Friday, September 04, 2009

And So It Begins...

Or began, depending on how much interest you had in last night’s pigskin festivities, or what you think we’re about to discuss. But we digress. As most of you are aware, this crisp and sunny Labor Day weekend brings us a full slate of college football. Hidden amid the forest of slaughterhouse tune-ups scheduled by the majors to get a scrimmage that counts against a small school whose AD will sacrifice his squad's pride for a six-figure paycheck (we’re looking at you Ohio State, Penn State, Georgia Tech, UNC, Texas and Florida) are a few trees that should bear some luscious pieces of viewing fruit.

Before we segue into any more oddly suggestive references that barely relate to the story, allow us to present you with a preview of some of this weekend’s red hot pigskin action.

Cincinnati (+5.5) vs. Rutgers in the Dirty JerzWe’ll start with the weekend’s most riveting game – the Big East showdown between the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers and the Bearcats of Cincinnati that got moved up because somebody thinks it will make riveting television on a sunny Labor Day afternoon. Many are picking Rutgers to win the conference this year, which would bestow onto them the honor of being (arguably) the 31st best team in a country. They could head to a BCS bowl game to get their heads handed to
them by a disappointed SEC or Big 12 school. Even the ACC schools are grimacing at the mediocrity in the Big East, as different pundits have picked Rutgers, West Virginia, Pitt, or Cincy to be crowned King of the Dipshits.

Here’s what we know about the game. The finest folks in the greater Brunswick region will be out en masse to celebrate Rutgers’ $100 million stadium expansion. They know they need to root root root for the home team this year because the school is a Joe Paterno broken hip away from possibly losing its coach to a bigger program. Rutgers returns all of its offensive line, anchored by left tackle Anthony Davis, a future first-round pick. But it is weak and inexperienced on all of the skill positions, including quarterback, a position that some argue is important.

There was a five-man race for the starting QB position, but many competitors fell by the wayside early. DC Jefferson transferred to tight-end. And Jabu Lovelace showed that he can’t pass and will stay on as the team’s Wildcat option. True freshman Tom Savage (no relation to Randy) (seriously, we couldn't get a Hector Savage joke here? that would've been really indicative of gtb and it's culture) was the most impressive of the lot and will start the year as the back-up, though he will likely log a lot of playing time. For now, the team’s starting quarterback is the aptly named New Jersey product Dom Natale.

So Rutgers will need to get their running game established to be a force this year. They will do so with great aplomb for most of this season, as Davis and Manasquan, NJ resident Art Forst bowl over the undersized defensive lines in the conference week in and week out. We’ll spare you with the preview on Cincinnati because one of us has to go to a meeting and do some “real work.” Rutgers is favored by 5.5. Will they cover? Fuhgeddaboudit.

Alabama vs. Virginia Tech (+6.5) @ Atlanta, GA
Alabama jumped back into the national picture ahead of schedule last year, rising all the way to
the top spot in the national rankings before Florida asserted itself and Utah exposed the undermotivated Tide in the Sugar Bowl. Now, in Nick Saban’s third year, he’s scrambling like all hell to destroy the tapes of his one-night stand with Rick Pitino’s nanny in the bathroom of Tuscaloosa’s finest barbecue joint. No, sorry, that’s not true. Though really, would it surprise you? Saban’s actually working to break in a new quarterback after the seemingly interminable and sometimes not entirely dreadful John Parker Wilson era finally came to a close. Greg McElroy takes the helm of a squad that will once again be led by a nasty defense, so long as its players can avoid getting shot. Or getting caught violating NCAA rules. Or catching the flu. Can we start the season already?

Frank Beamer’s Hokies enter the season the 7th-ranked team in the nation, with optimism running neck and neck (i get jokes) with binge drinking on the leaderboard in Blacksburg. Tyrod Taylor gets the ball as the unquestioned starting quarterback now that Sean Glennon’s moved on to nursing school. Taylor’s feet will be as important as his arm (2 TD passes vs. 7 rushing TDs in 2008) until one of Tech’s green tailbacks establishes himself – the loss of sophomore tailback Darren Evans looms large for the Hokies. As usual, Bud Foster’s defense will be a ballhawking force, and the Hokie special teams will scare the living bejesus out of too many opponents.

