2017 College Football Scene Setter
When you think of holidays and special occasions, each of us have different ones that come to mind. As a child, Christmas was always my favorite holiday as I couldn’t sleep just wondering what was under that tree. As I matured in life (in age only), Halloween became a favorite, because let’s be honest what’s more fun than pretending your someone that you’re not and stuffing yourself with candy. The point being is that there is always an event that consumes all of your attention and disallows you to function. Well, for me that is always the official opening weekend of College Football.
While I completely understand that for most of country these are just ordinary days, for us football-starved beings, it’s something we have been yearning for since January and it’s finally here. So, as you go through the first half of your week, be sure to get your favorite snacks, have your beverage of choice ready, tell your boss that you just can’t be disturbed, and pick out that favorite spot in front of the TV. Believe it or not, the most wonderful time of the year is finally here. Sit back and enjoy your guide to five fun-filled days of Football stuffing.
Thursday, August 31st
Now, I’m assuming by this time you’ve already made that decision to let your significant other, friends, family, boss and co-workers know that you will be unavailable for the next few days. If you haven’t, “rookie mistake.” All jokes aside, conjure up your best excuse that you can think of, make the call and let’s get this train moving. Now that’s out of the way, lets get down to business.
If you’re not an early riser, that needs to change for at least the next five days. Hey, we can all sleep when we are dead, right? As we get starved for College Football in summer many of us turn to the classic games of years past. Well, I hope you have enough in reserve for a couple of more days.
Historic Shootout from 1993
7:00 AM CST ESPN Classic: BYU vs San Diego State from 1993. If you like offense, this game will be one that sticks out in your mind from years ago. Watch as Marshall Faulk and John Walsh trade blows in an entertaining contest.
Sunshine State Showdown
9:00 AM CST ESPN Classic: Florida State vs Florida again from 1993. This game would play host to the largest crowd to ever witness a football game in the state of Florida. Numerous items would be on the line for both teams including a 23-game home winning streak for the then Steve Spurrier-led Gators. A possible National Championship appearance and Heisman Trophy award would hang in the balance for Charlie Ward and the Seminoles of Florida State.
83 Yards in 83 Seconds
The First of Many
1:00 PM CST ESPN Classic: In 1992, Florida played against Alabama in the inaugural SEC Championship Game. Alabama came into the game undefeated and was looking to secure a spot in the national championship spot. Comparatively, the Gators were just looking to play the role of a spoiler and improve their bowl positioning.
Well, at this point you have made it through a few games that might have just heightened your anticipation a little more. If you are at this point, this is the perfect time to step away and run some errands, maybe pick up the kids from school or just to get some brownie points feel free to do something a little constructive around the house. Please notice the word choice as “little.” However, if you are in the trenches and hunkered down and have no interest in leaving your seat of choice, fear not. Previews of the Thursday games and overall opening weekend games will begin as College Football Live and College Football Countdown will take us up to the first game.
Now, We Really Get Started
This, my friends, is the moment we have been waiting for. This is when the 2017 College Football Week 1 begins.
5:00 PM CST CBS Sports Network: Florida International travels to Orlando to take on the Central Florida Knights. There is plenty of intrigue to this match-up, if for no other reason it’s live College Football action! One of interesting aspects of this match-up begins on the sidelines as Butch Davis makes his return to College Football as he takes on upstart Scott Frost and Central Florida.
Sooner State Scorefest
6:30 PM CST Fox Sports 1: The Tulsa Golden Hurricane will travel to Stillwater to face the top ten-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys. The Cowboys seem to be a trendy pick by some prognosticators to win the Big 12 and to make some noise in the Playoff picture. Tulsa had a devastating offense a year ago, but finds itself reloading somewhat. One thing can be certain is that this game will be entertaining as we should see many points and many yards.
Where is Kevin Wilson?
7:00 PM CST ESPN: Ohio State travels to Bloomington, Indiana to take on the Hoosiers in an opening weekend Big 10 battle. The Hoosiers will be welcoming back Kevin Wilson to the sidelines, only he will be the offensive coordinator for Ohio State rather than the head coach for Indiana. This should be a tremendous atmosphere and a great way to kick off the national TV schedule for ESPN.
You’ve had such a long day, why stop now? This doesn’t have the same wow factor of some of the other games, but hey crazier things have happened.
9:30 PM CST PAC 12 Network: Arizona State plays host to the Aggies of New Mexico State. One of the early story-lines in the land of the Sundevils is the proverbial hot seat that head coach Todd Graham currently resides on. Look for plenty of points and the defense in this contest to be very optional.
Friday, September 1st
You’ve made it through day one. Which means, we are 20% through the weekend. I know you might be reading this and telling yourself, you watched upwards of 18 hours of action yesterday and the eyelids are already looking a little heavy. For those of you that might need a little rest, never fear there might be time to fit in a nap today.
