We've been sitting around since January tenth just waiting for some real college football. The waiting is just about over. On Thursday, South Carolina travels to Vanderbilt to play in the first game of the season. Are you ready? I know you are busy so I've taken the liberty to design your TV schedule for you. Here is what you should watch during week one of the college football season....
Thursday August 30th
One of the favorites of the SEC travels to a much improved Vandy squad. South Carolina enters the season with a lot of question marks but with lofty goals. Marcus Lattimore returns from injury, they must replace Alshon Jeffrey and Connor Shaw is still growing at QB. On defense, the Gamecocks must replace a lot of starters and their defensive coordinator. This all adds up to a difficult match-up in week one as they travel to Nashville to take on a Commodore team that is tough at home. James Franklin's assistant coaches hot wives will be watching this one and so should you.
A late night battle of the Cougars. This could be NSFW. This is Mike Leach's first game as head coach for Wazzu. Leach has some offensive talent to play with, it's the defense that will probably be pretty rough this season. BYU has a chance to be pretty good this year but didn't beat anybody of consequence last year.This is an important game for both teams.
Friday August 31st
Joe Southwick will lead the Boise State offense against one of the top defenses in the land. On the other side, Andrew Maxwell will start his first game for the Spartans. Two top 25 programs with new starters at QB will face off. Boise State has had some good victories over strong programs early in the season in recent years, will the Spartans be another notch in their belt?
During commercials make sure and switch over to NC State and Tennessee (7:30 on ESPNU). The winner of that game could be in for a pretty good season.
Saturday September 1st
We can all wake up on Saturday morning, grab our favorite bowl of cereal and some coffee and head for the couch to watch this one coming to us from Ireland (unless of course you are tailgating and then you will need to make sure you bring the proper tools to watch this one from the parking lot). After losing to Navy for two consecutive years, the Irish destroyed them last year. It will be fun to see Notre Dame defend the Navy offense and it will also be interesting to watch Everett Golson in his first start.
Can you say upset special? This will be an interesting game for many reasons. It will be Bill O'Brien's debut game and also the first game for Penn State after it's exodus of players and NCAA sanctions. Ohio on the other hand is no joke. Former, Nebraska head coach Frank Solich had his best year last year for the Bobcats as they went 10-4. This Ohio team is solid and if the Nittany Lions struggle, they could fall.
During the commercials, flip over to Marshall at West Virginia on FX to check out Dana Holgersen's offense. A couple of other games to keep an eye on are Northwestern/Syracuse (ESPN 2, noon) and WMU/Illinois (ESPNU, noon). I will be watching Georgia/Buffalo (SEC Network, 12:21 pm).
It's always nice to get a conference game in the first game of the year. Frank Spaziani has taken a lot of deserved heat for his 4-8 team last year. Neither of these teams are expected to do much in the ACC but the winner will have reason to keep their heads up and dream a little as they start the season. Out of all the TV games in this timeslot this looks like the most competitive match-up. Miami has the advantage on paper but don't forget that in the last week of the year last season, BC came down to Miami and won by seven.
Keep an eye on Bowling Green at Florida (ESPN, 3:30) if only for Will Muschamp's QB rotation and Taylor Martinez and Nebraska will be facing Southern Miss (ABC, 3:30) which could provide some interest as well.
The granddaddy of the day. The defending National Champions against a team that way outperformed it's expectations last year. Is the Alabama defense ready for Denard Robinson? Is Denard Robinson ready for the Alabama defense? Another installment of the SEC/B1G feud is ready for consumption.
Before this game starts, check out an hour of Auburn/Clemson (ESPN, 7PM) and then during commericals flip to that and also Hawaii/USC (7:30, FOX).
Why not check out Oregon's new starting QB and Gus Malzahn's debut at Arkansas State. If you like points, this is the place to be.
During commercials flip over to ESPNU to check out RichRod and his Arizona Wildcats as they face a good Toledo squad who will also be breaking in a new coach.
Sunday, September 2nd
How hot will Joker Phillips seat be after this game and can Louisville live up to the hype that it has been given this pre-season? The Teddy Bridgewater express is hoping to blow through the Big East but stop #1 is against a rival from down the road.
Life without RG3. It will be interesting to see how Baylor's offense comes out after losing RG3 and some other significant contributors. Baylor's defense was very shaky last year in Phil Bennett's first season as DC. Will SMU's starting QB Garrett Gilbert (yep, that Garrett Gilbert) be able to take advantage?
Monday, September 3rd
The Nerds travel to Virginia Tech where they will try to beat the Hokies for the first time in Blacksburg since 2006. On paper this looks like a defensive battle where points are at a premium but that hasn't been the case with the last three match-ups between these teams. This will come down to GT's ability to stop Logan Thomas. The winner has dibs on the Coastal Division.