First in a series
It's the first week of the college football season. The kind of week where you're desparate. The kind of week where you look at the ESPNU game, Thursday, Aug. 28 at 7:30 p.m. ET, the first game of the year, and the names -- Vanderbilt at Miami (OH) -- really don't mean anything. College football is back.
Luckily, you need not spend much time on that game. There are three other Thursday matchups. The marquee game (such as it is), N.C. State at South Carolina, opens up at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. Wake Forest squares of with Baylor at 8 p.m. ET on FSN, and Oregon State meets Stanford an hour later on ESPN2.
Friday brings SMU at Rice, 8 p.m. ET on ESPN, in a game that marks the beginning of the June Jones era at SMU.
Then comes Saturday. Oh, Saturday is the day. Frankly, almost all of the games look intriguing -- at least the televised ones -- because of the lack of college football and the thrilling intersectional matchups, like BC at Kent State in Cleveland. (Yes, actually televised, 7:30 p.m., ESPNU)
One nonconference meeting that is actually interesting is Utah at Michigan and Southern Cal at Virginia, both 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC. The reining DIAAFCSETC champion, Appalachian State travels to LSU to take another shot at shocking one of the big boys, this time on national television, 5 p.m. ET on ESPN.
The primetime slate features Alabama vs. Clemson in Atlanta and Michigan State at California, both 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Illinois takes on Missouri 30 minutes later on ESPN.
Kentucky at Louisville, a rivalry game between two teams trying to find out what they've got in 2008, kicks off Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.
And things wrap up Monday with two cross-country games. Fresno State travels to Rutgers at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN, while Tennessee matches up with UCLA on Monday Night Football, 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.
And then, it ends. But with the knowledge that the next college football game is just three days away.