I live in ACC country. The ACC is an awesome, awesome conference. In basketball. ACC football defines major-college mediocrity. It says here that there’s no way on Tim Tebow’s green earth an ACC team is the 7th-best squad in the country. Alabama struggles to move the ball in the early going as McElroy gets his legs under him against the Hokie defense, but puts this one away in the second half. Remember what LSU did to Tech the last time Frank Beamer’s boys faced an SEC team? This one won’t be quite as hide-your-eyes ugly, but ‘Bama will be the one that emerges with national title hopes intact. (did you guys know rob likes Alabama? well, he does, he really really likes them)

William & Mary @ Virginia (NL)

Bonus prognostication courtesy of the alma mater, as W&M begins Jimmye Laycock’s 31st season at the helm with a money grab in Charlottesville. The Tribe’s got a history of throwing a scare or two into the Hoos, winning in 1987, leading at halftime in 1988, dropping 35 points on then-No. 1 UVA in 1989 (allowing 63, but that’s not the point), and keeping several more recent games close. Ish. Tribe faithful expect to lose this one, and probably by three touchdowns. We also expect to encounter scores of overprivileged and undereducated (and overdressed) students on the UVA ‘grounds’.

Uh oh, is that Mark's music?
I'm sitting here watching South Carolina and NC State take offensive football back decades with their collective ineptitude on College Football's opening night for the second straight year and, besides thanking God that I was able to witness Spurrier (Osaka!) in his prime during my tenure at the University of Florida (as opposed to now which is somewhat like watching Pedro Martinez over the last few years), I'm wondering why the fuck ESPN would choose to give us these two terrifically mediocre and milquetoast programs on opening night...for the second straight year. Then I remembered, because its College Football and people like you and I would watch Presbyterian take on Methodist (they are both real colleges, both in North Carolina if memory serves) tonight we're so hard up for football. Hell, I don't even mind the sound of Jesse Palmer's voice tonight. The moral of the story, of course, is that football is back and we're all better for it. Even if we are outwardly worse people because of it.

For example, I'll be in Gainesville this weekend and I'll do more this Saturday (drink, tailgate, watch football, drink, eat grilled meats, drink, watch football, drink, ogle coeds, drink, pass out) than I've done over the last three weekends combined. Will the Gators destroy Charleston Southern? You're damn fucking right. Will they cover the insane 73 point spread? Ummmm, no. I'd advise you to stay away from betting on or against the Gators this weekend. However, if you can find a casino to give you odds on how long I'll actually be inside The Swamp on Saturday night, well, bet the house and bet the under. This guy will most assuredly be drinking, watching football and making inappropriate comments in the other Swamp before halftime...and loving every fucking minute of it.

I also thought it would be fun to still include Mark's pick for last night's Oregon/Boise St game:
As for football games that might actually matter this weekend, few are as intriguing as Thursday night's Boise St.-Oregon (+3.5) tilt. Both teams run wide open offenses, both teams have high hopes for this season and both teams hail from towns with great weed (don't sleep on Boise folks). On top of that, Oregon's been making noise about Boise State taking cheap shots during last year's game in Eugene AND Boise State's BCS hopes ride completely and totally on a victory on the smurf turf. (Look at their schedule, they've got nobody else with any cache nationally once they get past the Ducks). I want to take Boise here but I feel like Oregon QB Jeremiah Masoli's just too good and motivated (he was knocked out of last year's game on one of the aforementioned "cheap shots") to let the Ducks lose tonight. Oregon wins by a TD, Masoli runs for 2 TDs, throws for 3 more and I end up so high by the 4th quarter that I'm eating cookie dough while quacking at my dogs every time Oregon gets a first down.

