SCENE: a modest, rustic cabin sits quietly in the middle of nowhere adorned merely with a 84 inch flat screen, a generator, and a bathtub full of what appears to be fermenting berries and grub worms. Is the elixir for medical or recreational use? Both? The proprietor of the cabin, one ColoradoAg, claims to heal the "lost, deranged, and bitter."
"Doctor" ColoradoAg enters to visit his suffering patient.
ColoradoAg: "Here. Take this hunk of leather. You'll need it. This is going to hurt me far more than it hurts you."
Husker/Horn/Trojan Fan: "What are you going to do to me? I was told you can help."
ColoradoAg: "Now is not the time for talk. You found me because you think you've hit rock bottom. I assure you that you have not. You see, it is only September. Plenty of misery, helplessness, and anger lies ahead."
Husker/Horn/Trojan Fan: "But we are [insert: Nebraska/Texas/SC]. We deserve to never lose another game again."
ColoradoAg: "Hubris is a pathetic, shiny façade masking fear and insecurity. You're in a bad place right now, but it will get worse. I've seen it too many times. Hell, you haven't even had to play your rivals yet this year. This is how the weeks ahead will look. You'll cast anger and blame on the stooges running your athletic program. You'll curse the coach that has let your pride dwindle into the stagnant piss resting below a stadium trough. You'll grasp for answers and hope as you construct a wish list of coaches you'd like to run your beloved team. You'll drunkenly begin to believe that a Gruden or Petrino might be what you need. Maybe you should boo at games. No, maybe you shouldn't go to the games at all. That'll show them. You'll spout bawdy talk about writing ten million dollar annual checks of other peoples' money to buy the services of man who may have no interest in you. In your heart you know this is sad. Who are you to write such checks for successful people? You've squandered your children's futures on season tickets to this train wreck and now you're the financial czar in getting a new coach? Hardly. Is this sounding fun?"
Fan: "Not at all. Haven't we suffered enough?"
ColoradoAg: "The short answer is no, you have not. But what is suffering? Anyway, you'll try to talk yourselves into the idea of an interim coach to right the sinking ship. You'll worry of the morale of the women, children, and recruits. Let it be. Plenty of unavoidable collateral damage awaits. You'll start assigning blame to fellow fans, rivals' business ethics, and perhaps Obama himself. Speaking of fans, you'll start to hate your own. You'll anonymously take to the message boards at unhealthy hours and fire e-Molotov cocktails at one another while frantically refreshing old YouTube videos of football glory of yore. The current coach will probably begin to harbor the same hate for you that you hold for him. You'll collectively bicker and quarrel about nonsense in the name of football. Sad, really."
Fan: "Is there hope?"
ColoradoAg: "Sure. By next August, you'll be listening a new hired gun tell you everything you want to hear. You're going to get back to [insert school] football. You're going to beat your rival. You'll achieve 100% graduation and win the conference every year. Alas, you're here with me now and the only way I can help you is immediate, acute pain to achieve long run contentment. You see, what does winning mean if you haven't felt the hell of Mormons running you out of Utah? How can joy be appreciated until you walk in the desert with Mike Leach and come home with a 10-7 defeat to the land of Troy? The spoils of a successful football season will damn of emptiness unless you've been kicked in the teeth by a Mora mule in your own barn. ONLY THEN can you fully restore and rebuild yourself into a frumpy, jersey-clad man that appreciates life and football in ENLIGHTENED fashion."
Fan: "I guess I'm ready?"
ColoradoAg: "We'll see. Now sit still. I'm going to staple your eyelids open and pour some acid around your pupils. Bite hard on that hunk of leather and don't cry. This is for your own good."
Fan: "Doctor Colorado, how did you learn this medicine?"
ColoradoAg: "I once subscribed to a Dennis Franchione newsletter. Now, sit back. You're watching Week 4 with me. Spoiler alert: your team will lose. Rest assured, I've filled some leather canteens with that hooch over in the tub yonder. Healing begins today. You'll be sent to Doctor Camacho for follow up later this week. For now, the games."
All times Central - Live Free or Diabetes
Thursday, September 19
Clemson (3) at NC State | 6:30 PM | ESPN
Clemson is fun as hell to watch. The Tigers travel to Raleigh to take on first-year coach Dave Doeren and the Wolfpack. Last year, Clemson quarterback set an ACC record against the pack with eight touchdowns. Ballsy.
NC State squeaked by Richmond two weeks ago by the hair of their chiny chin chin and will have to put on a show to pull an upset. Who knows though? This IS Clemson after all - the program that annually has a huge win (Georgia), tons of hope, rabid fans and then promptly drops a game to State, Wake, or Tech. It's science.
