Louisiana Tech travels to Austin, Texas today to be hurled into the yearning maw of resurgent Texas Longhorn football like a blood sacrifice into a bubbling volcano primed to erupt after years of dormancy.

The Longhorns have not yet won a season opener under coach Tom Herman, who has rebuilt the toppled Texas program into something resembling a pretty good football team. The inevitability of that issue’s resolution should be pitilessly apparent by early in the first period.

The Longhorns are talented and deep, but have to replace a lot of experience on an offense that began to blossom last year under the ebullient whip hand of quarterback Sam Ehlinger, who is a little bit psycho but in a good, Texas sort of way. Today’s opponent is just what the doctor ordered to blood the young warriors and allow them to graw on the skulls of the hapless Louisianans, who’ll pick up a six-figure guarantee check for their public humiliation.

Take Texas, give the points, bet the over, and don’t let the children in the room to watch this PG-13 slaughter if you can figure out where to find it on the fathomless World Wide Web, since this isn’t the kind of game that usually gets wide distribution for the same reason that in this delicate age, the fainthearted don’t go out in the front yard and slaughter their own pigs to make bacon for breakfast.


COUCH POTATO: College Football Week 1, I won’t lie, this is a pretty sucky slate

Ole Miss at Memphis (-4.5), Noon, ESPNU

Ole Miss is finally off probation for giving kids money, an issue that surfaced in 2016 when a first-round draft choice’s evil stepfather released a video of him smoking pot out of scuba diving equipment just before the NFL Draft TV show. The kid, Laremy Tunsil, was expected to go as the No. 1 overall pick, but everybody panicked and he dropped down in the draft so far that Miami got who is now the best young left tackle in football. I bet he still smokes pot because it’s legal in 36 states and probably a safer analgesic than aspirin, which makes your stomach bleed.

So of course, Ole Miss got on murderous probation because, you know, Tunsil sort of let it slip that some of the coaches might have given him some walking around money on the down low from time to time. So the NCAA clutched its pearls and kneecapped the Rebels (you guys really need a new nickname, you know? ) because hypocrisy is so rampant in college sports that pious officials can cut scholarships and hand out a multi-year bowl ban with a straight face because coaches tossed a kid a wad of twenties every now and then. They should have given him a bale of pot and some scuba gear and told him to get stoned in his own room and don’t video it.

Anyhow, so much for the history lesson. Ole Miss is about a 4 or 5 point road dog. Memphis has won eight games each of the last three years under coach Mike Norvell, who is pretty good, but probably won’t get a bigger job until he wins 10. If he can beat Ole Miss, that’s one.

Don’t count on it.

Ole Miss coach Matt Luke is a hard guy not to like and he’s a blood-riding Rebel (I’m telling you, guys, change the name to the Fighting Faulkners, the Seersucker Suit and Bowtie Wearers, the Cottonmouth Snakes – anything, anything but Rebels, it’s TIME!). His people have gone to school at the University fo Mississippi since the real Rebels were losing to Gen. Grant at Vicksburg.

Take Ole Miss and the points. A bold prediction, but I have a feeling.

Florida Atlantic at Ohio State (-24)

It’s a New Day for Ohio State! See, their coach is named Day, and he took over when Urban Meyer quit because he got headaches during the game after letting a known wife-beater stay on his staff for years and years and lying about it. I’m probably the first person to think of that Day joke. Pretty funny, hunh?

Florida Atlantic is led by Lane Kiffin who won 11 games or something his first year then only won like 5 last year and he blamed it on “complacency” and fired some coaches. Right. Lane is a good coach, but he hasn’t got bat brains and self-destructs at every opportunity.

Ohio State. Give the points.

South Carolina (-12) at North Carolina, 3:30 p.m.

Well, is this the year South Carolina becomes relevant? Is Clemson still the defending national champion with about 12 future first-rounders on the roster? If this is true, then, no, this is not that year.

But North Carolina, in its first year under Mac Jones, looks like meat as usual.

South Carolina, give the 12.

No 2 Alabama (-30) v. Duke 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC

This one’s fairly interesting because Alabama’s top two linebackers are out for the season with injuries. The top two running backs and a starting wide receiver and yet another linebacker are benched for the first half for missing a meeting. And Trey Sanders, a five-star freshman running back that everybody wanted to see, broke his foot in the first scrimmage.

