College Football · college football TV schedule

Biggest games of the 2016 College Football season – Part One!

Now we are getting serious.  The real college football posts are starting.  We are under 75 days until the start of the college football season.  FINALLY!  It feels like the 2015 season ended eons ago (it was a little more than five months but still).  I am starting to get excited for the upcoming season.

And as tradition states (all three years of it), the first big set of posts for this season is the annual biggest (and most important) games of the year posts.  As per usual, this will be split out among four separate posts.  Otherwise it would be such a long post that I would even get bored with it.

Before we get started with the actual games, I will do something I did last year and that’s rank the college football weeks.  As we all know, all weeks aren’t created equal in college football land.  Some are much better (American Thanksgiving weekend) than others (the week before American Thanksgiving weekend).  So without further adieu, here are the rankings (I have put the date as the Saturday of that week to ease confusion…I hope):

  1. Week 5 (October 1)
  2. Week 13 (November 26 – American Thanksgiving)
  3. Week 6 (October 8)
  4. Week 11 (November 12)
  5. Week 9 (October 29)
  6. Week 7 (October 15)
  7. Week 4 (September 24)
  8. Week 3 (September 17)
  9. Week 1 (September 3)
  10. Week 10 (November 5)
  11. Week 12 (November 19)
  12. Week 8 (October 22)
  13. Week 2 (September 10)

Yes, I am serious.  The American Thanksgiving college football week is not the best one this season.  I have Week 5 pegged as the best and you will see why when I list the games.  In terms of biggest games, nothing trumps it.  No surprise with the bottom week.  Again it’s week 2 which is usually a horseshit week for college football.  I mean I’ll still watch it like the depraved, addicted college football fan I am, but I am always amazed at how brutally bad the schedule is almost every year in this one week.  The other interesting part is all the hullabaloo about opening week.  Sure it’s arguably the best opening weekend in college football this century.  But when you stack it up against conference play (which is almost always more important), it doesn’t hold up as well.  Saying that, it will be a great intro to the season.

I have not included Conference Championship week because of course it would be the most important week of the regular season.  Army-Navy is its own beast (or at least has been for the past decade).  So neither of those weeks get ranked.  So let’s get down to it!

Week 1

Houston vs. Oklahoma (in NRG Stadium in Houston) – This may ruffle a few feathers.  Especially Bama, Wisky, Nole, Reb, Trojan, Irish, and Horns fans.  With all the hype for opening week, this is the one game that hasn’t got nearly enough of it and should have got most of it.  This could very well be the true coming out party for Houston (yes the Peach Bowl victory over Florida State was huge but this is different).  If they can somehow win this game over the Sooners, they may set themselves up for an improbable run to the College Football Playoff (and eventual invite to the Big XII). (Noon, ABC)

Alabama vs. USC (in Arlington) – Now this is the game that everyone believes is the game of the week.  I can fully understand that.  The team of the century (so far) against a possibly resurgent Trojan program.  I still do wonder if USC is all the way back and if they made the right choice with Clay Helton as head coach.  I have a feeling we will find out a lot the night of this game. (8:00, ABC)

Florida State vs. Ole Miss (in Orlando) – The traditional opening week Monday nighter (before actual Monday Night Football starts).  This will be a good one and if it wasn’t in Orlando (let’s be honest, this is about as neutral site as Wisconsin playing LSU in Lambeau) I would almost pick the Rebels as the favourites.  Chad Kelly starts his Heisman campaign here and by then we should know if Ole Miss will be serving penalties from all the Laremy Tunsil fallout.  (Monday, 8:00, specialty pack)

LSU vs. Wisconsin (in Green Bay) – And speaking of home field advantage, despite the organizers making sure some LSU fans got tickets to this one, this will be a partisan crowd in favour of the Badgers no doubt.  Too bad LSU doesn’t give a shit about that.  The Hat plans on taking The Tigers into The Lambeau to beat The Wisky.  (3:30, ABC/TSN3)

Georgia vs. North Carolina (in Atlanta) – OK it is officially getting way out of hand with these neutral site games.  There are nine in week one.  Too many.  It takes the lustre off of the idea.  So are the Heels ready to take the next step?  Will Kirby Smart improve on what Mark Richt did in Athens for years?  Will Larry Fedora wear a fedora on the sidelines?  How many S-E-C chants will we hear?  You can find out all this and more…if you have the specialty pack.  Sorry.  (5:30, specialty pack)

Kansas State at Stanford – The only non-neutral-site game on the list.  This is a bit of a sneaky one as there are others that could have filled this #6 spot (as you will see in the honourable mention section).  Christian McCaffrey begins his second attempt at the Heisman while Papa Bill Snyder continues to try and do some more Bill Snydering in the Little Apple as the Wildcats try to rebound from one of their worst seasons in thirty years (Ron Prince era not included).  (Friday, 9:00, FOX Sports One….dammit)