7:00 AM CST ESPN Classic: Michigan State visits Northwestern in 2010 for this instant thriller. Anytime you watch a classic game and you see one team go up by a few scores early, watch out! This one is no different so stay tuned for this Big 10 thriller.
Don’t tell me this is happening again…
9:00 AM CST ESPN Classic: Michigan State at Northwestern in 2006. If you are a Big 10 enthusiast, this will be a tremendous start to your day. Same song, different verse. I’m not revealing any secrets here, but depending on what team you are a fan of at this point, you are either pulling your hair out or throwing anything you can find at the TV.
Do these guys ever lose?
11:00 AM CST ESPN Classic: Let’s go back to 2003 as Ohio State visits Madison to take on the Wisconsin Badgers in this instant classic. The Buckeyes coming off their improbably National Championship take a 19-game winning streak into Camp Randall. In this old school, Big 10 defensive showdown a big play is the deciding factor here.
As the ACC Turns
1:00 PM CST ESPN Classic: This is not your typical daytime soap opera that might be happen on a weekday afternoon, but this contest provides some unexpected turns. This 2013 encounter between the Miami Hurricanes and the North Carolina Tar Heels provides some late game heroics that you won’t have to wait until next week to know what happens.
I Think I Need to Check My Blood Pressure
3:00 PM CST ESPN Classic: Wisconsin makes a return trip to Columbus to take on the Buckeyes in this 2011 thriller. I know, I know. I promised an opportunity for rest, didn’t I? After this, I promise. But, this will be completely worth it to see the epic ending to this contest. Now, this will be the opportunity to rest. Whether this is on your couch, or you jump into bed this is your official authorization for a nap. But, be sure to set that alarm as we get going once again in a couple of hours.
Ready, Get Set, and GO…
This will be good practice for Saturday’s action as you will have a couple of options at this point. If you have multiple TVs set up in your Football Cave then you are set. But, if you find yourself being a flipper between games, be sure to have your trigger finger ready.
7:00 PM CST ESPNU: Navy at Florida Atlantic. How good can your coach be in game number one? For the Owls of Florida Atlantic, the hope is that newly acquired Lane Kiffin can have his team ready for the Navy option attack. This will be a very intriguing match-up as Florida Atlantic is very talented at the skill position, but Ken Niumatalolo, as the head man at Navy, is one of the better coaches in the country that you don’t hear as much as you should about.
7:00 PM CST PAC 12 Network: Colorado State vs Colorado in the Mile High City. Last year, the Buffaloes were about as dominant on both sides of the ball as you can be in an opening weekend game en route to a 44-7 triumph. The Colorado defense stifled Ram quarterback Nick Stevens in forcing a 6-20 effort before getting benched. However, Colorado State was impressive in week zero in a dominating victory over Oregon State.
Possible Darkhorse Playoff Contender
8:00 PM CST ESP: A potential College Football Playoff contender might be the Wisconsin Badgers. The Badgers may very well be favored to win every game in 2017 and that will begin with a home game against the Utah State Aggies. So if that is the case, why might this game be of any interest? The Aggies have a solid secondary, while Wisconsin has shown the inability to get the ball downfield in the passing game.
Saturday, September 2nd
The Main Course
Here we are. We’ve made it through what we will call the appetizer section of the meal. Here is the big one. No rest, no relaxation, no interruptions, just football. Here we go!
Get It Started Right
8:00 AM CST ESPN: College Gameday live from Atlanta, Georgia. Gameday should be the cornerstone of every Saturday in Fall and today will be no exception. I know three hours of stories and previews can be a little exhausting, so take this time to get acquainted with your routine for the day and get any last minute preparations out of the way.
New Face, Same Expectation
11:00 AM CST Fox Sports One: Maryland at Texas. Tom Herman steps in for Charlie Strong and has to get to work immediately. The expectations from fans and media in Austin are always high and this season will be no different. Maryland has a very experienced ball club and with up and coming coach D.J. Durkin, this will not be a lay up for the Longhorns.
Draft Day Showcase
11:00 AM CST Big Ten Network: Wyoming at Iowa. The best quarterback in 2017 that you may have not heard of resides in Laramie with junior Josh Allen. This has a chance to be an absolute shootout as the strength of the Wyoming defense is in the secondary, and the Hawkeyes will be breaking in a new quarterback. However, the Cowboys were very bad against the run in 2016, which bodes well behind running backs Akrum Wadley and Nevada transfer James Butler.
Who are these teams?
11:20 AM CST ACC Network: California at North Carolina. For Cal, they will be ushering in new head man, Justin Wilcox. One thing we know is that Wilcox will try to instill toughness that has been missing from the Cal program as of late. But, what exactly will that identity look like? Whereas, the Tar Heels will look to graduate transfer Brandon Harris to pick up where Mitch Trubisky left off a year ago. The intrigue to this game will be how each team imposes its will on offense.
