Ery’one’s playing this weekend. Fortunately, about half occurred on Thursday and Friday, so we can have one big ole’ thread until Alabama-Duke rolls around.
Here’s your schedule (all times Central), what to watch, and why to watch. Roll Tide. Redemption begins today.
Labor Day Weekend Schedule
|Florida Atlantic||#5Ohio State||11:00 AM||FOX|
|Northern Iowa||#21Iowa State||11:00 AM||FS1|
|South Alabama||#24Nebraska||11:00 AM||ESPN|
|Indiana||Ball State||11:00 AM||CBSSN|
|Boise State||Florida State||11:00 AM||ESPNEWS|
|East Carolina||NC State||11:00 AM||ACCN|
|Indiana State||Kansas||11:00 AM||:(|
|Ole Miss||Memphis||11:00 AM||ABC|
|Mississippi State||Louisiana||11:00 AM||ESPNU|
|James Madison||West Virginia||1:00 PM||:(|
|Rhode Island||Ohio||1:00 PM||ESPN+|
|Eastern Washington||#13Washington||2:00 PM||PAC12|
|Idaho||#15Penn State||2:30 PM||BTN|
|Colgate||Air Force||2:30 PM||ESPN3|
|Holy Cross||Navy||2:30 PM||CBSSN|
|Eastern Michigan||Coastal Carolina||2:30 PM||ESPN+|
|South Carolina||North Carolina||2:30 PM||ESPN|
|Georgia State||Tennessee||2:30 PM||ESPNU|
|East Tennessee State||Appalachian State||2:30 PM||ESPN+|
|Portland State||Arkansas||3:00 PM||SECN|
|Montana State||Texas Tech||3:00 PM||:(|
|Virginia Tech||Boston College||3:00 PM||ACCN|
|Sam Houston State||New Mexico||5:00 PM|
|Incarnate Word||UTSA||5:00 PM||ESPN3|
|UC Davis||California||5:30 PM||PAC12|
|Norfolk State||Old Dominion||6:00 PM||ESPN3|
|Alcorn State||Southern Mississippi||6:00 PM||ESPN+|
|Illinois State||Northern Illinois||6:00 PM||ESPN+|
|Monmouth||Western Michigan||6:00 PM||ESPN3|
|SMU||Arkansas State||6:00 PM||ESPN+|
|Nicholls||Kansas State||6:00 PM||ESPN+|
|Stephen F. Austin||Baylor||6:00 PM||ESPN+|
|Georgia Southern||#6LSU||6:30 PM||SECN|
|Middle Tennessee||#7Michigan||6:30 PM||BTN|
|Miami (OH)||#20Iowa||6:30 PM||FS1|
|Abilene Christian||North Texas||6:30 PM||ESPN+|
|Louisiana Tech||#10Texas||7:00 PM||LHN|
|Houston Baptist||UTEP||7:00 PM||ESPN+|
|Arkansas-Pine Bluff||TCU||7:00 PM||:(|
|Grambling||UL Monroe||7:00 PM||ESPN3|
|Weber State||San Diego State||8:00 PM||:(|
|New Mexico State||#23Washington State||9:00 PM||PAC12|
|Southern Utah||UNLV||9:00 PM||:(|
|Fresno State||USC||9:30 PM||ESPN|
|#9 Notre Dame||Louisville||7:00||ESPN|
Boise +5 at FSU — Upset alert. Two teams with new(ish) quarterbacks and offensive lines who succumb to various stages of grief when facing solid pass rushes. That seems to favor the ‘Noles. The game has been moved to Tallahassee, but this was always going to be an FSU home crowd. I hate to bring up the obvious, but with Dorian now a Cat 4, you can’t help but think that a great many of those in-state kids at FSU will have their minds elsewhere...and for good reason. Seriously, y’all, be safe.
Toledo +10 at Kentucky — Toledo does not stink. Who knows what Kentucky will look like this year. When they had the SEC’s leading rusher and a godmode OLB they were still very iffy against decent teams. This game, not Boise, is probably the better upset pick for the morning shift. I don’t trust UK’s secondary, even less do I trust their offense without Benny Snell.
Ole Miss +5.5 at Memphis — One can’t stop the pass; one can’t stop the run. Both are breaking in a lot of new faces. And, while I think Mike Norvell is a better head coach than Matt Luke, the coordinators Luke brought in are decidedly not second-tier: two former national coaches of the year in Rich Rod (offense) and Mike McIntyre (defense). That, and the raw talent, favors the Rebels. Should be a fun game with lots of bad blood either way.
Boston College +4 vs. Virginia Tech — If you’ve not seen the Eagles’ RB A.J. Dillon, make sure you do. He’s appointment viewing. Va. Tech’s horizontal, screen-based offense will likely struggle against BC, just as Clemson’s edge game does when they play the Eagles. Should be a good, physical game at least; even if the Hokies are criminally young. The wrong team is favored though, if you ask me. And you implicitly did by reading this. #NoRefunds.
Oregon +4.5 at Auburn — There’s a whole lotta love for the Ducks this season. And I honestly don’t know why. The Ducks aren’t better up front on either side of the ball, aren’t better at running back, aren’t better in the secondary and aren’t better coached.
