In the Days of “List-tober”

Straight Up With Sturg
July 01, 2019 - 1:42 pm

We are in the days that I frequently call “List-tober”.  With MLB heading to the All-Star Break, the NBA Free Agency period not quite ready to open, and the NFL effectively off the radar… hence the name “List-tober”.

We see a lot of talk when it comes to which school will win this year’s College Football Playoff Championship Game?  There’s a long way until December and the semifinals, but I will assure you this…. No one can win them all unless they win the first game.

What are the best games of the “Opening Weekend”, and which may be the most underrated, and I’m going to give it to you “Straight Up”… once I get an apology from Marc Ryan, not always the most “Straight Up” of gentlemen.

In previous years, we’ve always been able to set the calendar according to the opening weekend of College Football.  I mean historically, down to SEC Media Days and ACC Football Kickoff.  Then Miami has to go get a new Coach in Manny Diaz, and Florida Gator Football Network needs as much publicity as it can get, so these dim wits to the South of us, which none of us are willing to claim as true “Southerners”, decide to go upset the table.

Kind of like Marc Ryan has done here since relocating from Texas.  I am holding him personally responsible that these two Athletic Director’s had to get together with the state of South Carolina High School League and declare… Let’s have a “Week Zero”.  All I can here is Lebron in my head declaring “not one, not, not three” (LOL).

So, as you may have surmised in throwing my fellow host under the bus, and deservedly so after his raspberry seltzer photo appeared on Twitter last week, that the University of Miami moved their neutral site matchup in Orlando to Saturday, August 24th.  While it may have messed with everyone’s schedule, it’s honestly an intriguing opener.  

Miami has some pieces in place to make a quick improvement in what is always a mess in the ACC Coastal Division.  After last years unexpected 10-win season in Gainesville, Dan Mullen and QB Felipe Franks have to prove the Gators are not just another SEC team.

Other first week games that interest me, in week 1:

Oklahoma at Houston.  Jalen Hurts and a new Offensive Line versus Dana Holgorson finally looking for a win against the Sooners after leaving West Virginia.

Oregon versus Auburn in Arlington, Texas:  Does anyone need a good season anymore than Gus Malzahn?  How many 8-5 years are going to work on “The Plains” while Bama continues to rack up what they do?  Will Tiger faithful become restless with a few unexpected losses after a tough offseason with the loss of Rod Bramblett, the “Voice of the Tigers”?  Many have Mario Cristobal pegged as Nick Saban’s replacement and a win against Auburn would help the Duck’s assert themselves as a west coast power, and Oregon has the QB to do it with Justin Herbert.

Boise State versus Florida State in Jacksonville:  The Broncos have carried the “Group of Five” mantra for years, and Willie Taggart needs a good season in the worst of ways.  The Seminoles don’t have much margin for error as FSU just simply looked like a poorly coached team last season.  Will it be James Blackmon or Alex Hornibrook at QB for the Seminoles?  A loss here could have things begin to spiral for Coach Taggert.

Notre Dame at Louisville:  Last scene, the Fighting Irish were softer than Charmin while getting run out of the Cotton Bowl by Clemson despite what their AD says.  Just soft.  Louisville has a long way to go under new Coach Scott Satterfield, but I would to see a Cardinals upset in this opener.  Now that I think about it, I like Charmin, and I apologize for comparing Notre Dame’s output in the Cotton Bowl against what we know your brand can handle.

Most Underrated Opener:  South Carolina versus North Carolina in Charlotte.  So much of the Gamecock season will hang in the balance with Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Texas A&M and Clemson remaining; not to mention Tennessee and Kentucky.  If the Gamecocks can’t beat UNC, it will be a tough year.  If they can, then September seems navigable with Charleston Southern, Bama, at Missouri and Kentucky to 4-1. Lose to the Tar Heels, and that could be 2-3 at best.

Mack Brown has instilled a sense of glee in Chapel Hill, who knows how much they have improved in football, but the Tar Heels have some talent.  If they can snatch a win against the Gamecocks, they get Miami at home the following week, at Wake, App State, and then Clemson comes calling.

A win in the first game is so very big to set the season off on the right foot.  

By the way, have I made it abundantly clear that my right foot should be upside Marc Ryan’s head when it comes to us covering a game on August 24th?  It’s entirely his fault, and this is what minor league teams do just so they bring in a few extra fans.  Miami football has been heading there for a while now, the Florida Gators just helped them arrive!!

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