The Fan's Guide To Watching CFB This Kickoff Weekend, 2018-2019

The Fan's Guide To Watching CFB This Kickoff Weekend

How to efficiently spend your time and how to get the most enjoyment out of kickoff weekend.

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Labor day weekend is quickly coming upon us and that means it's college football season. No need to get stressed about coming up with an excuse to fake an illness on Monday, because Uncle Sam is looking out for us. But that doesn't mean your work is done.

The most important job this weekend isn't going to the store to get chips, spend quality time with your significant other, or to do that assignment that's due Monday at midnight. No, it's working on how to efficiently spend your time watching each game. If you're a fan of a certain team and want to just spend all of your time on that game fine. Everyone else will just have more fun than you.

Thursday: UConn vs. 21. UCF - ESPNU 

In my eyes, it's always tradition to watch the first game of the year. And man what a "GREAT" game it's going to be. It's the civil conflict, the defending champion the University of Central Florida starting off their season looking to get the respect they deserve! They will kick off on Thursday against a school with rich tradition and competitive fire and that school is... UConn? Wow. In case you couldn't tell this game isn't going to be one for the ages. I meant what I said about always tuning into the first game of the weekend, but this could be a glance and dance kind of game. There are some interesting story lines laced throughout this "contest."

How will UCF start off after claiming a title? Will UConn's young core overachieve and be able to stay in the game? How many times will the announcers bring up the claimed championship? How many times will the announcers bring up UConn basketball? I could go on.

But if (when) this game gets out of hand I suggest that you turn it over to Northwestern and Purdue on ESPN. It starts about an hour after this one and that's about all the time it should deserve. The two schools also have a history of being at around the same level of talent so it should be a decent watch.

Prediction: UCF by all of the points — UConn's empty stadium.

That's right no score for this one.

Friday: 13. Stanford vs. SDSU - Fox

It's the first Friday "trap" game of the year... sort of. The Aztecs are coming off one of their best seasons in the history of the program. They won 10 games last year and had one of the best running backs in the country in Rashaad Penny. Although Penny has moved onto the NFL, junior running-back Juwan Washington is ready to take on the load. Their defense which was a working progress last year has more experience and they also have some stability at quarterback. But the big draw with this game is Bryce Love. The Heisman trophy favorite is returning for his senior season in pursuit of a championship ( I wouldn't hold my breath). He had a great year last year, but usually, when a high profile player returns for their senior season it turns out to be a little underwhelming. So will Love fall in line with the rest of the disappointing seniors? Or will he break the chain and have a repeat of his junior year? That's how you sell somebody on a Pac-12 game.

Speaking of the Pac-12 the game is going to be a late one. Sorry but if you haven't noticed football gets played on the west coast too, so you'll need to preoccupy yourself until then. I suggest tuning into Army at Duke on ESPNU because everyone should support the troops as they face America's greatest villain.

Predictions: Bryce Love has a good game.

Stanford 24 - SDSU 13

Early Saturday: 7. Oklahoma vs FAU - FS1

Easily the most intriguing game of the morning in terms of matchup. Lane Kiffin lead FAU to it's first bowl birth and win in 9 years. Now they are in the national spotlight and are cashing in that fame as they travel to Oklahoma to take on the Sooners. Another popular story to follow is the transition at quarterback for Oklahoma. It's Kyle Murray's team now and the big question will be how well he can fill Baker Mayfield's shoes. I expect a whole lot of offense in this one. There are two offensive guru's at work in Kiffin and head coach Lincoln Riley. Oklahoma doesn't get a whole lot better on defense from last year, so FAU should be able to hang around.

If you get bored of this one, or for some reason you don't have access to FS1 then I'd probably say watch Ohio St. vs Oregon State. Lead by Urb... Ryan Day, the Buckeyes have a new starting quarterback for the millionth time in a row (I know JT Barrett started the last two years, but you know what I mean). I'm not going to sugar coat it, I don't give the Beavers much of a shot. But the country would love to see them put up a fight.