Depending on who you ask, the line is about 30, which is where it started last Sunday. It shot up to 34.5 until all the bad news, and sank back down.

The over is 57.5. Alabama might need to score that many to win, so that looks good. Alabama is -21 at the half – I wound’t take it, but you might want to.

I’d take Duke and the points if I were you, but I’m not, so you do what you want.

Northwestern at 25 Stanford (-7.5) 4 p.m. Fox

This would be more interesting if it were a competition in robotics or something. But I’d take Stanford in that, too.

Georgia (-19.5) at Vandy 7:30 p.m. ESPN

This is how bad this week’s slate is. Georgia at Vanderbilt is the ESPN night game.

11 Oregon vs. 16 Auburn (-3.5), 7:30 p.m., ABC

Bo Nix will be the first pure freshman quarterback to start for Auburn since Travis Tidwell in 1946 – and World War II had a lot to do with that. In case you want to feel old, Bo’s dad Patrick played quarterback for Auburn from about 1993 to 1995 – I still think of that as being about 10 years ago.

I don’t know if Oregon’s defense is even good enough to rattle a freshman quarterback. The Ducks won 9 last year, including a season-capping 7-6 win over Michigan State in the Redbox Bowl, whatever the hell that is.

The Oregon quarterback, senior Justin Herbert, is said to be a better pro prospect than Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa. But if he’s so good, why didn’t he come out last year and go make a few million dollars, instead of running the risk of blowing a knee and winding up coaching high school in Salem for $43,500? Well, he’s 6-6 and about 240, and he plays in the Pac-12, which is probably why he has no fear of being tackled.

Auburn has a pretty good defense and a pretty good running back in Kam Martin. Coach Gus Malzahn said they’ll run a rotation at running back, which might be a good idea, because Auburn returns four starters from the worst offensive line I ever saw. Oh, and Malzahn is going to be calling the plays again this year, so that’s good, I guess.

This is sort of a huge game for both teams right now. Auburn needs to get off to a good start, and they play these guys, two lesser-lights, then Texas A&M. If they’re 4-0 after that, they might be quite good. If they’re 2-2, bye.

And Oregon, under Mario Cristobal, might be good enough to contend in the Pac-12, because, let’s face it, anybody is. He used to be the offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator for Nick Saban at Alabama, so he probably remembers Auburn from that.

I think … I’d leave this one alone.


College football begins Saturday, sort of: Florida-Miami is interesting, everything else, not so much

Florida plays Miami in Camping World Stadium in Orlando at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.

It’s the most in-demand ticket in the history of Camping World Stadium, a trend unlikely to be surpassed by the Sept. 7 Caribbean Health Summit, the next event scheduled for the 65,000-seat facility.

I have no idea why some people think Miami might win. They are starting a redshirt-freshman quarterback, Jarren Williams, who’s probably going to be good one day but probably not Saturday.

Florida’s quarterback Felipe Frank was really good by the last four games of last season – probably about the time Jarren will start to blossom this year. The UF offense seems better overall to me. The defense does, too. I don’t know about the kicking game because kickers are crazy, and it’s too early to know. Florida coach Dan Mullen is way better than Manny Diaz, who fell into the role of Miami’s head coach when an embarrassingly public bit of postseason Kubuki theater unfolded to the astonishment of all.

Diaz was the defensive coordinator last year, but he left The Canes after a depressing 7-6 season to be the head coach at Temple for a few days. Because, see, on Dec.30 last year, Marc Richt, who goofed up the offense all season and watched his son Jon coach the quarterbacks into oblivion, up and quit three days after a humiliating 35-3 pasting by Wisconsin in the Pinstripe Bowl. Miami promptly got Diaz to leave Temple high and dry for a triumphant return to Coral Gables about 20 minutes after Richt signed his resignation letter. Miami paid a $4 million buyout to Temple – after Diaz’s 17-day career – which is further proof that college football is a business run by crazy people for even crazier people – we, the fans.

That kind of grotesque drama usually means the program was a total mess, and likely still is.

Also, I’m pretty sure Dan Mullen could have gotten that Temple job if he and Diaz had both applied for it. So take Florida, minus the points.

There are a bunch of other games Saturday, but I don’t care.