November 1st (Thursday)
Virginia Tech at Miami
In a simpler time when 2 Live Crew was showering Hurricanes’ players with the sort of gifts that would make a plundering King blush, this might be appointment viewing. In 2012, it’s another regular season victory in Frank Beamer’s supply closet. Help me Duke Johnson, you’re my only hope.
November 3rd (Saturday)
Oregon at USC
If Round 1 is anything like the initial Apollo Creed – Rocky Balboa encounter, the upstart Trojans will give the defending conference champion Ducks all they can handle before gaining widespread respect in a loss. That’s not how college football works. The loser likely goes on the road for the Pac 12 Championship.
TCU at West Virginia
Big 12 newcomers sit around a fire in Morgantown discussing the finer points of the game. The Mountaineers wonder why they never knew it was legal to blitz and the Horned Frogs seem astonished that folks can make their own moonshine-induced stimulants, sell them and not have to worry about undercover narcotics agents.
Nebraska at Michigan State
I’ve steadily, hesitantly joined the Sparty bandwagon for Big Ten supremacy this season. Mark Dantonio employs a defensive unit that Bo Pelini would sacrifice his brother Carl, to own. Because of this, Florida Atlantic hired full-time security — Lawrence Phillips — in 2012. (What else was the Cornhuskers great doing?)
Texas at Texas Tech
The Longhorns haven’t always waltzed into Lubbock and left with easy victories. As Tommy Tuberville grows more desperate about this job security and Seth Doege provides his annual, inexplicable Heisman moment, the Texas defense must finish every snap of the 4th quarter to avoid any 2008 last-second, AT&T Jones heroics.
Oklahoma State at Kansas State
Bill Snyder’s Wildcats are a legit contender for the Big 12 crown while Mike Gundy’s Cowboys probably remain a year away. Because that makes sense, Oklahoma State strolls out of Manhattan with a blowout win.
Missouri at Florida
Depending on the outcome of Florida’s September 8th game with Texas A&M, this contest may involve copious amounts of Gators pride. Will Muschamp can’t afford to lose to both SEC newbies in a season where he must show marked improvement. Gary Pinkel asks Dorial Green-Beckham to finish off his jumbo glass of wine prior to giving the slurred, pre-game speech.
Houston at East Carolina
East Carolina head coach Ruffin McNeill telling reporters his weight loss equates to “about a sixth-grader” or “about a ninth-grader” won’t ever lose a factor of amusement.
Washington State at Utah
Should the Trojans stumble once or twice in conference play, pundits pick the Utes to obtain their first Pac 12 South title. If there’s one thing Mike Leach knew how to spot in the Big 12, it was an overconfident favorite and a player with a girlfriend who needed to avoid Whataburger.
Pittsburgh at Notre Dame
By this point in the year, we’ll have a pretty good idea of whether Brian Kelly is headed for the guillotine or his antics appear on a sideline in 2013. If he pulls a Braveheart and just starts screaming “FREEDOM” at the half, I’ll forgive everything.
Alabama at LSU
The season’s most-anticipated matchup hopefully showcases a bit more parity than the clunker of a BCS Championship. No matter the loser, that team will claim superiority over an undefeated in December. If it’s the Tigers falling to the Crimson Tide, Les Miles would term LSU’s inclusion a “necessarity of logic.”