With the end of a college football season, we are always confronted with feelings associated with loss, as well as greater questions such as "What am I going to do with my life now, boy, I sure hope I don't end up in a drainage ditch by the end of February." There's no better way to avoid those feelings and questions than by ranking things way too early and getting people REAL mad about events that are almost nine months away.
As you may have heard, college football's opening weekend in 2016 is packed with ignore-your-responsibilities goodness. From Friday until Sunday, we'll be able to drink deeply of multiple games that most likely involve ranked teams playing other ranked teams, some of which will be top five teams (based on polls that will also make people REAL mad).
So let's go ahead and rank these games by degree of 'you need to stop your life in order to watch.'
10) Notre Dame at Texas
Texas' quarterback situation is something akin to Ed Orgeron's quarterback options at Ole Miss. However, Charlie Strong has had good enough players at other positions to allow him to go 11-14 in two seasons instead of 7-16.
The worst part for Strong is that, based on recruiting, he's a year or two away from having a legitimate quarterback option on campus. I feel certain that the Texas money people will be fine with paying him $5 million a year to be close to .500 over a four-year period.
9) Kansas State at Stanford
I'm looking forward to the week after the game when Twitter delivers a picture of the note Bill Snyder writes to Christian McCaffrey.
You put on quite a show against us. I've never seen someone cover as much ground as you did, and I kept stats for the 7th Cavalry during the American Indian Wars.
Good luck during the rest of your season.
8) North Carolina vs. Georgia at the Georgia Dome
There's a lot of pressure on Kirby Smart in his debut as Georgia head coach. First, he's been tasked with being the guy after the guy who brought a lot of success to Georgia football. Second, he's got to come up with a plan to defend a good North Carolina offense, knowing his offense won't be as overpowering as it was at Alabama. Third, he has to turn a miserable Georgia offense into something that could possibly put points on the scoreboard in the allotted 60 minutes.
And finally, this game is taking place during Labor Day Weekend, so thousands of Georgia fans will have cancelled trips to Hilton Head just to be at Smart's first game. The last thing he needs to happen is for them to miss out on 54 holes so they can watch their team get beat by the 2015 ACC runner-up.
7) UCLA at Texas A&M
Kevin Sumlin attempted to solve his problem of transferring quarterbacks by replacing the Kyle(r)(s) with A TRANSFER QUARTERBACK. While I doubt Trevor Knight ever regains the sorcery he used to defeat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl a few years ago, he may be good enough to delay the top Texas A&M boosters' group email* discussing how to come up with the $15 million it'll take to get rid of Sumlin next year.
*please accidentally forward this to a media person due to old people issues with email
6) Wisconsin vs. LSU at Lambeau Field
What better way to get the 2016 season started than with 175 combined rushing attempts, 15 horrible passes from Brandon Harris, and two perfect deep passes from Harris for touchdowns of 60-plus yards.
5) Clemson at Auburn
This game will probably go one of two ways. One, we see a #blessed revival from Auburn (no doubt based on a transfer QB's performance) and an exciting back and forth game with more yards and points than the Lee County charter permits.
Or two, we find out Auburn is still very much Birmingham Bowl material and Deshaun Watson picks up where he left off on Monday night. Either way, FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY*.
*minus the Auburn family in scenario No. 2 obvs
4) Oklahoma vs. Houston at the place where the Texans lose games
I just caught myself daydreaming about all of the possibilities here. Baker Mayfield going nuts, Greg Ward Jr. going nuts, the brothers Stoops going nuts because Greg Ward Jr. is going nuts.
Is it too much to ask for a game in which everyone, including the casual viewer, is completely exhausted at the end of this game because it was so awesome? THROW US A BONE HERE, SPORTS GODS. WE'VE BEEN LIVING ON BREAD AND WATER SINCE JANUARY.
3) Me vs. toll roads in the Orlando area
You mean I have to pay $1.25 about five separate times so I can go watch SWAG Kelly keep people from #TalkinBoutTheNoles? I THINK NOT, GOOD SIRS.
A tale of truth: My aunt and uncle live in the Orlando area. When I was down there once, I drove from our hotel to their house and went through something like 287 toll booths on the way there. When I got to their house, I asked about all the toll roads and they said, "Oh, on your way back don't worry about those. Just get in the Fast Pass lane and fly right through them. We lived here for a year before we paid tolls, then they finally sent us a letter saying we better start paying."
2) USC vs. Alabama at Jerryworld
Perhaps too high for some since Alabama is involved, and maybe too low for others (ONLY PLACE FOR THE TIDE IS NUMBER ONE, STUPID BEARS), but SEC/Pac-12 games are so rare, it's difficult not to be intrigued by this one. Well, right up until the point where the difference between Nick Saban and Clay Helton becomes apparent.
But, assuming Lane Kiffin doesn't move on to other actually earned coaching opportunities, we'll have the storyline of Joey Freshwater coaching against his former employer, and the 4,000 USC fans who make the trip wondering how people survive outside of constant 72-degree weather and no humidity. The answer to that, SoCal bros and ladybros, is don't go to Dallas and enjoy your inevitable flight delays at DFW.
1) Ole Miss vs. Florida State in Orlando
As if I was going to put anything else in this spot. In my defense, other than USC/Alabama, this is probably the only matchup involving teams that will be ranked in the top 15.
While I don't believe Ole Miss will end the year ranked that high, this game will offer two highly-skilled teams in a contest where both of them are still trying to figure things out. That means exceptional plays will take place, errors will be made, and spectacular swings of emotion will be the norm for roughly four hours.
As someone who will be there, I CANNOT WAIT FOR THE EMOTIONAL STRAIN. And this game will take place on Monday night of Labor Day Weekend, so the college football community will have one last taste of opening-weekend joy before four days of working for The Man*.
*assuming one has to leave the basement for employment, AM I RITE?