College football is back! College football is back! COLLEGE FOOTBALL IS BACK!
Most sports return from their offseason with slight breaks from normalcy. The NFL and MLB each features a game slightly before the rest, followed by a routine slate featuring every team. For the NBA, there are two or three games, then a routine slate.
College football has that early kickoff game, but it also returns from its offseason with a rowdy-ass weeklong fiesta between random teams at random times in random places. Whoever scheduled Week 1 realizes we aren't interested in reason and are willing to watch any and all college football-like product thrown in our faces.
By my count, we can watch at bare minimum, 39 hours and 45 minutes in Week 1, starting Thursday, ending Monday and with multiple games on every day in between. That is based on games lasting three hours, a conservative estimate, since plenty of these late games will surely exceed three hours.
If you want to completely immerse yourself in the warm, ridiculous embrace of college football's first week, here one path, and the full viewing schedule for every day is here. (All times listed are Eastern.)
6 p.m.: North Carolina at South Carolina, ESPN
"They got us playin' on a school night? Sure hope those UNC kids get back to campus in time for those real classes they have to take Friday morning." -- Steve Spurrier, in my mind
That UNC-USC border battle is maybe the best game of the night, unless you think it's ...
8:30 p.m.: Michigan at Utah, Fox Sports 1
The Jim Harbaugh debut spectacular! You could even watch a dedicated camera of him on the sidelines! (That would defeat the purpose of "watching football," since you'd be just watching a guy yelling instead of watching football, but whatever.)
And after that, you can catch the end of ...
10 p.m.: UTSA at Arizona, Pac-12 Networks
That leads us to ...
1 a.m.: Colorado at Hawaii, CBS Sports Network
COLLEGE FOOTBALL IN THE LIVING ROOM, FLIPPIN' IT ON / AND YOU KNOW IT AIN'T STOPPIN' TIL FOUR IN THE MORNING (FOUR IN THE MORNING)
This kickoff (7 p.m. Hawaii time!) is my favorite part. College football is all about unnecessarily extravagant bonanzas, and there is no better way to celebrate its return than watching dudes in the middle of the Pacific past 4 a.m. ET.
We were starving in the desert, and we just were given a gorgeous three-course dinner. We finish that dinner, belly stuffed. We were ready to go to sleep. And all of a sudden, we walked into a damn LUAU. People are handing us plates of roast pork. Look at all these tropical fruits!
College football will be plentiful in the next few months. You don't need to consume all this! Go to sleep! It's a work night! It's only Colorado-Hawaii!
To hell with that. Stay up with me all night watching one of the Pac-12's worst teams take on a program that is happy to merely exist. College football is back, and we will sleep when we're dead. Or when it's the offseason.
Total for Thursday: at least 10 hours
3:30 p.m.: Charlotte at Georgia State, ESPNU
Is this a good game? No. It will be one of the lowest quality games between two FBS teams of the year. Charlotte is our newest FBS team and should be bad. And how bad Georgia State has been is a testament to how bad Charlotte should be this year.
But far as I can tell, this is our only During A Work Day college football action until bowl season. Zone out. Enjoy bad football.
7 p.m., Baylor at SMU, ESPN
Michigan State at Western Michigan, ESPNU
Top-five teams go on the road to play in-state opponents they should beat by 40 or so! P.J. Fleck has been recruiting pretty well at WMU, so that might be the better option than Baylor pounding SMU.
A few other games are also wrapping up as we wait for ...
10:15 p.m., Washington at Boise State, ESPN
The Chris Petersen spectacular! Boise State beating power-conference teams is fun, especially with a side of "You left us for this?"
Total for Friday: at least 9 hours and 15 minutes
You can watch college football all Saturday! By November, this will feel daunting. Today, it feels SPECTACULAR!
12 p.m.: Stanford at Northwestern, ESPN
This should be ugly and kinda un-competitive, since neither team is good at offense and Stanford is much better. There are no better options, though.
3:30 p.m.: Louisville at Auburn, CBS
BYU at Nebraska, ABC
Two games between good football teams! At the same time!
7 p.m.: Arizona State vs. Texas A&M, ESPN
7:30 p.m.: Texas at Notre Dame, NBC
8 p.m.: Wisconsin vs. Alabama, ABC
HELL YEAH COLLEGE FOOTBALL IS BACK
11 p.m.: Arkansas State at USC, Pac-12 Networks
This is hot trash, but it will go until 2 a.m., which means we get:
Total for Saturday: at least 14 hours, like the football gods intended
3 p.m.: Purdue at Marshall, Fox Sports 1
3:30 p.m.: Arkansas-Pine Bluff vs. South Carolina State, ESPN
The only reason college football on Sunday doesn't happen more often is because the NFL would fold instantly if it had to compete with Purdue football. The Boilermakers are benevolent enough to let the NFL continue existing.
Sure, watch Marshall beat up Purdue if lower-tier B1G sadness thrills you, but I'd advise you try the MEAC/SWAC Challenge, pitting the premier HBCU conferences. If they show the marching bands at halftime, this is can't-miss.
Total for Sunday: at least three and a half hours
8 p.m.: Ohio State at Virginia Tech, ESPN
Monday night football! Hey, that should be a weekly thing! We can write a theme song!
I kinda checked out on Ohio State last year after they lost to Virginia Tech in Columbus, but I think it's safe to assume they didn't do anything good, right? I hear they haven't even named a starter at quarterback yet, so it's probably safe not to expect much out of the Bucks this year either. The Hokies probably should roll in this rematch.
Total for Monday: at least three hours
And then about 67 hours later, Week 2 begins.