Morning Conversational: Is It Too Early to Look at Week One on the College Football Schedule?
There are various mile markers on the way to the college football season every year.
One of them is coming up next week with the Big Ten Media Days. Ohio State will be represented at the annual event by receiver KJ Hill, defensive end Jonathon Cooper, safety Jordan Fuller, and head coach Ryan Day.
Another — admittedly silly — mile marker for me is when the games start showing up on the cable guide schedule. We’re still several weeks away from that day, but does that mean we can’t go ahead and look at what we’ll be watching during the first full week of the season?
It’s a Thursday-through-Monday smorgasbord of college football sustenance. And it’s too early in the season to be cynical about all of the bad matchups we’ll be seeing because nobody stranded in a desert for nine months scoffs at a little bit of cloudy water.
Ignoring “Week Zero,” which pits Miami against Florida in Orlando and will be watched by all of us, let’s see what’s in store for our Labor Day Weekend of College Football.
The weekend gets started at 7:00 pm Thursday night as Cincinnati hosts UCLA on ESPN. Luke Fickell and the Bearcats are looking to go 2-0 against Chip Kelly and the Bruins over the last two seasons. An hour later, the first ever college football game on the brand-new ACC Network kicks off as Georgia Tech travels to Clemson. DirecTV will have the network, but you might want to Google your local cable provider to see if you’ll be able to watch this one. It will also be available online and via Hulu and Playstation Vue.
But you won’t need to deal with all of that because at 9:00 pm, you’ll be switching it over to FS1 to get a look at South Dakota State and Minnesota. The Gophers are a sleeper pick for the Big Ten West, but weird things happen when those Dakota teams come to Big Ten towns.
Then at 10:15 pm on ESPN, it’s the Holy War between Utah and BYU.
Friday at work will suck, but what’s new. Don’t worry, though, because the games kick back up at 6:00 pm as you’ll check out an hour of Rice and Army on CBS Sports Network before having to break out your second and third televisions to watch a trio of Big Ten games in the 7 o’clock hour.
Wisconsin at USF is on ESPN, Tulsa at Michigan State is on ESPN2, and Massachusetts at Rutgers is on BTN.
That’s right, I told you to break out the third television for Rutgers. Or you can just watch it on your phone. Or you can just wait for a highlights on SportsCenter. Or you can just…not.
Purdue’s season kicks off at 9:30 at Nevada on CBS Sports Network. It will give you an opportunity to watch Rondale Moore and not get sick to your stomach.
And then comes Saturday. The Buckeyes get started right away, hosting Florida Atlantic at noon on FOX. You’ll be occupied here until 3:30 when you move over to ABC to watch Alabama’s biggest non-conference game on their schedule, as they play Duke in a neutral site game in the heart of the SEC.
Or you can watch North Carolina at South Carolina on ESPN. After all, what’s an opening weekend without the Gamecocks?
Or you can get a glimpse of a McSorley-less Penn State against Idaho on BTN.
Then at 4:00 pm, you can switch it over to FOX for the Nerd Bowl as Northwestern travels to Stanford.
Hopefully that will keep your attention for a while, because there isn’t much in the ensuing hours.
Boise State and Florida State meet in a neutral site game in Jacksonville at 7:00 pm on ESPN. Oregon and Auburn meet in JerryWorld at 7:30 pm on ABC. Both teams believe they are title contenders. One team will get an opportunity to become terribly overrated.
Iowa hosts Miami (OH) on FS1 at 7:30, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Georgia’s title run gets started at the same time on the SEC Network at Vanderbilt.
But you’ll also want to take a look at BTN for Big Ten favorite Michigan opening their season under the lights against Middle Tennessee for some reason. This is a new-and-improved offense for the Wolverines, so you’ll want to tune in.
Then, when that’s over, you’ll want to do what Urban Meyer will be doing, and catch Fresno State at USC on ESPN.
Sunday you’ll get Houston at Oklahoma on ABC at 7:30 pm, then on Monday it’s Notre Dame at Louisville on ESPN at 8:00 pm.
No, it’s not a great weekend of college football, but it’s better than anything else going on this summer.