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Barking Carnival's College Football Viewing Guide: Week 1

Welcome to September, gang. Gone are the soul-crushing days of summer. The heat. The feigned baseball interest. Weddings. SOCCER. The preseason NFL dress rehearsals and the blowhards that comment on them – GONE (except for the heat in Texas).

We have real football. Tonight. We finally get to argue maniacally over games, strengths of schedules, the BCS, strengths of conferences, and quality of coed trim instead of realignment. (UTEP to NAFTA – VAMOS! BANK IT!)

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m ColoradoAg. Hi! I was hired at Barking Carnival after a lengthy discrimination case where the mother ship had a strict no-Aggie, no-ginger policy. I fit the bill on both categories and won a highly lucrative lawsuit which I happily donated back to the cause in exchange for rights to this weekly column. I welcome your cheap shots on my pedigree in the comments. I’m currently going after a graduate degree at a Catholic school in South Bend which should fuel your inherent distrust even further.

I’ll be contributing your weekly line-up of games every Thursday to whet your gridiron appetite while appeasing the same desires for a smorgasbord of beer, cocktails, and the fatty swine of life.  Week 1 brings plenty of promise and we’ll see some big shakeups in the Week 2 polls. Let’s dance, shall we?

All times Central – God’s time zone

Thursday, September 1

Murray State at Louisville | 5 PM | ESPNU

I looked up where Murray State was on the map. It looks to be a couple hours from Nashville and a quick skip to the Center of Moonshine Blindness.  Murray State is being paid in Papa John’s coupons and garlic sauce to make the trip to Louisville to face the Charlie Strong led Cardinals.  Sure, this is not a marquee game by any means, but when you’ve been watching Big 10 reruns all summer like I have, live college ball is above your scoffing. If you’re seeking some star power, Louisville has some NFL talent with Hakeem Smith at safety and Jeremy Wright at tailback. Louisville should not have fallen as far down as they have in this abortion of a conference.

Hey, A&M hired Billy Kennedy from Murray State, which is nothing more than a useless anecdote in this space.  We continue onward.

UNLV at Wisconsin | 7 PM | ESPN

Fun with Vegas numbers - here are UNLV’s 2010 final rankings:

-          98th in passing

-          109th in rushing

-          110th in points for

-          116th in points against

Oof. Make sure you’re stocked up on hooch for this one. If Wisconsin and UNLV played 10 times, Wiscy would win 14 and Huck's Tandy 2000 would explode. Imagine what the Wisconsin O-Line and front seven are going to do to this MWC whipping boy.  I imagine we’ll get the James/Palmer bleached tip ESPN combo in the booth, so you might want to pour a double at kickoff. Or put the tube on mute and crank the Allman Brothers. Be resourceful.

I saw Wisconsin transfer quarterback Russell Wilson live as a true freshman for NC State in the 2008 Bowl in Birmingham.  That insanely odd sentence typed, I thought he had real All American potential. I don’t think he’ll be an All American this year, but dude can play and he’ll have plenty of time and space to do what he does behind five 350 pound pieces of pissed off Cheddar.

Friday, September 2

Youngstown State at Michigan State | 6:30 PM | Big Ten Network

Watch anxiously as Youngstown State head coach, Eric Wolford, gears up for a future job at Minnesota-Northwestern-Indiana-etc because Youngstown coaches go to the Big 10. Wolford coached on the offensive side of the ball under Spurrier so assumedly he is an expert in reverse pleat trousers and emasculating opposing coaches in front of their children.

Edwin Baker is a monster at tailback for the Spartans and I could see him tallying up 200 in three quarters.

TCU at Baylor | 7 PM | ESPN

This game will really make it feel like football has arrived. I mentioned it in my Bear State of the Union, but this is a statement game for Baylor and Briles. Many eyes will be on this tilt and it is winnable for the Bears.  After last year’s humiliation in Fort Worth in front of 28,000 or so Frogs of War, Baylor should have all the motivation for revenge.  Sure, their defense is about as physical as a Baylor frat tard in a bar fight, but Floyd Casey will be booming to the tune of 1000 choir boys. ELECTRIC.  I’ll call my shot – Baylor loses this game and they aren’t bowling.

Saturday, September 3

This is when you’re liver gets freshly picked from the patch and is primed for a season’s worth of pickling in whiskey brine.

Utah State at Auburn | 11 AM | ESPN 2

Scipio coherently detailed how 2011 Auburn is riding a reputation and is ultimately a farce that will be lucky to get bowl eligible.  The Tigers should be fine against the Mormons in this game, but you’ll see plenty of symptoms of a national champion that has been gutted to the core. Further, are we ready to anoint Gene Chizik as the worst coach with a national title ever?

Northwestern at Boston College | 11 AM | ESPN U

Good academics and graduating players have no place in college football. Stick with us, the games get better.

Tennessee Tech at Iowa | 11 AM | Big Ten Network

National TV broadcast. A quick, handy example as to why a conference network is a good thing when you’re a Tier 2 institution.

Akron at Ohio State | 11 AM | ESPN

I have it on high authority that Ohio State coach Luke Fickell is a bit insecure about filling Tressel’s vest. I’m told Fickell is going to wear a red tuxedo, a red tinted monocle, and coach this game from a red horse and buggy being towed by Maurice Clarett.  Little known fact: the only men in Ohio allowed to wear collared shirts are Buckeye head coaches.

