Welcome to week three of the college football season. LSU plays their first true road game of the season, so if you’re forgoing the always dazzling trip to Starkvegas, this could be your first chance to actually sit down and binge college football with minimal breaks or stoppages.
And no, I’m not late at all. A wizard is never late and if you think about it, Excel had to be created by wizards.
Heartbreak Hotel Shift
Golly gee these two schools had rough weeks. In the higher profile game, Boise State blew a late fourth quarter 21-point lead before losing in overtime to Washington State. Oh, and starting quarterback Brett Rypien suffered a concussion in that game and is uncertain for this game. On the flip side of the coin, New Mexico put together a furious 23-point rally in the fourth quarter that came within a two point conversion away from tying the game against their arch rivals New Mexico State. It’s gonna get worse for one of those teams tonight.
Strong Style Shift
Here’s something we don’t see often in this sport: two black head coaches will be facing off when Lovie Smith’s Illinois playing Charlie Strong’s USF. The game will be played in Tampa and as far as I can surmise, this is the first college football game in Florida since Irma. Elsewhere: UMass and Temple.
Arizona and UTEP lead us into the Saturday morning twilight. Rich Rod in Juarez, what could go wrong?
It’s Always Sunny In College Station Shift
The nooner shift is highlighted by Oklahoma State and Pitt, which I think has the capacity to be a fire game but to be frank I have not had a chance to watch much Pitt and I do know that Okie Lite’s offense is Big 12 as it ever was, so I’m going to err on the side of two possession game in the Pokes favor. But it’s spot in the nooner means it may be the most entertaining game on.
Challenging for that spot on the wave of upset potential is UCLA going TO Memphis at 11 a.m. local, meaning that it’s an 9 a.m. kick back in Westwood. That alone opens the door for unforeseen results, especially if Rosen has an off game because of his #bodyclock. And as is the case with any Memphis team ever, they can scrap.
After kicking UCLA’s ass only to have their ass being the one kick and thinking about losing to Nicholls, A&M hosts ULL. Surely after those two disasters of varying sized Sumlin will make sure that the ship will be righted by now right? Right???
I included UConn and UVA, but much like the eclipse that should not be viewed directly. In fact, us here at And The Valley Shook strongly advise watching this game with appropriate eye ware, preferably ones that let in little to no light to your eyes. Duct tape is a fine alternate.
The last of the nooner special children: Air Force at Michigan and Nebraska hosting NIU. Keep your finger on the pulse of those games for a potential “HEY Y’ALL” moment, specifically NIU-Nebraska.
Uncle Verne Memorial Shift
Brad Nessler will call his first full-fledged SEC on CBS alongside Step Dad Gary and the Wolf herself in the Swamp when Florida hosts Tennessee. Will Florida develop an offense? Probably not. Will Butch Jones cool off his hot seat with a big win on the road and get Tennessee a streak over the hated Gators? Also probably not. It’s going to be pretty trash football, but it’s going to be compelling trash football for the name values, which I guess beats just being trash from the jump. Show me 12-7 or 12-10 Florida.
No, the real fun starts 30 minutes later on the SEC Network. Jeff Brohm’s Purdue team went from college football’s leper program to spunky underdog in the blink of an eye and it’s quite adorable. They get to travel to CoMo to play a Missouri team who definitely has an established defensive coordinator at the helm to prep his Tigers for the coming Brohmfense. Definitely, don’t look for yourself. Trust me.
If obscene offensive performances aren’t your jam and you want to see something a little more...offensively conservative, then the culture clash of Wisconsin-BYU is going to be on ABC. Or if you don’t want culture clashes at all, the two big name  Catholic schools play on ESPN when Notre Dame visits Boston College, also a game that looks to be a little more the “rock fight” side of things.
And now, for our college football hipster pick of the week: The Battle for the Iron Skillet. TCU has had a vice-like grip on this series in recent and then some memory, but Chad Morris has SMU on what looks like what could be an upswing. If Morris gets the Mustangs up enough for this game and they play well enough they could hang around and make it a finish in Fort Worth.
Keep Army and Ohio State in the reserve tank in case Army decides to do something, but don’t lean on it.
go big papa Shift
Obviously LSU and State play here, but by now you should already know enough about that game and how to feel about it. Here’s how to program the noise around that game.
Remember when Lamar Jackson went Super Saiyan in September last year? Yeah in the first two weeks of this year he went into the second level. Which is what Louisville needs because uh, they kinda really need it for this weekend. Clemson just murked Jarett Stidham’s darkhorse Heisman campaign before it even left the stable and sacked it 11 times just for good measure. They did that against an SEC offensive line, so...just imagine what they can do to Louisville’s traffic cone-based blocking scheme. Either so much blood or so much unconscious football slinging, there are no alternate outcomes.
Hopefully by the time LSU begins to pull away from State, Texas and USC will be kicking off in a rematch of one of the greatest games of college football ever played. That should be a fun enough game in it’s own right, but with that added context of a game played when the current players were, I dunno, six years old, certainly does add more to that game. For sure man.
If you’re watching this game with your basic garden variety college football hipster, they’ll want to watch their favorite secondary team that definitely isn’t just a flavor of the month, their beloved Wyoming Cowboys as they host (yes, host) Oregon. Go ahead and indulge them and put it on, which you probably can’t because it’s on The Forbidden Network. And if you access the Channel Of Lost Games, then root hard for Oregon and watch them squirm as they realize they have to root against their own special boy, Willie Taggart.
Also, by popular mandate Kansas State at Vandy is a thing that is happening in primetime. The people have spoken and what they want is a marquee matchup between Bill Snyder and the SEC’s APR boosters.
Keep Kentucky and South Carolina on the backburner in case of...I don’t even want to think of what would make you flip to this game, but it’s there and it’s an option so you may as well put it on the grill.
BEAR BRAWL Shift
As the Shutdown Fullcast pointed out, Ole Miss play Cal in a game between the most polar opposite fanbases who share a mascot (count the basket) possible. Cal is slowly but surely climbing up back up as a program after losing control of the car for a solid three years while Ole Miss lost power steering and brakes five miles ago. Make sure to drink a few waters during the LSU game because you’re doing yourself a disservice not staying up for this game, because the two cars are going to collide and they’re going to do it early and often.
Stanford and San Diego State is on The Channel Unsubscribed, and sure yeah that’s a game just like San Jose State at Utah is a game that will be played over on ESPN2. Actually, the latter has some potential to have a fun finish, but to get there would require some pretty sloppy play from Utah for 3.5 quarters.
...yeah, keep an eye on SJSU-Utah.