Week One: Oops, We’re Doing It Again
Yea verily, spaketh He unto the masses and sayethed: “Forget ye your spreadsheets, your sheetrock, or whatever other chains to which ye are bound and rejoice! Verily is it time to watcheth thy college football until well past the normal time of the sleeping (especially if ye are upon the eastern coast or watching a Hawaii home game while upon the western coast).
“Ye shall savor barbecued meats, cold beverages and a plentiful bounty of the chaos which I createth each annum. However, ye may not savor the grass upon which the game is played…unlesseth thy name is Hat, of course. I got no control over that guy.”
Speaking of The Hat, his administration put on a clown show of epic proportions at the end of last season, and there’s no reason to expect it won’t happen again this year, so guess who leads off our preseason Chaos Index!
- LSU – The new season starts exactly as the last one left off – with Leslie Edwin Miles wearing the Hot Hat. Not that the pressure’s on, but the Tigers could geaux 8-0 to start things off, with wins at Wisconsin (sure, Lambeau’s a “neutral” field) and Florida, and the fanbase will still go apebleep if Les loses to Tricky Nicky…again. At least they’ve upgraded at OC and QB…or not.
- Baylor – In these parts, we refuse to mock the serious, horrible stuff that’s been circling the Bears’ football program for a while now. On the other hand, we’re delighted to mock the amazing trainwreck that was Baylor ball in the pre-Briles era. Given the way athletes have been forming a Baylor Line out of town the last few months, it’s not hard to guess what comes next. There’s one thing that would be extra entertaining: a loss to Northwestern State in Week One. It can’t happen of course, but things are so wacko in Waco that you just never know, do you?
- Texas A&M – A quarterback here. A quarterback there. A quarterback, a quarterback evuhrywhere. Y’know, everywhere except College Station. Give or take the one who couldn’t handle the Air Raid offense in Norman, of course. And now, Kevin Sumlin, that clock you hear ticking is not counting down to your next big job offer.
- USC (West) – The good people who ride Hollywood’s favorite football bandwagon were doubtless thrilled by the Clay Helton hire. Better yet, there’s absolutely nothing else in the Coliseum to distract them from their occasionally-beloved Trojans if the season opener doesn’t exactly work out. Naturally, the Trojans are doing what they do best – running as much smack as possible at ‘Bama, and fighting over a song about Mick Fleetwood’s junk, because making the Tide angry is a really bright move…right?
- USC (East) – Everybody loves Boom. Until he fails to meet expectations, of course. It’s a good thing the Spurrier era didn’t raise expectations in Columbia.
- Boring College – Surely you remember the magic of B.C.’s 2015 season – the one where they followed up the worst game of the year with the worst game of the cenutry? It wasn’t the least bit offensive, which might be the problem. Thankfully, the Eagles have a delightful quarterbacking choice this year: between a guy who started last year and a dude who washed out at Kentucky. The smart move might have been to play the whole schedule in Dublin, rather than just the first game.
- Kentucky – Playing Florida and ‘Bama in the first five weeks should dispose of UK’s annual ritual of giving its fans false hope during the basketball preseason. Closing with Georgia, Tennessee and Louisville in the last four weeks pretty much assures they won’t get false hope during the basketball nonconference season either. The only real question is when the alumni will start calling for the head of whichever Stoops is coaching the Cats.
- Texas Tech – Maybe it’s time to dive head first into the B.J. Symons era.
- Colorado – What’s the scariest part of that run where CU plays Michigan, Oregon, USC, Stanford and UCLA in seven weeks? The game against Oregon State. Become the first P12 loser to the Beavs in a couple years, and it’s lights out in Boulder. Ralphie sure is cool, however.
- Georgia Tech – It was all going so…acceptably. Y’know, playing mediocre ball while running an offense meant for downmarket programs trying to punch above their weight. Then, it happened. One terrific year. Unfortunately, that year was 2014, and it raised expectations, never mind the fact that it happened in a shockingly meh ACC Coastal. Welcome to the Land Of Unintended Consequences, Paul Johnson.
- Texas – Wow, Horns – you’re not even top three in Texas for chaos any more. Longhorn Football has been an ongoing shitstorm for so long, that it’s almost impossible to remember when UT was an annual title contender. The problem, by the by, is decidedly not one Charles Rene Strong, who will fix the mess if he’s given a real chance. A 2-3 start is distinctly likely this year – hell, 1-4 isn’t out of the question – and you can imagine what kind of chance he’ll be given if that happens.
- Auburn – Remember when Gus Malzahn was the hottest thing in offensive coaching? Funny how things have gone downhill without Cam Newton or Nick Marshall around, isn’t it? Fear not, Gus. It’s not as if Auburn turned on Gene Chizik in a heartbeat. Oh, and opening with Clemson is sure to lighten the War Eagle mood.
- Wyoming – Seven figures a year. For five years. In Laramie? It was crazy when the Pokes did that Craig Bohl deal, and, after six wins in two seasons, it’s the kind of crazy that brings out the pitchforks and torches.
- NCSU – How is it possible to be a football program in the shadow of North Carolina – an occasionally pretty good team – and…wait for it…Duke? Yet, people keep showing up at Carter-Finley to see the Pack remain mired in mediocrity, losing where they’re supposed to lose and usually winning when they’re supposed to win. Playing four out of five against Notre Dame, Clemson, Louisville, and Felony State means the Pack are supposed to lose a lot mid-year. If the people in Laramie are unhappy with Craig Bohl’s deal, Dave Doeren at $2.4 mil a year ain’t looking too good either.
- Charlotte – Why are you here? No, seriously. At least y’all have zero all-time wins against your entire 2016 schedule, so there’s something you can improve on.
- Purdue – Three straight last place seasons? Three straight coughings up of the Old Oaken Bucket to the powerhouse that is IU football? The Boilers had best win it back this year, since that’s the only potential B1G win in sight. Better still, a Week One loss to an Eastern Kentucky team that’s a whole lot better than its 6-5 record might indicate is totally possible and would be totally entertaining.
- Oregon State – Not since SMU in 1987 has a strong football program disappeared down a sinkhole so quickly.
- Illinois – Okay, so order appears restored in Champaign after that charming off-season where the highly mediocre Bill Cubit was given a two-year deal, the worst non-endorsement endorsement ever, and then capped a couple minutes (okay, 99 days) later to the tune of $1.3 million in buyouts for Bill & Son on the new A.D.’s first day. And yeah, Lovie Smith might turn out to be a great college coach. (Hell, even an above average college coach would be a massive upgrade for the Illini.) On the other hand, he might not. Either way, things sure won’t get weird if the Illini tank against Cubit’s old Western Michigan program in Week Three.
- Kansas – Remember when the Jayhawks were a national championship contender? Seems like that was a couple lifetimes ago, doesn’t it? Anyway, fear not, guys. You’re going to win a game this year! That’s what you get for opening with a 1-10 FBS team instead of a playoff team. Anyway, basketball season starts November 11th, and you’ll be 1-8 by then, so think happy thoughts for ten weeks or so.
- College Football Playoff – Apparently, a season’s worth of commercials yapping about how college football is the new New Year’s Eve tradition didn’t work out so well. So, nice move announcing the games won’t be appearing on New Year’s Eve. After this year. Until 2021, anyway. We’re sure that December 28th and 29th will prove to be much better choices, particularly since no one associates January 1st with college football. Did anybody over there take a business class in college? Anyone at all?