WAKE UP! 2021 College Football is here!:Just four games on this opening weekend of the 2021 College Football season featuring FBS vs. FBS matchups. But, we shall endeavor to survive a fairly bad slate before a packed schedule next weekend, including the Tide’s kickoff in Atlanta against the hideously overrated Miami Hurricanes.
There really is only one game that falls into this category. It is Nebraska (-7.5) at Illinois (Noon CDT, Fox).
Why to watch this one? It’s been a tumultuous offseason in Lincoln, to put it mildly. On top of losing two dozen players to the portal, Scott Frost is under NCAA investigation, has a new AD, and has fielded the worst teams since the Bill Jennings era 60 years ago. This is also a division game, on the road, in a must-win contest during a make-or-break year for Frost.
His opponent is a long-time Big 10 bro, a man who knows how the game is played up there with a talent deficiency — Bret Bielema is back. While BERT was never able to recruit well enough to survive in the SEC, the man can still coach and has long track record of exceeding expectations, getting a lot of very little. But in his case, it’s not even a bare cupboard: Lovie (and some injury luck) left him in pretty good shape. NU is the favorite, but my money is on the Illini (ICYMI: Giving Away Money dropped yesterday featuring this game). Worse for the mid-tier of the Big 10? Bielema is actually motivated now to wash the taint of Arkansas off his reputation.
Hawaii at UCLA (+18.5) 2:30 CDT, ESPN — This is a veteran team for Todd Graham, and if UH’s much improved Warriors can hang on to the ball, and force a few turnovers, it could get thorny for the Bruins. This is also a make-or-break year for UCLA head man, Chip Kelly. Now in his 4th season, there are no more excuses. He has rebuilt the roster. This is solely his club. He has 18 returning starters on his also-improved Bruins team. So, show up, handle your business, and move along to P12 play — or dink around with an average Hawaii team. We’ll know a lot about both teams by dinner time.
Fresno State -27.5 vs. UConn (1 CDT, CBSSN) — It’s a good thing most people don’t get CBSSN, because this will be a ghastly beating. Kalen DeBoer had a rough inaugural season in Fresno, but now the system is in place, 19 starters return, the Bulldogs got in Spring and Fall practices, and this team could be a darkhorse in the MWC. First thing’s first — slaughter this awful UConn team who skipped all of last season for the Rona.
We’re not going to be eased into the 2021 season; no gentle entry here; no backing into it with Ohio State-Bowling Green. Nope. We get verbal abuse, maybe some spit, and then — BAM! — UTEP at New Mexico State, all without so much as a hug or Red Lobster cheddar bay biscuits.
Some folks like it kinky; some folks like it rough; and some folks who party really hard are into UTEP and New Mexico football.
How bad is this matchup? In a Top 10 list of the all-time worst college football teams, New Mexico State appears three times.
The 25 worst programs of all time? Why, yes, UTEP would be 7th and New Mexico State would be 4th.
But what about the current teams? There are signs of life in El Paso under Dana Dimel, in the sense that a roach can wiggle on its back for days after death. Last year, the Miners were 122nd in FEI. New Mexico State didn’t even field a team last year, and followed up its first bowl appearance in half a century by winning two games. For the last year in which both played, 2019, NMSU was 125th and UTEP was 128th — out of 130 teams.
Across the board, you name it — F+, offensive stats, adjusted defense, FEI, line stats, special team efficiency, TOM — there’s not a single metric in which either of these teams finished outside of the Bottom 10. Not one.
Uconn and Umass may eventually put on a worse show. And perhaps the MAC will shart out some tremendously bad contests (and the bottom of the MAC is very bad). But you will be hard-pressed to find two worse teams on one field at the same time in 2021.
And, God help me, I may just watch it, because OnlyFans doesn’t put anything nearly so punitive on its site.
Welcome to the 2021 season. Unwatchable filth is back. How unwatchable? It’s not even on a regional PPV.
EDIT: Both teams will have a stream of this game available on their respective athletic department websites: utep.edu and nsmu.edu