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Viewing Guide: Opening Week 2010

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Thank the Maker, College football has returned, and just in time to keep me from flying to CBS headquarters and immolating their entire creative programming department while cackling maniacally. I was ready to treat my couch like an Ohio State fan who just lost their favorite pair of jorts. And yes, I’m aware that CBS is the most watched network with their 9 CSI’s and 4 different variations of NCIS, and while it is truly America’s fault for watching such fetid garbage, lets face it, it is unrealistic for me to attempt to set afire 80 or 90 million Americans. A boardroom full of executives however, is well within my manifest purview.

But football has prevented this sensible crime. However, before the fire of my rage dies out completely, let me give a big middle finger to ESPN. Why would I want to watch a Top 15 team like Miami play on Thursday when I can watch Minnesota and Middle Tennessee State square off? Two teams, by the way, whose relevance on the national scene this season extends about as far as Brett Ratner or Uwe Boll’s credibility at a Director’s Guild meeting. Pay attention, because it doesn’t happen very often: The World Wide Leader gets shown up by Versus and the Big 10 Network on opening day.

So let's jump in:

Thursday:

Pittsburgh at Utah (Versus): Game of the night. Pittsburgh, a dark horse contender to potentially make a lot of waves this year (we’re measuring potential to possibly be relevant now), facing off against an always competent (this century) Utah team in their final go-round in the Mid Mountain Western Athletic Conference-USA (MMWAC-USA) before joining greener pastures in the Pac-12. Anyone who’s been paying attention knows that Dave Wannstedt has an ability to underachieve and shit the bed with a regularity to which you can practically set your timepiece. So there’s no telling what will happen. Pitt’s defense this year should be superb, and they have an actual, legitimate stud at RB in the form of Dion Lewis, the black little brother of Warwick Davis. I don’t know jack shit about this year’s Utah team other than their uniforms are red. The real battle here is Dave Wannstedt’s mustache, said to hold untapped mystical powers, versus the kind sensibilities and magic underwear of the Mormon hordes. Football and the arcane all rolled up into one, it should be a great game to start things off on a Thursday.

Dion Lewis in costume, taunting Notre Dame in 2009

Marshall at Ohio State (Big 10 Network) – Remember when Marshall used to be decent? And by decent, I mean used to have the occasional player worth watching, like Randy Moss, Chad Pennington, or Byron Leftwich? Well, they might have that player right now, but I wouldn’t know, because they’ve been suck-out-loud shit stains for at least the last few seasons and have ruined whatever loose awareness towards their program I might have once held. The real reason to watch this game is to count how many times Jim Tressell calls for runs up the middle. With his QB, RB, Center or backup punter, it doesn’t matter. These motherfuckers are probably the most boring major program this side of Cornell’s powerhouse debate teams. Except Cornell wins national titles. Still, Ohio State is alleged to be really impressive this year, and Terrelle Pryor actually didn’t look like his typically underutilized and talent-wasted self in last years bowl game. So this should be an interesting watch to see where the Buckeyes are at early in the year. A fuck-stomping is expected, so couches unlikely to be lit unless White Castle offers their 2-for-1 slider promotion in Columbus. Then shit will look like the final act of the Road Warrior.

Just another Columbus Saturday Thursday Night

Southern Miss at SCAR (ESPN, finally) – Little known fact: Steve Spurrier volunteered to play the entire 2010 slate on Thursday night so he could hit the links on Saturdays and Sundays all fall. He was politely rebuffed. Visors were slammed into the turf and Phillip Fulmer was instinctively needled in reflex. This game could be close, or a sound trouncing on behalf of SCAR, nothing would surprise me at this point. Ole’ Ball Coach and renowned QB Guru is starting a wet bag of ass at the position for the Every Consecutive Year He’s Been At South Carolina. Weird. Their defense is supposed to be stout but…it’s South Carolina and New Millennium Spurrier. They’ll check out for half of the game, and then Spurrier will check out completely by game 2 of the conference slate to work on his short game.

Spurrier upon exiting the tunnel for the 2nd half -- Any Game

I’m not even bothering with USC vs. Hawaii, but my hat is off to USC’s scheduling committee. It was very prescient of them 3 years ago to schedule their bowl trip at the beginning of the season in light of their sanctions.

Saturday:

Texas vs. Rice (ESPN) – Is this must-see college football? Probably only for myself and other Longhorns, but thanks to our undeniable national appeal and snazzy Stormtrooper away unis, we get the midday slot on ESPN, so you suckers have to watch it. Embrace your fate like Jerramy Stevens embraces the medicinal benefits of GHB in strange women. Texas is unveiling a *new* running based offense, so we’ll get to inflate our expectations about its effectiveness against teams like OU by debuting it against a bunch of white Junior High kids with high SAT scores (except Sam McGuffie). The interest here is mostly in the personnel groupings and whether or not UT’s defensive ends successfully decapitate Nick Fanuzzi when he drops back to pass. At the very least both Rice tackles will shit their pants…literally. I’ll secretly (not secretly) be hoping that Will Muschamp explodes Greg Davis’ head with mind bullets and takes control of the offense, leading us all to freedom.

