For the Canadian sports fan, the Boys of Summer were a total bust (MLB’s Toronto Blue Jays), for everyone else, the Boys of Fall are here again, back and ready to start up, beginning tonight.
For those unaware, the Boys of Fall includes the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) football teams, as well as the National Football League’s pre-season which winds down as the College stuff winds up.
In fact, depending on how lucky you are in terms of what channels you get on the TV set, there is probably going to be at least 3-4 game on, starting at 6 pm EST.
It is going to start to feel like a Sunday in the middle of winter, yet it’s a day-and-a-half from Labour Day weekend.
What to watch? NFL professionals or NCAA soon-to-be-professionals?
There is New England vs the New York Giants as well as Mississippi taking on Vanderbilt in NCAA, and that comes after North Carolina plays South Carolina. For those who think they can make a total night of all of this, the Broncos host Arizona later tonight and it should be on the NFL Network around 1 am.
What no doubt follows with the NCAA action today/tonight will be all of the speculation that always follows, the predictions for the first week of games, including all the drama that surrounded College Station in Texas regarding A&M quarterback Johnny (Football) Manziel.
College football is changing. This is the final year of the BCS system. It is well-documented that the BCS has been dominated by the SEC. The ACC has been abysmal. If BCS bowls are your measure, the ACC is 3-12 in the highest-profile games. Only one win has been noteworthy: Florida State beat Virginia Tech (while the Hokies were still in the Big East) in the 2000 title game. The other two victories were Orange Bowl wins by Virginia Tech over Cincinnati in 2009 and Florida State over Northern Illinois following last season. ACC teams simply have wilted in the face of the power programs. The one word that describes the ACC in the BCS era is “underachieving.”
Opening weekend represents a huge opportunity to start a seismic shift in perception. There are three games matching ACC teams against SEC teams. Virginia Tech takes on two-time reigning BCS champion Alabama. North Carolina faces old nemesis Steve Spurrier and South Carolina. And Clemson takes on Georgia. All or any would be signature victories for the conference. The Tar Heels and Hokies are gunning for upsets, which is not to say it couldn’t happen — just that it’s not expected.
Clemson, though, can change the landscape. It is the favorite in the conference. The game is in Death Valley. While coach Dabo Swinney says this isn’t an “end-all” deal, it actually is — at least as far as the national championship is concerned.
Follow me on Twitter @Game7overtime