*inhales deeply from the nose*
*okay, it’s kind of weird now*
HOOOOOOOOO-eeeeeeeeeeee! Man, is it good to have college football back. For real back, none of this two game “week zero” business. That’s just a massive tease, especially when it ends the way that Hawai’i-Arizona game did. But it all leads into the five day bonanza that is week 1, of which I consumed..... basically none, because DragonCon sucks up your entire Labor Day weekend. Still heard about Tennessee losing to Georgia State, though. And trust me, even at DragonCon, that kind of result gets a “wait, what??” reaction from a lot of people. That’s because the intersection of people who are sports nerds and fiction nerds is actually a lot bigger than you think, but that’s a rant for another time.
Last week, y’all did alright. Definitely average-to-above-average, and we even had someone go a perfect 6/6 — look at you, Bone-In Ribeye! You’re setting the standard in week 1, and like all things week 1, this will be swiftly forgotten and seen as an oddity by November.
This week.... look, I’m going to be real with y’all, there’s a lot of butt here. That’s always been week 2’s fate, but the extra week this season has just makes things even worse. But worry not, for the Tuesday of college football season always hides a few gems, and this season’s Tuesday is no exception.
South Florida Bulls @ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (-6)
USF started out 7-0 last season, leading a lot of people to believe they were very good, despite showing major cracks along the way, like, for example, almost losing to Tulsa, and barely beating UConn at home. They’re 0-7 since then, a streak that continued last week with a savage beating at the hands of Wisconsin. Georgia Tech scored more and allowed basically the same against still #1 Clemson, so anyone else should be a relief, especially a team coached by a Charlie Strong whose seat is starting to feel uncomfortable. The Bulls needed two kickoff return touchdowns last year to beat the Yellow Jackets, a sentence that made me scream out loud as I typed it, and also one the Bulls proooooobably shouldn’t count on again this year.
Pick: Georgia Tech
Army Black Knights @ #7 Michigan Wolverines (-22.5)
They say WrestleMania is the pay-per-view event of the year, but last year that was actually the incredibly awesome Army-Oklahoma game.... or it would have been, if it weren’t for the heroics of some guy streaming the game from his phone. Yes, last year Army went 10-3 and nearly knocked off a playoff team in their own home. They are the true kings of option football now that Paul Johnson has departed this unearthly realm, and now they roam the land challenging all comers. Really, this should be fun solely to see how Jim Harbaugh reacts to how poorly his team was prepared to defend the flexbone offense.
Cincinnati Bearcats @ #5 Ohio State Buckeyes (-16)
Cincinnati hasn’t beaten their much bigger, badder, meaner, stronger, smoking, motorcycle-riding brothers in a very, very long time. Not this century, or even the last one. I’m not even sure how much the football played in those wins in 1896 and 1897 would even resemble today’s game. But look, they’ve started the season by beating UCLA, which, for now, still counts as a P5 win. So Luke Fickell returns to Columbus, facing the school he once coached, and will try to make history. Will that happen? Well, the Buckeyes have Justin Fields now.... so I’ll let you decide.
Pick: Ohio State
#12 Texas A&M Aggies @ #1 Clemson Tigers (-17.5)
Jimbo Fisher can’t escape. He’s trapped in a nightmare of his own making. He wakes up in a strange place filled with bizarre, stark buildings. There are people there — many, many people, but they utter nothing that sounds like speech to normal men, only odd phrases they all shout in unison. There are so many, he’s not sure he’s ever heard the same one twice. They worship no deity recorded by civilization, but a single, living dog. Wait, this is a real place — it’s Texas A&M, and the part of his nightmares where he imagines a 60 foot tall Dabo Swinney chasing him to College Station and setting fire to Kyle Field represent the actual Dabo Swinney, and that basically already happened last year, and now Fisher gets to go back to Clemson, a place he thought he’d finally escaped. The nightmare of your own existence has only just begun, Jimbo.
#6 LSU Tigers (-6.5) @ #9 Texas Longhorns
You’d think, based on proximity alone, LSU and Texas would have played more than 17 times, ever, but no, the last time these two met was the 2003 Cotton Bowl, exactly 40 years after the previous meeting.... also in the Cotton Bowl. This the game this weekend you should drop everything for and watch this weekend. Until then, imagine how LSU fans in Austin are going to 1) drink the town dry in ways previously thought impossible, and 2) take the Austin-invented idea of food trucks and fuse it with Cajun cuisine. Does this mean we get a food truck that serves jambalaya tacos? We can only hope.
#23 Stanford Cardinal @ USC Trojans (-1)
Things were not looking so hot for Clay Helton and company at USC, what with people predicting four, five, even six losses to start the season. But instead, they’re 1-0 after holding off Fresno! Yay! But it’s come at a terrible price — namely, JT Daniels’ ACL. Just in time to play four ranked teams in five weeks! But hey, K.J. Costello got hurt last week too, and may or may not play, so I’m sure it’ll be just fine, Trojans.
Oregon State Beavers @ Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors (-6.5)
This is a bonus pick, because how can you not ignore the siren song of late night Hawai’i football, especially against a Pac-12, especially when the Rainbow Warriors already knocked off a Pac-12 team in week zero? Look, you weren’t planning on doing anything on Sunday anyway, so kick back, grab another of your preferred beverage, and let the dulcet tones of Robert Kekaula gently lull you to sleep.
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