Monday, August 27, 2012

College Football Returns!

The NFL has one more week of preseason games, but the College Football Season is upon us. Time to forget all the off-season drama of teams switching conferences, coaches switching teams (or, worse, getting arrested), of players switching teams (or, worse, getting arrested), talk of "death penalties" and suspensions. It's time for the Referee to blow the whistle and whirl his arm signifying "Play Ball!"

August 30th is kickoff day for the 2012 college football season and there are a few new faces in the crowd this year. The Texas-San Antonio Road Runners and Texas-San Marcos Bobcats join the soon to be dissolved Western Athletic Conference (it’s the conferences last season), South Alabama Jaguars become part of the Sun Belt Conference, and the UMass Minutemen will join the Mid-American Conference giving the FBS 124 competitors up from 120 last year. (South Alabama is ranked 113 by, but the others occupy slots 122, 123 and 124.)

Additionally, an old face has been permitted back in the mix. Southern California comes off a two year period of probation and post season ban to occupy the top spot in the AP poll, 3rd in the Coaches’ Poll and 2nd in the poll.

The frantic conference realignment that occurred as the 2011 season came to an end means there will be numerous changes in who plays whom and for what stakes—especially in the Big 12. (Welcome, TCU and West Virginia!) Even more changes will take place at the end of this season as the ACC, Big East, Conference USA, and Mountain West shuffle teams in and out, and with the dissolution of the WAC adding to the mayhem.
(As an aside, Tropical Storm Isaac may impact more than a few games as it heads up the Mississippi with a projected path having it near St. Louis, MO early Saturday morning. I know my Rutgers’ Scarlet Knights will be watching carefully as they are scheduled to play Tulane in New Orleans on Saturday.)
For now, it’s time to begin concentrating on the playing of the game and cheering for your favorite team/conference so let’s see who is perceived as the crème de la crème of the 2012 teams.
All but one of the Top 25 are in action during the first weekend, but only two contests feature two ranked teams. (Okay, one and a half since Auburn isn’t ranked by the AP.) As expected there are some mismatches on the opening slate. 

(Numbers given are the rankings of: AP/Coaches’/CBSSports. NR = Not Rated)

1/3/2 Southern California The Trojans start the season at home against Hawaii’s Warriors on Saturday night.

2/2/3 Alabama The Tide play at Cowboys Stadium (Arlington, Texas) on Saturday night against the #8 
Michigan Wolverines.

3/1/1 LSU The Tigers open their season Saturday evening at home against the Mean Green of North Texas. (Isaac will have some impact on this game for sure. )

4/4/4 Oklahoma The Sooners will play on the road on Saturday night against the Texas-El Paso Miners.

5/5/5 Oregon The Ducks host the Arkansas State Red Wolves Saturday night.

6/6/6 Georgia The Bulldogs will play at home on Saturday afternoon vs. the Buffalo Bulls.

7/7/7 Florida State The Seminoles open the season at home Saturday against the Murray State

8/8/9 Michigan The Wolverines play #2 Alabama at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX Saturday night.

9/9/8 South Carolina The Gamecocks will play on the road against the Vanderbilt Commodores Thursday night.

10/10/11 Arkansas The Razorbacks will host the Jacksonville State Gamecocks (an FCS school) Saturday night.

11/11/10 West Virginia The Mountaineers host the Thundering Herd of intrastate rival Marshall on Saturday at noon.

12/12/12 Wisconsin The Badgers host the Northern Iowa Panthers (an FCS school) Saturday afternoon.

13/13/14 Michigan State The Spartans will host Boise State’s Broncos Friday night.

14/14/13 Clemson The Tigers play on the road against the Tigers of Auburn on Saturday evening.

15/15/17 Texas The Longhorns host the Wyoming Cowboys Saturday night.

16/20/18 Virginia Tech The Hokies host the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Monday night.

17/16/20 Nebraska The Cornhuskers will be hosting the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles on Saturday afternoon.

18/NR/15 Ohio State The Buckeyes open their season Saturday at noon against the Miami (Ohio) Red Hawks.

19/19/19 Oklahoma State The Cowboys open their season at home against the Savannah State Tigers (an FCS independent team).

20/17/16 TCU The Horned Frogs have the week off, not beginning their season until Saturday the 8th of September against the Grambling Tigers (an FCS team).

21/18/21 Stanford The Cardinal play Friday night at home against the San Jose State Spartans.

22/21/22 Kansas State The Wildcats open their season at home Saturday evening against the Missouri State Bears (an FCS team).

23/23/23 Florida The Gators play host to the Bowling Green Falcons Saturday afternoon.

24/22/25 Boise State The Broncos open on the road Friday night against the #13 ranked Michigan State Spartans.

25/NR/NR Louisville The Cardinals play at home on Sunday afternoon against intrastate rival Kentucky Wildcats.

NR/24/NR Notre Dame The Fighting Irish open their season Saturday—at 9 AM EST—in Dublin, Ireland--against the Midshipmen of Navy.

NR/25/NR Auburn The Tigers are on the road Saturday against the #14 Clemson Tigers.

NR/NR/24 Utah The Utes begin play on Thursday night against the Northern Colorado Bears.

There ya go. A run down of this weeks games played by the Top 25 (and then some). Get yourself some chips and a couple of six packs, sit back, and enjoy the on field action for a change. 

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