Thursday, January 23, 2014
2014 College Football Week 1 Preview
It's out! It's out! The estimable Matt Sarzyiak's college sports TV schedule site now has all that is known of next years football season posted now, and as in the last few years, I endeavor to bring you the earliest Week 1 college football preview.
I have to say, next year's first week is shaping up to be much better than years' past. Normally there's one or maaaybe two premier games (Virginia Tech vs Alabama, Georgia at Clemson last year) and a whole bunch of middling games like Washington State at Auburn.
This year, Week 1 has five games where both teams finished last year in the final BCS top 25. It's a top heavy schedule, though. Of the rest of the 74 Division 1-A (I still won't call it FBS) teams in action the first week, 42 are playing non-Division 1-A opponents. I'll still take it.
Those five games are:
CLEMSON AT GEORGIA — Clemson makes the return trip. It'll be a chance to shake off what was really a disappointing season for the Bulldogs, and a chance for Clemson to show that last year was not a fluke.
TEXAS A&M AT SOUTH CAROLINA — This will be the inaugural game on the SEC Network, unless they go with Temple at Vanderbilt first in the doubleheader.
FRESNO STATE AT USC — This game means these two teams will be playing against each other twice in a row, as USC took down Fresno State in the Las Vegas Bowl last month.
LSU VS. WISCONSIN (HOUSTON) — Now Houston is getting into the mix with Dallas and Atlanta as an annual site for Week 1 big-time neutral site games, and they start off with an excellent one. We'll see if the SEC's dominance over the Big Ten continues apace.
FLORIDA STATE VS. OKLAHOMA STATE (ARLINGTON, TX) — Wowie, what a matchup! What a test for the national champions, especially considered how untested they appeared in last year's regular season.
Other games of note:
PENN STATE VS. CENTRAL FLORIDA (DUBLIN, IRELAND) — So ... this is kind of weird. Isn't it ordained in the bible that any college football game taking place in Ireland has to include Notre Dame? Penn State sort of works, with the McGloins, McQuearys, and O'Briens of their past, but Central Florida? Did the city fathers of Dublin see that their coach was named George O'Leary and said, "Faith and Begorrah! We must have them!"
OHIO STATE VS. NAVY (BALTIMORE) — Navy had a decent year last year, and are basically at home, and so I really have to wonder if this is the biggest get in the history of the CBS Sports Network, who will be televising the game.
WEST VIRGINIA VS. ALABAMA (ATLANTA) — Too bad West Virginia couldn't stay competitive for juuuust a few more years.
BOISE STATE VS. OLE MISS (ATLANTA) — Too bad Boise State couldn't stay competitive for juuuust a few more years. Then again, Ole Miss is no Alabama.
MIAMI AT LOUISVILLE — This will be your Labor Day night game.
UCLA AT VIRGINIA — Last year, Virginia beat a bowl-bound BYU team in the opener and then stunk the rest of the year. Will history repeat itself?
UTSA AT HOUSTON — I highlight this game to ask, with LSU/Wisconsin in town, will even 100 people attend this game?
ARKANSAS AT AUBURN — Auburn kicks off their SEC title defense by making Bret Bielema's life remain difficult.
CAL AT NORTHWESTERN — Another premier game! Sincerely, 2005.
NORTH DAKOTA STATE AT IOWA STATE — Is there anyone who thinks Iowa State is going to win this game?