Friday, September 20
Boise State at Fresno State | 8 PM | ESPN
Tim DeRuyter is coaching for a bigger job. Good for him. Boise only plays on Friday nights now. Good for them.
Saturday, September 21
[wakes up] [scratches] [paces around] [undercooks an egg] [eats it anyway]
[flips on Gameday]
["what the hell is a North Dakota?"]
[checks what early games are on this week]
North Carolina at Georgia Tech | 11 AM | ESPN
Vanderbilt at Massachusetts (at Foxboro) | 11 AM | ESPNews
San Jose State at Minnesota | 11 AM | ESPN2
Florida A&M at Ohio State (4) | 11 AM | Big Ten Network
Marshall at Virginia Tech | 11 AM | ESPNU
These are your early games. There is not a single compelling story line here. Take your lass to brunch, run a marathon, or do some other yuppie bullshit. I'll hunker down and watch this garbage on your behalf. You're welcome.
Buckle up. The games don't get much better throughout the day. Impossible to get worse, though.
Tennessee at Florida (19) | 2:30 PM | CBS
Two teams hurting mightily get the CBS prime slot. Tune in to hear Gary Danielson passive aggressively shame Jeff Driskel and Justin Worley.
Fun with trolling: remind a Tennessee fan that the Vols haven't beaten the Gators in nine years and then ask how Peyton did against Spurrier.
Michigan State at Notre Dame (22) | 2:30 PM | NBC
If you feel that today's football features too much speed, offense, and up tempo, I present you this casserole of Midwestern starch and mayonnaise. Artery clogging football goodness and paunchy girls in hooded sweatshirts.
Arkansas at Rutgers | 2:30 PM | ESPN
You can bet on Bret Bielema embracing the cosmopolitan culture of the New York metropolis over a dinner with boosters at Red Lobster in Times Square on Friday night.
The Pigs are running the ball pretty damn well to start the year.
In a weird, fun job I had in yesteryear, I was tasked with taking a large group of Rutgers boosters to an away game at Army at West Point. A number of the Jersey fellas wearing jerseys and enough grease to lube a tank got shitfaced enough to start "Army sucks" chants. Delightful.
Utah State at USC | 2:30 PM | ABC/ESPN2
OOOOF. Not a fun matchup for Laney Kiffin. Couldn't happen to a nicer fella. Utah State can easily walk out of the Coliseum with an upset here. They can score and they're scrappy.
I've never got the chance to ride in a Trojan horse.
Louisiana Monroe at Baylor (20) | 3 PM | FOX Sports 1
We might not really know what to make of Baylor until Oklahoma comes to Waco on November 7th. The Bears are going to continue burning up scoreboards while their defense waits to prove itself.
Arizona State (23) at Stanford (5) | 6 PM | FOX
Stanford kids wear flip flops and take companies public. Arizona State kids wear flip flops and take each other's groinal diseases.
I've reached the point where I can't even look at Todd Graham. He manages to be a smug dick even when he loses. Give him a fast start on the back of a very lucky win and look the hell out.
SMU at Texas A&M (10) | 6 PM | ESPNU
The Ponies started the year with a bad loss to Tech at home and a nail biting victory over Montana State. I'm interested to see how the Ags respond emotionally after such a draining game against the Tide. Ideally, they'll come out pissed and the offensive starters will only be needed through the first series in the third quarter. The defense needs all the reps they can get.
Colorado State at Alabama (1) | 6 PM | ESPN2
The Rams' second year coach, Jim McElwain, returns to Tuscaloosa where he was the offensive coordinator under Saban. McElwain has a big time rebuilding project on his hands and a game like this only serves to line the athletic department's pockets and teach the young players something in the midst of an ass kicking.
I grew up in Fort Collins loving the Rams during the years of playing multiple ESPN Thursday night games a year and slaying the big programs under Sonny Lubick. Great times. I played hockey at CSU for a couple seasons while complete bad ass Bradlee Van Pelt was playing quarterback for the football team. That dude was cut from the exact same personality cloth as Johnny Manziel.
Auburn at LSU (6) | 6:45 PM | ESPN
This should be a fun one. The Tigers and Tigers are both looking to prove some doubters wrong and accomplish different goals early in the season. Vegas has LSU favored by 14. Seems like a rather wide spread, no?
Kansas State at Texas | 7 PM | ABC
WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG?
Controversial Sprots Take: Kansas State might run the football on Saturday night.
Utah at BYU | 9:15 PM | ESPN2
Holy War! Jack Mormons versus Mormons. Don't let the profane "gosh darnits" "shucks" and "goosefeathers!" fool you. These schools absolutely hate each other.
Drink of the Week:
Your own version of the prison wine I outlined above. Served in leather canteens, please. Share your recipe in the comments.
Thanks for listening to me tell my dumdum stories. Enjoy the games, gang.