Our thoughts and prayers to those with the bravery to attend that first Alabama home game of the season: usually an afternoon affair, it’s always a sticky humid sweltering experience. But, you get the exquisite pleasure of watching the unblockable Quinnen Williams. You get to witness the unbridled violence of Deionte Thompson, the Tide’s most punishing sideline-to-sideline safety since Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. There’s the eloquent Damien Harris, who may leave as Alabama’s all-time leading rusher; his understudy, the balletic Najee Harris; and Josh Jacobs, who may have the most complete game of the bunch. The nation’s deepest, most versatile receiving corps is on display to haul in receptions from a quarterback who we hear is pretty good.
For the rest of us, we get television. But, what a nice early week it is. Here’s your complete schedule and television/streaming information (all times Eastern).
|New Mexico at #5 Wisconsin||12:00 PM||BTN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|#18 Mississippi State at Kansas State||12:00 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|Western Michigan at #21 Michigan||12:00 PM||FS1||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Towson at Wake Forest||12:00 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Eastern Michigan at Purdue||12:00 PM||BTN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Liberty at Army||12:00 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|Nevada at Vanderbilt||12:00 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Arizona at Houston||12:00 PM||ABC/ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|Duke at Northwestern||12:00 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|Georgia Tech at South Florida||12:00 PM||ABC/ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|Georgia State at NC State||12:30 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|UCLA at #6 Oklahoma||1:00 PM||FOX||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Holy Cross at Boston College||1:00 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|William & Mary at #12 Virginia Tech||2:00 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Portland State at #23 Oregon||2:00 PM||Pac-12 Networks||Pac-12.com|
|Air Force at Florida Atlantic||2:00 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|Kansas at Central Michigan||3:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Arkansas State at #1 Alabama||3:30 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|#3 Georgia at #24 South Carolina||3:30 PM||CBS||CBSSports.com|
|Rutgers at #4 Ohio State||3:30 PM||BTN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Ball State at #8 Notre Dame||3:30 PM||NBC||NBCSports.com|
|Colorado at Nebraska||3:30 PM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|Buffalo at Temple||3:30 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|Memphis at Navy||3:30 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|North Carolina at East Carolina||3:30 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|Wagner at Syracuse||3:30 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Howard at Kent State||3:30 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Morgan State at Akron||3:30 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Lamar at Texas Tech||4:00 PM||FSN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Southern Illinois at Ole Miss||4:00 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|East Tennessee State at Tennessee||4:00 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|North Dakota at #9 Washington||5:00 PM||Pac-12 Networks||Pac-12.com|
|Iowa State at Iowa||5:00 PM||FOX||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Youngstown State at #14 West Virginia||6:00 PM||AT&T Sportsnet||WVUSports.com|
|South Carolina State at #19 UCF||6:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|Savannah State at #22 Miami||6:00 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Maryland at Bowling Green||6:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|UMass at Georgia Southern||6:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Appalachian State at Charlotte||6:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Eastern Kentucky at Marshall||6:30 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|#2 Clemson at Texas A&M||7:00 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|Southeastern Louisiana at #11 LSU||7:00 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|UT Martin at Middle Tennessee||7:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Southern at Louisiana Tech||7:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|UL Monroe at Southern Mississippi||7:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|UAB at Coastal Carolina||7:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Baylor at UTSA||7:00 PM||None|
|Indiana State at Louisville||7:00 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Wyoming at Missouri||7:00 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|Fort Valley State at Valdosta State||7:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|Texas Southern at Texas State||7:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|Florida A&M at Troy||7:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Samford at Florida State||7:20 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Alabama State at #7 Auburn||7:30 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Kentucky at #25 Florida||7:30 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Western Illinois at Illinois||7:30 PM||BTN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Virginia at Indiana||7:30 PM||BTN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Arkansas at Colorado State||7:30 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|Utah at Northern Illinois||7:30 PM||ESPNews||WatchESPN.com|
|Maine at Western Kentucky||7:30 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Florida Intl at Old Dominion||7:30 PM||beIN Sports||None|
|Incarnate Word at North Texas||7:30 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Fresno State at Minnesota||7:30 PM||FS1||FoxSportsGo.com|
|#13 Penn State at Pittsburgh||8:00 PM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|New Mexico State at Utah State||8:00 PM||None|
|South Alabama at Oklahoma State||8:00 PM||FSN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Tulsa at Texas||8:00 PM||Longhorn Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Nicholls at Tulane||8:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|Southern Utah at Oregon State||8:00 PM||Pac-12 Networks||Pac-12.com|
|Cincinnati at Miami (OH)||8:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|#17 USC at #10 Stanford||8:30 PM||FOX||FoxSportsGo.com|
|UTEP at UNLV||9:00 PM||AT&T Sportsnet||None|
|Sacramento State at San Diego State||9:00 PM||None||None|
|UConn at #20 Boise State||10:15 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|California at BYU||10:15 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|#15 Michigan State at Arizona State||10:45 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|San Jose State at Washington State||11:00 PM||Pac-12 Networks||Pac-12.com|
|Rice at Hawai'i||11:59 PM||Spectrum Sports PPV||WatchStadium.com|
Why to Watch: Early Shift
Mississippi State at Kansas State (+7, O/U 53.5)
Moorhead’s offense looked really good against SFA, and the defense was as-advertised. You wonder how the Wildcats, in the midst of their own quarterback controversy, will move the ball consistently enough. Under Mullen, ‘State traditionally prepared and played poorly on the road. It’s time to see if the Bulldogs are contenders or pretenders with a different approach: this will be a hard-hitting game overall and is a must-win for MSU to have the season they hope. A loss by K State could send the ‘Cats reeling. This isn’t a good team — or wasn’t last week.
