And lo, on the first Thursday in September, the Lord decreed that there should be college football played in all the land. And so it was, and he saw that it was good (Tebow 4:5-6).
This is exactly like Christmas, in that it doesn’t really feel like time for it to happen yet and it’s been cheapened by corporate greed. But college football is here, and I am, well, definitely not in mid-season form yet. I haven’t done nearly the amount of research I usually do, but I’m plugging along anyway. So I pulled the blog version of showing up to training camp way, way overweight, and now the coach is pissed off and ragging me in the press. It doesn’t matter; this Thursday’s games are but the first Lee Trevino of the season, so to speak.
Just in case you’re wondering what in the hell I’m doing here, I will be picking the winners and spreads of every even halfway decent college football game in the 2009-10 season. I did it in 08-09 and kicked a little ass. I also did it in 07-08 and f*cking sucked. What I do know is that I’ll be your weekend entertainment until the beginning of January as I update every preview after each game ends with more commentary and random observations all the while trying not to end up divorced by mid-October. You’re a dick if you gamble on that. Part two of this weekend’s games is coming Friday morning.
So without further ado, let’s pick some f*cking football games!
South Carolina at North Carolina State (-5)
This is a watershed year for Spurrier and his ‘Cock(s). His system either still works or it doesn’t, and while I’m a believer, I’m gonna need them to whip NC State’s ass. The OBC is doing his best to talk down expectations for Stephen Garcia and the team in general, and usually that means Spurrier has something awesome in store for his opponents. But I’m worried that his time at South Carolina has beaten him down a little bit. The bravado is gone, or at least diminished. And NC State is just good enough to make picking this game a pain in the ass. They have Russell Wilson, a quarterback who could carry them entirely on his back if nothing else is working, and they have just enough defense to f*ck up (the other) USC’s timing. They are completely unpredictable, especially once ACC conference play rolls around.
On a side note, I have a terrible history picking against NC State. They routinely screw me over whenever I pick them to lose, so I’m going against my gut on this one because this is the exact kind of game State comes out and wins when they probably shouldn’t.
Pick: NC State wins but doesn’t cover the spread
Update: South Carolina 7 NC State 3. Horrible game to watch. Worse, I was wrong on both counts. NC State was totally underwhelming and were little or no threat to USC at any point. Conversely, South Carolina was horrible offensively when I was sure Spurrier would have gotten more out of that unit. Neither team has to be feeling very good watching the film Monday morning.
Record: 0-1, 1-0 ATS
Troy at Bowling Green (+7)
This should be a fantastic offensive matchup. You know, because the defenses aren’t all that great.
I don’t know what Dave Clawson’s record as an offensive genius was before he got to Tennessee, but I do know his system f*cking sucked while he was there. And who am I kidding? System? They ran the same awful, boring “pro-style” BS Tennessee always ran, only they did it worse than usual. Part of that is Jonathan Crompton’s sorry ass, but a lot of that was Clawson’s fault. Adding “a little bit of everything” into the offense was never the fix this team needed. And I don’t care what Vols fan says, Ainge was not good. You know why Cutcliffe’s system worked at Tennessee? Because he wasn’t an idiot and he wanted the O to play with cojones and run the ball well. Sure, a lack of talent didn’t always produce great results, but the guy knew what he was doing. Clawson? Not so much.
Anyway, Clawson has some work to do at Bowling Green while Troy is about as established as it’ll ever be. And though it’s probably going to be a closer game than it would be otherwise because it’s the home opener for Bowling Green, you’ve gotta like Josh Jarboe and Troy.
Update: Bowling Green 31 Troy 14.
Um, ouch, Troy. Ouch. Guess they’re not much of a team on the road. Asses.
Record: 0-2, 1-1 ATS
North Texas at Ball State (-17)
Todd and Riley Dodge are at least intriguing at North Texas, and they really want to make that team into a mediocre member of the Sun Belt, but it’s still North Texas. So f*ck that. I like that North Texas is trying to improve the culture around their program, though I seriously doubt their chances for success. Look guys, you’re North Texas, and in college football, your historical identity is pretty damn hard to shake. If Todd Dodge took this job because he honestly thought he could turn UNT into a winner, then I’ve got some beach front property near Amarillo I’d like to sell him.
