You smell that? That's the grill firing up for the tailgate. The smelly lucky jerseys being pulled from the hanger, ripe with last season's emotions. The freshman that tailgated too much and failed to climb to the very top of the South Endzone before puking.
Yes, my friends, it's football season.
We've trudged through the spring and summer, pretending we cared about Lebron James or the 50-km race walk event in London. But now, as the temperatures begins to fall a little bit we are to be rewarded for our patience with the arrival of the college football season. What better way to celebrate this glorious occasion than an overload of games from today until Monday?
Follow the jump to see what's on the slate for this weekend.
Now just to be clear, we won't include Virginia Tech's game because I know you'll be watching that.
Ten Games to Watch This Weekend
(in order of play. All times ET, all games subject to local network blackouts)
No. 9 South Carolina at Vanderbilt, 7:00 PM ESPN
This is the marquee opening game of the season on Thursday night, being that it is an SEC match-up and features a ranked team (the only such game on Thursday). The Gamecocks have a very talented runner in Marcus Lattimore returning to the field after a season-ending injury last year. You never know what can go down in the SEC and especially on the first game of the year, should be a good one to watch.
Washington State at BYU, 10:15 PM ESPN
Because you don't want to go to bed quite yet and you NEED more football, Washington State and BYU will play to help you. The Mike Leach era begins at Washington State after a wild, ugly departure from Texas Tech. It'll be interesting to see how Leach can turn around a Washington State team that hasn't had a winning season since George Bush's first term as president.
No. 24 Boise State at No. 13 Michigan State, 8:00 PM ESPN
This is yet another opportunity for Boise State to prove what their program can do. Both teams are replacing starting quarterbacks from a year ago so it'll be interesting to watch that position in this game. Chris Peterson always fields a solid team, but they'll definitely have a tough task at hand on Friday night on the road.
Notre Dame vs. Navy, 9:00 AM CBS
Why is this one on here? Because well, it's football at 9 in the morning! AND, it's being played in Dublin, Ireland. Neat.
Marshall at No. 11 West Virginia, 12:00 PM FX
This isn't a rivalry quite on the level as The Backyard Brawl but the Friends of Coal bowl is still pretty serious business. WVU has never lost to Marshall, though coming quite close in 2010 as Marshall had a 21-6 lead before Geno Smith and Noel Devine tied the game, forcing OT. Last year's game was called in the 4th quarter due to lightning delays, with WVU winning the shortened game. Marshall returns sophomore Rakeem Cato at quarterback and WVU returns Geno Smith at the same position.
Ohio at Penn State, 12:00 PM ESPN
The first football game for the Penn State community following the...well, if you don't know by now then congratulations to you, sir or ma'am, for avoiding the media circus. Anyway, I'm sure Penn State players and fans will be happy to have the focus be on what happens on the field, not off of it.
Colorado State at Colorado, 4:00 PM FX
Another intrastate rivalry game, dubbed the "Rocky Mountain Showdown" comes to you on Saturday. Colorado joined the PAC-10 last year, making it the PAC-12, but did not have an easy go of it. The Buffaloes went 3-10 last year . Colorado State won three of its first four games last year, but dropped the last eight of the season. In short, neither team is really that good but rivalry games are always fun to watch.
**No. 8 Michigan vs. No. 2 Alabama, 8:00 PM ABC
This is the game of the week for me (outside Hokies/Jackets of course). Two schools with rich college football histories will battle it out on the field. If you're reading this, you know what happened with Michigan last year and you will join me in a moment of silence for Danny Coale's touchdown catch. Moving on, Alabama did that thing where they win that big crystal football which is supposed to symbolize something about greatness or something. So, I guess they're pretty good. Denard Robinson vs. Alabama defense will be the match-up to watch.
Arkansas St. at No. 5 Oregon, 10:30 PM ESPN 2
Oregon is undergoing some changes from last year as Darron Thomas left early for the NFL (he didn't get drafted), LaMichael James was drafted by the 49ers, Cliff Harris (recently cut by the Eagles) and I'm sure plenty more that I could mention. Marcus Mariota was named the starting quarterback at Oregon recently and the 6'4 redshirt freshman gets his chance on a national broadcast.
Kentucky at No. 25 Louisville, 3:30 PM ESPN
Because like me, you have a problem and need to watch even more football, this intrastate rivalry (though more for basketball and not football) will be played on Sunday. Honestly, I don't know much about these two teams going into this season, but I'm sure I will after Sunday's game.
Five ACC games to watch this weekend
Tennessee vs. North Carolina State (in Atlanta), 7: 30 PM ESPNU
In part one of the controversial chicken sandwich kickoff games for 2012, Mike Glennon will take the field as the starter for NCSU. The younger Glennon threw for over 3,000 yards in 2011 as the replacement for Russell Wilson, who jetted for
the Colorado Rockies Wisconsin. NCSU finished 8-5 last year, capping it off with a win over Louisville in the Belk (MODERN.SOUTHERN.STYLE.) Bowl. Tennessee finished with a poor 5-7 performance in 2011, with wins coming against Montana, Cincinnati, Buffalo, Middle Tennessee and Vanderbilt (read: they weren't good).
Richmond at Virginia, 3:00 PM
Mike London's new team will face his old team to start the season. UVA has some questions that they need answered to follow up on last year's effort and they might come early against the Spiders.
Murray State at No. 7 Florida State, 6:00 PM
This is a game to watch in the sense that we will get an indicator as to whether or not FSU will be strong immediately or will have to build up. FSU should roll the team that Beamer got his head coaching start at as FSU has a lot of talent on both sides of the ball. The question that remains is whether it's just a bunch of high expectations for FSU or actual, factual skill.
Miami vs. Boston College, 3:30 PM ABC/ESPN2
Boston College and Miami played each other in the last game of the season and start the season against one another. Boston College earned just the fourth win last year with a 24-17 win at Miami. Now, the Hurricanes come to Chestnut Hill to play the Eagles. BC is...well...not good, so a win might be a lot to ask to potentially help the Hokies down the road in the division race.
No. 14 Clemson at Auburn, 7:00 PM ESPN
In part two of the controversial chicken sandwich kickoff games for 2012, Tajh Boyd will lead the defending ACC Champion-- :'( -- Clemson Tigers against Auburn in Atlanta. Clemson will be without standout receiver Sammy Watkins
Which games are you most excited about for this weekend?