And since TR went to the 'pen to have me format this mess of a post (content A+, font matching F-), I figure I might as well throw a game/pick at you as well...now lookee here, this game seems perfect:

Tulsa @ Tulane
Tonight, ESPN, 8pm (brought to you by Joe Tessitore and, ugh, Rod Gilmore)
OK, let's see. Conference USA decides to kick off their season with this "marque" match-up? A Tulane team that went 2-10 last year and has been mediocre for much of the last decade vs. a Tulsa team that lit up scoreboards last year en route to an 11-3 record? CUSA Football, it's Mediocr-awesome. What do I know about these two teams?* Very, very little, especially now that David Johnson and "offensive genius" Gus Malzahn have left Tulsa. But, I'm pretty sure new Tulsa QB GJ Kinne will find Damaris Johnson and Slick Shelley (fantastic name) multiple times in the Superdome end zone tonight, and Tulane will be poor to quite poor across the board. I believe Tulsa is a two touchdown favorite here - take 'em.

*Wait, I just remebered what I did know about these two schools. The mascots (I sound like Diane Chambers). I'm pretty sure the Tulsa (Golden) Hurricane will have no trouble destroying New Orleans-based Tulane. If I were Green Wave coach Bob Toledo, I'd just open my post-game presser by blaming the Army Corps of Engineers for the deluge of points allowed and subsequent loss.

52 comments:

Mark said...

Corso looks a little "strokey" in those pictures.

Too soon?

TJ said...

All I was wondering was when was Mel Brooks coach at Indiana?

Mark said...

Also, LeGarrette Blount seems like a good guy, no?

Michael said...

I went 2-2 last night. I believed in Oregon too. Stupid. Sloppiest game ever. Orgeon's offensive line was just dominated by BSU. Can't believe that Boise didn't win that game by 24. Nope, they just kept teasing me with chances so I could stay up until 1:30 watching.

Mark said...

Why wasn't I included on the "It's super cool to fire your offensive coordinator less than two weeks before your season opener" email. I feel cheated.

rob said...

sounds like friday night in unit m all over again, michael.

TJ said...

Michael, bet Tulsa...and the over.

It will be raining dollars at your condo if you do.

TJ said...

Whoa whoa whoa, hold the phone...the Bills fired Turk 182? I mean, I get that, but...

they replaced him with Alex Van Pelt? Seriously? Zoltan, Work/Married Jerry, you want to help me on this? Perhaps figure out why I'm asking so many questions as well?

TR said...

I hope somebody out there got my "King of the Dipshits" reference.

TJ said...

I was pretty sure the picture sold it.

rob said...

for your epl rooting pleasure this weekend:

saturday
bolton wanderers @ portsmouth
west ham united @ wigan athletic
liverpool vs. burnley
arsenal @ man city
man u @ spurs

sunday
aston villa @ birmingham
fulham vs. everton

TR said...

Nice reminder Rob. The Tottenham-Man U match wil be a real litmus test for Spurs. Last match for two weeks b/c of Cup qualifying matches.

rob said...

i just found out that one of fulham's rallying cries is 'let's go you whites'. no wonder drogba played so angry last week.

also, 'the bear' has a sort of a bizarro love and rockets thing going. that's an endorsement.

rob said...

pop quiz: what team is graham harrell playing for?

rob said...

whoa. oregon suspends blount for the rest of the season. that's pretty impressive for the ducks.

zoltan said...

First day of shacking up with my lady. We have at least 13 chairs. My living room looks like the aftermath of a goat meeting minus the dipspit.

Jerry said...

The reminder was nice, but not accurate. Club soccer is not being played this weekend because of international games. The season will resume next weekend (or Saturday week as they would say).

Jerry said...

Just to be a little more pro-active, the soccer reminder is tomorrow night USA-El Salvador: 8 PM ESPN Classic.

rob said...

stupid internet with its 'dates' and 'times'.

rob said...

i never thought i'd miss big & rich, but espn's use of kenny chesney in its promo packages is negatively impacting my enjoyment of their telecast.

