Narber: Your week one college football viewer's guide
“I followed you for Iowa State sports, not your garbage political opinions. Blocked!” he tweeted as I flooded my followers’ timelines with White House diatribe. “Stick to sports!” he followed up before hitting the block button – the nail in the proverbial coffin, just to make sure I knew my place.
This is a relevant thing that actually happened to me recently because here I am, clicking away at the keys on a late August evening in preparation for all the glory that is college football’s opening weekend.
Me. The basketball guy.
And what’s worse – I’m here to tell you what to do every weekend!
Spectacular lack of gridiron credentials aside, I truly am here to help. I’m going to assist you in sorting out your college football viewing schedule every weekend. Cyclone Fanatic has so graciously brought me back this fall to bring you the same weekend viewer’s guides that I offered up this past basketball season, and I intend to make sure your TVs are all tuned to the right channels.
Every Friday morning, you can click on over and have a look at my Big 12 Game of the Week and an upset to watch for (think weather alerts – it’s awatch, not a warning), complete with a brief matchup analysis and predictions that I will likely regret as soon as they’re published.
Iowa State games will not be addressed here (That’s what CW and the gang are for!), and it goes without saying that I will never ask you to tune into a game that starts at the same time as the Cyclones.
I’m not a monster.
Finally, I’ll conclude each piece with 2-3 other matchups to keep your eye on around the country, in much of the same format. You’ll then share said viewer’s guide on all forms of social media and commend me for a job well done… right?
My word allotment is dwindling, so let’s take a look at what you and I are watching this week:
Big 12 Game of the Week
(1) Florida State vs. Oklahoma State | Saturday, 7:00 p.m. | ABC
See, the immediate problem during Week 1 is actually viewing Big 12 games. There’s not a lot you’ll be able to get (and frankly not a lot you’ll want to get either), but fortunately we’re rescued by the Pokes and defending champion Noles this week.
The line currently sits at FSU -17.5, but I think OSU can make this a single-digit contest. Though the Cowboys return the second-fewest starters in the entire country at nine (interestingly tied with Baylor in that category), Stillwater has been swooning over newcomer Tyreek Hill – a JUCO transfer and a burner that J.W. Walsh will certainly have a fun time chucking it to. A relatively experienced offensive line and Desmond Roland [Cyclone Nation cringes] are back as well.
But Heisman winner Jameis Winston and the Seminoles need absolutely no introduction. Florida State is the best college football team on the planet, and it’s not particularly close. The defense is still terrifying and there’s leadership at every position. A neutral field (Cowboys Stadium) could make this just thetiniestbit intriguing.
Florida State: 35 | Oklahoma State: 27
Big 12 Upset Watch:
There’s not one, guys. There’s just not.
I’ll say this though, just for the sake of making an off-the-wall prediction: Dan McCarney’s North Texas squad might make things interesting for Charlie Strong and Texas – and who among us wouldn’t want that? Did you know the Mean Green won seven of their final eight games last season, including a bowl victory? Did you know their defense allowed just shy of 12 ppg in those contests (and 17.8 on the season)? Did you know they had No. 9 Georgia tied at 21 midway through the 3rdquarterin Athens? So, maybe they’re due for something special. I don’t know. It’s worth noting, though, that Coach Mac has zero starters returning on his defensive line and Johnathan Gray still exists in the Longhorns backfield. I want so badly to pull the trigger on this but…
Texas: 30 | North Texas: 21
A Good One
(13) LSU vs. (14) Wisconsin | Saturday, 8:00 p.m. | ESPN
This is one of those games that could set the tone for an entire season for one party involved, and that happens to be Wisconsin in this case. Should they pull this thing off down in Houston, Iowa very well could be the Badgers’ only legitimate hurdle to a perfect season. In a matchup of two stellar 2013 defenses, LSU returns seven guys to the Badgers’ three (fewest nationally). Watch for a stellar RB duel in this one between true freshman Leonard Fournette and junior Melvin Gordon.
LSU: 31 | Wisconsin: 23
A Better One
(12) Georgia vs. (16) Clemson | Saturday, 4:30 p.m. | ESPN
Georgia-Clemson is the best college football game happening anywhere this weekend. Three Power 5 conference teams have 10 defensive starters back for this season, and the Dawgs are one of them (though it was a down year for the unit in 2013, allowing 29 points per game). Two brand spanking new QBs make their debuts here in Hutson Mason and Cole Stoudt. The losses of Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins should be extremely evident in this one, but not so much that it prevents Clemson’s perennially potent offense from keeping things close.
Georgia: 30 | Clemson: 28
An Upset Special
Colorado vs. Colorado State | Saturday, 8:00 p.m. | FS1
Opening week in-state rivalry games are simply not common enough. The Buffaloes are currently a 3-point favorite on their home field (meaning even money on a neutral field for you non-gamblers). But Rams QB Garrett Grayson and three pass-catchers from last year’s 36 ppg scoring offense are back in 2014, and Colorado is appallingly bad at not letting the other team score points. Score one for the little brother.
Colorado State: 28 | Colorado: 26