Honourable mention: Bowling Green at Ohio State (Noon, BTN), Clemson at Auburn (9:00, specialty pack), Notre Dame at Texas (Sunday, 7:30, ABC), Arizona vs. BYU (in Glendale) (10:30, FOX Sports One dammit), UCLA at Texas A&M (3:30, CBS)

Week 2

Arkansas at TCU – And this is why Week 2 is the worst of all the weeks.  This is the game of the week?  Yup!  Not taking anything away from the Hogs or Frogs but unless they were facing a top 5 team they probably shouldn’t be at the top of any best games list.  Anyway, here we look at two teams that are juuuuuuust on the outside looking up at the major powers.  The loser here coughs up any chance at the College Football Playoff.  (7:00, specialty pack)

BYU at Utah – Regular season Holy War!!!  After last year’s Las Vegas Bowl where BYU almost made out with the comeback to end all comebacks, I don’t know how these two teams could come up with an encore.  They will have to.  Being one of the biggest games of the week means the hype meter on this may go off the charts.  And for the love of Joseph Smith, Big XII, just invite the Cougars already.  (7:30, FOX)

Western Kentucky at Alabama – No I don’t think the Hilltoppers can beat the Tide.  However, I do believe WKU will put a big scare into Bama in this one.  I don’t know if the Fighting Evil Sabans will look past this game but they shouldn’t.  This has upset potential all over it (even though, again, I don’t think that will happen).  This may be the true coming out party for Western Kentucky as they have almost nothing to lose and everything to gain.  (3:30, specialty pack)

Washington State at Boise State – It’s always fun when a Mike Leach-coached team is good.  Throwing the ball like 90 times a game.  All offense all the time!  YEE-HAW!  They will get a massive test though going to the blue turf as they will surely be an underdog.  Many are conflicted on who to pick as their Group of Five champion this season, the Broncos or Houston.  Boise may prove in this one why they should be everyone’s pick.  (10:15, specialty pack)

Tennessee vs. Virginia Tech (in Bristol) – Ah, the Battle of Bristol.  Bristol Motor Speedway will host a college football game.  The first time a racetrack has ever hosted a football game.  Because…well, to be honest I don’t know if it makes a whole lot of sense to host a football game on a racetrack.  Hopefully I am proven wrong and just the look of it is awesome.  Both teams are on the precipice of bigger things.  New coach in Blacksburg in Justin Fuente and Butch Jones hoping to finally reach his goal of an SEC East title.  Should be a good one.  And no TURNIN LEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEFT!  (8:00, ABC)

Penn State at Pittsburgh – Yes, this is not what you would call a star-studded week of college football.  Middle-of-the-road Big Ten team against middle-of-the-road ACC team doesn’t exactly move the needle.  Will be interesting to see if Christian Hackenberg’s replacement will be sacked less than 80 times this season.  (Noon, specialty pack)

Honourable mention: California at San Diego State (10:30, CBS Sports Network), Central Michigan at Oklahoma State (Noon, FOX Sports who cares we aren’t getting it), Nevada at Notre Dame (3:30, NBC), North Carolina at Illinois (7:30, BTN), Tulsa at Ohio State (3:30, ABC)

Week 3

Ohio State at Oklahoma – What a stark contrast between the previous week and this one.  Now this is a game of the week.  Hell, this could be considered the regular season game of the year (and after further look, yes, I can say it is by a hair).  Two CFP candidates going toe-to-toe in Norman.  I would say this is an elimination game but we know how early season games tend to not affect the rankings as much as late-season conference play.  This should be a dandy (say that in your head in a Keith Jackson voice).  (7:30, FOX)

Alabama at Ole Miss – Most weeks this would be the game of the week.  Not so here.  Then again, it should be a MASSIVE early season SEC West matchup.  Unless another team comes out of the woodwork to seriously contend (perhaps an LSU or Auburn or even Mississippi State), this may be for the SEC West title.  And the thing is, Ole Miss may end up being a slight favourite here especially since they have a true Heisman candidate in Chad Kelly.  Must-watch for sure.  (3:30, CBS)

Michigan State at Notre Dame – Another potential CFP quasi-elimination game that may not necessarily eliminate the loser.  But a loss here would make it very difficult for either team to get back into the final four at the end of the season.  With Connor Cook not around anymore, you have to wonder how good the Spartans will be.  The Irish have the opposite problem: two good quarterbacks and only one spot available.  Cue the QB controversy if the Irish have a not-so-good game here in South Bend.  (7:30, NBC)

