Welcome to DJ Gallo's Varsity Tailgate
Are you ready? The holiest of holies is upon us: the first Saturday of the college football season.
Welcome to Page 2's new weekly feature, Varsity Tailgate. Enjoy the spread. But partake responsibly.
Game of the Week
No. 7 Virginia Tech vs. No. 5 Alabama -- 8 p.m. ET on ABC
Virginia Tech just wants to get a little respect for its team and for the ACC. A win here would do that. (Although not losing to East Carolina last year and to LSU the year before that and in pretty much every high-profile, early-season test in recent memory would have made that statement much better.)
One More Game of the Week
Western Michigan at Michigan -- 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC
Yes, there's No. 13 Georgia at No. 9 Oklahoma State (3:30 p.m. ET on ABC). And there is No. 20 Brigham Young at No. 3 Oklahoma (7 p.m. ET on ESPN). And there's even Miami versus Florida State on Monday night. All good games. But in light of all that has happened with Michigan and Rich Rodriguez lately and the fact that Rodriguez plans to play three quarterbacks and the fact that Rodriguez says his team is going to be looking for contributions from walk-ons this year don't tell me you aren't excited to see a quality MAC team take on Michigan in The Big House. "But, coach! We don't wanna play overtime! You said the game was only 60 minutes!"
Cupcake of the Week
Charleston Southern: The Football Championship Subdivision (coughDivisionI-AAcough) Buccaneers are 0-16 all-time against Football Bowl Subdivision (coughDivisionI-Acough) opponents. The last time Charleston Southern played such an opponent was in the opener last season. They lost. 52-7. To Miami. A Miami team that went 6-6 from then on. The program's last game against a ranked opponent came in 2007 when the Buccaneers lost 66-10 to then-No. 19-ranked Hawaii. The Buccaneers' starting quarterback has 11 career passing attempts. So their opponent this week is the defending national champion Florida Gators. Naturally. I guess this is not so much a legitimate college football game as it is a Tim Tebow missionary trip among the disadvantaged.
Cupcake Recipe of the Week
Mmmm. Yummy. For extra effect, frost them with blue and gold icing, the school colors of Charleston Southern. Then throw each one against a brick wall as hard as you can.
Heisman Candidate in the Crosshairs
Colt McCoy, QB, Texas: Look, I know the game hasn't officially started yet. But I'm just sayin': It doesn't look good that he has yet to put any points on the board against Louisiana-Monroe. (For the record, I think Louisiana-Monroe is hyphenated so you don't think it's the name of a lady of the night.)
Tim Tebow Fact of the Week
Tim Tebow's major is Family, Youth and Community Services. Probably because he knows everything there is to know about everything else in the world.
Mascot Fact of the Week
According to the official FAQs of Aubie, the favorite foods of Auburn's mascot are pepperoni pizza, Gator, elephant and Dawg. Wow. I hope he's happy in Alabama. I seriously doubt Roger Goodell would ever let him be an NFL mascot.
Tailgate Tip of the Week
It's a typical early-season tailgating mistake: You stand out in the sun all day and think you're safe because it's September. But then, when it's too late, you realize your face is all red. Also, you had 13 beers. Which, you know, is a factor. Granted. But the sunscreen can dial that redness back a shade or two.
Quote of the Week
"We owe them an a-- whoopin'." -- LeGarrette Blount, Oregon RB, on his team's approach against Boise State.
I usually have a good feel for these kinds of things, and I get the sense that Blount's quote could lead to some sort of incident or something. I'm not guaranteeing it. It's just a hunch.
Stat of the Week
35-14: In 2007, Oklahoma State played Georgia and lost by that score. But that was two years ago. Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy was still young. Now he's 42.
This Week's Line I Just Made Up
Times during the Akron-Penn State broadcast that announcers will allude to the fact that Joe Paterno is still going strong for being 82.
Charlie Weis' Hot-Seat Temperature
Warm: Notre Dame hasn't lost yet. So Weis has that going for him. This week the Fighting Irish play at home against Nevada (3:30 p.m. ET on NBC), a game they should win if they're truly not still awful. In other Weis news, the anti-Charlie Weis billboard that was up in South Bend has been replaced. In its place now is a U.S. Marine Corps ad. The Corps should say it was all a guerilla marketing ploy. Recruiting across the country would go through the roof.
Lane Kiffin NCAA Violation of the Week
None: Really? Wow. Good job, Lane! I'll put away the overhead projector. For now.
Worst Game of the Week
Richmond at Duke
Duke was 4-8 last year. And that's, like, a good year for the Blue Devils. But good news! At least Richmond is a quality team. The Spiders were 13-3 in 2008 and won their first-ever FCS (that is: Division I-AA) championship. Wait, so who scheduled whom as their opening week cupcake?
Yo Conference Joke of the Week
Yo conference is so crappy it once seriously considered an application to join from Temple.
Name of the Week
Cameron Zipp: A lighting fast receiver in the SEC?! Unfortunately, no. The starting center for Southern Miss. Maybe he was ironically named. And I'm sure somewhere out there is a speedy receiver with a name like Bill Chunky or Fats McSlowstuff.
Player of the Week
Matt Barkley, QB, USC: The fortunes of one of the nation's premier programs are in the hands of a true freshman. He better perform. (Or at least lean on the ridiculous amount of talent that surrounds him at every position at USC, usually two or three deep. Poor Trojans!) No one wants to see you fail in public, Barkley.
One More Player of the Week
Greg Paulus, QB, Syracuse: The lazy football fan will simply look to see Paulus' stats and if he can lead Syracuse to a victory over Minnesota in his first football game in five years. But the savvy football fan will watch to see if Syracuse has adopted Paulus' intimidating, field-slapping approach to defense.
The Golden Gophers set an NCAA record this week for most roughing the passer calls in a single game.
DJ Gallo is the founder and sole writer of the sports satire site SportsPickle.com. He also is a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine and has written for The Onion and Cracked. His first book, "SportsPickle Presents: The View from the Upper Deck," is on sale now.
2009 College Football Preview
Will Florida repeat as BCS champion? Which teams will surprise? Who'll walk away with the major awards? ESPN.com's 2009 college football preview has the answers.