2:00 PM CST ESPN: North Carolina State vs South Carolina in Charlotte, North Carolina. The excitement and hope are high in both camps entering 2017. Quarterback Jake Bentley leads the way for a Gamecock offense that is much improved over this time a year ago. This will be a classic strength vs strength as South Carolina has a solid, veteran offensive line, but the Wolfpack bolster one of the best defensive fronts in the country anchored by Bradley Chubb. If you like scoring, this will not be the game for you as this should be a defensive battle all the way.
Monsters of the Midday
2:30 PM CST ABC: Michigan vs Florida in Arlington, Texas. This game is one of the things you just have to love about early season College Football. It’s great to see the blue-blood match-ups early on. With as tough as both the Big 10 and the SEC is, lose this game and you might be out of the playoff discussion before it starts. Both defenses are extremely athletic and talented so this one should be won or lost by who can execute the most in the limited scoring opportunities they may get.
Group of Five Battle
2:45 PM CST ESPNU: Troy at Boise State. This is about as good as it gets in terms of a Group of Five game to start the season. Both teams did not finish particularly strong in 2016. Look for us to move back to a higher scoring affair, as both teams are very talented on the offensive side of the ball. For Troy, Jordan Chunn will look to continue his success on the ground. Alternatively, Boise State has Brett Rypien who will pace their aerial attack. The first team to 40 wins this one.
5:15 PM CST ESPN: Appalachian State at Georgia. Stop me if you’ve heard both of these headlines before. Georgia is ranked in the top 15 in the country and poised to win a conference championship. Appalachian State is upset-minded and a dangerous team that you don’t want to face early in the season. Running back talent will be rampant in this game as Appalachian State returns 1,400 yard runner in Jalin Moore. Likewise, Georgia counters with phenom Nick Chubb. If the Mountaineers can repeat the formula from Knoxville, they could be in line for the shocker of the weekend.
The Mega Powers Explode
7:00 PM CST ABC: Alabama vs Florida State in Atlanta, Georgia. Alright, go ahead and wipe the tear from your eye. We know this is just the excitement for this contest. The best game of the weekend, the best non-conference game and quite possibly the best game in 2017 is here. Can Florida State match the physical play that we know Alabama will bring on both sides of the ball? Alabama has been absolutely dominant in these early season match-ups, but this one has a different feel. Florida State is extremely talented at all levels, and it will interesting to see the improvement in Deondre Francois this season. This has the look of a game that makes it into the 4th quarter still up for grabs.
8:30 PM CST ESPN: BYU vs LSU. This game will be overshadowed a bit by the effects of the devastating hurricane and subsequent rain that has hit the Houston area. The game has been moved to New Orleans. LSU has a superstar in the making in running back Derrius Guice. While sharing time with Leonard Fournette last year, Guice still carried for nearly 1,400 yards and 15 scores. As always in Baton Rouge, the Tigers should go as far as the quarterback will take them and will need Danny Etling to be more consistent in 2017. BYU struggled immensely on the offensive side of the ball in their week zero game against Portland State. The competition steps up just a bit this week against the Tiger defense. This will be an entertaining game to end our Saturday.
The Marathon Slows Down
We’ve made it through the bulk of our opening weekend. So, take some time to pat yourself on the back, give yourself a handshake or just let your chest fill up with football pride. There are some outstanding games to go, but take some time now to spend with your family and start functioning once again. But, by all means make sure to keep that schedule clear for Sunday and Monday evening.
Sunday, September 3rd
Are the Wizards of Westwood Back?
6:30 PM CST FOX: Texas A&M at UCLA. There may not be a warmer hot seat than the one Aggies head coach Kevin Sumlin is currently on. For the struggles that A&M has had over the last few years, starting fast has not been one of them. Quarterback play is a concern and that’s why Texas A&M should rely on the strong offensive line and running back tandem of Trayveon Williams and Keith Ford. For the Bruins, the offensive success seems to rest on the shoulders of one Josh Rosen. If Rosen can get time, he should have a lot of success throwing the ball against what was a porous Aggie secondary of a year ago.
But, My Virginia is Better Than Your Virginia
6:30 PM CST ABC: Virginia Tech vs West Virginia from Landover, Maryland. West Virginia had a really solid season, but the offense could take it to another level with the addition of Will Grier. After his exit from Florida, there is no better way to make your comeback than to do it on national television against Virginia Tech. The Hokies had a solid year under first year skipper Justin Fuente. The strength of the Virginia Tech team may very well be on defense and in particular the secondary. However, both offenses should be able to move the ball well.
Monday, September 4th
All Good Things Must Come to an End
7:00 PM CST ESPN: Tennessee vs Georgia Tech from Atlanta, Georgia. The Volunteers might be the Rodney Dangerfield of College Football, as they are getting very little respect nationally. The talent is still there in Knoxville, and if for no other reason Vol fans can be optimistic about a healthy ball club. Having said that, facing a Paul Johnson-led team is always difficult. Look for the unorthodox attack of the Yellow Jackets to give the Tennessee defense fits mostly due to the fact that it’s something so difficult to prepare for. This one should go down to the wire to cap off an outstanding weekend of College Football.