and there is a cicada near LSU that would happily fit that bill. As far as the play is concerned, Les Miles and LSU run a somehow conservative offense with Leonard Fournette in the backfield. Meanwhile, Auburn needed conservative play calling on the part of Jacksonville State in order to avoid one of the biggest upsets in college football history. This game could be get ugly in a way that recalls Sodom and Gomorrah.
CBS begins their broadcast from Tiger Stadium at 3:30 PM.
GAME 4: WELP, LET’S JUST TRY TO BEAT GEORGIA, I GUESS
South Carolina is having another year where they look inconsistent from week-to-week. After falling into a pothole against Texas A&M at home last year, the Gamecocks barely squeaked by an East Carolina team to win with a fast and furious Georgia team approaching. This week, South Carolina comes off of another loss to Kentucky at home with, once again, another fast and furious Georgia team heading their way. Nick Chubb and Sony Michel have been racking up yardage at the expense of lesser teams but this game is a wild card. The Bulldogs could very easily win this one but, then again, Spurrier could always throw a wrench into the SEC East as he’s been known to do.
Coverage from Athens begins at 6:00 PM on ESPN.
GAME 5: KLIFF KINGSBURY IS COMING FOR YOU, BERT
Last year, the air raid at Texas Tech was held to just 28 points in a game that became overwhelmingly one sided in the final stretch. The Red Raiders were beset by bad penalties, Arkansas’ defense and an offense that failed to get going again after halftime. Kliff Kingsbury and the gang head to Fayetteville to take on the Razorbacks fresh off of their 16-12 loss to Toledo. If there was any opportunity for Kingsbury to secure his first win over an SEC team as a head coach, this is it. The Raiders’ defense has been revamped to match the style of the offense thanks to new hire David Gibbs. Gibbs coaches a smash and grab defensive system that is designed to be just as fast and lethal as the air raid. It’ll be entertaining to see this defense function against an offense that sputters once it hits opponents’ 40 yard line.
Kickoff starts at 7:00 PM on ESPN2.
GAME 6: CAN JARED GOFF BREAK MORE RECORDS IN AUSTIN
Guys, I really, really like Cal. I never expressed this in my preseason points or any of my write-ups thus far this season, but I think the “Bear Raid” offense could honestly wreck the Pac-12 North. I am not saying they are going to be beating Stanford or Oregon but this team is going to a bowl game this year. If they can hold San Diego State to just three points, then I can only imagine what they are going to do to the hapless Texas offense. The Longhorns are down in a way that suggests we are watching the aftermath of Caligula’s reign. I think the California Golden Bears are one team that will help solidify that.
Coverage starts at 7:30 PM from Austin on FOX.
GAME 7: THE RETURN OF STANFORD’S FRIGHTENING INABILITY TO JUST JUMP IN A POOL
Stanford visits Los Angeles Coliseum for a rematch against Steve Sarkisian’s Trojans. The game was a bumbling, awkward mess last year; mostly due to a certain Playoff Selection Committee member stumping for the USC Trojans on the sideline. USC has looked great in their two non-conference games which featured a lot of yardage from the Bakersfield Dream Cody Kessler. The Cardinal, meanwhile, have looked like Doug Funnie getting nervous about his weight at a pool party in their first two games on offense. There are very few problems for the Trojans clearing this hurdle at home unless Stanford’s defense morphs something coherent together.
Kickoff is set for 8:00 PM from Los Angeles Coliseum on ABC.
GAME 8: ROBERT NKEMDICHE VS. THE PROCESS
Alabama proved that they continue to have an embarrassment of riches in their program. Their depth is what sets them apart from almost every college team in the country. That’s why – for the most part – Alabama always gets the benefit of the doubt in every single game they play. There is an occasional game where they are bit by another team. But, in the Nick Saban era, the majority of Alabama’s losses have been away from Bryant-Denny Stadium. Throughout Saban’s eight year tenure, his teams have only lost five games at home; the most recent loss was against a dynamic Texas A&M team in 2012. To say that the odds of Ole Miss pulling another upset is improbable is redundant. Yet, this game has a lot of hype around it considering all of the chatter through SEC country about Alabama’s prolonged eclipse. However, given where Ole Miss is playing, this game is going to be a mountain for the Rebels to climb.
Coverage starts from Tuscaloosa at 9:15 PM on ESPN.
GAME 9: THREEPEAT TANNER MANGUM?
Backup quarterback Tanner Mangum has been having one hell of a run these past two weeks. After narrowly defeating Nebraska in Lincoln, he goes out and does the same thing to another opponent at home. It’s almost inexplicable as to how it has been able to happen twice in two games. Mangum might have his hands full though against UCLA’s defense which has shut down both of their opponents so far this season. He also has to keep pace with the Bruins’ golden child, Josh Rosen. The defense might have this thing sewed up early to send BYU packing but if there’s any magic left, now would be the time to use it.
Kickoff starts from the Rose Bowl at 10:30 on Fox Sports 1.
GAME 10: GO UTES
Another team that I am finding hard not to like is the Utah Utes. They’ve looked like a formidable Pac-12 South foe despite losing their starting quarterback. On Saturday, their latest opponent is Fresno State who just gave up 73 points to Ole Miss. Now, Utah might not be much of an offensive machine but it should be able to handle the Bulldogs on defense.
Coverage starts on CBS Sports Network from Fresno at 10:30 PM.