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.
FIU @ UCF
THIS AFTERNOON AT 5:00 PM
Dr. Norris Camacho
COLORADO @ HAWAII
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 3RD, 11:59 PM
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.
WASHINGTON @ BOISE STATE
YOUNGSTOWN STATE @ PITT
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 5TH, NOON
Oh yeah. Lol.
AUBURN VS. LOUISVILLE (ATLANTA)
TEXAS @ NOTRE DAME
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 5TH, 6:30 PM