Oh my, Blessed be Bronconagurskius, ye the Greek God of Pigskin, we are just days away from beginning to learn the answers to the nagging questions about College Football 2023’s questions.
And, get a much needed and appreciated respite from realignment jabberwocky.
We shall find out, sooner or later . . .
. . . How long it will take for Jimbo Fisher and Bobby Petrino to throw down their headsets and duke it out on the sidelines?
Smart $$$ says, take the under.
. . . How much faster the battles will be with no game clock stoppage after 1st Downs (except in the final two minutes of each half)?
. . . Whether some school not from Dixie can win the CFP?
. . . Whether Hugh Freeze will work his magic at Toomer’s Corner?
. . . Will Caleb Williams join Archie Griffin?
. . . Who if anybody will be this season’s TCU?
. . . Will Iowa OC Kirk Ferentz’s O score 25 ppg, and will the team win 7 games, thus saving the Hawkeye HC from firing his son?
. . . How long before serially mediocre Graham Mertz costs formerly surefire hire Billy Napier his job in Gainesville?
. . . Deion Sanders?
. . . Will homeboy Jeff Brohm deliver?
And, oh oh oh so many more.
But we must commence at the start, or so they say.
Which in the case of this brutal sport we love is the absurdly designated Week 0.
Which brings us to the most crucial query of all, if I must say so myself. Which is, will the cybergalaxy’s most heralded and successful pigskin prognosticator, ahem, need I say his name, continue to provide his loyal readers with victor after victor after victor week in and week out, as he has so consistently in the past?
Smart $$$ says take the thumbs up.
So, let’s begin, shall we?
Navy vs. Notre Dame (Dublin). Nothing says Welcome to the expanding universe of collegiate pigskin like the Aer Lingus College Football Classic. In Dublin, Ireland. Aviva Stadium, built for futbol, the kind the rest of the world cherishes, seats 51,711. Whatever might be the breakdown? An tSeirbhís Chabhlaigh (Irish Navy) is 900 or so strong, with another hundred reservists. While Caitlicigh na hÉireann (Irish Catholics) number 4 mill + nationwide. Setting aside the password manager capitalization, I’m guessing there shall be more folks in the stands with George Gipp throwbacks than those wearing a Roger Staubach jersey. Annapolis canned their winningest coach ever Kim Niumatalolo after last season, despite his 10-5 career record against West Point. Former DC coach Brian Newberry was elevated. His shall be a long flight home from across the pond in his first as HC. Irish.
UMass @ New Mexico State. Nothing says This is the New Collegiate Football landscape like the sprawling C-USA, where resources are slim, but teams still need to take the red eye (or gray dog) hither and yon. From Lynchburg on the eastern edge, Bowling Green to the north, and now, Las Cruces at the other end of the map. The Aggies have escaped the death knell of independence (non ND) and joined the league. Said renewed energy is not the preseent in Amherst, where Minutemen fans still mostly reminisce about the glory days of Coach Cal. In another sport of course. Last year, UMass finished 1-11 for the third time in four years. In the other, the university went 0-4 in the COVID campaign. Might they be looking ahead to their visit to Auburn in Week I? Does it matter? No. Jerry Kill’s teams prevails at home.
San Jose State @ Southern California. Arguably the most interesting aspect of this humdrum affair is that it shall be televised on the soon to be extinct (one assumes) PAC 12 Network. Conference of Champions that. Will Caleb Williams pad his Heisman repeat stats in the Trojans’ opener? Seems likely. So Cal has Final Four aspirations, in their last year before a midwest blast of cold air where Michigan State’s Spartans would be more formidable than S J St’s. These Spartans reside in the all of a sudden really stable Mountain West. Where they shall have more reasonable chances to win than on opening Saturday in the LA Coliseum. The Rileys go 1-0.
Ohio @ San Diego State. Speaking of the Mountain West, didn’t the Aztecs, who flirted seriously with the now PAC 4, land on their feet? Why yes, yes they did, being forced to remain in their league of old. You can’t always get what you went, but sometimes you get what you need. Which in this case is a group of old colleagues. Speaking of seriously stable conferences, how about that gang of midweekers in the midwest, the members of Mid-American Conference. They just keep pluggin’ along. Ever upsetting some unprepared P5 school most every campaign. The Bobcats prevailed in their division of the MAC last season, winning 7 in a row, until they fell to the Zips in the title battle. The last time these squads met, The Ohio University smashed SD St 27-0 in the ’18 Frisco Bowl. I’m feeling upset here. O-H-I-O. Deal with cheer appropriation Buckeye loyalists.
Hawai’i @ Vanderbilt. Even though the Rainbow Warriors reside on Oahu, not Maui, I gotta take a moment here to mourn the devastation of Lahaina. Spent a couple of weeks there decades ago. It is — was — a truly bucolic slice of paradise. And home to one of the best of the holiday hoops tourneys. Oh what a night I had there on Halloween. About which you shall hear not another detail. U. of Hawai’i does have one seriously good thing going for it. The team is no longer coached by the insufferable Todd Graham, canned for his serial mistreatment of players. Former QB Timmy Chang is in charge now. Which is a breath of fresh air, if not an uptick in probabilities of success after a 3-10 first year. Clark Lea’s Commodores, if he’s to be believed, are on a collision course with a natty. The NashVegasites have improved each season under his tutelage. and conquered UK and Florida, before posting a nil in their finale against the Vols last year. Vandy.
— c d kaplan