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Couch Potato Heaven: Charting the Big Games

NATIONAL PREVIEW

September 01, 2007|Chris Dufresne

Most college kids haven't had the chance to drop their first class yet.

What gives with this early wake-up call?

Sorry scholars, college football isn't into leisurely roll-out campaigns -- that's called the NFL exhibition season.

The college television schedule comes so hard and fast you can't think of working your way into viewing shape.

Opening weekend -- today -- includes the Pacific 10 Conference opener featuring UCLA at Stanford (it's Year 5 of Coach Karl Dorrell's four-year plan in Westwood); California defending Pac-10 honor against the Southeastern Conference when it plays host to Tennessee; and new-school coaching debuts by Nick Saban at Alabama and Dennis Erickson at Arizona State.

Also, that game show Family Feud has resurfaced in prime time, only now ABC is calling it The Bowden Bowl (Florida State vs. Clemson) and sticking it in the nighttime slot on Labor Day .

Week 2, you get the sample plate: Oregon at Michigan (Duck Soup?), Texas Christian at Texas (also Christian but accepts Agnostics who run 4.3), Miami at Oklahoma (show me your NCAA sanctions and I'll show you mine), Notre Dame at Penn State (no cheering in press box except for Paterno) and Virginia Tech at Louisiana State (Humane Society reports no Vicks on current Hokies roster).

Week 3, it's USC at Nebraska (the state capitol is that little building next to the football stadium), Notre Dame at Michigan (Charlie and Lloyd exchange pregame hair management tips) and Tennessee at Florida (old SEC guard meets new gold standard).

We offer assistance as you plot your must-see weekly planner:

* Today, Tennessee at California -- Another nonconference loss to an SEC team and the Pac-10 may be up a Walnut Creek.

* Monday, Florida State at Clemson -- Television finally gets a clue and moves Florida State/Miami back to October.

* Sept. 8, Virginia Tech at LSU -- A night game involving these two fan bases may require National Guard deployment.

* Sept. 15, USC at Nebraska -- Trojans can warm up by running through orange construction cones on I-80 from Omaha to Lincoln.

* Sept. 22, Penn State at Notre Dame -- Some are dubbing this the Boris Spassky vs. Bobby Fischer of coaching matchups.

* Sept. 29, Alabama vs. Florida State in Jacksonville, Fla. -- Bobby Bowden once turned down the Alabama job and can prove it because he's still coaching.

* Oct. 6, Notre Dame at UCLA -- Word is that the Bruins defense will play prevent for first three plays this year instead of the last three.

* Oct. 13, Boston College at Notre Dame -- Powerful, football-playing Catholic school takes on team that has lost nine straight bowl games.

* Oct. 20, USC at Notre Dame -- Odds of matching epic game from two years ago are roughly the same as Weis letting his hair grow as long as stadium grass.

* Oct. 27, West Virginia at Rutgers -- Get pumped for this game by watching replay of last year's overtime thriller in Morgantown.

* Nov. 3, LSU at Alabama -- First-year Tide Coach Nick Saban takes on the school he bolted from after he bolted from Michigan State before he bolted for the Miami Dolphins.

* Nov. 8, Louisville at West Virginia -- Mountaineers would have preferred the Louisville coach stayed and the quarterback left.

* Nov. 10, USC at Cal -- This game could impact the Bowl Championship Series, the Pac-10 title, Jeff Tedford's future and, if you believe some people, global warming.

* Nov. 17, Ohio State at Michigan -- Loser of this game might still be in national title hunt: No, wait, that was last year.

* Nov. 22 (Thanksgiving), USC at Arizona State -- Bet you a turkey leg Dennis Erickson doesn't punt on fourth-and-20 with a chance to win.

* Nov. 23, Boise State at Hawaii -- Five-time defending Western Athletic Conference champions invade islands for what could be a Honolulu.

* Nov. 24, Alabama at Auburn -- This rivalry rages 365 days a year and 366 in Leap Years (next one in 2008).

* Nov. 29, Rutgers at Louisville -- Chances are you won't be able to see the Empire State Building from here.

* Dec. 1, UCLA at USC -- Possible showdown of 11-0 teams with the loser having to watch "Saved by the Bell" reruns.

-- Chris Dufresne

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