Posted: July 23, 2013

With NFL training camps opening this past weekend, I am getting really antsy for football season. The first college games kick off on Thursday, August 29 and I have already looked at the schedule.

During the season, I try not to get too far ahead in looking at the schedule and prefer to live in the moment of the current week. But that is just impossible now as there is nothing to keep my interest from wandering to opening weekend.

With that being said, let’s look ahead to some of the better games of the weekend and there are some good ones in Week 1.

Thursday, August 29

Ole Miss @ Vanderbilt – This is a very exciting game and while that would normally be a sarcastic comment with these two teams, this year it is not. These are two up and coming programs with two very exciting coaches in James Franklin at Vanderbilt and Hugh Freeze at Ole Miss. Both programs have very high hopes for the season and both teams think they can win this game. It is my belief that neither team can reach its lofty goals unless they win this game. This is not to say that the loser will not have a good year or reach a bowl game, but with the very high anticipation of this year from both fan bases, this is a critical game and the loser will have much to overcome.

Saturday, August 31

Penn State vs Syracuse @ East Rutherford, NJ – I mention this game only because it features the two premiere teams in the Northeast. What does that say about college football in the Northeast? Oh wait, there is Rutgers and UConn. Northeast college football should be better, but it isn’t so this game is what we get in the New York’s College Classic. I liked Kick Off Classic better. I guess I will watch, but I wish I did not have to.

Mississippi State vs Oklahoma State @ Reliant Stadium Houston, Tx – In the Texas Kick Off Classic we have an SEC vs Big12 match up. The Cowboys are an 8 point favorite, so Vegas does not think much of the Bulldogs chance in this one. Dan Mullen has Mississippi State headed in the right direction and they will need a fast start as they end the season with a gauntlet. Oklahoma State has its eyes on the Big12 title and while a loss does not derail those hopes, the Cowboys also have their eye on a larger prize. If Mississippi State hangs in early, it could be interesting in the fourth quarter,

Alabama vs Virginia Tech @ Georgia Dome Atlanta, Ga – In the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game the Crimson Tide takes on the Hokies. Alabama is a 17.5 point favorite. Alabama has its eyes on another national championship. Virginia Tech is trying to get back to its former glory as 2012 was not kind to the Hokies. This game will be a measuring stick to see how far they have come back. The schedule favors the Hokies as they do not have Clemson or Florida State this year, so they could make a run at the Coastal division.

LSU vs TCU @ Cowboys Stadium Arlington, Tx – This is the Cowboys Classic. This one should be fun. One thing to note in this game, no one is talking about LSU. All the talk in the SEC West is Alabama and Texas A&M. I do not hear any talk of LSU. That makes Les Miles very happy and dangerous. I expect LSU to surprise people this year. That’s an odd thing to say, but that is the situation. We will not learn much from this game, but it should be a fun game to watch.

Georgia @ Clemson – This is the game of the week in my book. Georgia’s first two games are Clemson and South Carolina. One game is far more important than the other so most people think Georgia may look past Clemson to South Carolina. I am not buying that. If this was during the season, maybe; but not with the entire summer for the coaching staff to key in on Clemson. We will know in two weeks if Georgia is in the hunt for the national title, the SEC East or neither, as the winner of Georgia and South Carolina gets a huge leg up for the SEC East. As for Clemson, all the talk is on national title. Haven’t we been here before with Clemson? Repeatedly. Dabo is going to have to come through at some point and live up to expectations. Is this the year? We may find out in Week 1.

Monday, September 2

Florida State @ Pittsburgh – I mention this game because it is a college football game on Monday. I will watch because its college football, but I do not have much hope the Panthers stay in this game. FSU is a 7 point favorite and that is low. Everyone was on the FSU bandwagon last year and they disappointed. They are a little below the radar this year and I think this is the year they make a run at the national championship. There are three potential losses on their schedule; Clemson, Miami, and Florida. Clemson may not be for real. Miami is on its way back but have not arrived back yet. Florida could be the toughest. But if those are the obstacles to a national championship, I like their chances. This is tough for me to state and maybe I will jinx it, but I would not at all be surprised to see FSU playing for a title come January.

Let’s get this season going.