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College Football Random Thoughts From Around the Country: PLAY BALL!

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"The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step." - Lao Tzu

And so it begins...
And so it begins...
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back, college football! Every August we say it but it felt like the Longest.Off-Season.Ever. The College Football Playoff is back for its second go-round with not many changes other than former Vandy coach Bobby Johnson replacing Archie Manning on the CFBP committee and Texas Tech AD Kirby Hocutt taking over for Oliver Luck (aka "Andrew's Daddy").

As the Power 5 slowly distance themselves from the rest of the FBS, it is a little easier to see who will contend for championships and who is just going through the motions hoping for an invitation to the New Mexico Bowl. In years past, I have listed teams who are eliminated each week. Thus, I believe it is safe to eliminate every team in a sub-P5 conference ... and Kansas.

ADOPT-A-TEAM
The last two seasons, we have kinda taken Colorado State under our wing, cheering them on from afar. This was mostly due to their head coach and former Bama OC Jim McElwain plus the little-running-back-who-could Dee Hart. They have both departed Fort Collins, so we need a new pet team. Some ideas: FAU!, Georgia Southern (chipping away at UGA's dominance in the Peach State), Navy (God Bless 'MERICA!), Hawaii (just cuz), South Alabama (Joey Jones, y'all!), Kent State (Saban's alma mater). Suggestions?

tiny football

Now, onto the games!

BEST FIRST DATE (never played each other)
Texas A&M vs. Arizona State (at Houston, TX), Sept 5.

BEST WEEK 1 NON-TRADITIONAL NON-CONFERENCE SEC GAME
ALABAMA vs. Wisconsin (at Arlington, TX), Sept. 5

BEST WEEK 2 NON-TRADITIONAL NON-CONFERENCE SEC GAME
Oklahoma at Tennessee, Sept. 12

BEST NON-TRADITIONAL NON-CONFERENCE NON-SEC GAME
Oregon at Michigan State, Sept. 12

MOST IMPORTANT EARLY SEASON SEC GAME
Ole Miss at Alabama, Auburn at LSU, both on Sept. 19

MOST IMPORTANT LATE SEASON SEC GAME
Alabama at Auburn, Nov. 28

MOST LIKELY TO UPSET UGA
#1 Tennessee, #2 Mizzou, #3 Florida

WHY ISN'T THIS A RIVALRY?
Missouri at Arkansas Fri, Nov 27
Before Mizzou's 21-14 win over the Hogs last season, these neighboring state schools have faced each other on the gridiron only FIVE TIMES with only three as regular season games (1906, 1944, 1963) and two bowl games (2003, 2007)!

WHAT WERE THEY THINKING SCHEDULING A ROAD GAME HERE???
Oklahoma State at Central Michigan, Thu, Sept. 3
Michigan State at Western Michigan, Fri, Sept. 4
LSU at Syracuse Sat, Sept 26

TEAM THAT JOINED FBS IN 2015 AND PROVED THEIR WORTH
Georgia Southern, 9-3 (8-0 Sun Belt) in 2014

NEW UNNECESSARY TEAM JOINING FBS IN 2015
Charlotte 49ers, apparently two 5-6 seasons in FCS is all it takes to qualify.

TEAM LEAVING FBS IN 2015
UAB (to be reinstated in 2017...maybe)

TEAMS THAT SHOULD BE KICKED OUT OF FBS
Georgia State, Idaho, any team that plays home games in New Mexico.

POWER 5 TEAMS THAT SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THEIR PROGRAM
Wake Forest (cancelled a series with Vanderbilt because the 'Dores beat them too much), Indiana (one winning season since 1994), Colorado (nine straight losing seasons). Kansas and Iowa State

WHO WANTS SOME OF THIS? THE GRIZZLIES DO!
After five straight wins over FBS schools - four of which are "Power 5" - North Dakota State could not manage to convince any naive FBS teams to send them an invitation to come visit their stadium this fall.
2010: NDSU 6 Kansas 3
2011: NDSU 37 Minnesota 24
2012: NDSU 22 Colorado State 7
2013: NDSU 24 Kansas State 21
2014: NDSU 34 Iowa State 14
The Bison are 58-3 over the past four seasons with four straight FCS Championships.
However, they kicked off the 2015 season last Saturday with a 38-35 loss to Montana.