Prediction: I'm not saying Oklahoma's on upset alert but... no, I can't do that

Oklahoma 34 - FAU 21

Mid Saturday: 6. Washington vs 9. Auburn - ABC

This is probably the most important game in the history of Washington football. Because the Pac-12 is so weak they need to win against Auburn and also run win the conference. The committee has already shown in its past selections that they do not respect the conference champion, they need to play big boy football outside of it. And that leads us to Auburn. They have much less pressure on them by default. The pressures of this game can be summed up by looking at this as if the two teams were working together on a school project. Washington is the kid who is always on edge and worried about staying on task because they don't want to disappoint their parents (the committee). Auburn is the kid who's just cool with getting a B and moving on with their life.

This game, just like most football games will ultimately come down to quarterback play but it will also be the running backs that will make the biggest difference. Jake Browning is returning for his senior season along with running back Myles Gaskin in the backfield. Auburn brings back Jarret Stidham but lost Kerryon Johnson to the NFL draft this past year. The game will come down to which team can slug it out in the trenches because both squads also have extremely talented defenses. If you can run the football that will take more pressure off of the quarterback.

Now, if Washington rolls over like they typically do in these games, the next best game is probably no 17. West Virginia vs. Tennessee. Jeremy Pruit is the man calling the shots for the volunteers, so maybe they have a new life (again don't hold your breath)? But if not, then you can just watch Will Grier sling it all over the field. That's always fun.

Prediction: I hate Auburn, but I'm also an educated man.

Auburn 31 - Washington 17

Saturday night: 1. Alabama vs Louisville - ABC

It isn't a question of if this might get out of hand, it's when will it get out of hand. The big draw for this game is obviously who will start at quarterback for the crimson tide. But a recent report from everyone's grumpy southern grandpa Paul Finebaum and he heard from a collection of the boosters that Tua is far and away the best option. You can take that with a grain of salt, but in my professional opinion he can run just as good as Jalen and he's obviously a better passer so I'd say it's a safe bet to make Tua the starter. Now if you just read that and are thinking "oh well I guess I've got no reason to watch" then your A not an Alabama fan or B an Auburn fan. If none of those fit your description then you should tune into the game, unless your one of those kids who likes to leave after the first quarter because it's "too hot in the upper bowl". Grow up we've all been there. You don't have to watch the whole thing, just until you feel sad for Louisville.

I feel as if I can go on a rant like this because of the state the Cardinals are in. They just lost Lamar Jackson to the NFL, so there really isn't much of an offensive identity. And they are going to have to defend an Alabama offense where they need to prepare for two quarterbacks and have their entire O-line returning. They just really don't have a shot in this one.

Prediction: Alabama could start the current Freddie Kitchens and win by 21 (use Google kids).

Alabama 31 - Louisville 10

But when this game gets REAL ugly or if you fit the descriptions I laid out, then you should probably go to this.

Saturday night: 12. Notre Dame vs 14. Michigan - NBC

This game probably has the highest stakes of them all. Both coaches badly need this to fend off the media. Both teams need to prove that they can put it all together this year. This will be the best game of the weekend. If you have no allegiance to any team, I'd get real excited for this one. Brian Kelly is coming off a career-saving season with the Fighting Irish and is trying to show the playoff committee that his team is ready to become part of the conversation. The way Kelly has scheduled his opponents this year, would all but guarantee one of the four spots if they were to finish 12-0.

Jim Harbaugh is also in the same boat as Kelly. He too is not only trying to prove to the committee that he can win a big game but also to his critics. Harbaugh gets knocked around a lot by the media because he can't win a big game. Although there have been many factors that contributed to those loses (bad spots by refs, poor officiating, a bad snap) some just can't look past the final score. And in this day in age, that's all it takes for someone to get fired.

To me, neither team has a really high powered offense. Notre Dame was always more of a ball control kind of team, and Michigan's new quarterback Shea Patterson is making his first start in more than a year. But both teams have monstrous defenses, the Wolverines in particular. But the difference in this game is not going to be the head coaches, but the coordinators. Specifically, Michigan's defensive coordinator Don Brown who I think is currently the best at what he does. For that reason alone I'm going to give them the edge.

Prediction: The Fighting Irish go down with a fight.

Michigan 17 - Notre Dame 14

Sunday 8. Miami vs 25 LSU

Sunday, fortunately, doesn't give you much of a choice in terms of what to watch (saves me some research too). So when the Tigers take on the hurricanes you better be content. And for the most part, you should be. It's a classic matchup of two programs who are trying to reach the heights of previous seasons. Although Miami is much closer to that LSU is still prone to putting up a decent fight (unless it's against Troy). That being said, with the U's ball hawks on defense, I see them giving new quarterback Joe Burrow a lot of trouble. He's barely played any college games and this isn't exactly an ease in a new player kind of game.

