The first “full slate” of the 2020 college football season is…less than full.
Given the state of everything in 2020 you probably don’t need to be told this, but if the title of this article has you wound up and rowdy as hell for the return of college football en masse then you need to temper your expectations a bit.
In a normal week of college football, we (re: me) list about 25ish games starting on Thursday and ending late Sunday night. During week one when the sports spreads wide across the long Labor day weekend, we run that number much higher.
Last year I picked out 34 games in total to put into the grid. This year there are only nine games total. So yeah, lower your excitement for the weekend by a notch or two.
- Central Arkansas-UAB: After being victorious in the first DI game of the season, Central Arkansas turns around and plays in the first FBS game of the year. The majority of the game was a sloppy snoozefest and seemed to be over when Austin Peay scored with 1:40 left to go up by one point. But UCA QB Breylin Smith engineered a a helluva final drive, throwing a touchdown to take the lead for good with 34 seconds left. Usually I don’t use this space for recaps, but I have the feeling UCA games will be a distinct theme in HTF across the season due to their 1920’s-ass schedule. By virtue of the C-USA not cancelling football, UAB has most of an intact season.
- South Alabama-Southern Miss: Like UAB, USM is a C-USA member who will play a completely normal, but totally unremarkable, schedule. USA has a mostly intact schedule as well. While the Golden Eagles might not be a good team by any definition of the word, the Jaguars will probably factor in the running for worst team in the FBS, ranking 119th in preseason SP+.
Socially Distant Saturday Shift
- Eastern Kentucky-Marshall: I just wanted to say that these games should be flipped. Watch MTSU-Army ahead of this. I’m rusty, I’m sorry. Doc Holliday rules and Marshall has sneakily been getting better each year of his tenure.
- Middle Tennessee State-Army: By inadvertent design, the military academies will probably have the least volatility after losing spring practice due to the simpleness of the offense and the fact that it’s essentially the same year by year. They don’t have to make major adjustments based on the players they have, so the spring period isn’t nearly as important. This is my theory, and I am a massive dolt, so watch MTSU hang 30 on em (which adjusted for option ball control inflation is equal to 45).
Death By Smu-Smu Shift
- SMU-Texas State: The only game in the afternoon slot sees the Mustangs travel to San Marcos to face off against Texas State.
Deep In The Heart Of Texas Shift
- Arkansas State-Memphis: By virtue of being the only intra-FBS game, this is your Saturday spotlight game, and it will probably be a heft blowout in favor of the Tigers. 2020!
- Houston Baptist-North Texas: The first game of the Southland/C-USA All-Texas Challenge sees the Huskies in their eighth year of existence head up north to Denton to square off against Seth Littrell’s mob.
- Stephen F. Austin-UTEP: The second game of the Southland/C-USA All-Texas Challenge sees the Lumberjacks of Stephen F. Austin cross nearly the entire Lone Star State (798 miles, 11 hours, 45 minutes by car) to play UTEP. This likely will not be a good game to watch, but given how UTEP stands as maybe the worst team in FBS playing football, it might just be a close and entertaining game.
Labor Day Lights Shift:
- BYU-Navy: Pretty much the only thing unchanged from the normal week one is the single spotlight game on Labor Day. I’m pretty excited for this one, it’s a game between two somewhat evenly matched teams (#51 vs. 61 in preseason SP+). Should be a good game to eat your favorite grilled food to.