USC at Stanford – It’s the Christian McCaffrey Show!  With special guests David Shaw…Clay Helton…new USC quarterback Max Browne…the guy handing the ball off to Christian McCaffrey…the return of Clancy Pendergast…and the Stanford tree!!!  This is where McCaffrey has to start his Heisman campaign.  Last year he didn’t get much in terms of recognition until a bit past the halfway point, which was too far back to catch up with the other contenders.  He goes off on the Trojans in this one, he may have one foot already at the Heisman Trophy presentation in the Big Apple.  (8:00, ABC)

Mississippi State at LSU – This is the consolation game in the SEC West…kind of.  This matchup may be forgotten with the Bama-Ole Miss hype.  The loser here is almost definitely out of the SEC West.  Harsh to say this so early but there’s no way you could lose this then somehow run the rest of the SEC schedule.  Not.  Gonna.  Happen.  And despite the fact LSU is as close to cash money as it gets when playing at night in Death Valley, remember what the Bulldogs did to them last time they were in that exact same scenario.  (7:00, specialty pack)

Florida State at Louisville – These days, you almost have to say that Louisville has the shittiest divisional setup.  Having to play Florida State and Clemson every year makes it near impossible to even get to the ACC Championship.  At some point, they may have the team to do it.  I can’t see them winning against both those teams but having the Noles come to Papa John’s and the rabid Cardinal fans there could be enough to propel Louisville up the rankings early on before their visit later on to Clemson.  (Noon, ABC/TSN5)

Honourable mention: Pittsburgh at Oklahoma State (3:30, specialty pack), Houston at Cincinnati (7:30, TSN3/TSN5), UCLA at BYU (10:30, specialty pack), Temple at Penn State (Noon, BTN), Miami at Appalachian State (Noon, specialty pack)


4 thoughts on “Biggest games of the 2016 College Football season – Part One!

  1. Hey Bossman!

    The Houston vs Oklahoma game should be fun. The Cougars are probably going to keep things very close against the Sooners. I’m not so certain that they would get an invite to the Big XII though as there are multiple schools in the state of Texas. Though with the Big XII bringing back a conference championship game and if they can upset Oklahoma and run the table into the College Football Playoff, Houston just might be invited into the conference.

    Regarding Fox Sports One, it seems like our best hope of getting their college football games here in Canada would be if TSN could swing a deal to pick up some of their games. They show UFC and certain MLS games from FS1 so why not NCAA Football and the odd college basketball game or two…

    It seems that one publication (can’t remember off the top of my head which one) has San Diego State and not Boise State winning the Mountain West and in their Top 25. Let’s see what Phil Steele and Marc Lawrence’s Playbook has predicted about San Diego State and Boise State. I cannot wait until I get the Playbook and Phil Steele’s College & NFL Previews this summer!

    1. I agree that Houston-Oklahoma will be a great game. The Big XII is in a bit of a quandary with who they choose. And the thing is, much will still go on what a program has done lately. And Houston, if they can do as well as they did last year, boosts their chances against BYU, Cincinnati, Boise State, and any others who have aspirations to join a Power 5 conference.
      I think starting next year, some of these contracts may end up changing. The Big Ten’s new contract with FOX starts then and many of their games will end up on FS1. TSN would be smart to figure something out in that regard. If Rogers wasn’t so uber-focused on the NHL, they would figure out a way to put at least one game on each Saturday.
      As for Boise State, College Football News has them sneaking into the College Football Playoff as the #4 seed. Athlon I believe, had them down in the 20-29 range. The better Group of Five teams will be predicted all over the place I am sure (i.e. Boise, Houston, BYU, SDSU, Cincinnati, Memphis, Georgia Southern, etc.).
      I am sure the rep at Phil Steele said the magazines were being sent out in waves based on when you ordered them. He didn’t guarantee by the end of June but he said that’s a great possibility.

  2. “If Rogers wasn’t so uber-focused on the NHL, they would figure out a way to put at least one game on each Saturday.”

    They would probably put the same game that’s showing on over the air Fox. Maybe not so much now that simultaneous signal substitution is prohibited for non OTA channels by the cable and satellite companies.

    I would love to see Boise State in the College Football Playoff some year. They had their shot to play for the title against LSU in 2011 and they blew it because of their idiot kicker who missed a field goal against TCU at the final horn. I can’t see Boise State making the CFP unless a LOT of things go their way. I think that Houston will be the best Group of Five team this year.

    Chances are I won’t get my magazines from Phil Steele until early August. That’s because I choose to save on the shipping costs. If they somehow come late next month, I would be pleasantly surprised.

    1. That depends. Rogers will not put a football game on Saturday night now. That’s a given. So it would be an afternoon game and FOX doesn’t always have afternoon games on the main network so it would be interesting to see if Rogers would consider FS1 games being broadcast (my guess is no because they aren’t that bright).
      Yeah any Group of Five team needs everything to fall just right for them to get a shot at the CFP. It would be huge for ratings if they were close though.

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