I’m a little embarrassed by college football these days. The game’s as filthy as an attic full of rats, but God help me, I do love it so.
The most recent gross eruption came a few weeks ago when Ohio State’s Urban Meyer seemed pretty nonplussed about enabling an assistant coach said to routinely beat the shit out of his wife and who allegedly took cell phone photos of his junk during a team visit to the White House. The story about the wife-beating broke when a sports writer laid off by ESPN posted it on his Facebook page, which is the way things happen these days. The internet revealed the harsh truth that people actually prefer bullshit to anything worth a damn and bullshit costs nothing to produce.
The anticlimactic culmination of the OSU creep show came in a half-assed press conference where Urban was downright surly accepting a three-game suspension from school officials who read their scripted lines off cards, trying to pretend like they gave a good goddamn.
He has to sit out the first week and then can help in pre-game prep the other two weeks but has to watch the games on TV. What a bunch of shit.
These are dark ages we live in, and I am nothing if not a product of the zeitgeist: I watch the games on TV like a wrist-slapped coach and post on Facebook like a laid-off sports writer. For free.
Florida Atlantic vs. No. 7 Oklahoma, noon ET
Oklahoma no longer has the manic Baker Mayfield running rampant at quarterback and they lost some guys in the OL and never did have a defense.
They started out a 28-point favorite and that’s down around 21. It took a metric shit ton of money pouring in on sketchy coach Lane Kiffin’s team to drop a line by seven points. Either somebody knows something or the dealers in Boca Raton sold the gamblers coke spiked with dumbassitol.
OddsShark, a fairly dependable source of information as gambling sites go, has a computer thing that predicts the outcomes of games, and it has FAU winning straight up.
I’ll pick Florida Atlantic. What the fuck? It’s Facebook.
No. 9 Auburn vs. No. 6 Washington (Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia) – 3:30 p.m. ET
Auburn’s defense was really good last year unless it wasn’t, as in the SEC Championship Game rematch with Georgia and that fiasco in the Peach Bowl against Central Florida. I have a feeling they’ll be pretty good this year, too.
This game will tell us a lot about whether I’m right or wrong.
I don’t have a clue about Auburn’s offense. They’re low on running backs – the guys are all on the small side this year, and quick, little running backs in the SEC tend to get turned into greasy spots by quick, big linebackers. But this is the first game and Auburn’s playing a team from the Pac-12, whose defenses are there to give the offense something to watch while waiting to go back on the field.
Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham can throw it over that there mountain and can run a little but he doesn’t do so well when big, old defensive linemen get back there in his world and shatter his concentration. I don’t know if Washington is good enough to do that, even against Auburn’s inexperienced offensive line.
Washington’s a 2 1/2 point dog, down from 3 1/2; the over-under is 48 and they play in Mercedez-Benz stadium, so the oppressive Georgia hot humidity is unlikely to affect Washington as they walk from the bus to the locker room door.
Auburn gave coach Gus Malzahn a big, old contract last year, and the last couple of times that’s happened it didn’t take long for things to fall apart and the coach to join his predecessors in semi-retirement on the porches of lakeside residences. I don’t know why, and I’m not saying it’ll happen again, but I wouldn’t be surprised.
Tennessee vs. West Virginia in Charlotte, 3:30 p.m. ET
I gotta think West Virginia is going to win because Tennessee was dreadful last year and new coach Jeremy Pruitt wasn’t able to recruit enough players to replace everybody on the team.
Michigan vs Notre Dame, 7:30 p.m.
I’ll take Notre Dame because they have been slightly less disappointing over the past 20 years than Michigan. Also, Michigan has a former Ole Miss quarterback starting for them, and if he was that good, why didn’t Michigan sign him in the first place?
Louisville vs. Alabama, Orlando, 8 p.m. ET
OK, here you go. Both quarterbacks will play. They’ll both do fine because Louisville is not very all right. Alabama’s offensive line is beastly and the Tide has four running backs who are holy hell. All those freshman receivers who lit up Georgia in the second half of the national championship game are sophomores. The controversy over which quarterback is better, Tua or Jalen, will persist another week or three, and then one or the other will take control and Alabama will beat the hell out of everybody because that’s exactly what’s happened four of the last six years, and why should this one be any different?
Alabama’s got all new guys in the secondary, which means they’ll be vulnerable for a few plays a week until about October, at which point they’ll be a machine of obliteration for the next two years. The defensive line is fine with the nighmarish Raekwon Davis and Isiah Buggs at the books and that skinny, 285-pound sophomore that nobody can remember his name playing nose. The linebackers are interchangeable destroyers of all they behold.
Alabama will win, probably cover the 25-point line and then start looking forward to next week’s big home clash with the Arkansas State Red Wolves where Tua and Jalen will combine for about 2,000 yards.