“Play Ball” Never Sounded So Sweet

Posted: September 1, 2011 in NCAA
Tags: , , ,

Finally, after an off-season of scandals and allegations involving some of our finest institutions of higher learning and athletic programs, the season is about to begin. Hallelujah!

Talk of the scandals won’t go away, but at least we’ll have games to watch, to analyze, to debate, to enjoy. Never in 50 years of covering sports have I looked so forward to the start of a college football season. At last, toe meets leather. The lid is about to be lifted. The bell is about to be rung. The hitting is about to start. I’m so over-the-top thrilled that I’m actually thinking in clichés.

Starting at 6 o’clock today and for the next 101hours there’ll be 37 games to watch sitting in our living rooms. The fact most of them will be more lopsided than a Usain Bolt-Terrence Knighton foot race doesn’t even bother me.

At least tonight we’ll get to see a top 10 team, Wisconsin, and two SEC teams, Mississippi State and Kentucky, play. Okay, that isn’t much of a thrill waiting to happen, but it’s better than talking about if Jordan Jefferson is guilty of assault and what a scumbag Nevin Shapiro is.

Friday night does offer an interesting game: TCU at Baylor. Saturday is loaded with mismatches, but LSU-Oregon in Dallas and Georgia-Boise State in Atlanta are potential gems. (It just ticks me off they’re played at the same time, 8 p.m., by the same company, ABC-ESPN.) Northwestern at Boston College (noon), South Florida at Notre Dame (3:30) and BYU at Ole Miss (4:45) are worthy of our time. And, of course, Florida and FSU open their seasons.

Sunday gives us a pair of in-state matchups, SMU at Texas A&M and Marshall at West Virginia. That’s better than more talk about when, not if, the hammer will fall on Auburn and its 2010 BCS title will be vacated. Monday actually gives us a conference game: Miami at Maryland. Not bad. By the way, the over-under on how many of the 15 Hurricane players under investigation will play was seven. Over won because eight players have been suspended for at least one game.

All in all, a far better five days than more discussion about how severely North Carolina will be punished and if Southern Cal remains an elite program.

For the record, I don’t think it will be a good opening week for the SEC. Kudos to the conference for playing strong opening opponents, but I see both LSU and Georgia going down.

I don’t think LSU will miss Jefferson, slated to be the starting quarterback, that much on the field, but I think the entire mess surrounding the barroom fight will prove to be enough of a distraction to give the speedy Ducks the edge they need to win at Cowboys Stadium.

As for the Georgia-Boise State game, I’m still convinced the Broncos would only be a slightly-better-than-average SEC team, but that’s exactly what the Bulldogs have been for a long time. Playing in Atlanta should benefit the Dawgs and I expect the outcome to be decided on the final possession of the game, but I think Boise State has more playmakers and one of them will make a game-winning play.


  1. If college football is so corrupt, they need to cancel the season. But, they won’t do that, will they? PEACE.

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