North Carolina vs. South Carolina. The college football season begins with the sport's most hallowed tradition: Steve Spurrier jerking his quarterbacks in and out of the game until one develops whiplash. The one that doesn't have whiplash? NEW STARTER.
[/Spurrier voice] "Y'all make football way harder than it has to be."
Western Kentucky at Vanderbilt. The Commodores might pull off this upset.
ULM at Georgia. Nick Chubb will have 250 yards rushing, giving Georgia something like 300 yards total offense in an easy victory. Chubb Ratio, week one: 5:6, or 83 percent of UGA's total yardage.
Tennessee-Martin at Ole Miss. UT-Martin's mascot is the Skyhawk, which is the same name as the former dunking mascot of the Atlanta Hawks. Kudos to UT-Martin for getting its mascot secondhand in an age of profligate athletic department spending.
UTEP at Arkansas. Sadly not a home-and-home series, meaning we'll all miss out on night-vision footage of a victorious Bret Bielema rampaging a Juarez taco cart like a bear trashing a hunting cabin.
Louisville vs. Auburn. Many picking Louisville forget Bobby Petrino's never done well in the Georgia Dome. (Might leave just a few minutes in, too.)
Southeast Missouri State at Missouri. The guaranteed splash-in highlight from this: Maty Mauk throwing three picks as Mizzou wins by 30.
Bowling Green at Tennessee. An inconsequential game in which Tennessee hopes no one important is hurt after losing two starters in fall practice. Also, this is a sample of what the Bowling Green police scanner has to offer on a daily basis.
Report of a male that has been drinking beer all day and is giving beer to dogs, encouraging them to fight.— joeimel (@joeimel) August 21, 2015
[This is from Bowling Green, Kentucky, not Ohio. We note the error, but leave the tweet about feeding beer to dogs.]
Arizona State vs. Texas A&M. Whatever happens, I assure you no early-season results involving a high-scoring team in a blowout are misleading, ever.
Louisiana-Lafayette at Kentucky. Cajuns head coach Mark Hudspeth has gone 9-4 every year for four years straight, is a very large and strong man, and has been known to look angry so no, no, calling him Beaux Pelini would be deeply unfair.
McNeese State at LSU. Les Miles' Chicken Tagine for Eight:
New Mexico State at Florida. The collected dust inside the "5" on the Florida scoreboard's 10s column might ignite and burn the stadium to its foundations.
Wisconsin vs. Alabama. A restless Nick Saban within 500 yards of Jerry Jones? Cool, cool, not suspicious.
Mississippi State at Southern Miss. It's in Hattiesburg? Oh, some Mississippi State fan's gonna shoot an endangered species of marine life with a harpoon gun. That's guaranteed.
Jacksonville State at Auburn. The state of Alabama saw the barrens of Jacksonville, Florida and said, "WE GOTTA GET A JACKSONVILLE." Sometimes Alabama is not a very smart state.
Fresno State at Ole Miss. Fresno State once wandered the earth because it believed in playing everyone. Now it staggers from destination to destination because it's forgotten where it lives. Fresno State is the feral cat of college football.
Georgia at Vanderbilt. Nick Chubb down to 150 yards rushing. His backup, Nick Chubb 2, has 50, bringing UGA's offense to 300 yards total. Chubb Ratio: 2:3, factoring in Chubb 2 contributions.
Middle Tennessee at Alabama. Saban's defense gave up 230 yards to Ezekiel Elliott alone in a 42-35 loss to Ohio State in the first Playoff. This has nothing to do with that game, but I don't care because nothing can ever make that unfunny. Go Bucks.
Toledo at Arkansas. Gary Pinkel, Tim Beckman, and Saban all coached at Toledo before getting their big boy jobs. Toledo is your summer job, and it's fine with Mom picking you up outside at 6 sharp. Matt Campbell's a nice boy who'll go on to big things once he's done stocking aisle two.
