Now, this is how you’re supposed to open a college football season.
Big games – four of them involving preseason top 25 teams in which the point spread is a touchdown or less; four more that are within the reasonable two-touchdown range.
Big names – Alabama vs. Southern Cal (you can almost hear Keith Jackson warming up his windpipe here); a Monday night meeting between Notre Dame and Texas that possesses many echoes of its own.
Meaningful interaction between conferences – Clemson at Auburn; Florida State-Ole Miss; LSU-Wisconsin at Lambeau Field; Georgia-North Carolina at the Georgia Dome.
An opening Saturday that promises the kind of sustained couch time – beginning at 7:30 a.m. with Georgia Tech playing overseas straight through midnight – that may come with a long list of medical side effects.
And for those programs that insisted upon scheduling the traditional sacrificial, hyphenated opponent, well, you enjoy yourselves. We’ll be ignoring you and your preseason football completely. Why bother with cotton candy when there is so much red meat on the table?
Let us know when you’re ready to get serious.
Georgia Tech did itself a huge disservice last season with a schedule that opened with two patsies – winning by 60 over Alcorn State and 55 over Tulane. Such games did little to prepare the Yellow Jackets for the competition to come, yielding nothing but false impressions before they commenced to losing nine of their last 10.
The experience of traveling to Ireland – once the school ditched the plan to go by crop-duster – along with opening against a conference opponent better suits the team. While at the same time providing its followers a legitimate reason to begin drinking early.
And would the dawn of the Kirby Smart era at Georgia be nearly as celebrated were it against Southwest Nowhere State, a game that could have been won with Uga X doing the coaching? A big hire deserves a correspondingly big game. This is the perfect introduction, between the grand stage of the Georgia Dome and the not-to-be-taken-for-granted Tar Heels.
If this, one of the great opening acts ever in college football, is the product of the playoff system and the increasing demand for teams to build impressive resumes, then for once, I’m in favor of change.
We have endured far too many opening weeks of college football in which spectating was a matter of obligation rather than anticipation.
Now, let the binge watching begin.