Lest we forget, we won’t see Ohio State’s best running back and receiver until Game 6 and the quarterback position is murky. Some prognosticators put this bunch in their top 10 because laziness is fun and brand names are easy. The Bucks will be fine here, but this isn’t your typica BCS-quality-lose-to-an-SEC-team-in-the-Championship-game Bucks.

Kent State at Alabama | 11:21 AM | SEC Network

Kent State hasn’t experienced this type of carnage since their riots in the ‘70s. Too soon?

Western Michigan at Michigan | 2:30 PM | ABC/ESPN 2

Notre Dame at night in the Big House looms. Still, no need to watch these union laborers fight over federal stimulus dollars.

South Florida at Notre Dame | 2:30 PM | NBC

Speaking of the Irish, I’ll be in attendance at this game. The Vegas line of 10.5 seems a bit wide even from my biased standards. Athletic, hungry, experienced teams are not easy to knock the rust off against. Notre Dame finally has a formidable front seven and overall defensive unit after years of neglect under Willingham and Weis. Dayne Crist is healthy at the publishing of this article, but he is minute to minute.  Michael Floyd could make you look like Joe Montana.  I still like the Irish here, but it’ll be close.

Minnesota at USC | 2:30 PM | ABC

Awful Big 10 teams need to know that the Big 10 does poorly in Los Angeles. It is all those foreign things like tan skin, girl’s not in hoodies, and vegetables that take them off their game. See: every Rose Bowl ever. Troy, big.

BYU at Ole Miss | 3:45 PM | ESPN

I’ve done the Ole Miss roadie. If an unmarried Mormon can keep his hands off the Ole Miss coeds (and himself) he might really actually be into his faith. This game is flying under the radar, but I think it is an interesting one.   I’ll take old Houston Nutt in an upset. He is far more fun than a Mormon.

Boise State vs. Georgia (Georgia Dome) | 7 PM | ESPN

A team constantly trying to prove itself versus a perennial underachieving powerhouse whose coach’s head is halfway into the guillotine makes for great television.  I’m surprised the brass at ESPN didn’t stagger the times of this matchup with the one at Jerry World. Get those “Prev Chl” buttons on the remote ready.  Aaron Murray had a big freshman year at quarterback for the Dawgs. They lose AJ Green, but athletic tight end Orson Charles is back.

Georgia gets Spurrier and the Cocks next week and a 0-2 start is very possible. Richt needs these games. I’ll take the Dawgs here, but Kellen Moore (coach’s son!) never ceases to surprise.

Oregon vs. LSU (Cowboys Stadium) | 7 PM | ABC

I’m told that Willie Lyles, Jerry Jones, Deion Sanders, Dez Bryant, and Barry Switzer will all be watching this game from Jerrah’s box. Class bunch, gang.

LSU’s season starts where it ended last year in Arlington. I’m most interested in watching Oregon’s offense against LSU’s defense. LSU lost some elite talent on the defensive side, but their line is still flush with blue chips hell bent on stopping the run.  Losing Kelvin Sheppard at linebacker certainly hurts, but the secondary is sound and this unit will be toward the top of their league.

I have a personal policy of never going against guys named “LaMichael”, so I’ll go Ducks in this Game of the Day.  Too many distractions lately for LSU.

Rice at Texas | 7 PM | Longhorn Network

In 50 years, Horn fans will tell their grandkids about the time when several thousand people huddled around the homes of those that had the Longhorn Network to watch this game.

You get plenty of expert Longhorn analysis here. Let’s move on.

Colorado at Hawaii | 9:15 PM | ESPN 2

If you’re watching this game make sure your bowels and marriage are still intact. It wouldn’t hurt to maybe take a walk around the block and perhaps hug your children.

The real challenge in this matchup is how the dozen or so Colorado fans are going to get a kilo of Maui Wowie grass back to the citizens of Boulder. Rainbows win this one.

Sunday, September 5

Marshall at West Virginia | 2:30 PM | ESPN

If you have a problem with Dana Holgorsen, you’ve got a problem with me. I shouldn’t have to convince you to tune in.

SMU at Texas A&M | 6:30 PM | FSN

SMU has me sufficiently nervous. June Jones teams with nothing to lose will do that to a man. Fortunately, SMU doesn’t play much defense. I’m thinking somewhere around a 38-28 win for the good guys. The rest of the Big 12 will be going for the Ponies.  Craig James and Dan Beebe are going to watch this game from the honeymoon suite at the Four Seasons Las Colinas.

Monday, September 5

Miami (FL) at Maryland | 7 PM | ESPN

Watch if you must. I’m too tired to give you any analysis. ACC football and shit.

Drink of the Week:  Dark and Stormy!

In light of that bitch Irene, we’re fixing up this classic tropic drink that traces its roots to the British Royal Navy. This is the national drink of Bermuda, proudly served at Vasherized's wedding in Colorado, and a handful of them will get you lost in a Bermuda Triangle of bliss. The recipe:

-          2 ounces dark rum (liberal pourings encouraged). Gosling’s Black Seal is the only option. You can also buy their ginger beer in the states now.

-          3 ounces ginger beer

-          ½ ounce lime juice (optional)

Stir the ingredients with ice in a Collins glass. Flip on some yacht rock and recall that time you went to Archie’s in Miami in ’84. Wild times, man, wild times.

Enjoy the games, y’all.  Let’s kick this pig in the dick.

P.S. You can also look forward to HornMafia's musings on The Week That Will Be.