Oklahoma at Tennessee. There is not a young man on the make Bob Stoops will not help out on the lonesome highway of coaching, which is why he just put sugar in your gas tank, Butch Jones. Oklahoma went 8-5 last year, so you might want to check those brake lines, too. Mike Stoops likes to cut those when he can find 'em.
Ball State at Texas A&M. The first game at the new 750,000-seat Kyle Field. Please check your AR-15 at the entrance, not because we don't trust your aim, but because we do.
Missouri at Arkansas State. Not a typo: Missouri has to go to Jonesboro, home of the Hunting Stand Endzone Seat. Mizzou probably loses this, if only to continue the pattern of losing to an Indiana-level team, but winning the SEC East anyway.
East Carolina at Florida. Not a typo: ECU has to go to the backwater of Gainesville just to get a semi-respectable out-of-conference game.
Kentucky at South Carolina. This feels like South Carolina's infuriating early loss, the one Spurrier will refer to later by saying, "We lost to Kentucky. We can't take anything for granted."
LSU at Mississippi State. This will be a big revenge game for LSU's 34-29 loss last year, provided Miles remembers it. (He doesn't.)
UConn at Missouri. It'd be a good basketball game.
Nevada at Texas A&M. The pistol offense against the hurry-up is an older person pulling out a checkbook to pay for something with a huge line forming. Nevada's pretty good, so Kevin Sumlin's gonna have at least three quarters of eye-rolling before he gets his groceries.
Auburn at LSU. This feels like Auburn could carpet-bomb LSU's defense. So, given the course of the Miles era, count it as an inevitable 14-11 LSU victory. (LSU points via seven safeties.)
Northwestern State at Mississippi State. NSU's stadium has a tailgating alley with utility hookups. If some ingenious student isn't stealing those utilities and living in a duck blind under the stands, then I don't know the resourceful state of Louisiana as well as I thought.
South Carolina at Georgia. Georgia should win every year, but South Carolina is Finland, and Georgia is Russia, and that's how you lose 340,000 men in the north woods in a single winter, Marshal Richt. Nick Chubb runs for 270 yards and they still lose. Chubb Ratio: nearly 1:1, because UGA will have something astonishing like "QB goes 7-of-22 with 6 passing yards."
Texas Tech at Arkansas. Game summary:
Western Carolina at Tennessee. Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson attended WCU, so you know it's legal to carry a whoppin' stick and a bear on a leash to class.
Florida at Kentucky. UK warms up with a light scrimmage before the meat of its SEC schedule.
Ole Miss at Alabama. "Hoo boy, Nick Saban'll really buckle down and avenge that loss to that team that runs the spread," he said with no confidence.
ULM at Alabama. Saban notices Lane Kiffin playing Fallout Shelter on his phone throughout the second half, notes in personnel file: "Employee seems disengaged, as if he were already applying for the Miami job."
Saban also looks up Fallout and becomes intrigued with notion of imprisoning players underground in luxurious training warrens.
Mississippi State at Auburn. The SEC West turned into the 2008 Big 12 at one point, and we're totally fine with that.
Southern at Georgia. A resounding defeat for Georgia.
The football team will win (Chubb Ratio: N/A, as no Nick Chubbs play) but that's beside the point. Southern's band hangs 50 on the Redcoat Band.
LSU at Syracuse. LOL this isn't real next
Vanderbilt at Ole Miss. THE RIVALRY CONTINUES.
CHEVY TAHOE VS. LAND ROVER.
SEA ISLAND VILLA VS. BILOXI TIMESHARE.
PRIVATE CATERING VS. OKAY JUST MORE PRIVATE CATERING.
MY PARENTS OWN A PLANTATION HOUSE VS. MY PARENTS DESPERATELY WANT TO OWN A PLANTATION HOUSE.
THE KHAKI WILL BE RENT AND TORN ASUNDER UNTIL NEW KHAKI HAS TO BE PURCHASED.
