Stephen Dunn - Getty Images
It's high time we separate the men from the boys, the NFL from our consciousness, and health from our lives.
It's the final weekend of September, and it is the final tune-up weekend for many teams before the long grind through league play. Many areas of the country are detecting that first nip of chill in the air or at least a nip from a flask. Not a bad idea to start working on that flesh winter coat. Big 10 fans call this activity "Thursday". If you're a Big 10 team, you're looking forward to some easier competition amongst yourselves. That MAC is mean. I'm so tired of hearing about the NFL and its refs. Dearest Saturday and your superior brand of football - come quick please. GAMES!
All times Central - where the food pyramid is a hefty bag of beer and cheese curds
Thursday, September 27
Stanford (8) at Washington | 8 PM | ESPN
AHHHH the very site and field of NFL REPLACEMENTGATE. I pen this piece from the great Pacific Northwest. I've been trying to get a read on Husky fans since my Seattle arrival. As far as I can tell, college football is a passing interest to fill time when not sea kayaking between coffee shops with one's life partner. Everyone is just a little too balanced and evolved when it comes to his or her college fandom. I like irrational crazy and obsession. That's why I tune into Finebaum every afternoon.
Anyway, this might be a sneaky game for the Cardinal. The last we heard from those wily kids from the Silicon Valley, they were busy knocking off the No. 2 Trojans. Stanford has had the Huskies' number for quite some time. They throttled them in 2010 to the tune of 41-0 and 65-21 in 2011. Cardinal Stepfan Taylor had 100+ yard games in both outings. Taylor has sidled himself up to the Heisman frontrunners, and will have the opportunity to make another statement Thursday. On the other side of the ball, the Cardinal defense laid waste to that USC machine. The Huskies O might want to sit this one out.
Cardinal rolls. Apropos of nothing, the closest Chick-fil-a to Seattle is in Boise. [weeps softly] [feels self getting thinner]
Friday, September 28
Hawaii at BYU | 7 PM | ESPN
Fun Friday family activity: while watching this game, indulge in every vice that BYU fans abstain from. Smoke a Marlboro Red with a lip full of Cope while sipping on a half and half of coffee and whiskey. Scream "GOOSEFEATHERS!" anytime Hawaii scores. Ah, memories.
The Fightin' Youngs win.
Saturday, September 29
Arkansas at Texas A&M | 11 AM | SEC Network/ESPN3
Boy, those 11 AM games sting. Power through, Ags. At least the game is on campus this year and not at that soulless, corporate monstrosity that is Jerryworld. NFL stadiums have all the character and charm of a Dave and Busters in Jacksonville.
Big props to our crack GBH staff on actual analysis of this game.
Oh, and we should all be scared as hell of Louisiana Tech.
Baylor (25) at West Virginia (9) | 11 AM | FX
First one to 60 wins? Just picturing the defensive unit meetings with both of these programs makes me cackle maniacally. Also, how perfect that in their first Big 12 game, some of the most notoriously lewd fans on earth get to host the Baptists? Baylor should give thanks that this isn't a night game. Anyway, the stat lines of QBs Geno Smith and Nick Florence a mere month into the season are gaudy enough to make them B1G career Hall of Famers.
Smith has been a mad surgeon dissecting defenses and getting receivers Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey in space. I think Stedman dates Oprah. Anyway, the Bears deserve a lot of credit for keeping their offense clipping along after the departures of mangod Griffin III, Kendall Wright, and Terrance Ganaway.
Vegas has the Mountaineers -12.5, and I think they cover. Take the over on points (81!!!). Shoutout to my baby bro, ColoradoBear, who is making the trip to Morgantown. Remember, moonshine makes you blind, and heed mother's advice - leave the cap on the brown.
Tennessee at Georgia (5) | 2:30 PM | CBS
Will Georgia's defensive beasts - Bacarri Rambo and Alec Ogletree - be back? Mum is the Mark Richt way here, gang. The Dawgs are looking crisp - balanced on offense and stingy on defense. Aaron Murray is performing to his admirable standard and freshmen backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall producing nicely in their young careers.
As for the Vols, Dooley is still on that "REALLY needs a big win" kind of hot seat. Tyler Bray tossed for 401 yards last week against Akron en route to a 47-26 win.
