Is it just me or does it seem like most of the worthwhile games are all coming on at essentially the same time this year? Sure, it's happened in past seasons, but it seems like the rule and not the exception this year. The 6-7pm window usually sees the kickoff of three super interesting games and there's no exception again this week. Must be some kind of greater conspiracy by a secret society of sports bar owners. As always, rankings are from the AP until the BCS rankings come out and all times are from the good and right and true time zone: Central.
MISSOURI at #7 SOUTH CAROLINA - Saturday, September 22nd - 2:30 p.m. - CBS
OMG y'all! Columbia traveling to Columbia...I'm sure they won't remind us that little factoid but about 12,034 times (insert Verne snort laughing while choking from slurping whiskey too fast.) Odd as it is to say, I still don't feel like Missouri is really in our conference yet despite the fact that we're playing them in a couple of weeks. I watched the second half of Missouri v. Georgia, but I suppose it's high time I start paying them serious attention so I fully know what we're up against. This is the recommended viewing pre-Alabama game. Or if you don't go to or buy the PPV of the Bama vs. FAU game, leave this one on the TV while listening to Eli on the radio.
#2 LSU at AUBURN - Saturday, September 22nd - 6:00 p.m. - ESPN
There's a spectacular 1959 Japanese film directed by Kon Ichikawa called Fires on the Plain. The main character is a tuberculosis stricken Japanese soldier that's wandering the countryside in the waning days of World War II in an attempt to survive. Who knew Ichikawa's film would be so prophetic to 21st Century sporting life in the American South?
#18 MIGHIGAN at #11 NOTRE DAME - Saturday, September 22nd - 6:30 p.m. - NBC
The outcome of this game will go a long way toward determining the value of our win over Michigan. Michigan wins and the stock of our win gets a significant bump. Notre Dame wins and Alabama pounded a middle of the road Big Ten squad and still hasn't beaten anybody of note. Not that I think we'll drop in the polls or anything with a Notre Dame win, but we've been down this road before: the one where we absolutely humiliate a team and then everybody starts talking about how we didn't really beat anyone of note when they start dropping other games.
#10 CLEMSON at #4 FLORIDA STATE - Saturday, September 22nd - 7:00 p.m. - ABC
Well, hello there game with national title implications. Florida State's schedule has all the substance of a steady diet of Sour Punch Straws and Mountain Dew Code Red with a couple of pieces of broccoli on the side. They have two semi-real threats on the schedule: Florida at the end of the season and Dabo's squad on Saturday. Yes, it's no fair that high end ACC football has a voice in what goes on in Miami in January, but make no mistake, this game matters...a lot.
#22 ARIZONA at #3 OREGON - Saturday, September 22nd - 9:30 p.m. - ESPN
Even though we all like to poke fun at the RichRod debacle at Michigan and we mockingly thank Rita for not wanting to come to Alabama, we should all seriously thank him for shutting Gundy, Pickens & Co. up before they could get a decent head of steam going this year. For that, Rich Rodriguez, we're forever grateful. I don't imagine Arizona has much of a chance in this game, but sweet mercy, if you love touchdowns and hate the shit out of defense, this will be the game of your dreams. Seriously though, it's a game between ranked teams and it'll be the perfect nightcap on another glorious football Saturday in the fall.