SPONSORED BY VINEYARD VINES.
Texas A&M at Arkansas. Mid-70s over/under, multiple jaw-dropping turnovers, and the usual barnstorming ending when Sumlin might as well let Arkansas score just to get the ball back. The SEC West: basketball on turf, played by fat guys.
Missouri at Kentucky. Pinkel probably has a diary with entries for every day for the past 30 years. Every single entry reads: "That was fine." [Not that far off.] Good lord, Mizzou's consistently depressive personality is perfect for dominating this version of the SEC East.
Tennessee at Florida. This rivalry provides more proof the '90s have aged badly. The Matchbox 20 of rivalry games. No: THE HOOBASTANK OF RIVALRY GAMES, because that pushes up to the last time the Vols won. (They'll probably win this year. Nü metal is BACK.)
UCF at South Carolina. The "Orlando-Columbia" home-and-home might be the most depressing combo not involving UConn in all of football.
Notice that no one at UCF asks George O'Leary the same retirement questions that Spurrier gets, mostly because everyone knows O'Leary is a heartless Aztec rock monster who sleeps in the Mexico pavilion at EPCOT.
Alabama at Georgia. If Ezekiel Elliott ran for 230 yards and two TDs on 20 carries against Alabama, well, Nick Chubb should be just fine. Chubb Ratio: 3:5, or at least half of what Ezekiel Elliott did against Alabama's vaunted defense in a game that can never be erased or improved for Alabama fans.
How often will I mention that? About as often as I mention that you have to have a doctor's note to buy a sex toy in the state of Alabama.
San Jose State at Auburn. Some forms of pornography are legal in Alabama, though. (See: this box score.)
Eastern Michigan at LSU. Eastern Michigan might be the worst team in FBS, but they did this last year, and that should mean something.
Ole Miss at Florida. Just count Florida as a Sun Belt team. It'll make the occasional shocking victory so much better and the losses so much more explicable.
Arkansas at Tennessee. There is no trophy for this matchup. In fact, the two have only played 17 times. But if there were, it'd probably be a bronze Clint Stoerner falling ass-first into a tub of Karo syrup.
South Carolina at Missouri. Someone's going home to Columbia with a victory. Someone is going home to Columbia with a loss. The last two have been bitter, last-minute gutstab affairs. (And if something involves stab confusion, that always favors someone from South Carolina.)
Eastern Kentucky at Kentucky. The Colonels! They're allegedly from "Richmond, Kentucky." That there are more than five places with names in the state of Kentucky will never cease to astonish me.
Mississippi State at Texas A&M. Aggies build lake next to stadium. Miss State fans bowfish in it. Aggie fans nod and also bowfish in it. This is a love story, and it is just the first chapter.
Vanderbilt at Middle Tennessee State. Also known as Vanderbilt students vs. the people who sell them weed.
Arkansas at Alabama. The funniest thing about watching Alabama coping with a high-tempo era has been witnessing Arkansas creep up with the kind of Cro-Mag offense Saban would rather run. It's like watching a crime lord attempt to go legit, all while envying the guy who can still beat people with baseball bats. (Bielema even has the giant, puffy track suits.)
Georgia at Tennessee. Tennessee has lost five in a row to Georgia. Georgia has the Chubb Ratio (1:2, via Tennessee's dinged-up secondary allowing for actual UGA passing yards) working for them, and has the better defense. In short, Tennessee's hope is winning via some sorcery only an aspiring rocket scientist quarterback could figure out.
LSU at South Carolina. This feels like one of those games where LSU trails 19-7 in the fourth quarter, then wins 21-19 without scoring an offensive touchdown. NOTE: reverse this so South Carolina wins, and it makes an equal amount of sense.
New Mexico State at Ole Miss. Cool of Ole Miss to let the Aggies sleep on their couch.
