Clear Your Schedule | Week 1, 2023

By Brian Wilmer -

Hi. I’m Brian.

You probably know me from such classic reactions to my writing as, “Oh, that ******* guy again” or “What the **** is that guy’s problem?”, to name a couple.

Thus starts my 12th season at FBSchedules. Kevin violated child labor laws and hired me when I was six. This feature has been here pretty much since day one, though that little five-letter, two-number nightmare of our last few years and other challenges have slowed my output a bit. We’re getting back after it now, though — that said, with the events of the last few years, I’m not quite sure what format works best here. I’ll throw some stuff at the wall, and you can let me know what works and what doesn’t work. As always, if you’re bringing insults, make them creative.

Moving on…

I don’t know where the phrase “Sunday Scaries” started. I wish I could travel back in time and eliminate it. Let’s make it a little less terrible.

Sunday Stories

We’ll use this space to recap some of the biggest storylines from the week prior. We’ll include four, because there are four downs and quarters in football, and that’s probably as high as I can count. Enough about me, though.

UMass!:  Everyone has, by now, seen the video of Don Brown dancing around in the locker room following the Minutemen’s 41-30 victory in Las Cruces last weekend. Many have made jokes. Not I, though. I’d never do that.

Errr, yeah, back to my point.

UMass has a season-high win total since its return to football in 2012 of four (twice). The Minutemen have won exactly once in three of the last four seasons; the lone exception came in the *****-** year, where they didn’t win at all. New Mexico State — itself with its own share of bad football — won seven games and went to a bowl last year. To march into their place, put 41 on the board, and leave with a victory is one of those accomplishments we should celebrate. Now, what they do from here will bear watching, but that’s a big win.

Ohio passer problems:  Ohio star quarterback Kurtis Rourke managed to throw just 10 passes last week — completing eight — in a 20-13 loss at San Diego State. CJ Harris got the majority of the run, going 18-for-42 for 203 yards and a score against three rips. Rourke is listed as the starter this week on the two-deep against LIU, but any hopes Bobcat fans have of a MAC championship likely rest on Rourke’s ability to put forth another Offensive Player of the Year award.

Getting Cocky:  Jacksonville State had a pretty strong FBS debut, turning away UTEP, 17-14. The Gamecocks were only a 1.5-point underdog, but they managed to get the win in Burgess-Snow. JSU completed just 50 percent of its passes for 67 yards, but was buoyed by three rushers breaking the 55-yard mark. Malik Jackson and Ron Wiggins scored a touchdown apiece and quarterback Zion Webb was the third standout rusher for Rich Rodriguez’s club. JSU hosts a decent FCS club in East Tennessee State this weekend before heading to Coastal Carolina next Saturday.

Vexing Vandy:  Many eyes were on Nashville as Vanderbilt opened its season as a 17-point favorite against visiting Hawaii. The Commodores got the win, but it was not without its worries. Vandy led, 35-14, with 14:48 to play. The visitors scored twice to slice the lead to a very uncomfortable seven points with 4:54 to play. Vandy held on from there, but Vandy fans have to be a bit uncomfortable. After a five-win season last year, fans had their eyes on the first bowl appearance for the Commodores since the Texas Bowl after the 2018 season. There’s still a lot of season left, but there are a number of unanswered questions.

Bad Bets

One of the annoying — or great, depending on your perspective — things about gambling’s creep into college football is that everyone is now a handicapping expert. Gone are the days of the dude with the suit and the slicked-back hair screaming at you at 9:30am Saturday morning on USA Network. Now, any site or podcast can give you its absolutely guaranteed picks that only serve to save you the embarrassment of paying $3.99 a minute when calling the aforementioned slicked-back hair guy’s 900 line.

I’ll pick four games each week, with many not in the huge P5 windows, because I tend to color outside those lines a bit. I’ll just pick straight lines as they are listed on the day I pick them — no money lines, no teasing, nothing else.  I’ll keep track of my record as the season goes along, and you can trash me in the comments each week for my lack of prediction prowess.

NOTE:  None of the text within is meant to serve as gambling advice. This is largely meant for parody and light-hearted review. At no point should any of the picks in this article be construed as gambling advice offered by or me.

Week 1 (0-0 last week, 0-0 this season)
(-7.5) at Georgia Tech
Virginia vs. Tennessee (-28.5)
North Carolina vs. South Carolina (+2.5) (game in Charlotte)
Clemson (-13) at Duke

Too many FCS vs. FBS games with no available lines this week. Alas.

And finally, here are the four “under-the-radar” games I’ll be watching this week and how to watch them. I’ll also include lines if there are any — for informational purposes only, naturally, as outlined in the above disclaimer. I don’t yet have a name for this section. All times are Eastern.

Bowling Green at Liberty (noon, CBSSN):  The Flames have a lot of interesting storylines this week. There’s a huge, three-headed “OR” at the quarterback position between Johnathan Bennett, Kaidon Salter, and Southern Miss transfer Trey Lowe. Jamey Chadwell strolls the sidelines for the first time in Lynchburg as the LU boss. A number of freshmen are listed in prominent spots on the two-deep.
LINE:  Liberty -9.5.

Colorado at #17 TCU (noon, FOX):  Come on — you’ll be watching Deion’s debut. Admit it. The Buffaloes are a largely unknown commodity at this point, and having to play a top-20 program with all the offseason turmoil that took place in Boulder should — at the very least — make for some entertaining television. That is, of course, assuming you can see it, thanks to all these stupid television disputes going on everywhere.
LINE:  TCU -20.5.

Gardner-Webb at Appalachian State (3:30pm, ESPN+):  Gardner-Webb won the Big South title last season and got a playoff win in an absolute thriller at Eastern Kentucky. Tre Lamb is already turning heads as the Runnin’ Bulldogs’ boss, and there will be a lot of red-and-black-clad faithful who make the manageable trek to Boone in hopes of seeing their club claim an equally huge win. App starts redshirt freshman Ryan Burger under center, and they hope to quickly cleanse the bitter taste of a 6-6 (3-5 Sun Belt) campaign in 2022.
LINE:  NA as of press time.

South Carolina State (0-1) at Charlotte (6pm, ESPN+):  Charlotte has probably the second most entertaining coaching debut behind Deion, as the wildly entertaining Biff Poggi takes over for Will Healy in University City. Poggi has made headlines this offseason with everything from food reviews to cigars to getting into fights with team media. The fan base has responded well to him, but there’s one thing he could do to endear himself even more to them:  win. On the other sideline, legendary Bulldog coach Buddy Pough has announced he will retire at the end of the year. The 70-year-old legend has eight MEAC titles and three HBCU national titles to his credit. The Bulldogs are 0-1 this season, having fallen, 37-7, to Jackson State last week.
LINE:  NA as of press time.

It’s great to be back. Please gather your items to throw at me — preferably nothing injurious, though.

What worked with this format? What didn’t work? What are your winning Powerball numbers? Let me know in the comments section! Happy football weekend, everyone!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments (2)