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This year we're getting weird. Weirder.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back. We're all excited that college football has returned, and there are certainly a hell of a lot of great matchups this year right off the bat. There is also always a rich vein of Weird Football running through the schedule that we like to mine as best we can. That's the focus of this year's Watchlist: the utterly bizarre. While one of us picks the weekend's marquee matchup, the rest of us will focus on the games we feel have the highest potential to be carnival spectacles of disjointed, manic football. We'll decide at the end of each week which one turned out to be the weirdest and keep track as we go. Let's jump right in.




1. It's possibly the first college football game of the season. When you're an addict and you haven't been able to find your fix in what feels like eternity, you don't necessarily need the good stuff. You just need its essence. There is nothing more "essence of football" than a school called "Florida International." That leads me to...

2. When the central version of Florida takes on its international counterpart, there is tremendous potential for Florida to Florida all over itself and the rest of the games that day. There could be a Florida epidemic tonight. Think about it. What if there was a cloudless lightning burst from the center of the UCF stadium that shoots over to Salt Lake, enters Jim Harbaugh, and he channels the energy to detonate the entire Utah sideline. Yeah, and if you were watching another game you'd have missed that. Don't you feel stupid? Only on CBSSports.

Dr. Norris Camacho



When you go for that first swim in April and the lake is still freezing, do you hem and haw and inch your way out until you're waist-deep or do you take the plunge? This is the plunge. This game has all the earmarks for the bizarre: it's a P5 school against a respected mid-major, both of whom have been on a catastrophic downslope for the past several years. Both of these teams have been to BCS bowls in this century. They haven't been bowling for a combined 13 seasons.

Games at Aloha Stadium are usually a stark contrast on our TV screens: a bright array of empty seats surrounding a faded green surface ruffled by tumbleweeds of trash, the brilliant sunlight dazzling us after flipping through five or six other night games on simultaneously. But this game will be the rare after dark affair in the Islands, kicking off at 7 PM local. Neither team has much to lose, even in week 1, so this little experiment could get chippy as the Boulder kids try to reassert themselves and finally show some semblance of life in their new conference at the expense of the scrappy islanders who've made their hay hosting big schools in an extra game out in the Pacific each year. It could be 9-6 or it could be 65-62, but I'm guessing we'll see some personal fouls, a kickoff return or two called back, and a slew of middle-aged white men looking awkward in giant shirts and gaudy leis. And when you lurch out of your daze at 2AM and realize there are still three minutes left in the third and it's tied and then you remember you took Friday off work, that's when the full comfort of the college football season comes crashing down on you, regardless of the score.




Late Friday night. Blue turf. Chris Peterson. But - PLOT TWIST! - Coach Pete is standing on the opponent's sideline. Questions swirling around this week one contest:

* Can Boise, returning a boatload of contributors from last year's Fiesta Bowl championship squad, make a big enough statement against a Power 5 opponent to give themselves more than a sliver (Hi, Deloss!) of a chance at a playoff spot should the Broncos run the table? HAHAHAHAHA WHO ARE WE KIDDING COLLEGE FOOTBALL IS PATRIOTIC AND ALL ABOUT PRESERVATION OF POWER AND CAPITAL NOT UNAMERICAN THINGS LIKE WINNING AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY

* Can Washington rebound from a disappointing finish to 2014 where, after starting with a deceptive 4-0 mark, the Huskies stumbled to a 4-6 finish, including a disappointing [insert corporate sponsor we're too lazy to look up] bowl game loss to a similarly underwhelming Oklahoma State team?

* Big picture, will Petersen largely repeat the history of previous Boise head coaches (Nutt, Koetter, Hawkins) and flounder after moving on? Or can he finally transfer the smurf turf magic to another program?

* Will the Broncos cover the 12 point spread, helping you dig yourself out of the early hole you put yourself in with the ill-advised midnightwager on Thursday's Hawaii game?

* Will you pace yourself appropriately, knowing that a day long cornucopia of college football awaits you the next day? (No. No, you will not.)

Avoid meaningful social interaction on a Friday night by tuning in to get the answers to these and other important questions.




Let's set the scene. Paul Chryst has left Pitt and moved on to coach his alma mater Wisconsin. Despite inheriting a bad team this is still the definition of failing upward, as Chryst's tenure at Pitt was underwhelming at best and hilariously disastrous at worst. Best of all, the Chryst era at Pitt began with a devastating upset home loss to plucky little Youngstown State. We all know how fun it is to watch your new coach take your shiny football program out for a spin and wrap it around a telephone pole before he even gets off the lot.

It's OK though, because Pitt has a new coach in Pat Narduzzi and he's definitely not leaving like everyone else leaves and please oh please just stay and fix Pitt football it's broken I think maybe the transmission went out after we drove it too hard when we had Larry Fitzgerald remember that those were good times. Narduzzi is ready to avenge Pitt's honorand seek retribution, despite having a number of starters out with injuries. Still, it is just FCS Youngstown State, and sure they're good, but it's not like they have a crazy asshole coach who has rattled off 9 win seasons for his entire car-

Oh yeah. Lol.




Why you ask? Why yet another neutral site game when the beauty of college campuses are there for the imbibing?

Let us count the ways.

1. Bobby Petrino returns home*. (*Home in this case was the Georgia Dome for 13 weeks, marking his 2nd longest tenure as a head coach or human anywhere.)

2. The batshitcrazy scale is set to be recalibrated as Will Muschamp and Gus Malzahn pace the same sideline for the first time. Better for this maiden voyage to leave its assorted leakage in an NFL stadium.

3. 'Papa' John Schnatter can ease his way into September, because nobody likes waking up hungover at home this early in the season.

4. The dulcet tones of Uncle Verne. I prefer to bathe in them.

5. Drinking game. Every time Gary Danielson makes a dismissive remark about the 'spread' offense, any spread: 1 drink. Anytime Gary Danielson openly mocks the Louisville uniforms: 2 drinks. Big Boi spotted on the sideline wearing a Bo Jackson throwback: FINISH EVERYTHING IN THE HOUSE.

Jimmy Gards



MOOD. AN ENEMY OF MY ENEMY IS A FRIEND OF MINE. This should be your mantra. The Irish are your drankin' buddy on Saturday night while the Ags beat up on the pride of Sun Devil broskis. As many of you know, I'm a life-long Notre Dame fan. I'm a graduate and it runs deep in my family's blood.

Enter Texas. Recall when the Horns wouldn't shut up about Notre Dame in realignment? They floated every possible situation to link their #brand to Notre Dame's. They leaked the Notre Dame was a viable candidate to join the Big 12 (lulz). The Horns then said they were going to be independent just like Notre Dame. It was desperate and deluded.

The Horns love finding fans at other schools that seem to be in their social class of wealth and smug dickery. They sidled up to Ole Miss in that home-and-home. Chandeliers and snooty racism are nice shared interests. They'll attempt to do likewise with the Irish. The Horns are bringing their piecemeal excuse for an offense to South Bend in a meeting of college football's blue bloods.

The Horns' offense is an abomination. Do you know how hard it is to field a bad offense in the state of Texas? Our state's high schools churn out quarterbacks and skill position studs about as fast as they churn out dialysis candidates. Bad news, Horns. The Irish are stacked, experienced, and fast on D. Irish win 38-10.