Florida at Missouri. Someone had to replace Kansas on Missouri's schedule.
Troy at Mississippi State. There is no way in hell this won't involve Mississippi State futzing around, letting Troy score, like, at least 35 points, and then sending the first string back in the fourth quarter to bang out a couple of insurance TDs.
Auburn at Kentucky. A trap game, if Auburn is not coming off a bye week. Auburn is coming off a bye week. Kentucky should buy supplemental insurance.
Alabama at Texas A&M. One of the worst workouts ever is a deadlift/run combo, because grrrrr, there's all the deadlifting, and then gaaaaahhhh, you have to run when your legs have just been torched from all the lifting. Alabama plays Arkansas and then has to play Texas A&M in College Station. The unspoken third part to the workout? Vomiting, aka the Tennessee game.
Missouri at Georgia. Highest SEC quotient of coaches who look like chill dudes in Cialis ads.
Florida at LSU. A breather for LSU before a challenging matchup with Western Kentucky.
Ole Miss at Memphis. I say this every year, but the real winner is unsportsmanlike conduct.
Louisiana Tech at Mississippi State. Bulldog vs. Bulldog vs. whyyyyyy does Skip Holtz keep getting jobbbbbbbbs
Vanderbilt at South Carolina. Involves a giant chicken attacking an aristocratic naval officer on the sidelines. This makes perfect sense in South Carolina even without football being involved.
Tennessee at Alabama. "Hope in reality is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man." -- Tennessee offensive coordinator Friedrich Nietzsche
Auburn at Arkansas. It's baffling how many games Auburn lost by a single score last year, and how Arkansas -- a team seemingly built to frustrate Auburn -- was not even close to being one of them.
Western Kentucky at LSU. Rested and ready after a gentle workout with Florida, the Tigers renew their series with the Hilltoppers for the greatest rivalry trophy of all: the Barking Spittoon! <—— this is real don't look it up
Texas A&M at Ole Miss. We hope Gary Danielson gets this call because there's nothing better than three hours of listening to an old man yell at football clouds about how spread teams can't control games while they are obviously doing this.
Missouri at Vanderbilt. "Journal entry, October 24. Went to Nashville. Won football game. It was fine. -- GP"
Kentucky at Mississippi State. A matchup of the SEC's two best quarterbacks! The SEC is a British costume drama because a.) saying true things out loud feels wrong and must never happen, and b.) it's about two or three powerful families running everything while peasants fight for the scraps.
Ole Miss at Auburn. What does Ole Miss do, football-wise?
There's kind of a high school-type spread offense, a good but not spectacular defense peppered with the occasional curve-breaking Robert Nkemdiche-type, and a never-ending stream of recruiting and program-building. Is the answer, "Recruit, and just kind of worry about what happens on the field later?" Is Hugh Freeze a variation on James Franklin? And does anyone care, when even the dismal end to 2014 meant increasing their win total for the third year in a row?
(Auburn probably won't be one of those this year, mind you, but it's worth asking.)
Tennessee-Martin at Arkansas. Bielema heats up frozen pizzas from his own body heat inside jacket, but generously shares slices with overmatched visitors.
Tennessee at Kentucky. This could mean something in the SEC East standings. Cries for help come in a thousand forms, and writing this sentence is one of them.
Vanderbilt at Houston. Umm ... Midnight Madness, Vandy fans! Wooo! Just watch the basketball go bouncedy-bounce-bounce and pay no mind to what is happening in Texas.
South Carolina at Texas A&M. The all-black A&M uniforms for this game have the name Aggie Nights, which is a glamorous way to say "Netflix and Shiner after bringing home a buck we spotlighted off the highway."
Florida at Georgia. Nah.
Mississippi State at Missouri. Dan Mullen's known to make odd decisions down the stretch. Pinkel once iced his own kicker. The ending to this, on a short week between two even teams, should be Lost-finale, end-of-Stephen-King-novel shambolic.
