Sometimes choosing which college football games to watch is tough. Particularly since, unlike the NFL, the games kick off at odd hours, on odd stations, with odd match-ups. And there are so damn many of them. As college football has become more commoditized the top 2 or 3 games soak up 99% of the attention and the rest of the games sort of fly under the radar. Especially if they don't happen to feature top 25 teams. So we're doing you a favor with a viewing guide of sorts. Not necessarily the most competitive or the most scintillating games (although those are included as well) but the most interesting. If I were South Carolina, I'd find that girl in the stands and send her to Georgia's hotel...pronto. 8. UVa at UConn (-12.5)- Remember how Al Groh was supposed to revitalize Cavs football? Yeah, those dreams have long since passed. Now dontfirealgroh.com gets more and more frustrating each week. Already Cavs fans are rooting for the good ole days when their players were being arrested at gay bars to return. But has it really gotten to the point where a UConn team that scored 12 points on Temple, Temple!, opens as a favorite by more than 12 over Virginia? Yep, that time has come. UVa beat UConn last year 17-16. But you have to take UVa with that spread, right? 7. Oregon (-8) at Purdue- This game will take 5 hours to play and end with a score of something like 56-49. The new college football rules designed to shorten the game have no prayer of helping here. Joe Tiller is the most reliably average of all Big Ten coaches. He's good for 7 or 8 wins a year (10 bowl games in 11 seasons) and will inevitably have at least a single game in September that makes you think Purdue might be a factor. Then, they aren't. Unless it's sleeting and his mustache freezes. Then, you have to watch.
Oregon is probably USC's most legit challenger in the Pac-10 and no one has mentioned them all season. Why? Because as much as the Pac-10 complains about a lack of media attention on the East Coast, the only Pac-10 teams that get any West Coast media attention are in major markets in California. The most interesting thing about this game? Both teams had a bye coming in. Why? (Note, evidently this is not true. Both teams actually played games; Purdue-Northern Colorado and Oregon-Utah State. Even still, I stand by my bye week statement.) The second most interesting thing about this game, Oregon is traveling to Indiana for a football game. Again, why? This is one of those cross-regional games that makes no sense. Does Purdue bring in northwest recruits? No. Does Oregon hit up Indiana for players? No. Have Purdue and Oregon fans been clamoring for this match-up? No. So, why play? Just so the Pac-10 and the Big 10 can play another game on the same day as USC-Ohio State that no one on earth will remember? Brilliant. But look at all the pretty touchdowns. 6. Auburn (-10.5) at Miss. State- Last year Miss. State and Sylvestor Croom found a way to beat Auburn at Auburn. Now, Auburn has a new quarterback, a new offensive coordinator, a new defensive coordinator, has looked mediocre in two wins thus far and they are favored by two scores in a road game. This makes zero sense to me. Granted State has looked horrible, but even when State wins they look horrible. How could you not take MSU here? I'll tell you, if Croom makes the mistake of scheduling the team fieldtrip to the only escalator in Starkville on the Friday before this game. Last year three starters were injured trying to walk the "magic stairs." 5. Oklahoma (-20) at Washington- Can you imagine what will happen if the officials, feeling sorry for Washington's excessive celebration penalty last week, blow another call on the west coast in favor of a Pac-10 school against Oklahoma. I'm rooting for this to happen just to see Bob Stoops storm the field and choke the head ref to death with his headset cord. Otherwise the Ty Willingham death march is likely to continue. 4. Michigan (-2) at Notre Dame- The fact that Michigan is favored in this game speaks volumes about Jimmy Clausen's hair. Because if you've watched Michigan's offense thus far they look like Australian aboriginees being instructed in how to build websites without first learning to read. Yet, amazingly, the over/under on this game is 37. How? The score of this game is going to be 13-10 Michigan and after it's over, Charlie Weis's amazingly invisible crotch is going to be soiled. But not for long. Immediately after he soils himself, Notre Dame fans will arrive to lick up his mess. All the while exclaiming, "Oh, yeah, Ty Willingham's the one who really blows. This isn't a blow job, this is just a European crotch cleaning."
3. Kansas at South Florida (-3.5)- This game is actually being played on Friday which means 99% of college football fans are going to think, man that sounds like a good game. Only the game will already have been played before we realize it's going on. Which is a shame because Kansas's Mark Mangino and USF's Jim Leavitt are the two angriest coaches on the sideline not named Mike Gundy. Kansas hasn't lost since John Brown's Raid but South Florida is favored at home. Anyone who tells you they have any idea what's going to happen in this game is a fool. USF is the moderately attractive girl of college football. Except she's bipolar. One party she's ski-polling two guys while sitting on the drier, the next weekend she's worn a navy pantsuit to the party and is crying into her Cranberry Diet Mike's Hard Lemonade. I'm sure this is tough to take for USF fans.
Hopefully for Mark Mangino's sake he'll avoid having his picture taken alongside oranges this time. 2. Georgia (-7.5) at South Carolina- Steve Spurrier is reverting to 1994 and plans on alternating between his two quarterbacks, Smelley and Beecher. Neither of them is any good and they're probably not going to be able to throw bubble screens to wide receiver Kenny McKinley, who has an injured hamstring. Meanwhile, Georgia comes into town incensed because Mark May didn't invite Knowshon Moreno onto the set and let him demonstrate his great leaping ability by tea-bagging Lou Holtz. Also, former Georgia defensive end David Pollack is now a member of the CBS announcing team. In what capacity, I'm not sure. There's a strong part of me that wants his only role to be high-skipping into the press box while barking with Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson walking calmly behind him.
This game may be the last chance Steve Spurrier has to prove he's still relevant. Otherwise he sinks to 1-7 in his last 8. It's also one of two early SEC East games (the other is Florida-UT) where every other SEC East fanbase needs to be rooting for the underdog to win so chaos rules in the SEC East. 1. Ohio State (-11.5) at USC- Too much has been said about this game already. And the most interesting question, hasn't even been answered. How much does USC have to beat Ohio State (sans Beanie) by to guarantee that Ohio State has no chance to play in the BCS title game? 30? 40? I'm interested in the number because I really have no idea.