Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Pitch: The House Rock Built's Viewer's Guide

So, apparently, there is more than one college football game being played this Saturday. I discovered this recently and was a bit shocked, particularly since I hardly had any time to prepare for this. Since I will be in Atlanta drinking, tailgating, and trying hard to pry my eyes away from the train wreck that will be Orson Swindle break-dancing in his Dungeons & Dragons costume, there's a pretty good chance I'll miss out on too much live action for the rest of the league. Ergo, I will be setting up the DVR at home to grab the tastiest morsels of football so they will be waiting for me when I come home, allowing me to spend Labor Day surveying the competition, replacing lost bodily fluids, and booking travel for my appearances in Atlanta Municipal Court for weekend-related shennanigans. So here's my schedule, and how the game is being pitched to me:

Vanderbilt at Michigan. One of the more curious and novel games of this kickoff weekend. While most big-time teams scurried around and found sickly programs with one or more direction in their name for their league-mandated 12th game, Michigan picked up Vandy, which makes me think about a senior prom where the leggy blonde who got dumped by her date strolls over to the punch bowl and asks the most-pimplefaced nerd in the circle of nerds for the last dance. To extend the analogy to its natural absurd extreme, Vandy's chances of winning might be about the same as the dork scoring with Molly Ringwald, but god knows we'll all be cheering him on.

On a more serious note, it's cool to see a Big 10-SEC showdown this early in the year, and while Jay Cutler is currently tearing apart preseason NFL defenses, Vandy is a spunky team that plays with enough gumption to keep this possibly interesting for a few quarters.

The Pitch: Down-on-its luck powerhouse invites a nerdy whipping boy from the south to play. I smell a reality series!

Akron at Penn State. Mostly to scout out the Irish's next opponent, as this appears on its face to be your standard MACC preseason bloodletting at State College. But hey, the Zips are the defending MACC champs and, true to their conference's motto, fling the piggy around with reckless abandon, accumulating big points on offense and hemorrhaging points on the opposite side. With the huge turnover in personnel for the Nittany Lions this year, this game might give us an indication if Paterno's lads are primed to build on last year's success or if they will obey history and revert to their mediocre selves after a winning season.

The Pitch: Another thrilling chapter in the eternal war between zombies and kangaroos. This time, it's personal.

California at Tennessee. Call it the Phil Steele bowl, for teams that have been given big preseason love by the pundits despite coming off of a lackluster season. The storylines are numerous: Will Cal find a compotent athlete capable of throwing a five yard pass? Can Tennessee recover mentally from last year's soul-crushing stinkfest? Can Phil Fulmer eat 58 hot dogs at halftime?

The Pitch: Watch for a fierce mascot battle on the sidelines, as Dooger, the drug-addled peacenik and Junior and Lulu, the moonshine-swilling hillbillies carry the torch for one of the sport's greatest traditions.

UAB at Oklahoma. Normally, watching a top ten team squaring off against a Conference USA squad in week one is like watching Chuck Norris sneaking into a beginner's karate class and whooping ass with a twisted smile on his face, but I found a place on my DVR schedule to squeeze this bad boy in. Last year, Oklahoma fell flat on its face with a season-opening crapfest against Tulsa. While the Sooners pulled their act together and saved some face, this offseason's quarterback turmoil might very well distract Stoops' lads enough to push this typically rigamarole affair into a highly-entertaining comedy of errors.

The Pitch: Will the corn-fed frontrunners from Oklahoma start their title run, or are they setting themselves up for a Bomarring?

Notre Dame at Georgia Tech. Duh.

USC at Arkansas. Everyone seems to be in love with Arkansas this year, and I'm still not quite sure why. This is the Arkansas team that sludged through the lower trough of the SEC. But, hey, I'll give them a shot, especially since I made a wager with the readers that if Arkansas ends up in the top 10 this year, I will post a compromising photo of myself in Razorbacks apparel. Suffice to say, I have no intention of losing this bet, and I think a 70-point drubbing at the hands of the Trojans will put me well on my way to winning.

More importantly, though, this will likely be the most innuendo-laden football game of the year, nay, perhaps even the century. Dick & Johnson, Nutt, the Trojans wrapping up the Hogs, a man named Booty, and maybe, just maybe, the college football debut of my favorite blue-chip recruit, Rusty Cocklord. The mind boggles at the limitless dirty headline potential.

The Pitch: Hogs' Nutt, on the strength of Dick & Johnson, blast through Trojans and ravage Booty!

Danger, Will Robinson! Innuendo overload!

BYU at Arizona. Don't know, it's on at 4:30 AM and I'm not recording anything else. I've been hearing that Arizona is supposed to be improved and it's sometimes entertaining watching BYU's 3-3-5 stack and gunslinging offense. I'll probably fast forward to crowd shots, as there's usually a plethora of fine looking ultra-suntanned ladies in the stands in Tucson.

The Pitch: Jesus loves you, it's all explained in this pamphlet

Washington State at Auburn. Another 4:30 special, so why the hell not? I ranked Auburn #1 in my blogpoll more or less sight unseen, mostly because I'm a scared and confused midwesterner and I know that they're returning a pretty solid team. It'll be good to take a gander at the team I have invested so much of my reputation in, and hopefully they won't disappoint as the Sunday Morning QB believes they will.

The Pitch: The centuries-old blood feud between Alabama and rural Washington will finally be settled on the field!

Florida State at Miami.
The Pitch: First one to ten points wins!.