LSU at Alabama. A game so violent it should be charged with assault, offered a scholarship by Miles, and then left on LSU's roster until just before the season, when Miles clears it of any wrongdoing.
Auburn at Texas A&M. The new Kyle Field is so vast that Rip Torn guards the real Holy Grail buried somewhere within its depths. Choose, but choose wisely: drinking from the false grail will turn your blood to iced tea and make Steve Patterson your athletic director.
(The comparable Longhorn Grail Experience at Darrell K. Royal Stadium will cost you $32; souvenir grail available in gift shop for $45.99.)
Kentucky at Georgia. [/insert "mind-rattling loss for no reason by a Mark Richt team" here]
Arkansas at Ole Miss. This has to be something like working through Arkansas' offensive line as a defensive end.
South Carolina at Tennessee. A bankable shitshow of mutual errors, quarterbacks making things up as they go, and periodically brilliant plays by young defensive wunderkinds we haven't heard of yet. So probably a pretty good game, provided you know someone's going to make a mistake that makes you want to leap through the nearest plate glass window.
Vanderbilt at Florida. Finally, some schedule relief for poor Vandy.
Alabama at Mississippi State. Last year, Mullen's MSU finally scored a meaningful touchdown against Alabama! Maybe it'll get another couple this year! Saban gives the worst allowances because he is the cheapest Conference Dad ever.
Georgia at Auburn. Going to Auburn is the weirdest phenomenon because it's perfectly pleasant, the people are polite, the stadium is fine, there are nice flowers everywhere, and you will hate it so much. It's like losing a game in Pleasantville.
Arkansas at LSU. Predicting anything that happens in the fight for the Golden Boot is idiot's folly. Looking at it disturbs the balance of what you are looking at.
Casey Dick once blew a dude up on a run block in this game. If you came back and said, "I don't know how, but San Diego State won," I'd believe you. Arkansas might run for -5 yards and pass for 400 and win. LSU might do nothing weird and run an effective offense. That last part is impossible, but you get the point.
Watch it with protective gear and a vent hood, and bet NOTHING.
BYU at Missouri. Mizzou will lose, giving BYU Indiana's old share of the SEC East title.
North Texas at Tennessee. Don Henley went to UNT for a while. The Eagles are crap, and I hope Tennessee beats the Mean Green by 50 for all the times we as a nation have had to endure "Hotel California."
GAAHHHH I JUST THOUGHT ABOUT THE ACOUSTIC VERSION
BEAT THEM BY SEVENTY, VOLS
Florida at South Carolina. "Well, Jim, if you wanted to follow an idiot and wind up in a mess in a swamp, you could have just gotten elected to Congress. Little political humor for ya. Good luck, buddy."
Western Carolina at Texas A&M. There's got to be a secret Bass Pro Shops in Kyle Field, too. Not a Cabela's: they're from Nebraska, and you can't trust people who eat cinnamon rolls and chili as part of the same meal to sell you the right fishing waders.
Kentucky at Vanderbilt. James Franklin was a really good coach, wasn't he? He was really good at stuff.
Charleston Southern at Alabama. Part of the shameful SEC-SoCon Challenge (Big South, technically), the worst part of the SEC's fatty padding. Game you should watch instead: Georgia Tech at Miami, where it's warm and tickets are available.
Idaho at Auburn. Another SoCon Challenge game, even if Idaho isn't in the SoCon. Might want to watch if Paul Petrino is still Idaho's coach, because he might assault Gus Malzahn the moment Auburn goes up by 50.
Georgia Southern at Georgia. The most respectable SoCon Challenge game, and not just because Georgia Southern is in the Sun Belt. You could lose to the Eagles, Georgia. IT'S HAPPENED BEFORE.
LSU at Ole Miss. The definitely not-rivalry game between not-rivals LSU and Ole Miss, a game LSU fans definitely do not make too much of because they are definitely not rivals who use the term "Go to hell, Ole Piss" and would not be madder than hell if they lost to their not-rivals in Oxford. Nope. Not rivals.