Mark said...

Well said Rob. In other news, my long day of tailgating is about to begin.

TR said...

Unlike Mark, I'm waist deep in diapers. Only solace is a Black Crowes show tonight at the Stone Pony. Chris Robinson still talks trash to the crowd if they're not rocking and puffing enough for his satisfaction. Good times.

zoltan said...

Speaking of Music Month, if you like skinny white guys with Buddy Holly glasses and metric shit-tons of soul, you should get Mayer Hawthorne's album on Tuesday. I know I will. And he's appearing at the Knitting Factory next month for a measly $10 ticket.

http://tinyurl.com/m4xsf4

rob said...

took the kids to the pool (non-euphemistically) and missed the second half of navy/osu. did the middies have a chance?

Jerry said...

Took myself to the pool (also non-euphemistically). I'm no longer committing myself to watch the lame noon window of games.

Mark said...

Jerry's maturing. Frankly, it's nice to see.

Navy had a real shot. It all happened pretty quickly but they had all the momentum until the late pick.

rob said...

i don't know if anyone's noticed, but the big ten blows.

TJ said...

The rare "Pick 2" sealing the Middies fate in crap-hio...

TJ said...

Michael Floyd and Notre Dame are having a field day against Nevada.

rob said...

sooo, things in charlottesville.

Jerry said...

Are you watching it?

Jerry said...

Jimmye got real conservative - 3 straight runs from the 6.

16-14 Tribe, despite missing 3 FGs.

TJ said...

Oklahoma is fucking finished if Bradford is hurt. Hell, they might already be finished based on that first half.

Jerry said...

Stopped them on 4th and 1 from midfield. 10 minutes to go.

rob said...

not watching, jer. sneaking peeks at the score while at dinner. going out to play poker and watch alabama.

Jerry said...

UVA driving - fumbled the snap. Tribe ball 6 to go.

Jerry said...

Altidore goal!

rob said...

espn has the tribe up 12. is that right?

TJ said...

Seriously? Al Groh, you truly are poop.

Jerry said...

Yup - Int for a TD.

Geoff said...

Roll fucking tribe

TJ said...

Ebirt og

Ebirt og

Ebirt og

Whitney said...

"Wish I could, but I can't pull it off."

--me, earlier this week in response to an offer of UVA/W&M tickets and already arranged babysitters

The lesson, as always, is that I am an idiot.

Shlara said...

Just got home from a tailgate party, or I would have posted earlier.

Who said W&M was going to beat UVA earlier this week?

ME!!

I just wish I could have seen it...

Mark said...

Al Groh! How do TJ's balls taste. Seriously, the Tribe's win won't get enough pub but god damn that is a hell of a fucking win. Ebirt OG!

Whitney said...

Who said they were going to lose by 3 touchdowns? Rob!!

Whitney said...

Mark's right. I live 45 minutes from Williamsburg and this will barely make the papers simply because ODU just started their football program (with a win) this weekend. Oh, well. Our guy Lou Holtz mentioned it, and that's enough.

rob said...

i just got back from burning some wagons in colonial williamsburg and have but two things to say: shlara is a genius and i am an idiot. neither of which is particularly newsworthy. woooooooooooo! tribe.

rob said...

i thought the big ten had a rough day yesterday, but the acc really truly blows. uva, duke, and wake lost to w&m (don't know if you heard), richmond, and baylor. tech got beat on national television, as did nc state. and california smoked maryland. and one of these shitbirds is gonna play in a bcs bowl. i can't wait for the carolina/cincinnati new year's day matchup. guh.

TJ said...

It's "Kids Run the Show Day" at Nats Park. I mean, it's gotta be better than every other day regular management has run this team, right?

TJ said...

Whit, perhaps Ron Villone is the left-handed Dan Wheeler? I'll hang up and wait for your reply.

TJ said...

Nats Win!!!