Ball State is most likely back to being Ball State since Nate Davis’ weak arm and former head coach Brady Hoke are gone. MiQuale Lewis is still in Muncie, though, and this team’s hope for success is entirely on his shoulders. That said, and as much as my BSU alum friends are gonna kill me, I like North Texas in a shoot out. But in reality…
Pick: Ball State wins but doesn’t cover
Update: North Texas 20 Ball State 10.
I think it’s clear now that Ball State is going to struggle to score points this year. North Texas didn’t even have a good game offensively and still managed to beat the Cardinals. I could have sworn the Mean Green ran the super-Texas-spread offense, so how did Riley Dodge end up with only 216 yards passing? Weird. Whatever.
Record: 0-3, 2-1 ATS
Eastern Kentucky at Indiana (no line)
Indiana is going to win. But if this game is within 28 points, I can already tell you Bill Lynch is on his way out. Nice way to start the season with a 1-AA team, though. We were supposed to play USF, but I can’t imagine why they backed out of playing IU. Not that I can blame them for being scurrred of IU. Sissies.
IU is running a new offense with a new-ish quarterback, but the same old crappy coaches and most of the same old crappy players. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my time as an IU fan it’s this: expect improvement until proven otherwise. And I don’t think that’ll happen for a couple of weeks.
Update: Indiana 19 EKU 13.
Yeesh, Hoosiers. Yeesh. They looked pretty good offensively in the first half. Then the playcallers fell in love with the pass and forgot all about that “run downhill” bulls*it they were talking before the season. Ben Chappell threw 36 times compared to 28 hand-offs to the running backs. Chappell was the star of the game as well because he was extremely accurate and completed 75% of his passes. That said, he still got picked off twice on some bad throws and the passing game isn’t a vertical threat at all. Nothing but dinking and dunking all the way down the field. The Hoosiers need way, way more explosion plays from the passing game than this. Defensively, the Hoosiers made key stops and tackles, but were plagued by mental errors once again. Safety Nick Polk was caught peeking into the backfield and got torched on EKU’s only touchdown and the rest of the defense gave up way too many big plays to an Eastern Kentucky offense that wasn’t particularly fast. Chappell was great, but everyone on this team has a hell of a lot of improving to do. I’m unimpressed.
Record: 1-3, 3-1 ATS
Utah State at (19) Utah (-20)
Another game that shouldn’t be within four touchdowns. This isn’t a barometer for how Utah is going to be a year later unless they lose. A win here has nothing to do with going undefeated the rest of the way. That’s gotta be frustrating for Utah fan. I know, Utes fans. I know. Just be happy your team doesn’t suck after losing Urban Meyer a few years back. And hey, maybe Alex Smith will be available to make appearances at home games real soon. That would cheer you up, wouldn’t it?
Update: Utah 35 Utah State 17.
Utah can’t be happy with the turnovers, but they still won by a decent margin. Unfortunately, it wasn’t decent enough and I’m off to a rough start.
Record: 2-3, 3-2 ATS
(16) Oregon at (14) Boise State (-3.5)
This is so bittersweet for me. The eastern time zone lets me avoid waking up to watch college football until noon on most Saturdays. It used to be nine in the morning when I still lived in California, but the eastern zone also means the late games don’t get over until one in the morning and I never get to see them because I work in the morning if the game is on a Thursday night. This is one of those games. At least now I own a DVR and can try to make it through the day on Friday without hearing the result, but I probably won’t make it.
Oh right, the game. Boise State got younger in the offseason, though Kellen Moore got a year older and, presumably, a year better. But Oregon is established and, this is in no way a jinx, UO fan, as long as they avoid that amazingly bad luck they had this time last year, they should be just fine. Boise fan is gonna be up this year, but the Oregon ground game is going to be too much for Boise State.
Update: Boise State 19 Oregon 8.
What’s with the scores this week? Everyone seems to have forgotten their offense on Thursday night because I know it wasn’t the defenses suddenly stepping up for like North Texas and Oregon, etc. And now Oregon is going to have to play without LaGarrette (sp) Blount for a while after he decided his shitty game on the field wasn’t enough damaged inflicted on his team for one night. Total meltdown by Oregon, and there were a lot of expectations of this team.
Record: 2-4, 3-3 ATS