[/Ole Miss and LSU sneak into a port-o-let to make out furiously]
[/LSU busts out yelling, "I DON'T KNOW HER SHE WAS JUST IN THERE"]
[/Ole Miss waves a coy goodbye]
Mississippi State at Arkansas. The only thing I'm certain of is one making an awful grease fire of itself in a letdown bowl somewhere between Houston, Memphis, and Jacksonville.
Tennessee at Missouri. This could decide the SEC East in the classically SEC manner: in the freezing cold of near-Iowa between one team with a quarterback from Ohio, facing another quarterback who aspires to be a rocket scientist. This is going to end up on a BTN Best of 2015 reel.
FAU at Florida. Buried deep within FAU's coaching staff, we find the future head coach of the Jets, Rams, or some other pro team that just needs to hire someone with a name that sort of sounds right.
(Don't act like the Dolphins wouldn't do it.)
Charlotte at Kentucky. Another horrible chunk of flab. Go watch Arizona-Arizona State instead.
The Citadel at South Carolina. Go watch Michigan State-Ohio State instead.
Texas A&M at Vanderbilt. Go watch Cal-Stanford instead.
Missouri at Arkansas. Mmmm, I can't think of a better pairing for a full-bellied tryptophan hangover than pairing sleepy Pinkel and hearty Bielema at 2:30 in the afternoon.
A locker room smells slaughterhouse-bad enough on a normal weekend, but the day after Thanksgiving has to leave even the strongest stomach spinning like a centrifuge. BERT probably walks through it all eating a leftover turkey sandwich with a backup in the jacket.
Georgia at Georgia Tech. Between the Chubb Ratio and the Georgia Tech Paleo-bone offense, there should be 15 total passes, time should run backwards, and Paul Johnson will stand atop a pile of burning TVs screaming, "YEAR ZERO. YEAAAAAAARRR ZERO IS HERE."
FSU at Florida. "Hey Jim, it's Steve. Too bad you got to play 'em in football at home. Be better if it were basketball and on the road, since they don't ever draw charges in Tallahassee."
Clemson at South Carolina.
who the hell called the Clemson/Carolina football game the Palmetto Bowl and not Rock N' Cock— Violence (@PhilKenSaban) August 18, 2015
same, this, etc.
Texas A&M at LSU. The Aggies stole -- hired -- LSU's longtime defensive coordinator John Chavis, adding the most SEC element of all to this rivlary: ongoing litigation. This is going to be Miles throwing "rock" for three and a half hours even though the game is not Paper Rock Scissors. (Miles is 103-29 at LSU. Maybe you should throw rock more in your life.)
Ole Miss at Mississippi State. Ole Miss coming off a three-game SEC losing streak and beating Miss State in the Egg Bowl was easily the hatingest hatething we saw last year, and that was before Miss State got in a bus accident on the way home.
Vanderbilt at Tennessee. This is the SEC East, so it could come down to Tennessee having to win to get in the title game, then losing in the cold rain at home by something stupid like a goal line fumble. When it happens, no one will realize, mostly because they were all watching other games, and this includes the SEC's executives.
Louisville at Kentucky. Kentucky can only hope to take advantage of a Louisville distracted by Petrino's departure to the University of Southern California.
Alabama at Auburn. I believe it when Saban says these games take years off his life, because everything Auburn does is designed to drive him insane.
I believe Malzahn when he says, "000010110011101110111011000011110101101," because he is a simple football computer made in Russia in the 1980s from single-wing DNA and easy binary coding.
I believe Kiffin when he says that he did 160 in his dad's Corvette, because Lane is a rad dude and we hang out all the time. I believe he'll call me again, maybe after he takes the Miami job.
I love the Iron Bowl because it ruins people's damn lives, like sports should.