Thursday, August 30, 2012
- by B.B. Branton
College football for five straight days kicks off the 2012 season this weekend starting tonight. Each week I will have predictions and notes on 16 games from D-I, II and III.
Excellent story lines throughout the long Labor Day weekend as Carson-Newman coach Ken Sparks seeks his 300th career win tonight, can Boise State continue to knock off BCS teams as the Broncos invade Michigan State on Friday and how will Penn State play without longtime coach Joe Paterno on the sidelines Saturday at noon.
Wisconsin-Whitewater (D-III) has won 45 straight games over three seasons, Notre Dame and Navy are in Ireland and Michigan takes on Alabama in Dallas.
A great opening weekend and it all starts tonight with South Carolina at Vanderbilt.
South Carolina at Vanderbilt (7 p.m., ESPN) … Vandy will be sky high for this one with good football atmosphere on campus … but The Old Ball Coach (USC coach Steve Spurrier) brings a ton of talent to Nashville, including running back Marcus Lattimore … great way to start SEC football.
Winner: South Carolina
Glenville State at Carson-Newman (7 p.m.) … C-N coach Ken Sparks seeks his 300th coaching win as he starts his 33rd season at Mossy Creek in Jefferson City, Tenn. … only 10 other college coaches have won 300 or more games.
Washington State at BYU (10:30 p.m., ESPN) … Battle of the Cougars as first year Wash. State coach and former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach will bring a high-octaine offense to Provo against a solid BYU defense … Leach is a BYU grad (1983) and holds a law degree from Pepperdine Univ. and should bring a winner to Pullman … but a victory on the road in Provo tonight is a tall order.
Tennessee vs. N.C. State in Atlanta (7:30 p.m., ESPNU)… kicks off huge sports weekend in Atlanta … Braves-Phillies, NASCAR, and Auburn-Clemson (Sat.) are also on tap ... First of two Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games in the Georgia Dome …
Boise State at Michigan State (8 p.m., ESPN) … No. 22 Boise State goes into Big 10 country and takes on No.13 Michigan State in Spartan Stadium on national TV … The Broncos have won their last six openers including at Georgia and Va. Tech … no blue turf in East Lancing and no Bronco star QB Kellen Moore (graduated) as the Broncos (12-1 in 2011) will get lanced and speared by the Spartans (11-3 in 2011…
Winner: Michigan State
Wisconsin-Whitewater at Washington U. (St. Louis) (9:30 p.m.) … Three-time defending D-III national champion Wisc-Whitewater (15-0 in 2011) has won 45 straight games ... UW-W has not lost since the current seniors were in high school (NCAA D-III championship finals in 2008) … last road loss was in 2004 … WashU. (6-4 in 2011) will join the Southern Athletic Conference (Sewanee, Rhodes, Centre, etc.) for the fall of 2015.
Notre Dame vs. Navy (9 a.m., CBS) … college football in Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland … the couch potato extravaganza begins at 9 a.m. EDT as football fans can watch gridiron action for close to 17 hours … starting with a hearty eggs, bacon and pancakes and some Lucky Charms cereal while watching football from Ireland and then close with a midnight snack of west coach games ending in the early morning hours.
Winner: Notre Dame
Ohio at Penn State (Noon, ESPN) … Ohio returns 15 starters and picked to win the MAC … Bobcats could give the Nittany Lions (9-4) a good battle in Happy Valley … myriad of story lines as football fans will be curious to see how Penn State plays without the late Joe Paterno (head coach 1966-2011) on the sidelines … players on both teams will have stickers with blue ribbons on the helmets showing support for child abuse victims.
Buffalo at Georgia (12:21 p.m., ESPN3 ) … Dawg fans will be barking at many tailgating parties long before kickoff and the chapel bell will ring Saturday night at midnight signifying another UGa win … Buffalo fans could be in awe of all the sights, sounds and pageantry of down home Southern football at its finest in Athens…
Puget Sound at Sewanee (2 p.m.) … not many places better to watch small college football on a Saturday afternoon than at McGee Field – the oldest field (1891) in the South – on the campus of the University of the South … The Sewanee Tigers have won five of their last season openers and beat the Loggers from Washington State (just south of Seattle), 34-28 in 2011 … Puget Sound have lost 10 in a row over two seasons and Sewanee won two of three to close 2011 season
Furman at Samford (3:30 p.m., CSS) … an interesting Southern Conference game on the tube to watch after an early TV game and waiting for Clemson-Auburn (7 p.m.) and Michigan-Alabama (8 p.m.).
Chattanooga at South Florida (7 p.m., ESPN3) … Mocs open on the road against another BCS school … USF is picked to finish second in the Big East … UTC has played Oklahoma, Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Nebraska in recent years … UTC coach Russ Huesman will use a two-quarterback offense in the season opener with Terrell Robinson and Jacob Huesman and has a strong veteran defense.
Winner: South Florida
Clemson vs. Auburn (7 p.m., ESPN) … great Battle of the Tigers in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta … early bragging rights game between SEC and ACC.
Grambling State vs. Alcorn State (7 p.m.) … Port City Classic in Shreveport, La. between two traditionally back colleges ... Grambling is coached by former Tigers star and Super Bowl winning quarterback Doug Williams.
Winner: Grambling State
Michigan vs. Alabama (8 p.m., ABC) … excellent intersectional game to open the season in Cowboys Stadium in Dallas … Tide will roll and continue the argument that the SEC is the strongest football conference
Ga. Tech at Va. Tech (8 p.m., ESPN) … ACC match-up as a Labor Day national TV audience will watch this after a long day of celebrations, picnics and family gatherings …
Winner: Va. Tech
contact B.B. Branton at firstname.lastname@example.org