Prediction: The names of the programs will ultimately be more intriguing than the actual game

Miami 24: LSU 10 (I'm calling at least two interceptions)

Monday: 19. Florida State vs 20. Virginia Tech

Welp, we're finally here. The end of the weekend and we're all dreading the Tuesday that brings our normal miserable lives back. But hey, at least the week is one day shorter. Anyway, Florida State and Virginia Tech... can't say I'm super excited for this one. To me, FSU is criminally overrated this year. They just lost their head coach Jimbo Fisher to Texas A&M and replaced him with Willie Taggart who really didn't deserve the job. You also lose important pieces on defense like a guy named Derwin James (he's good). Then you add in the fact that Deondre Francois is coming off a major injury and also had to compete for his job. This all really isn't looking good for the Seminoles.

That being said Virginia Tech isn't really going to be the team that will exploit all of this. VT is super young on defense and has kicked two of their starting corners off of the team. They two have questions at quarterback with the young Josh Jackson who is looking to improve upon the rather average year he had in 2017. But the difference in this game is coaching. I really like Justin Fuentes and think that he is pretty underrated when people talk about the second tier of coaches.

Prediction: It should be a pretty close game, but expect an ugly one.

Virginia Tech 24 - Florida State 21

Happy college football watching and Labor Day!

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10 Abnormally Normal Things About College

Some stuff just doesn't fly in the real world.
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College is a weird, weird place. For whatever reason, the young adults who are supposed to be cultivating their minds with all of the worldly knowledge available to them, seem to get away with quite a bit using the justification "it's college." Even the best students live abnormally while on the alien planet that is a university. So, while to us college students it may just seem like another day, here are ten things that are only normal in college.

1. Straight up theft.

In the future, if I walk into my forty-something-year-old neighbor's home and see a collection of stolen signs, stuff from the local restaurant, and property from the construction site down the road, I would definitely be concerned about the character of my neighbor. However, in college, people proudly display campus signs, traffic cones, or dining hall napkin dispensers that they have impressively commandeered - it's a cheap decoration and a great conversation starter.

2. All-nighters.

Maybe with the exception of parents of little babies, very few people willingly stay up for close to 24 hours on end. In the real world, if a friend came to you and said that they literally did not sleep the previous night, it's completely logical to be worried. On the other hand, when a friend in college says that he was up all night you laugh a little, give him an understanding pat on the back, and walk with him to the coffee line.

3. Atrocious eating habits.

Sometimes you don't have time to eat. Sometimes you order pizza at 2 in the morning. Sometimes you eat three dinners. Sometimes you diet. All I can say, is thank goodness that our metabolisms are decently high at this age.

4. Breaking and entering.

In high school, you hopefully knew everyone who entered your home. After college, hopefully, that's still the case. However, when you live in the middle of thousands of bored college students, people knock at your door, walk into parties, cut through your yard, and stop by without invitation or hesitation. It keeps life fun, but still not normal.

5. Calling mom when stuff goes down.

I really doubt a time will ever come that I don't need to call my mom for guidance on how to do something. But, hopefully the frequency of those calls with go down a little bit post-graduation. Maybe after four years of doing it on my own, I'll know how to fill out government forms, cook real dinners, and get stains out. But for now, I'm going to keep calling while I still can without seeming totally pathetic.

6. Being intoxicated at weird times.

Drunk at noon on a Friday is the quintessence of an alcoholic at any time - unless it's college. Not that this is necessarily a good thing, and it certainly doesn't apply to everyone, but there aren't many other places where people would instantly assume someone is intoxicated if they're acting even a little weird. I've even seen people drink in the library....

7. The messed up dating scene.



There are people who meet the love of their life at college and live happily ever after. They are people who meet the supposed love of their life at college and never talk to them again after Sunday. There are people who use Tinder. Hormones are high, freedom is bountiful, and football players are cute - what else needs to be said?

8. A warped sense of time.

The career I'm pursuing will require me to be at work by 7 am, five days a week. I am fully aware of this. Now, will I enroll in an 8 am next semester? Absolutely not - I'm not a demon. In college, nights often start at 10 p.m., dinners are eaten at 4, and mornings can begin anywhere from 8 to 2. We don't get that whole 9-5 idea.

