On Tuesday night, I accidentally found the SEC Network.
Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to find it, but I had no idea which channel it was (700 in HD/742 in SD on Comcast) but a week’s worth of Googling didn’t offer any help. So, of course I wound up finding it because my 8-month-old daughter randomly hit the right buttons on the remote.
Why do I tell you this story? Well, not only to solve any Googling you may have been struggling with, but because that night the SEC Network showed a documentary on Bo Jackson, Charles Barkley and Frank Thomas, the three most famous athletes to come out of Auburn. It was centered around them all being at last year’s Iron Bowl, so near the end of the program, Auburn’s miracle field goal return for a touchdown was shown with the local radio call dubbed over top of it.
At that very moment, I was excited for college football season — like kid-on-Christmas-Eve excited. Don’t get me wrong, I look forward to college football season like no other season, but various factors had my attention elsewhere this summer.
Now, I’m ready. And just in time, because it has started, and it’s going to be fun.
• Appalachian State at Michigan, noon, ESPN2: I looked back, and last time this game happened, I picked Michigan to win 45-13, but I did give Appalachian State some credit. Kind of. I did call it a cupcake. This is not the same Appalachian State team coming into the Big House, and while it’s also not the same Michigan team playing host, there is no way the Wolverines lose this game. Right? Pick: U-M 38-14.
• No. 5 Ohio State at Navy, noon, CBS Sports Network: The loss of Braxton Miller makes this one interesting, because outscoring Navy is usually the best way to beat it. The triple option has given a ton of people fits, and if Ohio State’s offense takes a while to get going, this could get interesting. I do think Ohio State’s defensive line should be able to handle the option, though, which will be the deciding factor. Pick: OSU 27-17.
• West Virginia at No. 2 Alabama, 3:30 p.m., ABC: This game intrigues me, and it probably shouldn’t. I think West Virginia could make it interesting because Alabama has historically struggled with fast-paced offenses. I’m not quite intrigued enough to pick an upset, but I might at least watch a play or two. Pick: Alabama 34-21.
• No. 16 Clemson at No. 12 Georgia, 5:30 p.m., ESPN: Oh, Clemson. I can never seem to figure you out. Well, this year, I’m pretty sure that the Tigers have too much to replace on offense to be consistent enough to hang with the big boys. Pick: Georgia 24-13.
• No. 1 Florida State vs. Oklahoma State, 8 p.m., ABC: This is basically an Oklahoma State home game with it being in Texas, and that’s important, because it’s the only real shot the Cowboys have here. Florida State doesn’t have any holes, at least none that I can pick out right now. So some (quasi) home cooking and general national title hangover should make this one somewhat interesting. Pick: FSU 31-24.
• No. 14 Wisconsin vs. No. 13 LSU, 9 p.m., ESPN: This one is also in Texas, because that’s apparently the only place you can play a big-time neutral-site game anymore. A week ago I picked Wisconsin to make the playoff, and now is my chance to completely back down on that. But I can’t. I think LSU will be great at season’s end. But today, Wisconsin will be better. Pick: Wisconsin 28-27.
• Miami at Louisville, 8 p.m. (Monday), ESPN: Miami will be starting a true freshman on the road in this one against a defense that was one of the nation’s best a year ago. That could spell disaster, or Louisville could be a lot easier to score on this year with the departures of key players and its coach, Charlie Strong. Pick: Louisville 31-28.
Contact Paul Costanzo at (810) 989-6251 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PaulCostanzo.