Timing of suspensions isoddly convenient in the SEC, so I fully expect Rambo and Ogletree to be back against one of the finest passing attacks the Dawgs will see all season. The Vols have lost in each of their past nine visits to Athens, and I expect that streak to continue. The Vols just give up too many big plays on defense.
Ohio State (14) at Michigan State (20) | 2:30 PM | ABC
Nice of Gameday to throw the B1G a bone with a visit to East Lansing. Sparty is favored by three? HMMMMM... Actual quote from Urban this week: "The fact is we're a bend-and-break defense, which is painful to watch. And then we're not a methodically dominating offense. I mean, we're not a very good offense right now." Isn't football FUN? Look, the Buckeyes slid by the University of Alabama (non-Tuscaloosa) in unimpressive fashion. To ensure reciprocity, Sparty beat Eastern Michigan 23-7 in a game that was much closer than the score would suggest. I guess what I'm saying is that the B1G is going to have a wrist-slitting bowl season.
In any event, the great @BobbyBigWheel suggested that Karl Welzein (@DadBoner on your Twitter) should be the celebrity guest picker on Gameday - best idea of 2012? YES. I think Sparty wins. Le'Veon Bell is going to die from overuse before this season expires. RIP.
Florida State (4) at South Florida | 5 PM | ESPN
Florida State scores a lot of points. USF gave up 31 points in a loss in Muncie, Indiana last week. This might be a massacre and USF might still win the Big East. Nothing is real in the world anymore. Florida State kids in Ybor City should be docile and orderly.
Texas (12) at Oklahoma State | 6:50 PM | FOX
This game is always interesting when played in Stillwater at night. I guess it is time for the kids from Austin to validate being ranked 12th after going 6-11 in the league the past two years. Tip of the golf prick visor to David Ash for having a better start to the season than even his parents figured he was capable of. He actually said, "before last week, I don't think there was anybody that liked me. Now everybody likes me." I'd think this quote was tongue-in-cheek if Ash didn't have the charisma of Tiger Woods on Quaalude (replete with damaged Escalade!).
For Poke, Wes Lunt or J.W. Walsh? Sounds like a sheriff's election in Chickasaw.
Wisconsin at Nebraska (22) | 7 PM | ABC
I might have to start omitting B1G games from the preview. I can't keep doing this. You'll see a lot of well-fed humans in red and white in the trenches. And then there will be the players.
Ole Miss at Alabama (1) | 8:15 PM | ESPN
Pretty sick of ESPN and the SEC to send Hugh Freeze into Tuscaloosa at night to face Emperor Saban. This is going to be a savage, methodical dismembering of a visiting fawn of a team. Bama will win by 45 and fans will complain to Finebaum that Saban's brand of football is getting boring. Humans are despicable like that. Do you want Franchione back, you floppy haired oafs?
Oregon State (18) at Arizona | 9 PM | Pac-12 Network
Well well well. Friend of the program Coach Riley of Oregon State snuck his fellas into the Top 20. Now, they've only played two games, but Riley and the Beavs looks stout. Evening trips to the desert are horrifying. Pack layers, your identification, and a Josh Groban compact disc for Rich Rodriguez.
Oregon (2) vs. Washington State (at Seattle) | 9:30 PM | ESPN2
I'm finally getting around to reading "Swing Your Sword". Great read. Mike Leach is a helluva compelling figure when he isn't whipping your school's ass all over the state of Texas. I mention this because I think Leach needs some time to weave in some of his guys and instill some discipline with the Cougars. That loss to Colorado is ugly as sin, but if anyone can build something in Pulman, it's the Pirate.
Oh, and Oregon is terrifyingly fast. The only thing that slows them down are end zones and police cruisers. This game is in Seattle and I might saunter over for a watch.
Drink of the Week:
- 2 (or 3) oz of Four Roses Bourbon
- ¾ oz of sweet vermouth
- ½ oz of royal combier (more Four Roses will suffice in a pinch)
- Bar Spoon Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur (vitamins)
- Orange Peel or chicken wing to garnish
Stir and strain into a freshly iced rocks glass or Solo cup. Four Roses is good enough for your granny and it is good enough for you. Smells like a Kentucky garden.
Enjoy the games, you animals. I love you.