I would have had this up yesterday but I fell victim to one of the classic blunders, the most famous is, "Never get involved in a land war in Asia." Only slightly less well known is, "Never eat Chinese food on a business trip." Nothing like a good case of food poisoning which I think orginated from an establishment at the Mall of America, so folks in Minneapolis consider yourself warned.
So I spent most of the day sleeping and still could not stay awake to watch college football last night but based on the scores I have seen it was not that riveting. I have found that making preseason predictions is vastly impossible because we know so little about how these teams will actually perform. I would have to sit back a read all of the relevant articles written on every school to get any kind of grasp of how they might perform and then I would still know only very little. So predicting how their openers will go is even more mysterious unless it is powerhouse playing a I-AA school(which we have lots of fortunately.) Each week henceforth becomes easier to consider because we have real data to work from and not the comments of pundits and last season's performance. At any rate I will take a stab at it sans the BC game. Here is THF's ACC Week #1 preview.
Boston College 31 Central Michigan 24
I sometimes forget BC is even in the ACC. It must be a geographical issue or from having lived in MA I found out most people there forget BC exists as well. The Eagles actually played a road game out-of-conference which is not a practice I am accustomed to see from ACC schools with any kind of regularity. BC is all about consistency and quietly winning 7-8 games a season and occasionally upsetting a Notre Dame or Miami. After bolting to a 17-3 lead at the half the Eagles let a second string QB score three touchdowns before throwing an intercpetion in BC territory to essentially end the game. Somewhat of a lackluster performance, especially in the 2nd half. Then again it was the first game and on the road so I think BC will be just fine going forward. They get Clemson next in Death Valley so that will tell us a lot we should know about both of those teams.
Saturday, September 2nd
Northeastern at Virginia Tech, 1:30 PM
I think ESPN's headline on their preview article says it all about this one:
No. 17 Virginia Tech takes on I-AA Northeastern in opener
Yeah, should be a close one. Hokies win 51-10.
Rutgers at North Carolina, 3:30 PM
Check back later for a full post on UNC-Rutgers. UNC 24 Rutgers 21.
Florida Atlantic at Clemson, 3:30 PM
FAU was 2-9 last season. Will Florida Atlantic win more than 2 games this season? I really have no idea except this game will not be one of them. Clemson wins their preseason regular season opener 42-3.
William & Mary at Maryland, 6:00 PM
I worked with a Maryland fan who asked me about UNC hosting William and Mary two years ago because he thought UNC lost that game. I checked to archives and no UNC actually won the game 49-38. Of course giving up 38 points to William and Mary probably should have counted as a loss. Two things here. (1) I have nothing on William and Mary. I made a quick perusal on Google but something tells me the Tribe is not topping many college football preview articles. My assumption is that they are a decent I-AA team but then again if they are I-AA and (2) I have no reason to believe Maryland will struggle. Then no one probably expected UNC to give up 38 points against the Tribe either so let's call it a somewhat decent 38-24 win for the Terps.
Richmond at Duke, 6:00 PM
This is Duke's one and only chance to win a game this season. The Spiders send Duke on the road to the defeated season with 13-10 victory at Wallace Wade.
Appalachian State at NC State, 6:00 PM
App State is the defending I-AA champion but lost their QB from last year to graduation so in my humble estimation this is not the same team from last season. The Mountaineers should still prove forminable for a Wolfpack team that has a rebuilt defense and a QB in his first full year running the offense. ESPN last night had a feature in which they proclaimed Chuck Amato to be on the hot seat and if the Pack having a losing record then he will be fired. As if I needed any more convincing that ESPN does not know what it is talking about. Nevertheless this is a big game for the Wolfpack to continue the roll they started last season when they won 5 of their last 6 games. This game is the first of three lower tiered opponents for NC State(thought winning at Southern Miss will be tough) before playing BC and FSU so a 3-0 start would be nice for them and should quell the "hot seat" talk. Pack wins 28-13.