Purdue at Notre Dame (NBC) – Im not sure I’m ready to live in a world where I can’t laugh myself to tears on Saturdays courtesy of Charlie Weis (a.k.a. Pear Bryant, a.k.a. The Incredible Sulk, a.k.a. King Fupa) and the collective misery of the Notre Dame fanbase. Still, this is on TV, so I’ll probably watch it. I didn’t even realize Joe Tiller had retired and taken his push broom mustache with him. And I still don’t care because Purdue sucks, and fucking christ, how many universities does the state of Indiana really need? This place is mostly a depopulated landfill for Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois. If there’s any justice in the world, the loser of this contest gets disbanded as a university, and the players and students have to join the Peace Corps and get sent to serve in West Virginia. That gene pool could use some fresh chromosomes.

LSU vs. North Carolina (ABC) – Well, this is awkward. Listen, Disney, I realize that this was set up to be your big major network Saturday night opening game. Both teams ranked in the top 25, put on their slinky black dresses, did their hair and makeup. Knowing LSU, they probably deliberately eschewed panties and slipped a 5th of Wild Turkey into their clutch. On paper, a big SEC powerhouse and an up-and-coming UNC team with a suffocating defense. Everyone was set to overlook the fact that any Les Miles LSU team is more suited to a Quinceanera at an airport hotel than as the belle of any southern ball, and that TJ Yates and the UNC offense spends more time getting railed by opposing DBs than they do taking care of their own ‘mates. Seriously, that guy is a TOTAL slut. He will give it up for 1 drink and the breathy promise that you’ll still respect him in 30 20 15 minutes. And that was BEFORE the suddenly fanged NCAA descended on Chapel Hill and starting mucking things up with their investigations into Marvin Austin and Greg Little and unleashed general chaos on the UNC program. Chances are this game ends up being not as great as the Mouse’s flagship network had hoped. But I mean, I’m still going to watch it. So will you. Because we’re junkies. Fortunately, Disney is still making a bundle off residuals from Ducktales. Les Miles uses it daily as both a teaching tool to his players as well as a self improvement video. While wearing his Donald Duck slippers and eating a bowl of Count Chocula.

His life coach instructed Les to view the money bin as a metaphor for clock management

Oregon St. at TCU (ESPN) – This is one of the best games of the weekend. It should act as a great gauge for both of these ranked teams. Oregon St. is going to act as a litmus test for everyone’s favorite BCS busters in the early going, playing both TCU and Boise St. in their non-conference schedule. The Beavers should be very respectable, and TCU has been nothing but consistently good the last 5-10 years, so this game has merit. The Beavers have great skill players in the form of the Rodgers brothers (Jacquizz and the one with the normal name) and that Canfield kid at QB is pretty damn good. On TCU’s side, they have uniforms so ugly they might cause nausea and flu-like symptoms in their opponents. They’re so hideous they make me want to smash my head into the wall until blind. So…at least I’ve got a villain and a rooting interest in this contest. Great offense vs. a great defense is always a fun match-up, and this is a game everyone should circle on the weekend schedule.

Monday:

Boise St. vs. Virginia Tech (ESPN) – Guess which sentence you never thought you’d ever legitimately hear uttered aloud? Don’t worry, I’m going to tell you, it’s "The Winner of the Boise St and Virginia Tech Matchup Has a Great Chance To Get to The National Title Game." No, seriously. Boise St. is already everyone’s favorite media darling, and outside of Va Tech and Oregon St., the rest of their schedule is them playing their own practice squad 9 times. So if they win against Virginia Tech, they’re probably going to go undefeated. And that means unless there’s 2 other undefeateds from major conferences (maybe a 1 loss SEC team), then we’re going to see Boise St. in the national title game. I’m not sure about the rest of you guys, but I want to see that happen about as much as I want to see someone drop a wrecking ball on my nutsack. Then again, Virginia Tech plays the most boring brand of football this side of Columbus, Ohio, so I’m not exactly keen on them winning either, but at least they have a respectable stretch of opponents after Boise St in the form of Georgia Tech, North Carolina, and Miami. And Frank Beamer has harnessed the power cosmic in his goiter. The real losers here are us fans for not getting the Wannstache vs. Goiter matchup that we so richly deserve. Anyway, watch this game, it’s a matchup of top-10 teams, which means jack shit on opening weekend, but on the surface it looks like it could be a great matchup of contrasting styles and team strengths butting heads, blah blah blah.

Enjoy opening weekend everyone. I know I will by drinking myself into such a state that I remember nothing of what transpired. Which is as it should be in life.