Two matchups to watch tonight/questions to ask: The first, is how much holding the Tiger DBs get away with. Will AU be able to pull their usual stunts? If so, then Justin Herbert will be running for his life. The second, and perhaps most importantly, can Auburn can pound the rock to give Bo Nix some manageable throws (and by that I mean, chuck it deep when OU is crowding the line). I suspect the answer to both questions is yes...and for that reason I also think Auburn runs them out of the building.
Maybe Keep An Eye On:
Mississippi State -18.5 v. ULL — let’s what Moorhead’s offense looks like with a competent quarterback, shall we? Fitzgerald’s popgun arm wasted the nation’s No. 1 defense last season.
Eastern Washington at Washington -22.5 — This line is a sucker’s bet if ever there were one. Besides the East/West Evergreen State rivalry, the Eagles were the No. 2 FCS team in the nation last year, losing to Nat’l Champ ND State in the FCS Finals. This is a really good team.
South Carolina -8 vs. North Carolina — Mack, what are you thinking? The game has changed a whole lot in just half a decade. While you’re at it, wake up Muschamp and remind him of that. Good barometer for both teams. And, weirdly, I think UNC has more upside over the next two seasons: all of those young players got thrown into the fire last season.
Northwestern at Stanford -6.5 — Just as the Cardinal struggled when it crossed two time zones to suit up in Evanston, so too may the Wildcats when they hit the Farm. These are two closely matched teams and the line is probably right: a touchdown either way...even if it will likely be a boring one.
Syracuse -18 at Liberty — Let’s watch Hugh Freeze’s awful Flames defense get set alight. But, ole’ Hugh does know how to score (wink, wink), and Liberty may be more game than you’d think. Lotsa’ points here. Could actually prove to be entertaining
Georgia -21 at Vandy — Vanderbilt’s line play should be outstanding in 2019. Problem is, the Dawgs will be better on that front. See who UGA finds to catch passes in an SEC road opener (well, Vanderbilt at least).
USC -6.5 vs. Fresno State — I would have liked this game a lot better last year, when the Bulldogs were loaded. Alas, this is their rebuilding year. No matter how poorly the Trojans are coached (and Helton is a straight-up mediocrity), they should out-talent Jeff Tedford’s more fundamentally sound FSU. And, hey, who knows? If Fresno pulls this off, he may be the one on that sideline staring at the Song Girls next season.
Mizzou -18 at Wyoming — I admit it, I kind of want to see what Derek Dooley can do with a true mobile quarterback and if he’s developed Kelly Bryant’s other positional skills. I’m not saying they’ll dethrone Florida or Georgia in the East, but with good lines, a deep running game, very good wide receivers, and a functional quarterback, then 9 wins are very much on the table.
Georgia Southern at LSU -27.5 — LSU has completely changed offensive schemes, and early results are positive. The GSU secondary isn’t a real test of whether Joe Burrow can be more than “physical Danny Etling,” but their passing game could get a few cheap ones. After an offseason of talking smack, LSU better come out with their hair on fire.
OSU -27.5 vs. FAU — This could be Lane Kiffin’s best team yet in South Florida. It won’t matter when the Owls travel 1300 miles to play the 2nd or 3rd most talented team in the country. You’re interested in seeing if Justin Fields can play the position, aren’t you? (How bad is Tathan Martell to get scared off by him?!) But, seriously, like FSU, FAU’s minds likely won’t be on the Buckeyes: Boca Raton may not exist in a week’s time. And despite that, I still suspect Ryan Day will be pitiless and run this sucker up like the mileage on a 1974 Chevy Fleetside.
This Week’s Unwatchable Filth:
If I told you back in 2008 that Incarnate Word and UT-San Antonio would be a D1 game, available for your viewing “pleasure” on ESPN3, would you have believed me? Of course not. In 2008, Incarnate Word didn’t even have football. They are now a D1 FCS team. And, buddy, they’re not even a good one. Last year, they lost by 32...to New Mexico. They followed that up with a loss to North Texas...by 42.
Their tickle-fight partner in crime is the UTSA Roadrunners. A one-time bowl team (yeah, that happened), UTSA is coming off a 3-9 season where they couldn’t score in a whore house. Part of the reason? Their OC was — wait for it — Al Borges. That Al Borges. And they fired him. Do you know what you have to do to get fired from UTSA? Be Al Borges.
Oh, and that Roadrunners’ 3-9 mark? It came against juggernauts Rice, Texas State, and UTEP (6-31 combined), which was good for 5th in the gross CUSA West. To ameliorate that miserable offense, UTSA has now promoted wide receivers coach Jeff Kastl, who has never called a game at any level. Because, hey, why the hell not.
This game is going to suck out loud. People are begging for buyouts. Please don’t do this to yourself. I beg you.
Pitt +2.5 vs. UVA — If there were ever two teams that epitomized “we play football, because reasons,” it’s these two nondescript snoozers. It seems like they play at least three times a year too. At least Pitt has the history and home field, even if this one is, as I suspect, going to be tragic farce.