The Viewer's Guide to this Weekend
FRIDAY, BECAUSE FOOTBALL MAKES THE LONELY GO AWAY.
BOISE STATE at FRESNO STATE (9:00 • ESPN2)
America's next great team--Fresno State--attempts WAC greatness by hosting Boise State. Both teams run the daylights out of the ball, but Boise's hyper-efficient Taylor Tharp should be the difference, as he leads the conference in passing efficiency and has Ian Johnson pounding away for play-action protection. Pat Hill's mustache is not pleased, but has not been during Fresno's thwarted career in the WAC versus Boise State: they've lost five to only one win over the past six years versus the Broncos.
SATURDAY – EARLY AFTERNOON: THINK ABOUT GETTING FIREWOOD, CLEAR SQUIRRELS OUT OF FIREPLACE.
Appetizer: WEST VIRGINIA at RUTGERS(12:00 • ABC)
Rutgers still claims Mike Teel at quarterback, who will be the gentleman in red attempting not to mess up Rutgers' pounding, Ray Rice-first-dibs offense on Saturday versus West Fuckin' Virginia. Teel is 'leet" spelled backwards, an appropriate inversion of the name since Teel remains the chief liability of the Rutgers offense. (Think of him as Anthony Morelli with lower television ratings.) Even in what we remembered to be a good performance in the USF game, Teel was still only 11/29 for 179 yards--and, to be fair, 2 TDs and no picks.
If he enjoyed this kind of "success" against USF's cover 2, he'll be drooling at WVU's 3-3-5 that makes up for its gaping holes by scaring the hell out of qbs with its unpredictable drops into coverage and oddly-angled blitzes. And we mean not that good, Pavlovian hunger-drool, but the catatonic drool of a couch-bound stoner.
Even if Rutgers wins, the passing won't be pretty.
Fend off the appetite for skilled aerials by watching the three best runners you'll see on the same field this year in a single game: Pat White, Steve Slaton, and Ray Rice. Your quads should be sore for them by the time this game ends.
FOR ABC NORTHEASTERN/MID-ATLANTIC CONSUMER WEDGE SECTION CONSUMERS:
SOUTH FLORIDA at UCONN: 3:30, ABC.
Some of you will be damned to watch this game of two Big East powers attempting to out-Tuberville the others in a game of defense, defense, and more defense. The stagnant reek will only be interrupted by the piercing scream of USF fans watching Matt Grothe improvise against UConn's mercenary, suffocating defense. With Grothe, it's like Christmas with a schizophrenic parent: sometimes, you get a free puppy with a gold collar! Sometimes, you get a sack of broken glass as you watch him fumbling on a run, tossing a running pick, or simply looking befuddled at the broken routes running through the defense trying to get open before he gets killed.
NEVER FEAR CONSUMER WEDGE MIDWESTERN/MOUNTAIN/GREAT PLAINS TYPES...
NEBRASKA at TEXAS. (3:30 • ABC Ranchero Flavor)
Attention viewers! Are you between the ages of 18 and 80? Were you molested, run over, stiffarmed, destroyed, harassed, heartbroken, killed, maimed, paved, disemboweled, concussed, embarrassed, subjected to severe emotional harm, burned alive, shot, stabbed, beaten bloody with a trench shovel, or otherwise disturbed by Nebraska during the 1990s? If so, contact your local cable operator and request this variety of coverage, because Nebraska's on fire and not looking like it's gonna make it to the flight deck, especially with Sam Keller struggling to make a hundred yards passing in a game in Callahan's abortive collegiate version of the West Coast offense.
Nebraska: not gonna make it.
FOR HAPPY ACC MARKETED PERSONS AND THOSE NOT WATCHING GEORGIA FLORIDA ON THAT OTHER NETWORK NOT NAMED CBS NOPE:
CLEMSON AT MARYLAND (3:30 • ABC Batter-Fried Flavor)
We'll be watching Georgia/Florida and will not watch a hot second of this game. Watching Maryland makes us weep for Ralph Friedgen, and we're not sure why: the puttering qb play? The running back rotation between Keon Lattimore and Lance Ball, which makes every announcer instantly mention that Keon Lattimore is related to Ray Lewis, as if this on its own would threaten Friedgen into starting him out of fear for his life? Clemson, meanwhile, will continue to do exactly what you expect a Tommy Bowden team to do: the opposite of exactly what you expect them to do. You have no power over this, as it is an incontrovertible law of the universe.
FLORIDA AT GEORGIA: THE COCKTAIL PARTY (3:30 • CBS)
We'll divert the usual trash talk because Georgia has done nothing but compete and keep the games close in this rivalry for quite some time now, including the 14-7 and 21-14 games of 2005 and 2006. They lost, of course, but it was respectable, at least, and Georgia fans could at least mutter "mullet jorts Lindsay Scott!" with an air of enthusiasm they have for other lost causes endorsed by the state of Georgia, like making sodomy illegal or passing Alabama in statewide literacy scores.
Let's say a word in praise of Gary Danielson instead. Danielson's always been a precise analyst, but something about his new pairing with Verne Lundquist has unyoked him and turned him from good into great. Watching him comment on games actually forces your brain to grow new neurons, and with Lundquist setting him up the chemistry's turned him into a veritable brain food you may consume with football. He's worth eschewing the other games and tuning into this one alone, one-sided winning streaks by the totally more awesome side in the rivalry aside.
(Night games pending! On the way! We swear! On a stack of hollow bibles!)