Nevada at Vanderbilt (-10, O/U 61)
This one hearkens back to the old school Dave, Dave and Dave J.P. games, doesn’t it? The ‘Dores blew the ... doors ... off of a quality MTSU squad last week. It’s the best Vandy has looked in almost two calendar years. Meanwhile, Nevada unleashed a lot of anger from a crappy 2017 upon the Portland State Vikings. Watch to see how Vandy competes coming off of a quality win...and you can watch the platonic ideal of a balanced offense: The Wolf Pack’s pistol is the most beautiful thing you’ll ever see when done right.
Arizona at Houston (-3, O/U 71)
Kevin Sumlin’s present team travels to play his first school. Noel Mazzone ruined Khalil Tate against BYU. Let’s see if the shackles are off Tate in a game where both teams will be highly motivated — don’t forget that Cougar HC Major Applewhite is coming in on the shadows of two prominent guys who left for bigger things: Sumlin and Herman. While not a marquee win, it would be nice to get this one on his CV. UH’s Ed Oliver is a special player too. Maybe not as great as the fawning suggests, but fans of interior line play can’t help but watch and grin.
UCLA at Oklahoma (-29.5, O/U 64)
Do you like snuff films? Do we have one for you. I dare you to play the UCLA Missed Tackle drinking game. Morbid curiosity will keep your eye on the box score to see how bad this really can get for the Bruins...and how many total yards Kyler Murray will ring up.
Eastern Michigan at Purdue
Don’t actually watch this game, but check in during commercial breaks to see Purdue’s 5’9” 174-pound, true freshman spark plug, Rondale Moore. Purdue, yes that Purdue, snagged a 5-star recruit out from underneath Texas’ snout, and he’s making an immediate impact in Brohm’s wide open offense. He reminds you a whole lot of David Palmer in the open field.
Duke at Northwestern (-2.5, O/U 47.5)
This is one of the better nerd rivalries that not many people outside of the two schools tune in for, usually pretty close affairs that go down to the wire. You can’t beat a competitive football game between two P5 schools with two very good coaches. The Wildcats are right on the cusp of the T25, while the more athletic Blue Devils could use this one before the ACC grind begins.
Georgia Tech at South Florida (+3.5, O/U 59)
The Yellow Jackets have tended to struggle against passing games. Alabama transfer Blake Barnett awaits to see if he can rehabilitate both his career and his reputation. On the other side of the ledger, the Bulls were dreadful stopping the ground game last year. Facing triple option flexbone is no way to get better at that. So, something has to give. The Jackets are coming off a very disappointing season, but Paul Johnson has his best quarterback to date; an actual QB prospect no less. USF is trying to prove that it deserves to be taken seriously in the AAC. Was last year a flash in the pan, or can the Bulls compete with Memphis and Central Florida?
This is a sneaky good game.
It is also one of three very intriguing triple option-versus-spread-option matchups this week, alongside Memphis-Navy and Air Force-Florida Atlantic. For most of the reasons above, it’s worth checking out those two for the competing styles of play — the wishbone: the original HUNHS. Lane Kiffin needs a win pretty badly too: the Owls were about as unprepared a team as you’ll see last week in Norman. More troubling, they seemed to give up and be overwhelmed by the moment. Lane needs to prove he’s not the LMFK of old, rather he’s become a complete coach.
These, too, are sneaky-good games.
Georgia at South Carolina (+10, O/U 55.5)
This is a super-nasty, and occasionally weird, rivalry that means a whole lot more to the Gamecocks than to the ‘Dawgs. We’ve seen this recipe before, especially in Starkville. Two former Nick Saban proteges square off with their respective versions of the Process. The loser isn’t eliminated from the early playoff discussion or the SEC East. But, both teams have stiffer tests down the road too. For UGA, it’s Auburn and Florida. For the ‘Cocks, it’s Florida and Clemson. You don’t want to be staring at an 0-1 start to begin SEC play. Can UGA cover the explosive Deebo Samuel? Can USC wrap up the wealth of explosive young talent rolling into Columbia? This is the one we’ll probably all be watching during the Tide’s commercial breaks. You have to think it’s far more important for Muschamp than for Kirby. This has been circled on the calendar in Columbia for a year.
Watch Your Butts:
The only real upset I foresee during the early shift is possibly Vandy losing a shootout to the Wolf Pack. Maybe Clanga playing awful on the road again? South Carolina beating Georgia wouldn’t be earth-shattering, would it?
The Unwatchable Filth of the Morning:
Take your pick: Holy Cross at Boston College? Rutgers at Ohio State? North Carolina at East Carolina? Portland State at Oregon? All are good options.
But, we’re going with Kansas at Central Michigan.
The Chippewas were shut down and out versus that Kentucky last week. Their opponent has gone 2-29 in the last 2+ seasons, and, like I warned last week, lost to an FCS team to open the season. The Jayhawks may have the worst program in all of major college football: structurally, facilities, fan support, coaching, monetarily. This is maximum suckage with no end in sight. This game will not be much better than that.
We’ll be back later with your Alabama game thread, and then I’ll have your prime time / evening schedule and why-to-watch much later.
Meanwhile, what are your plans for the morning shift? What games are you watching the first half of the day?