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College Football Rules This Labor Day Weekend
August 31, 2018  | By Gerald Jordan
 


It’s the most wonderful time of year.

A full schedule of college football is dominating Labor Day weekend and sending eternal sophomores everywhere into euphoria. Look at a lineup of games that included a genuine Big 10 faceoff right off the bat, and assorted match-ups that could move a few teams a step or two ahead of the competition en route to the college football national championship playoffs.

Games that started Thursday night and will run through Monday will set the table for Who’s Who on the collegiate gridiron. A close second to that though is the return of what might be the goofiest and at the same time most irresistible program that raises the curtain on college football each week – College GameDay on ESPN.

Who can turn away from the TV when Lee Corso (right) is about to don the mascot head du jour? A bit of commercial icing on the weekend cake will come in the form of the projected millions of college alumni around the globe, expected to don the colors – and maybe more – of their alma mater on Friday. Even those subway strap-hangers who couldn’t find South Bend on a map will “wear the green” for Notre Dame and cheer the Fighting Irish against Michigan. Sounds like a promotion for companies that sell team gear, but it could be fun.

By Friday, 2017 Heisman Trophy runner-up Bryce Love (top, number 20) and the Stanford Cardinal hope to be ready for a running-game showcase against San Diego State (9 p.m. ET on FS1).

Saturday will bring the customary procession of sacrificial lambs as Florida Atlantic journeys to Norman, Oklahoma for a noontime (Fox) sacrifice on the Sooner altar. At 12:20 (ET on the Atlantic Coast Conference Network) Furman will surrender to No. 2 ranked Clemson, a team of Tigers who are expected to be among the last four teams who’ll contend for the national championship.

By 3:30 (ET) Saturday on ABC, fans who have no allegiance to either team should nevertheless grab a barstool and watch No. 6 ranked Washington go against No. 9 Auburn. The Tigers (QB Jarrett Stidham, right) might very well be over-ranked and riding the crest of that ever-present Bonsai Pipeline that is the Southeastern Conference, but the Washington Huskies will have to put up or shut up on behalf of the Pac-12 Conference. This game could be a throw-down slamma jamma.

After a break for a food run, real fans will keep the dial on ABC to watch No. 1 Alabama (oh to hear Keith Jackson call that name!) tangle with unranked Louisville in a 7 p.m. (ET) game that could determine who’ll hold down quarterback duties for the Crimson Tide. What an embarrassment of riches – should Alabama start the quarterback who is 26-2 over the last two seasons or leave the job in the hands of the QB who stepped in during the National Championship game and won it for the Tide. Only at Alabama would such circumstances exist.

In this full schedule of weekend games, there are a few college football perennial markers. Appalachian State, which has been known to knock off a Big 10 opponent (ask Michigan), will go to Happy Valley, where Penn State should be on alert in this 3:30 (ET) kickoff on the Big Ten Network. Texas opens (noon ET on FS1) in College Park, Maryland, against a team that hooked the ’Horns in the season opener last year in Austin.

Speaking of Michigan, the No. 14 Wolverines (right) will play at No. 12 Notre Dame in a 7:30 (ET) Saturday night kickoff on NBC. GameDay will be there to start the tailgating.

The only Sunday game is a 7:30 (ET) kickoff on ABC, pitting No. 8 Miami against No. 25 LSU. The Bayou Bengals could exert SEC might or the ’Canes could show TV fandom just how tough they are. This could be a good one or an embarrassing blowout.

It’ll be curtains down Labor Day evening after a matchup between two evenly ranked teams when No. 19 Florida State plays host to No. 20 Virginia Tech at 8 p.m. (ET) on ESPN.

This runaway, busy schedule will test whether armchair fans are in season shape.

What a fun test!

 
 
 
 
 
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