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO...
NCAA President Mark Emmert? It is pretty amazing to realize how much power this overpaid blowhard has lost.

HEISMAN HYPE?
Too soon.

Gump 4 Heisman

Ima gonna go ahead and pull out my first Gump card of the season and say that Nick Saban has saved college football from the First Saturday Blues. When he agreed to take on Clemson in the Georgia Dome to begin the 2008 season, he made it en vogue to play a high-stakes out-of-conference game at a neutral site. Now instead of everyone playing creampuff games in Week One, it is an amazing slate of games that you thought were only available on video games.

Black_white_tv_salesman_medium

Thursday, September 3
North Carolina vs. South Carolina 5 PM/6 PM, ESPNESPN (Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC) – Is this the beginning of the end for the Ol' Ball Coach?
WKU at Vanderbilt 7 PM/8 PM, SECN– Another humiliating loss for Vandy #MasonWasABadHire This might be worth watching for Hilltoppers QB Brandon Doughty.
Michigan at Utah 7:30 PM/8:30 PM FOXS1 - All the good vibration going on in Ann Arbor will be washed away after the Utes stomp big M.
TCU at Minnesota 8 PM/9 PM ESPNESPN - This is Gary Patterson's idea of improving the out-of-conference scheduling.

Friday, September 4
Baylor at SMU 6 PM/7 PM ESPNESPN- This is Art Briles' idea of improving the out-of-conference scheduling.
Washington at Boise State 9:15 PM/10:15 PM ESPNESPN- Didn't take long for former Broncos' coach Chris Petersen to return to Smurfville. Too bad he's gonna lose.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

SEC
Louisiana Monroe at Georgia 11 AM/12 PM, SECNZzzzzzzzz...
Tennessee-Martin at Ole Miss 11 AM/12 PM, SECN...zzzzzzzzzzzz
UTEP at Arkansas 2:30 PM/3:30 PM, ESPNU ESPNU...zzzzzzzzzz
Louisville vs. Auburn 2:30 PM/3:30 PM (Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA) CBS- Many questions about AU will be answered here.
Southeast Missouri State Tech A&M at Missouri 3 PM/4 PM, SECN
Bowling Green vs. Tennessee 3 PM/4 PM, (LP Field, Nashville, TN) SECN
Arizona State vs. Texas A&M 6 PM/7 PM, (NRG Stadium, Houston, TX) ESPNESPN - Some folks see the Sun Devils as a CFBP darkhorse.
Louisiana Lafayette at Kentucky 6 PM/7 PM, ESPNUESPNU- Don't be surprised if La-La wins this one.
McNeese State at LSU 6:30 PM/7:30 PM, SECN- McNeese has 7,431 undergraduates.
New Mexico State at Florida 6:30 PM/7:30 PM, SECN
Mississippi State at Southern Miss 9 PM/10 PM, FOX Sports 1 - Interesting choice of a road game for MSU.

NATIONAL
Stanford at Northwestern 11 AM/12 PM, ESPNESPN - Some see Stanford as the PAC favorite.
BYU at Nebraska 2:30 PM/3:30 PM, ABC ABC- Mike Riley's first game in Lincoln is a dangerous one.
FAU! at Tulsa 2:30 PM/3:30 PM, CBSSN - FAU!
Virginia at UCLA 2:30 PM/3:30 PM, FOX - meh.
Texas at Notre Dame 6:30 PM/7:30 PM, NBC - Is there any way they can both lose?
Georgia Southern at West Virginia 6:30 PM/7:30 PM - UPSET ALERT!

Monday, September 7
Ohio State at Virginia Tech 7 PM/8 PM, ESPNESPN– Sadly, this is the hardest game on OSU's magnificently LAME schedule until Nov 21 when they host Michigan State.

alabama logo script a 100x100

#ALABAMA

Wisconsin vs. ALABAMA 7 PM/8 PM (AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX) ABCABC- Bama is favored by 10.

#RollTide!