College football is back. And, if you're like me, this makes this weekend one of the better weekends of the year. It doesn't hurt that there are watchable games on tonight through Monday. Good games even. Some you might not have considered.
When I think of this weekend I think of either a UFC or boxing fight card. From that view, let's take a look at some of the more interesting match-ups.
Thursday, September 1st. (The Pre-show)
The UFC does this more than boxing, it schedules fights on a "pre" show that's either streamed online or aired on an alternate channel before the Pay-Per-View. That's how I view Thursday. Here are the key matches. Which also provides a guideline for what I plan to watch this weekend.
Opening bout: Appalachian State vs. Tennessee (6:30PM CT, SEC Network)
Tennessee is a prospect from whom big things are expected this year. App State is the plucky underdog that was very good in a smaller promotion, but is trying to prove themselves in the big leagues. App State has a puncher's chance, but I think the Vols are just too good.
Bout 2: Indiana @ Florida International (6:30PM CT, ESPNU)
You've maybe heard of one of these fighters, at least you THINK you remember something about them but, you're not sure. One thing is for sure, there could be some offensive fireworks here.
Bout 3: Rice @ Western Kentucky (7:00PM CT, CBSSN)
Two guys who made their bones battling it out in smaller promotions go at it in the most undercard of undercard bouts. This is like when Legacy and XFC square off in MMA. I give the edge to Western Kentucky here, but I think Rice scores a little.
Bout 4: South Carolina @ Vanderbilt (7:00PM CT, ESPN)
Hey, you know these guys right? The one was a former title contender with a big name that got dropped, but is promising to come back stronger than ever. The 2nd is a plucky contender who is always a tough out. I have Vanderbilt in this with a good chance to knock off the aging former contender. South Carolina has a long way to go.
Bout 5: Oregon State @ Minnesota (8:00PM CT, BTN)
This will be billed as the "main event" of the evening but we all know that the prior bout was the best one. Imagine a shop-worn, beaten up, but flashy. former contender facing off against a tough, tough man. Oregon State is going to head to Minnesota to get whipped. It's a paycheck fight.
Friday, September 2nd. (The undercard)
These games are going to be more hit and miss. There are a lot of mismatches designed to promote prospects, and fights where a prospect plays against a last-minute replacement fighter. Still, there's some hope.
Bout 6: Army @ Temple (6:00PM CT, CBSSN)
Army is the aged old pro, fighting because that's all they know how to do. Temple is a career mid-card fighter looking for one more run. Temple rolls.
Bout 7: Colorado vs. Colorado State. (7:00PM, CT, ESPN)
It's no secret that these two fighters don't like one another all that well, they grew up together in the same neighborhood, trained at the same gym etc. And while both have fallen on hard times they still can be expected to put on a show. Plus, one of them, at least, appears to be on the cusp of a career resurgence. Should be an interesting game to watch.
Bout 8: Kansas State @ Stanford (8:00PM, CT, FS1)
Kansas State is the old, former champion limping into the hometown of the upstart challenger in search of one last fight. As we kick off coach Bill Snyder's final year let's hope for his sake that they still have at least a puncher's chance this year. Probably not in this game against the Cardinal but somewhere.
Bout 9: Toledo @ Arkansas State (8:00PM, CT, ESPNU)
Again, while the game above would have been the main event, I think this has the potential to be the much better game. These are two fighters that, when you hear their names, you THINK you remember seeing them once before but aren't sure. I think this is going to be a spectacular game with Arkansas State getting the win.
Saturday, September 3rd (Fight Night)
It's madness. I touch on a lot of these games in my Week 1 Five, but to my mind there are four main events, OU vs. Houston, Wisconsin vs. LSU, UCLA vs. aTm, and Alabama vs USC.
But, there are a TON of other good games on Saturday, and college football always has a way of providing a surprise or three.
Then, the best part? There are still games to come on Sunday and Monday.
College Football is back. Thank goodness.