Every slate of Thursday night games, reviewed on a scale of one to five Paul Reisers, the once and future king of midweek primetime television.
Oh, you poor, starving college football fan. Hunger has robbed you of whatever palate you once had, so you'll see this plate of old deli ham and Kraft singles and think it's the finest meal you've ever been served. Curse your malleable mind!
The reality is you're looking at an ugly-off the Gamecocks win something like 17-9, a rematch of what might be the most terrible triple overtime game ever, Lane Kiffin taking out his frustration on The Pile Of Old Leather Formerly Known as Norm Chow, Terry Bowden sweating through three-plus polo shirts in Orlando, and hopefully a good Utes-Aggies game. Two and a half Reisers.
ADDENDUM: We inadvertently left out Mississippi-Vanderbilt, which seems like a good game on its face but will actually stink because Hugh Freeze's Bible powers work better the closer you are to the Sabbath. No change to Reiser value.
The Trojans were real weird last year, dropping 7 games but only getting beat by more than a touchdown in one of them. Meanwhile, Arkansas State is breaking in yet another new head coach. FUN FACT: When Larry Blakeney started as the head coach of Troy, Bryan Harsin was a freshman. In high school. Two Reisers.
EXTREME POSSIBILITY 1: Clemson comes into this game after a big win over Georgia and with effectively two extra weeks to rest and prepare.
EXTREME POSSIBILITY 2: An 0-2 Clemson uses the bye to overthink things and lines Tajh Boyd up at middle linebacker.
The beautiful thing? Either extreme is equally likely to result in an NC State upset. Four Reisers!
Virginia Tech-Georgia Tech
I could be wrong (I almost always am), but this feels like one of those nights where everyone gears up to watch Hokies-Jackets and by halftime we've switched over to a weird-as-shit Iowa State game where Tulsa has like 300 rushing yards but is somehow losing by five the whole time. Paul Johnson is primetime TV poison. Two Reisers.
"That was the night the wheels came off for Jim L. Mora," recalled the grizzled UCLA fan. "A 3-0 team that'd beaten Nebraska on the road goes into Salt Lake - and loses? No sir. Guerrero had Andy Reid on the phone that very evening."
On the other hand, in the four times Monroe and Western have played since the Hilltoppers joined the Sun Belt, the largest margin of victory has been five points. BONUS - at least one of these teams may have beaten a major conference team by this date! (Sorry, Wake Forest and/or Kentucky.) One and a half Reisers.
USC's 2013 Revenge Tour starts here, and the Trojans have an extra week to formulate their plan, which will probably involve dog poop in a Wildcat coach's headset. Arizona probably loses this game but wins the media war after Lane Kiffin runs a fake field goal with seven seconds left and his team up two touchdowns. Two Reisers.
The first road game of the year for the Hurricanes (playing USF in Tampa doesn't count, since Tampa is just Miami on horse tranquilizers), while the Heels might only play one more bowl-eligible team after this. God, I can already see the ESPN graphic comparing the NCAA punishments for these two programs. And I bet they get Rick Fox in the booth at some point. I really hate Rick Fox. One Reiser.
Ninety percent of the time it's used, "Thursday night in Murfreesboro" is the beginning of a police report. Instead, we're going to focus on UK-Clanga, which is a) a really good name for a British rapper and b) THE LAST GAME DAN MULLEN WILL WIN AT MISSISSIPPI STATE. This is who the Bulldogs play after Kentucky, in order: at South Carolina, at Texas A&M, home against Alabama, at Arkansas, and home against Mississippi.
It's a bold prediction, but I'm making it - Mullen beats Kentucky, Mississippi State loses out the rest of the season, Mullen gets fired, Mullen gets hired by some ACC team, Mullen wrecks shit, woman inherits the earth. Three and a half Reisers.
Arizona St-Washington State
Maybe the hardest Thursday night to predict, because what if Todd Graham comes out dressed in Miami Dolphins gear and says it's just a Halloween costume? Angry Pitt fans will choke on their Chipped Beef Chews screaming "I TOLD YOU SO!" (Chipped Beef Chews are the only thing you get trick or treating in Pittsburgh.)
It's also Nick Saban's birthday, which you can ruin by saying you can't come to his birthday party because you've got a date with the most electric football team in the Yellowhammer State. Use this, in postcard form, as your RSVP. A tentative three Reisers.
Ducks-Cardinal is going to be an awesome game and don't you dare suggest otherwise. "Oh, but I have to work the next day." SHUT UP YOUR JOB IS NOT IMPORTANT. (Unless you're an astronaut doctor. No, a doctor who treats astronauts. Not an astronaut with a medical license. There's no disease in space, stupid.) Five Reisers.
What happens when a disappointing force collides with a letdown-prone object? The answer is that Dabo Swinney rejects your science and makes his own, which mostly just involves seeing which crayons melt the fastest when left on a dashboard in the sun. DaboScience quickly becomes mandatory curriculum in Pickens County schools, even as crayon prices skyrocket. Two point five Reisers, because college football is a circle of life that begins and ends with you staying up too late on a Thursday watching a weirdo coach from a South Carolina school gesticulating wildly after a fumble.