Syracuse at Wake Forest, 6:30 PM
Does anyone remember when Syracuse had a good football team? Seems like a lifetime ago but the Orange of today are not what they were in the Donovan McNabb or Qadry Ismail days. The Orange won one game last season which isn't saying much playing in the weakened Big East. Wake Forest is a team which seems to thrive just below the six win mark and then pops for a bowl bid every-so-often. I honestly think the Deacs are better without any empirical evidence to offer in defense of that claim. WF over SU 20-9.
Virginia at Pittsburgh, 7:00 PM
This is a nice test for UVa to start the season. There has been a world of upheaval in Charlottesville from the coaching staff to the players. That makes the opener more interesting since all of the changes are finally put into a live fire environment. Pitt was 5-6 last season and should be improved heading into 2006. Pitt at home should take the win 23-14.
Notre Dame at Georgia Tech, 8:00 PM
Game of the Week #1. It would be Game of the Week outright but FSU and Miami play on Monday so this game has to share the honor. Let's start with disclosures: I despise Notre Dame football. I just do. Maybe it was that I did not like Lou Holtz in the 1980s, maybe it is the fact Notre Dame always gets a favorable shake in bowl games because their fans will travel, or maybe it is the fact they have all their home games broadcast on a national network regardless of their record. And that is just the basis of my disdain. Add to that the unceremonial exit for Ty Willingham and now the incessant harping that Charlie Weis is the greatest football coach we have ever known which just makes me crazy. And let me also say(because some ND fan will catch this post and claim this is the case), no, it is not because I am jealous about ND's football success in light of UNC's perceived and actual futility in the same. I just do not like Irish football(the team not the nationality). So in light of those feeling let me lay out my dream scenario for Saturday night.
Notre Dame is up 21-17 on Georgia Tech with 2:33 left to play with a 3rd and 2 at midfield. Charlie Weis, the full embodiment of all football knowledge, mistakenly thinks it is fourth down and not third down so he decides to punt the ball away. Of course this is not questioned by any of the ND coaches, players, or fans because since Weis is the full embodiment of all football knowledge. They assume punting on 3rd down is simply part of his game plan which has already dictated every play in the game. Even the ABC announcers assume that Weis' move to punt on third down is simply genius on his part and will undoubtedly confuse the Yellow Jackets to the point that they lie down in awe of Weis' powerful football IQ. Meanwhile, Weis honestly and erroneously thinks it is 4th down, the Irish punt and GT returns the ball to their own 34 yard line. From there Reggie Ball connects with Calvin Johnson six times in eight plays to score a go ahead touchdown and with the two point conversion puts GT up 25-21. ND gets the ball back with 1:10 on the clock and Brady Quinn moves the Irish across midfield where on 1st and 10 with 34 seconds left he is flushed from the pocket and instead of throwing the ball away out of bounds he attempts to throw downfield and is intercepted for the fourth time. GT runs out the clock and wins the game knocking off the Irish. That's right I want Weis to make some crucial error in judgement/strategy and Brady Quinn to throw four interceptions thus ending any and all Heisman hype for him.
I also may need some form of therapy to deal with all of this displaced hatred.
Actually I would love to see GT win this one because I do think ND is more hype than reality. GT does have a chance but I think in the end the Irish will find a way to win. ND 28 GT 24.
Monday, September 4th
Florida State at Miami, 8:00 PM
Game of the Week #2. It is so nice of them to get this game out of the way right up front. Both teams have something to prove here. Miami has to prove that the loss of Ryan Moore is neither a problem nor a distraction. FSU has to prove that the whole package is back in Tallahassee. I think the defenses will end up deciding this one. I just hope we are spared the game we got last year which was low scoring, full of penalties and turnovers. Of course it is a defensive battle low scoring and turnovers go with the territory. Both offenses will be looking for the footing early which will only help both defenses turn this into a virtual stalemate. And if it comes down to a FG? FSU would rather not go there. I say Miami by a TD 17-10 but as I said before, preseason predictions are worthless and based on less concrete evidence that the tabloids use to print their garbage.