It's kind of like what Paul Crewe says in the 2005 version of The Longest Yard, when asked by the prison guy how to best get his football team ready for a game.
"In college, we'd start every season against Appalachian State or some slack Division II team. Kick the living (bad word) out of them."
Appalachian State irony aside -- right, Michigan fans -- this is how college football teams start their season.
Find a Division I-AA team that stinks. Sign a contract to play them. Beat the snot out of them. Move on to Week 2.
It takes a bit of fun out of this upcoming weekend, but not all of it. After all, the season does open this week. There are some good games.
The rules around here are pretty simple. We pick every game involving a Big Ten team to beef up the overall percentage. Then we grab a few interesting games and pick those. We try to do it once a week. Sometimes it fails.
The picks fail more often, but such is life.
The top games this week are as follows:
Pittsburgh at Utah (Thursday)
Connecticut at Michigan
Purdue at Notre Dame
Oregon State vs. TCU at Arlington
LSU vs. North Carolina at Atlanta
Boise State vs. Virginia Tech at Baltimore
That's not a ton to pick from. Boise/VTech is the best of the bunch, and I don't think it's particularly close. We'll get to see this elite Boise offense operate against a strong Tech defense. Kellen Moore threw three picks in over 400 passes last year, but if the Hokies are on their game, they could match that in one night.
What people aren't talking about enough is the Boise State defense. The Broncos don't give teams a lot, and they have some potential stars like Ryan Winterswyk, Billy Winn, and Winston Venable out there. I know Tyrod Taylor has some receivers to work with, and I know he has Ryan Williams back to run the ball. I get that. But this Boise defense can seriously go. This isn't going to be about Virginia Tech having some sort of advantage in the trenches because they're from a "major conference" and Boise is from the WAC.
After all, we all thought that last year when Boise played Oregon, and the Broncos did the mouth-punching on that night.
This team is legit, and they're playing with a chip on their shoulder. Boise wins Monday night.
The pick: Boise State
As for the other games (home team in CAPS) ...
UTAH over Pittsburgh
SOUTH CAROLINA over Southern Miss
INDIANA over Towson
OHIO STATE over Marshall
Minnesota over MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE
MICHIGAN STATE over Western Michigan
PENN STATE over Youngstown State
IOWA over Eastern Illinois
Missouri over Illinois (at St. Louis)
Colorado State over Colorado (at Denver)
MICHIGAN over Connecticut
NOTRE DAME over Purdue
Northwestern over VANDERBILT
TCU over Oregon State (at Arlington)
LSU over North Carolina (at Atlanta)
Wisconsin over UNLV
Navy over Maryland (at Baltimore)
Last year: 68-40 (we think)