9. Costumes... for no apparent reason.

High schoolers have a dress code. Adults have dignity. College students have fun. Here, people will wear a corn costume to get on ESPN, a fanny pack to get into a fraternity, or a tutu to match a theme party. Is it actually a weird thing, though? No one even blinks an eye.

10. Insanely close friends.

Name another point in your life when you live with your friends, study with your friends, drive with your friends, eat with your friends, go out with your friends, and even grocery shop with your friends. I'll wait. At college, it's easy for friends to seem like family because you're with them constantly. Love it or hate it, it's weird about college.

So, enjoy this weirdness while you can - it won't last forever!


ALSO SEE:

Uncensored Roommate Confessions!

Cover Image Credit: Matthew Kupfer

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12 Unhealthy College Habits That Never Should Have Become Normalized

No, you shouldn't have to pull an all-nighter to pass every exam.

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College is a weird time in our lives, but it doesn't have to be bad for our health. Here are some trends I've seen on social media and watched my friends practice that really never should have become a "thing" for college students in the first place.

1. The "freshman 15."

Everyone has heard of the dreaded "freshman 15," where college freshmen gain 15 pounds because of access to all-you-can-eat dining halls. Rather than eating healthier options at the dining halls or, you know, only eating until you're full and not stuffing yourself, we've just accepted our fate to gain what's really a large amount of weight. Not a very healthy mindset.

2. Eating only junk food because we're "too poor" to buy real food.

For off-campus students, the theme is ramen and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. This is really not how it needs to be. You can buy a bunch of romaine lettuce for around $1 at the grocery store I go to in my college town, and other produce like broccoli, potatoes, and apples are always cheap. Shop sales and keep your pantry stocked on staples like dry pasta, rice, beans, and other canned vegetables. It's not that expensive to eat decently.

3. Gorging on food at the dining hall just because you can.

This is what leads to the freshman 15. Just because you can eat whatever you want doesn't mean you should.

4. Procrastinating EVERYTHING.

I'm always ahead of my schoolwork, but all of the people in my classes push things right down to the wire. It creates unnecessary stress. Just get things done in advance so you don't have to worry.

5. Being generally unorganized and struggling to keep your life together. 

Actually using my planner is one of the best things I've done for myself in college so far. I don't know why it became popular for college students to be a hot mess all the time, but again, do what you can to avoid putting unnecessary stress on yourself.

6. Pulling all nighters, ever.

If you don't understand it by midnight, you won't understand it any better by five in the morning. You'll do so much better with less studying and more sleep than the other way around. Take the L and go to bed.

7. Waiting until the very last minute to start studying for your finals.

This is what typically leads to the aforementioned all-nighters. If you have an exam in two weeks, start studying NOW. Give yourself time to figure out what you need to focus on and get in contact with your professor or a tutor if necessary. Do yourself the favor.

8. Getting blackout drunk Friday and Saturday night...every weekend.

A lot of college students like to drink. That's fine, I get it, college is stressful and you just want to have a good time. But you don't have to go out every night of every weekend and drink so much you don't remember anything that didn't occur between Monday-Friday every week. Give yourself a break from drinking every so often.

9. Getting iced coffee before class and being late because of it.

I always make sure I get to campus early if I plan to get Starbucks, which I often do. It's rude to come in late, and it's detrimental to your education to consistently miss class. Your coffee can wait if you're running late. Plan better next time.

10.  Committing to 10 different extracurriculars because "it'll boost your resume if you have more on it!"

If you only participate in one club where you're the head of marketing and the treasurer, that will look SO much better than if you participated in five clubs but were just...there for all of them. Excel in one thing rather than being mediocre in many.

11.  Skipping class whenever you feel like it.

You can take the occasional mental health day, but if you're just being lazy, you're only hurting yourself. Go to class. You're paying a lot of money for it, after all.

12.  Spending every last penny you have to go somewhere for spring break (Daytona Beach, anyone?).

"Broke" college kids always end up taking the most extravagant spring break vacations. I'm sure it's fun and you'll cherish the memories, but wouldn't you cherish that $500 more if you saved it for things you actually need rather than living off of ramen for a month when you get home?

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