We have successfully dipped out feet into the pool during week one, now it’s time to dive headfirst into the shallow end of the 2018 college football season. After crawling through the massive Offseason Desert, we’re about to drink straight from the fire hose. And it’s going to be a loooong pull, with kickoff coming Thursday night and taking minimal breaks for air until late Monday night.
Drink it in, mannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn.
It’s uh...not a great kickoff Thursday compared to recent years. The #Clawfense squaring up against Willie Fritz’s triple option is easily the best sell of the night, and even that game is relegated to the CBS Sports Network. ESPN is building their kickoff around...Northwestern at Purdue, which they plucked from the nooner shift for some reason. I’m guessing they’re going to use it as a billboard for Jeff Brohm? I don’t know.
Like any good sports, the defending National Champions kick off the season at six sharp against UConn. Yes, this game includes one of the funner things about college football but it also includes probably one of the least fun things about college football, UConn. No gain on the play.
Coming off their disaster against Wyoming in Week Zero, New Mexico State gets the honor of being the doormat to Year Two of the PJ Fleck Minnesota Experiment. At 7:30, the Jimbo Fisher era opens up at A&M with a rent-a-win against Northwestern State.
If You Don’t Chew Big Red Shift
Syracuse leads off the Friday night action when they travel to Western Michigan at 5:00 for some godforsaken reason, and from there we get our mediocre, middle of the road action building from there until it reaches a respectable crescendo: Army at Duke at six, Utah State at Michigan State an hour after that.
And then, three hours after the Orange and Broncos kick, we get two low key heater watches. We’ll get a look at what Mike Sanford Jr. can do in his second year with the post-Brohm Hilltoppers when they take a swing at Wisconsin. Okay now that I write it out it sounds less exciting but it isn’t like Brohm left the cupboard completely barren.
And then Stanford tries to extract revenge against San Diego State. That’s not a typo, in case you forgot one of the weirder games of 2017.
High As Buffs Shift
Dementia Awareness Shift
Well, as far as #THENARRATIVE goes, there is no game more important than Oregon State at an Ohio State, but that’s far from the most watchable game of the first nooner of the season. That’s not to say it’s a good first shift of the Saturday, but it’s far from the top.
Somehow, Ohio State isn’t even the biggest disaster of a program to be playing in this shift, as conference mates Maryland hosts Texas while gestures wildly to the northeast all this is going on. I would like to move on now.
Kiffykins and co will likely throw one solid punch before Oklahoma snuffs out the Owls, but if that turns into a shootout then there will be a possibility of that one delivering points en mass. Speaking of points, Matt Luke and Jordan Ta’amu will link up with Kliff Kingsbury and whatever future 3,000 yard passer he has picked off the Texas high school football tree. I don’t know what to really expect here, and I’m fully okay with that.
A lot has been made of Dave Doern and his (probably ill-advised) decision to stay put in Raleigh and spurn Tennessee’s offer (probably well-advised). Buuuuuuuuuuut he hasn’t a ton to show for what he’s done in NC State and James Madison is good. I’m not saying, I’m just saying...
Mountain Moonshine Shift
So Auburn and Washington play each other what could very well be be a precursor to a playoff matchup. I’m all for GameDay going to a campus instead of a neutral site, but this really is the game of the weekend. If Auburn wins then they have room to drop one of the two against Georgia provided they beat Alabama (or beat Georgia twice and lose to Bama) and that honestly works out okay for Washington because they got that whole PAC-12 thing going for them.
But if Washington wins, then things get fun on the Plains.
The Jeremy Pruitt era kicks off at Tennessee when the Volunteers travel to
Morgantown The Infield of Bristol Motor Speedway LIFELESS NFL STADIA OF CHARLOTTE . I’m expecting Tennessee to still be hot garbage, but I’m very willing to take a flyer on West Virginia with grizzled veteran Will Grier at the helm. The way I see it, the ‘eers could be a legitimate playoff dark horse or Holgorsen could be canned by November. Buy a ticket, take a ride y’all.
Speaking of not knowing what to expect, North Carolina crosses the country for a 1 PM local kick against Cal. The Tar Heels rank 52nd in projected offensive S&P+ and 56th in defensive. Cal is 58th and 63rd in the same categories. This game really might come down to a literal coinflip to see who gets the ball second in overtime. To clarify: I’m saying this game will probably be close and produce a interesting finish, but I am in no way saying this game will be particularly good.
As much as it pains me to encourage their behavior, your basic college football hipsters are probably right: Washington State at Wyoming is going to be a pretty fun ditty. The Cowboys are coming off a Week Zero unanimous 29-7 decision against New Mexico State where they could have landed the knockout blow but didn’t because Craig Bohl is a dick. And the Cougars are [checks notes] still coached by Mike Leach, so yeah safe to say we’ll see some competing styles at play.
Northern Illinois-Iowa will happen.
The Strawless Pop Up Vegan Coffee Shop Mini-Shift
So I bag on people with Wyoming obsessions for being basic ass college football hipsters, but Week One’s real hipster bowl is the Troy-Boise State matchup. Sure you’ve definitely heard of and are aware of Troy and Boise State, but this game is as off the grid as you can get with this matchup. Not only is it on ESPNEWS (yes, you probably have it), it’s slipped in at the tail end of the afternoon shift but well before the evening shift kicks off in earnest.
If Wyoming is the Father John Misty or Arcade Fire of the college football community, then this game is Soccer Mommy opening for Parquet Courts.
Late Nights At The Library Shift
Michigan has an elite defense and so does Notre Dame but I’m gonna need some receipts before I can see the Wolverines cracking the Irish’ defense more than the inverse. For some godforsaken reason, Michigan at Notre Dame is at night, like that will somehow magically make a game at Notre Dame Stadium fun or something.
Alabama’s going to roll over llvll and Chip Kelly will likely win his first game at UCLA over Cincinnati, and the same with Scott Frost over Akron. Whatever, I’m bored. This shift sucks.
The Herman Show Shift
We’ve made Herm Edwards jokes almost nonstop since it was announced that he would actually be taking over for Arizona State, but that has done nothing to stop it from actually happening. And to make matters somehow even worse, he picks up Frank Wilson’s exponentially improving UTSA in his first game in Tempe. The potential for disaster is about the same as microwaving a bunch of steak knives and standing directly in front of the door.
BYU and Arizona is happening but I won’t pretend to care so neither do you. I just put it ahead of Navy at Hawaii because it was listed first chronologically and I didn’t notice until I cropped these here screenshots so we’re going to roll with the punches.
In case you missed it, Hawaii was SUPER fun in their Week Zero game against Colorado State, excellently combining a mix of good offense, dickish playcalling, and a “Let Go and Let God” closeout strategy to whittle away the game. And Navy is still running the option, so this game is easily the best bang for your buck.
Lmao Prairie View A&M almost beat Rice last week Shift.
That’s really all I have insight wise. Watch this game because it’s literally the only one on yeah, but also because these HBCU games are really cool and you learn a lot about the ticks and quirks of HBCU programs.
I Might Need Security (In The Tunnel) Shift
There’s only one game on this shift and i have an unshakable feeling that I don’t have to convince you, a reader of And The Valley Shook!, to watch it. Could be wrong though.
Tagg ‘Em And Bagg ‘Em Shift
Again, only one game on Labor Day so I don’t think you need much convincing. Yes, Virginia Tech has basically lost half of their team for one reason or another, but this is also the first game of the Taggart Era.
Also I’ll be there, because I won’t be able to go to Doak Campbell in 2023 when LSU plays Florida State.